Death, disease, tumors, and pustules peppered my family’s dinner conversation as I grew up.
“Pass the salt,” my parents said, as well as: “you wouldn’t believe what I found inside a body today.”
And also: “honey, never go into medicine.”
I only dabble in the macabre on weekends.
My latest morbid jaunt was the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland.
The museum was chock-full of samples, specimens, illustrations, replicas, prototypes, and tools. The most beautiful and horrible things hopscotched across the line between medicine and torture.
Life-sized dolls that look like diseased humans.
Flash cards of skin lesions.
Orderly rows of scissors, saws, syringes, and knives.
Don’t forget tidy kits for exsanguination.
I didn’t become a doctor, but I have a stomach of steel.
Bring on the corpses.
Have you ever tried doing a Google search for “sugar addiction”?
The web results are articles. They’re tips for overcoming yours. Some of them even seem to have some science worked in.
The image results are white girls being silly.
Oh, ladies! You and your periods and your chocolate!
The huge disparity between the literature on the subject (holy shit, we’re all fat) and the way it’s visually conveyed (ha! girls like cookies!) is painful.
I’m not thrilled with the phrase “obesity epidemic” (it’s catching?!) — but I can look around and see that we’re all getting a little tubby. (I just spent a week eating my way across Brooklyn and Manhattan. Oops.)
And by “we,” I don’t just mean white women like myself or the people in these photos. (I’m not sure if they’re all passably white; but they’re close enough in skin tone to pass.)
I mean the everybody. The truth is that minorities have higher percentages of obesity than whites, but are hardly depicted in the imagery at all. They’re marginalized (as usual).
This is not a post about how awful obesity is for you. In fact, a little extra baggage is not a death knell. (Note: again, the image in that article was a white female).
I’m just pointing out that nutrition is important for everybody, and the imagery should reflect that.
Let’s go, society. Get on it.
My parents’ very fancy gym has a lot of included programming (classes, day care, etc). Their current group activity wall has a big sign that says “Lose Weight Over The Holidays!” Members can sign up for the program and, I imagine, win prizes for winning the most.
This is horrific. Lose weight over the holidays? That’s doing it wrong.
I’m not saying you should endanger your health by self-administering an IV of grease and melted-down sugar cookies.
But maybe December isn’t the time for a full offensive.
Maybe playing defense — holding the line — is enough.