4 July, 2017 - Australia’s leading organisation for eating disorders and body image, Butterfly Foundation, is issuing a viewer warning for Netflix’s upcoming feature film To the Bone.
The latest NETFLIX production To the Bone, which follows the journey of a 20-year old woman living with and recovering from anorexia nervosa, is set to be released in Australia on the 14th of July.
While the movie may raise awareness about the seriousness of eating disorders and gives insight into the complexity of the illness, there is a serious risk that To the Bone could be both confronting and triggering for viewers who are vulnerable, and inspire copycat behaviour.
Butterfly Foundation is conscious that the film-makers have a lived experience of eating disorders and this informed their approach to the creative development and production of this film.
However, Butterfly CEO, Christine Morgan, said the film-makers had not gone far enough to protect vulnerable audiences and provide appropriate guidance for viewers.
“Eating disorders are unlike any other illnesses, the visual portrayal of them in media is more often triggering and harmful and a high degree of care needs to always be taken,” Ms Morgan said.
“This is a timely reminder for parents, teachers and media professionals to be mindful of appropriate conversation around this film, the issues that may arise and where to direct people for help.”
“Australia has an enviable track record of media responsibility thanks to our Mindframe Guidelines for Eating Disorders and a focus on evidence-based approaches. We work closely with media and creative producers early on to ensure that vulnerable Australians are not adversely impacted.”
Butterfly and Mindframe have been in discussion with Netflix ahead of the planned release including the possibility of on-screen warnings and support information before, and after, each screening.
“We look forward to confirming that the trailer and the film carries Australia’s version of trigger warnings, and promotes help seeking using Australia’s support lines. We also expect that all publicity for the film takes a do-no-harm approach.”
Butterfly Foundation have developed an information guide providing advice for viewers ahead of the release of the film on 14th July. This has been distributed across Australia to schools and parents. Read Butterfly's Advice to the Community.
- Use appropriate language – refer to the Mindframe Guidelines
- Be mindful of images used and behaviours mentioned – reference to specific behaviours and images of people with an eating disorder and extreme body weights or shapes can have adverse effects by motivating some people to try to achieve an unrealistic body shape or size.
- Promote help seeking – include support information with every article written. Further information about promoting help-seeking information is available on the Mindframe website www.mindframe-media.info/for-media/promote-help-seeking-information
Anyone needing support with eating disorders or body image concerns is encouraged to contact the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline on 1800 33 4673 or email@example.com
Media Enquiries: Danielle Cuthbert 02 8456 3910 or firstname.lastname@example.org