​Last term, a group of Year 10 girls along with Director of Development Miranda Starke and I, attended a Business Chicks breakfast at the Hilton Hotel about body image. The guest speaker was Taryn Brumfitt, the founder of The Body Image Movement. As a happily married mother of three who ran a successful photography business, Taryn was struggling with crippling body image issues. Close to resorting to plastic surgery to ‘fix’ her post-birth body, she thought of the message this would send her young daughter so decided to cancel the surgery. Instead, she took up body-building and got into great shape. However, the realisation dawned on her that she was still not happy and that perhaps it was her perception that needed to change, rather than her body shape. She posted a ‘before and after’ photo of herself online.  This was not the ‘before and after’ people usually see. This time, the ‘before’ was her near-perfect sculpted body, and the ‘after’ was her post-baby body. She was making a statement about self-acceptance and positive body image. The response was overwhelming.

Taryn’s message has spread far and wide over the few years since her epiphany. She has also made a documentary detailing her journey called 'Embrace'. You can check out more about Taryn on her Body Image Movement website.

The girls who attended the breakfast gained a great deal from the experience. This week they shared what they learned at the breakfast with the other Senior School students at Assembly.  This is leading to student participation in an event called Fresh Faced Friday.  FFF’s 'Tear it up' campaign is about making sure the positive gets much more airtime in our minds and conversation than the negative – allowing us to feel comfortable in who we are.

Taryn concluded her speech at the breakfast with the following 10 steps to happiness:

  1. Stop judging
  2. Move for pleasure, not for punishment
  3. Have a laugh
  4. Don’t be brainwashed, ageing is fabulous
  5. Engage in sparkle activities
  6. No more comments on weight loss or weight gain
  7. Don’t listen to the nasty pants
  8. Change what you can, accept what you can’t
  9. Break the rules, and break them often
  10. Join Taryn and the movement.

I invite you to consider if you could commit to one or more of these, in support of our students and our self-perceptions. 

It is a challenge for all of us!

Liz Collins
Head of Wellbeing