Christopher tm Herdt (cherdt) wrote,
Christopher tm Herdt

random thoughts inspired by e-mail

I got some message this morning about a presentation on body image and mass media. How does this fit in with the new "obesity is America's greatest health threat"?

We've got one group saying that oppressive media images are causing body image anxiety, and therefore we need to teach people to accept their bodies they way they are so that people can be mentally healthy, as well as convincing the media to feature images of different body types.

We have another group saying, by the way, your body? It's physically unhealthy. You are shortening your life, you are reducing the quality of your shortened life, and you're costing tax-payers a lot of money for health care.

I'm sure the members of both camps quietly share some of the same concerns, but which of these two groups will win the battle for ultimate authority on the body? Will there ever be a class-action lawsuit against the Surgeon General's office for causing mental distress to obese children? Who would win? I mean, in some ways, they're both right.

Not that I've seen a lot of TV lately, but I'm getting the sense that waifish is out and athletic is in, so that's a positive media image change, in my opinion. It seems to me that, ultimately, we could satisfy both the mental and physical health requirements if everyone was fit. That's an awfully fascist thing of me to say. I'm trying to tell everyone to be the same--to be fit and to be happy with fit. Of course, no one really knows what fit is. I mean, some people think Dr. Atkins was some kind of health wizard--what the hell.

And it is unfair for me to be saying any of this anyway, because I've been a gangly ectomorph all my life, taking after my Grandpa Slim. Of course, I was always frustrated that I couldn't win the President's Physical Fitness badge. Goddamned pull-ups. I couldn't even do one, much less five. I think I can do three now--maybe. Badges. We don't....
Tags: obesity

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