Anywhere you travel across this great land, you’re very nearly guaranteed to see obese people. Whether they’re wolfing down a score of Whoppers at Burger King or zipping through the mall on their scooters, with cell phones to their ears and an extra-large bucket of soda in the drink tray, their gelatinous buttocks spilling over the seat–blubbery humanoids are becoming an everyday facet of American life.
In our society, obesity is ubiquitous and inescapable: in the supermarket and at public events, at the mall or even the gym. However, there is one arena where America’s blubbery class is all but invisible: television. Corpulent faces are rare on television, and this is even truer in regard to commercials.
Some activists want to change this paradigm, and show America a swollen, spotty face like the one it sees in the mirror every morning. Monty Robinson of Let America Respect Diversity (LARD), an advocacy group for people of size, believes the best avenue for this accurate depiction is diabetes commercials.
Currently, most diabetes commercials look like this:
Does the man in this clip look like anyone you know who has diabetes? No, the man is an actor, who doesn’t have diabetes. His middle-age paunch is his only nod toward obesity; he is only pretending to have this largely-preventable, first-world malady.
Obesity activists point out that African-American characters are portrayed by African-American actors, and that Asian actors portray Asian characters. Why then aren’t diabetes sufferers portrayed by gelatinous fatsos? “It’s not fair,” says corpulent actor Randy Bumfield, “How is anyone supposed to believe that I just had my gangrenous leg amputated if I’m handsome, slim and trim?”
The reality is that the producers of these commercials will never see fit to accurately represent their target audience. Diabetes spots will continue to feature paunchy-but-healthy middle-aged actors, who think nothing of trampling underfoot the surprisingly-sensitive emotions of the doughy monstrosities they purport to represent. This doesn’t, however, mean that Americans of size need go entirely without recognition–not if the average citizen does his or her part.
So the next time you’re in McDonalds for a late-night McFlurry run, and you’re greeted by the barnyard sound of rank humanity inhaling its feed, don’t wrinkle your nose in disgust or take a photo to show your friends on Facebook. Instead, make a conscious choice for change, and approach one of these ‘people.’ Imagine how good he (or she) will feel when you tell him, ‘That should be you in the diabetes commercial!’