In a major coup for director Taryn Brumfitt and the team behind Embrace, the insightful documentary’s MA 15+ rating has been overturned on appeal and is now classified as M.
The Adelaide filmmaker was furious when her film – which urges women to stop kowtowing to media-driven notions of female beauty and embrace the bodies they were born with – was given the restricted rating due to a brief scene showing a montage of vulvas. She launched a social media campaign, dubbed “vulvagate”, with the hashtag #Ihaveembraced.
Brumfitt says she is thrilled with the verdict, which will allow the film to be seen by its intended audience: young teens.
“Since the film's release I have been told every day that it must be seen in schools and now it can be,” she says. “With rates of labiaplasty on the rise, particularly in teens, I knew how important it was to include the educational and informative vulva section in the film.”
The idea for Embrace came about when the mother-of-three posted unconventional "before and after" shots of herself on Facebook – the "before" image depicted super-fit yet unhappy days, beside a decidedly more curvy but happy "after" shot.
The post went viral, ultimately reaching 100 million people. It resulted in Brumfitt founding the Body Image Movement – an internationally recognised campaign promoting the importance of body diversity – and making the film.
Embrace premiered at the 2016 Sydney Film Festival, where it was named one of the festival director’s top five picks. It opened nationally on August 5 and has so far earned more than $700,000 at the box office.
Embrace is now screening in cinemas.