Dr Antonis Kousoulis, Mental Health Foundation Director for England and Wales, said:
“The Mental Health Foundation welcomes Unilever’s decision to drop the word "normal" from its beauty products and to ban the editing of models' photos.
"Unilever’s decision cannot be underestimated, given the size and reach of the company’s products; it represents the latest in a broader set of changes, government inquiries and new proposed policies designed to protect the mental health and wellbeing of both young people and adults who are negatively affected by the near-constant images of unrealistic physical perfection that surround us.
"Starting from raising awareness around the issues of body image, diversity, image editing and mental health in early 2019, the Foundation has been campaigning on these issues and engaging with policymakers, parliamentarians, and industry stakeholders and regulators to help bring about the change we need to see in this area. It has taken strong, coordinated action not only from us, but also those with whom we have worked with in the voluntary and academic sectors and in Parliament, to start seeing these notable and vital culture shifts across government and industry.
"Over the past two years we have worked hard to set the agenda and raise awareness of the issue of body image as a matter of public mental health concern and have invited urgent action on this issue, which affects people of all ages in our communities. Crucial to this has been working closely with other charities, universities, professional bodies, parliamentarians, people with lived experience and government officials.
"When we started our work on body image, it was clear that while the topic has been researched for several years, systematic action had been lacking at a whole-society level to address the threats posed to our mental health by images used to sell us not only consumer products, but ‘perfect’ bodies.
"This has now started to shift, but we need to continue the work, as there is still a long way to go. Instead of striving towards and promoting a single body ideal, we should all, in our different and complementary ways – individually, professionally and corporately – strive to shape a society that embraces and champions the diversity of the human race.”
Find out more about our body image campaign 'Mind over Mirror'.