Tag Archives: Australia

Newly Published Paper says Social Media Campaigns Balloon Up Stereotypes and Stigma associated with Fatness

Eric needs a new job–preferably one that doesn’t stigmatize an entire population.

I’m pleased to share with you that my colleague Lily O’ Hara has recently co-authored a paper in the journal Media and Culture.  The article offers a critique of two major anti-obesity media campaigns that ran in Australia.  These campaigns include “Measure Up” and “Swap It, Don’t Stop It”.  The Measure Up campaign promotes health management through body weight and waist circumference.  It included television advertising, posters, a community guide and a handy 12-week planning kit complete with, you guessed it, a tape measure.  Highlighted headlines included “The more you gain, the more you have to lose.” and “How do you measure up?”

Not surprisingly the images that accompanied these campaigns were troubling for many and triggering for some.  In the Measure Up campaign, there were video ads that showed a young man looking sadly at a waistline that expanded as he digitally aged.  Naturally dire warnings about disease accompanied the video.  In still images, both men and women were shown, head bowed, looking dejectedly at a tape measure slung around their waists.  These people were shown clad in their underwear (similar to the shorts/sports bra getup in The Biggest Loser) to add to the “public shaming” aspect of the campaign.

Ad copy for the Swap it Don’t Stop It campaign used fear and panic words, highlighting diseases and phrases like ballooning weight.  In fact the star of the campaign, Eric, is made of a balloon.  In the campaign he says,

over the years my belly has ballooned and ballooned. It’s come time to do something about it — the last thing I want is to end up with some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That’s why I’ve become a Swapper! What’s a swapper? It’s simple really. It just means swapping some of the things I’m doing now for healthier choices. That way I can lose my belly, without losing all the things I love. It’s easy!

So aside from the panic inducing words and shame producing “balloon image” we have the assertion that swapping just a few foods in a person’s diet will significantly change weight, BMI and waist circumference, despite the fact that there is no concrete evidence that this result would indeed happen.

The paper concludes:

Through the use of textual, discursive and social practices, the social marketing campaigns analysed in this study perpetuate the following concepts: everyone should be alarmed about growing waistlines and ‘ballooning’ rates of ‘obesity’; individuals are to blame for excess body weight, due to ignorance and the practice of ‘unhealthy behaviours’; individuals have a moral, parental, familial and cultural responsibility to monitor their weight and adopt ‘healthy’ eating and physical activity behaviours; such behaviour changes are easy to make and will result in weight loss, which will reduce risk of disease. These paternalistic campaigns evoke feelings of personal and parental guilt and shame, resulting in coercion to ‘take action’. They simultaneously stigmatise fat people yet serve to invisibilise them. Public health agencies must consider the harmful consequences of social marketing campaigns focused on body weight.

So let’s take this apart for a moment, shall we?  I’ve spoken before, at great length, about how shame fails to make people healthier, happier or thinner.  In fact, I’ve spoken about how shame tends to make us, less happy, less happy and larger than before.  I’ve talked about how obesity levels are actually flattened out, and the obesipanic doesn’t really make sense in that context.  I’ve talked about how hard our bodies fight to maintain our weight and that in most cases, a few simple changes will not result in significant (if any) weight loss.  So everything about these campaigns are doomed.  They are much more likely to cause harm than to help.  But let’s look at one other aspect of this.  The taxpayers of Australia paid for these things.  They are government sponsored.

We’ve all  heard the argument that fat people can be fat as long as they don’t cost  you tax dollars.
And there are many reasons why this is a ridiculous argument.  But one eloquent comeback I see after reading this paper is this:

Your fat hatred is costing me far more tax dollars than any money you are supposedly losing caring for people of size.

We have ample evidence that these campaigns do no good.  We have ample evidence that these campaigns are actively causing harm to the people targeted by them.  And to me, the worst part is we are making people pay for the very media that is stigmatizing, brutalizing and depressing them.

The only thing ballooning here, is my rage over this particular state of affairs.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

On the tenth day of Christmas–Ten Jumpers Jumping

Dear readers.  Please excuse me as I interrupt your regularly scheduled reading for this DANCE break!  I ran across this great video yesterday and I just needed to share it with you.  But before I do, let me share with you that “Jumpers” is a word that folks in Britain commonly use to describe what us Americans commonly call “sweaters”.  And second, let me state that I can indeed count, but 5 Jumpers Jumping just doesn’t scan right with the song.  (Think FIIIIIIIIIVE Golden RIIIIIIIIIIIIINGS!)  Anywho, enjoy:

And I ask you.  Was that not a hoot?  Dads are gettin’ DOWN!  Even with my busy schedule, I manged to watch this an embarrassing number of times.  AND I downloaded the full track of the music.  AND I even checked out the place you could buy those fabulous sweaters, I mean jumpers.  Oh, and by the way, if you just can’t bring  yourself to buy a sweater you only wear to one hipster party per year,  you can always buy a DIY Holiday Sweater Kit.

I love to watch people dancing.  But I love to watch people who don’t look like stereotypical dancers even more.

That’s why I was so excited yesterday, when I ALSO ran across this new project being launched down under called “Nothing to Lose”.

It’s a dance production featuring amazingly talented fat dancers.  You can hear about it here:

And get a little tiny taste of the upcoming awesomeness right here:

So I hope you enjoyed today’s unscheduled dance break featuring deliciously wonderful dancers who have inspired me to shake my groove thing today.  Remember, whatever is going on in your life, and whatever else you have scheduled today, I hope you get a minute to get up offa that thing!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading. Well if you can sit still that is.

Lots of love!
Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)
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Stuff that Weighs More than Me: Giant Orange

445px-Big_Orange

Yup, that’s a person up there in the observation area!

Apparently, they just grow stuff bigger down under.  The search for the stats for the giant espresso pot, led me down a rabbit hole of really, really big stuff in Australia.  And the biggest of the really big fruit is this orange–which has observation windows and stairs.

Yup.  Most oranges contain some juicy citrus fruit and a few pips.  This orange incorporates a cafe, a souvenir shop, a 360-degree mural and a lookout area at the top.  This orange has stairs.

orangewelcomeI seriously want to go to Australia just to have my picture taken with this thing.  Seriously.  I’d fly on a plane for umpteen hours, just for that.

Speaking of planes, I’m hopping on one soon on my way to the ASDAH conference.  I’ll be speaking or leading classes all 3 days.  Can’t wait to see you there.

And just in case you’re wondering, “Orange you gonna share the stats?”  here they are:

Materials: Fiberglass panels over a steel frame

Height: 45 feet

Diameter: 36 feet

Levels: 4 (Yes, this orange has four floors!)

Weight: 85 Tons

Conclusion: The Big Orange weighs more than me.

Love,

The Fat Chick

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Stuff that Weighs More than Me: Molto, Molto Venti Coffee!

coffeepot

This week’s entry for stuff that weighs more than me was inspired by the picture above which was submitted by the most amazing and awesome Bev Whittington.  According to Bev, the giant pot above can be found in West Australia in Swan Valley.  However, after extensive digging, I wasn’t able to find out much about it.  Please feel free to chime in with more info if you like Bev.  Or if anybody else knows about this thing I’d love to hear about it.

In fact if you have any other pictures of giant things that weigh more than me, I’d love to see them!  Please post them to my timeline or email them to jeanette@thefatchick.com.  The more detail, the better.  I’d love to feature YOU in my blog!

While I’m quite confident that Bev’s giant espresso pot weighs more than me, I am unable to say exactly how much more than me.  So I decided to look for other giant coffee pots and coffee cups.  And my goodness, folks do love their coffee.  I found a huge number of giant java sources all around the world.  I was literally spoiled for choice.

coffeecup2For this week I settled on the world’s largest cup of coffee.  This was created by De’Longhi of Italy and was unveiled in London on November 5, 2012.  This huge coffee cup was actually filled with gallon upon gallon of coffee (black).  In fact, this super, molto, giantico, venti caffee was the equivalent of over 216,000 shots of espresso.

All that wake up juice was probably required for the four designers who labored for 504 hours to put it together.  Here’s the stats:

Height: 9 ft. 6 in. (When somebody asked for a “tall” they weren’t kidding…)

Width: 8 ft. 8 in.

Volume: 3487.1 gallons (US)

Weight: Over 12 tons

Conclusion: Both the World’s Largest Cup of Coffee and the giant espresso pot in West Valley Australia weigh more than me.  And can somebody get me some decaf?

Love,

The Fat Chick

Like my posts?  You’ll love my stuff!

Buy my book: The Fat Chick Works Out! (Fitness that is Fun and Feasible for Folks of All Ages, Shapes Sizes and Abilities)–available in softcover and e-book versions

Buy my DVD: The Fat Chick Works Out! (A Safe, Easy and Fun Workout for Klutzes, Wimps and Absolute Beginners!)

Buy a book or a DVD for a friend and save $5!  Just enter FRIENDBLFT in the discount code box!

Check out my Training Programs–both in person and via Skype (Starting at just $25!)

or

Book me to speak at your special event!