Wednesday, January 23, 2013

250.2 - Stigmatization lite, less hate, less filling

This is an article from Science Daily (I don't know how legitimate the site is, I was just presented the article in my feed) discussing the potential of a new advertising campaign strategy to limit obesity through "lite" stigmatization. The strategy is supposed to parallel the technique used to dissuade the expansion of the smoking population by essentially demonizing smoking. I guess the idea is, that people will respond to the stigmatization of overweight people and decide to avoid the lifestyle.

I presume this came from someone educated, but I am surprised by the glaring omissions here even in the metaphorical comparison. James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and just about everything that was "cool" back in the old days had that aura tied to puffs of smoke. A subliminal and sometimes blatant advertising campaign led smoking to be a major component of American society. Once the widespread damage was recognized, campaigns were launched to repeal that image. How does this relate to being overweight? I have no idea. Unless Chris Farley, John Candy and Homer Simpson have somehow been established as monumental icons of coolness. Or perhaps the current stigmatization of normal sized people by the current advertising press and their Photoshop miracle models is somehow insufficient in the association of weight with beauty and attraction. Unless I missed something, has it ever been okay to be fat?

I've never experienced a time when my weight wasn't a concern. I have experienced times when I ignored it, much like one ignores pain that can't be medicated, or disfigurement that can't be resolved, I have put it out of my mind, but I was never comfortable being heavy, and never lead to believe it was a valid, accepted lifestyle. I am not heavy because being heavy has an appeal, I am heavy because food has an appeal. Unhealthy foods that run our economy. Innovative delivery of butter, sugar and salt from confections to fast food are the issue, and stigmatizing the people who consume them is already quite common in our society. Maybe someone has another view of the potential outcome of this, but I'm really tired of hearing advice from people who fundamentally ignore the problems.

1 comment:

  1. Shame doesn't work. I believe in industry restrictions, especially where they're trying to hook kids. Schools eliminating their deals with Coke, etc.

    We can reframe the food industry to help people who are trying, influence them, but we can't force anyone. Nor should we, live and let live.