A few weeks back I wrote a post about the terrible reaction by some to a new line of obesity public service announcements. Lots of you weighed in on how you felt about the media, more or less, telling overweight people that they are in fact overweight. The consensus on the topic was that this shouldn't be a secret nor should it be taboo. America does indeed have an obesity epidemic on our hands and perhaps throwing this in our (fat) faces is a good idea.
Last week, the topic of obesity came up again when a Reddit user posted pictures of retail outlet J.C. Penney's "obese mannequins." The Reddit user's comment about the oversized plaster figure was one of disgust, and the Reddit population of posters did not have many kind words for the mannequins either. Some comments mentioned the mannequins "sausage fingers" and another joked the mannequin is not "fat just big foamed."
Just as quick as you can say, "and can you super size that?" the original Reddit poster rescinded his stance stating that they were just making a satirical statement. Apparently making fun of tubby people is OK, it's just the getting called out for it that takes the humor away.
The mondo-mannequins are not even new. J.C. Penney rolled them out in 2009 as a marketing tactic; people are overweight, so why not have some overweight figures to model their plus-sized clothing? But does that mean this is a good idea? In examining the photos of the mannequins it is clear that J.C. Penney has never seen a heavy person before in their lives. The models' heads are incredibly small as compared to their over-sized bodies, and their hands and wrists are completely out of proportion.
There is a larger health issue at hand having nothing to do with fat fake models. America is overweight. According to the Centers for Disease Control more than "one-third of U.S. adults are obese." That's a lot of fried food being consumed. And these statistics only get progressively worse every year. Obesity doesn't just affect the person doing the Cheetos eating either. One of the reasons health insurance is so completely out of whack is because of this growing trend.
In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity were estimated at $147 billion; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
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But there is this very odd social inconsistency going on around us. We get upset when people call us fat, but then we turn around and mock the very same layer of fat we just hugged. Recall Jennifer Livingston of WKBT-TV whose video went viral last month when she confronted a nasty viewer about a hateful email in which the author called her fat. She turned the viewer's piece of advice into an anti-bullying campaign and was applauded as if she was Sandra Fluke. Facebook lit up like a Christmas tree with high-fives and "good for hers" abound.
Now just a few weeks later a slew of people are making snarky comments about husky mannequins on Reddit. WTF?
Do we love our fat bodies or do we despise them? We were collectively horrified when Lady Gaga gained 30 pounds and still pranced around in a fishnet bodysuit, but in the same breath we "Amen'd" her not giving in to Hollywood's urge to purge. Our gossip rags are covered with spiteful observations on Jessica Simpson's post-baby body, yet we are so proud of her for accepting her curvy figure. When someone is considered too thin, we all say it's disgusting, only to use the exact same word about someone that we deem too fat.
This country has bi-fat disorder, and it only seems to be getting heftier (pun intended). So, what do you think about these mannequins?