The conversation surrounding childhood obesity in America starts with a concerned parent (it’s usually a woman because, you know, guys could care less about diabetes, we live on the edge) who after her child complains about her weight, or even more sinister, looks at her overweight body with contempt, branding the herself as a victim of the easy access refrigerator and cupboard, she and her child become a news story.
Then after the local news affiliate picks up the story because the child can’t walk to school and can’t articulate why she loves to dip her Twinkies in strawberry-flavored milk, we purveyors of morality throw our two cents into the blogosphere and around the office’s water cooler, offering this single mother (you know she a single mother because the news never misses a chance to show how incapable and incompentent women are as heads of households) their sage advice: “She needs to do better … it’s a shame … I bet she’s on Welfare … that’s why we need more men in homes.”
Take for example this story fresh off the Charleston Patch.com presses. A young woman shares her childhood obesity story, which centers around her probably adorable, arbitrarily overweight daughter. She doesn’t want blame anyone, especially not herself, because holding her country’s leaders and cultural disseminators — from Michelle Obama to Tom Menino, Disney World to City Hall — accountable “is all too easy.”
Then on cue, we move into a conversation NO ONE wants to really have, but it’s always a great shit starter: eating disorders. Anorexia, bulimia, bigorexia, pica, and purging are all naughty words for glamorous girls (again, please remember, boys don’t suffer from body image issues; we just create cool words like bodybuilding, emphasis of BUILD, which makes it okay to engage in every single eating disorder — hey, a young man may grow up to be a movie-star governor one day, who am I to judge).
Understanding eating disorders actually means one has to deal with a suffering person extensively for months, years, or maybe even a lifetime, which is way too long to fit inside a hour long A&E Intervention episode. We don’t have time nor do we care that much; it’s all about making sure everyone around knows we’re good people, as long as it doesn’t hit home — like hit our own minds or children’s minds, and especially older people’s minds, which means granny is on the fast track to the assistance living facility.
So good people use the government to solve their problems, begging for a new law to help straighten out and cut the loose ends. More than likely, the conversations begin in academia, where some sterile scholars lecture on the links between childhood obesity and eating disorders.
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