The producers of Bluey have deleted a controversial scene from a recent episode that attracted criticism for its portrayal of weight.
Bluey is one of the most universally-loved children’s shows on the planet right now, but the episode titled ‘Exercise’ divided opinions on the messaging it’s sending to children.
And now ABC Kids has released a statement, saying the episode has been republished, following a decision by the makers of the program.
“The new version provides families with the opportunity to manage important conversations in their own way.”
Titled ‘Exercise’ the new episode previously started with Bluey’s dad Bandit and mum Chilli both weighing themselves on the scales in the bathroom, with Bluey and Bingo watching on. Both Bandit and Chilli remark, “Oh man,” when they see their weight on the scales, with Bandit telling Bluey “I just need to do some exercise”. Chilli adds, “Tell me about it.”
The scene also includes Bandit grabbing at his tummy while looking in the mirror. And while many fans have come out in support of the episode’s messaging around being active, others say it’s damaging. The scene has now been deleted.
Paediatric Dietitian Dr Kyla Ringrose took her concerns to Instagram after the episode first aired, saying while she’s a huge Bluey fan, watching Bandit and Chilli weigh themselves and ‘openly hate on their bodies in front of their kids was uncomfortable’.
“The exercise as punishment message did turn around in the end thankfully,” Dr Ringrose continued. “I love the message about being active WITH your kids but this wasn’t good watching at the start.
She said she received lots of messages from other viewers who agreed and had turned the episode off.
“Bluey specialises in being relatable for parents, and I love that,” Dr Ringrose said. “But they’re equally progressive and aware of current social issues and this episode is really out of step. Kids do not need to be watching parents hate on their bodies or exercise to get thinner. They missed a big opportunity here.”
Butterfly, a charity for Australians impacted by eating disorders and body image issues, addressed the controversy around the episode on Facebook, saying: “Butterfly recognises that while it’s important to promote healthy attitudes towards physical activity and exercise, this should not be linked to weight loss or body size/shape. Encouraging children to joyfully move their body, because it’s something fun and enjoyable, will always be far more productive and healthier than shaming someone into moving because of their body weight.”
Fans themselves are divided over the episode.
“I politely disagree,” wrote anniemae18 on Instagram. “Scales are only a bad thing if you make them. They can be very useful eg in getting correct dosages, measuring growth (I had a chronically ill child). The first 30 seconds hardly registered to me, I just saw a dad incorporating exercise into his day in a fun way with his kids, teaching them the importance of it and that exercise also doesn’t have to be a big deal.”
However mollymorganj said,”I was soooo disappointed with the episode. If they’d started it with the doctor telling Bandit his blood pressure is a bit high and he needs to make time to move his body, it could’ve been a lovely episode about making exercise fun and including your kids…but noooo it had to be weight = unhealthy, exercise is about weighing less and exercise is a chore! I expected so much more from Bluey.”
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