Body image and our American work ethic

fat doll

I don’t think this will help


Well, I heard it again. On a slow news day, I’ll see the whole ‘body image’ subject in the news. Heard it again this morning, some news blip about dolls or models. You know, dolls are too skinny and present an unrealistic and unhealthy image for young ladies. Emaciated models are presenting a bad image for those young ladies in our society today and present an image that’s unachievable.

Well, I got some bad news. It isn’t working. That whole ‘you’re going to negatively impact our girl’s self-image’ thing isn’t taking hold. Either that or they’re not paying attention. If you follow any of the news stories, obesity and morbid obesity is at an all-time high. Worse, diabetes is nearly an epidemic. They kind of go hand in hand.  You really can’t miss it. I’ve been looking, and I haven’t seen many anorexics lately. And yea, you can tell. Fat little twelve year olds are not anorexic. And there are a lot of them. Maybe there are some anorexics underneath all that body weight screaming to get out, but they’re a long way off.

Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. (CDC)

And fat kids grow up to be fat adults.

Don’t get me wrong, eating disorders are terrible. I don’t particularly care for too skinny. I got a few extra pounds myself. I had a crush on Queen Latifa. But the weight of our country is out of hand, about one-third of us are seriously overweight, and our desire to do something about seems non-existent.

So, actually, I’m going to take up for the super-models. I think maybe we should start looking up to them. They are working hard for a living, achieving a goal through discipline, sacrifice and perseverance. When did that become bad?

I’ll tell you when. When we decided as a society that we accepted that “you’re ok just the way you are” bullshit. That’s just nonsense. We all need some work. Since when did we decide that fat and lazy was “ok?” What’s wrong with striving for something and trying to improve yourself? I grew up with that ethic. My dad was a math guy. Great at math. I wasn’t. He didn’t coddle me. He said things like “Hey, sit down and figure the damn thing out, I’ve showed you twice already!” He also said things like “If you don’t get it, maybe you need to sit there and think it through.” Let me tell you something, take it or leave it; it didn’t take a village, it just took my Mom and Dad telling me the way things were going to be. What happened to parenting?

When did “Hey, just sit on the couch and forget about it, the world owes you something, have a donut” become our ethic?

Sure, call me callous. Call me a prick. But since so many of us are blowing the trumpet of socialized medicine, I don’t want to pay for your diabetes, heart disease or bad knees. According to the CDC:

Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) are obese. (CDC)


So I don’t think the poisonous, skinny, super-model is such a problem, because she doesn’t seem to have much of an effect. I want dear old dad tell his 200 pound 12-year old, “See that girl on the screen? She eats a handful of rice and a piece of lettuce a day, and throws up anything else she eats. And she earns a million dollars a year for standing around being snooty. Now get in that bathroom and chuck up that box of Krispy Kremes you just ate.”

Hey, let’s all lose a couple of pounds. And leave the super-models alone.