Kids Aren’t Any Fatter Than Your Head

June 21, 2010

Now for tubby, chubby edition of…


I’m so fucking sick of hearing about childhood obesity everywhere I look. It’s all “oh noes, kids are fat, kids are unhealthy, aaahhh!”

Alright, some of them might be above a healthy weight. So what do you do about it? Maybe they go play in the park a little longer. Maybe they eat some healthier foods. In any case, maybe the adults so involved with these kids’ lives should give the kids healthier options if they aren’t already. Maybe help them (and set an example by doing it themselves) develop healthier habits in general.

Of course, since when do adults actually take personal responsibility for helping young people do better? In ways other than finger pointing and berating the youth, that is. That’s right, they don’t, so they blame everything else they can. So the blame gets put on what mascots fast food chains are using or even, stupidly enough, whether the cartoons they’re watching depict fat characters! (Not to mention the slimming down of Santas I mentioned a couple years ago.)

Now there are so many ways to go here. One could be, as Matt so awesomely pointed out a couple weeks ago, rapidly diminishing activities available for kids, on top of too short lunch breaks to eat disgusting food, and, as Alex mentioned in the comments there, the cutting back or elimination of recess. So, basically, adults are doing everything they can to keep kids in a lifestyle that makes them unhealthy, and they blame THEM for it!

Or they make this yet another opportunity to attack kids’ choices of entertainment, constantly picking on the characters they like or the video games they play. As if a character having the tiniest bit of potbelly is as bad as the character is smoking. Hey, idiotic adult “logic” says kids will want to smoke if a cartoon is doing it, so it totally means a kid will want to get fat if a cartoon is doing it, right? Because being fat is totally a specific activity as opposed to just how your body looks. 🙄

Or there’s the thing about wanting to ban Ronald McDonald or stop airing fast food ads early in the day. Because this makes kids want unhealthy food. You know, if the kids are young enough for something like Ronald McDonald to appeal to them, then they’re young enough that they aren’t exactly going out and buying the Happy Meals themselves. Instead, some ADULT is buying it for them. People are worried about advertising these things to kids, but kids aren’t even the ones making the purchase. Take away the ads, and they’ll still wind up with a Happy Meal because their parents got a craving for Big Macs. And McDonalds is sort of everywhere (I can think of at least five within a couple miles of me), so it’s not like kids would be unaware it exists even if the ads went away.

Not to mention that whether the ads or clown are there, that does nothing about the parents that feed fast food to their kids on a daily basis, whether or not they themselves eat it. Why? Because they’re so afraid if they give kids anything else, they won’t eat. Which ends up a self-fulfilling prophecy, because when that’s all the kids are given, it will be all they’ll eat, since anything else would be foreign to them. Part of the stupid fucking myth that burgers, fries, hot dogs, and pizza are all kids will eat, that they’d rather die than eat a vegetable. Which, if I may go on a tangent for a moment, I always found insulting when I was a kid. The TV shows and ads had kid characters who hated or complained about vegetables, usually broccoli or brussels sprouts, as if this was supposed to appeal to me. It didn’t. I’ve always liked vegetables. And I resented these adult-created media aimed at kids always deciding for me that, as a kid, these are the foods I’m supposed to like and not like.

In fact, that’s part of this, too. Many McDonalds ads aimed at kids. Certain cereals aimed at kids. Kids’ menus containing only unhealthy options. Adults have created an unhealthy culinary culture for kids, telling them that, as kids, these are the sort of foods that are for them. I mean, just stroll down the cereal aisle. The less healthy more sugary cereals are the ones advertised for kids, and the healthier, ultra fortified ones are aimed at adults. Local grocery store used to even label the different sections of the aisle “Kids Cereals” and “Adult Cereals”. Which doesn’t make a lick of sense. Until Crispix comes with a free bottle of Jack Daniels and a Hustler, then you can tell me it’s an adult cereal, but lacking that, I think it’s just food. So, basically, in the ever so pointless division of which foods are for adults and which are for kids, it is kids that get left with and encouraged to eat exclusively the ultra sugary high fat crap. And the adults are blaming the fucking kids for it!

I’m not saying any foods need to be hidden or banned. Well beside the point. But when you give someone a powdered donut, and they eat the donut, don’t call them a pig for eating a donut.

And, of course, there’s one more interesting question here. Why this? Why the concern over childhood obesity at all? I mean, for one, adults have waaaay higher obesity rates than kids. And even some of the people of all ages who get called fat or obese really aren’t all that big. Yet why is kids’ body image suddenly everyone’s concern? Well, there’s of course the fact of an ageist society that kids are considered public property. But there are so many other things out there harming kids. Diabetes. Muscular dystrophy. Cancer. Hell, even tooth decay, which would give insecure adults yet another reason to attack kids’ eating habits (their diet consisting entirely of foods those adults gave them, of course). Why obesity? Well, answer is obvious. You can see it. Literally. Obesity means kids’ appearances aren’t what adults think they should be. So, really, while there are still the health concerns, sure, this all still comes down to child objectification. Fat kids aren’t pleasing to the public eye, so they must be ridiculed and shamed, all under the guise of encouraging good health. Yeah, that’s totally how you make people healthy. Not through assistance with creating a healthier lifestyle, or anything that’s actually respectful. Instead, insult the hell out of them and make them hate themselves. And wonder why they develop eating disorders later. I want to punch you assholes in the face so much.

And, honestly, any adult who thinks kids should be eye candy should instead be expecting an invitation from Chris Hansen to have a seat.

This has been Day 29 of the 100 Days of Summer, Round 10.

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