Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Obese toys?

Dr. Deb recently posted about the Active Life Movement, a Texas-based non-profit organization, encouraging healthy, active lifestyles for children. Their current campaign, entitled "Keep obesity away from your child" uses obese toys like this to promote their message.

While I can understand the message this group may be attempting to send, I think there are more educational ways in showing it. Why does everything have to be about the negative, including their awful tagline?

What's your opinion? Is this the right way to go to encourage healthy lifestyles for children?

Other toys used can be seen here: pirates and superman

12 comments:

emmy. said...

i saw this in Jezebel.

i'm still not sure how i feel about it. my first impression is sort of, "well, they're getting a lot of one extreme.. let's tilt the scale to the exact opposite side." it's kind of like how extreme left-wingers and extreme right-wingers end up in fairly the same place.

people seem to take a lot of very black&white standpoints on how to deal with weight and children. but, as i recently just wrote about.. how does anyone know what we're REALLY supposed to be doing right now??

Kim said...

I understand what they're TRYING to do, but my first thought is, "This is stupid." We're going way too far to try to send the "right" messages, and they end up coming out all wrong. In my opinion, emphasis on body should be removed all together. Barbie, in her original form, does not CAUSE eating disorders. It's just a stupid doll. Obese Barbie is not going to improve self-esteem of women. It's just not. The goal is good (help women feel better in their bodies), but the methods are all backwards... in my opinion.

Kara said...

I don't think we need obese dolls, just healthy-sized dolls.

"Julia" said...

Looking at all three of these "toys" I see nothing but stereotyping. My mother ate healthily for most of her life and could never lose an ounce until bariatric surgery. Additionally, as someone who sees myself as fat (I don't know whether or not I am; I've no concept of what I look like anymore), I'm offended for both people with EDs and people like my mother.
I am so sick and tired of people being self-righteous and bigoted at once.

Ai Lu said...

This picture just made me laugh! What are we supposed to do with a doll like this? A moralistic lesson in disguise...

But I ask: Who doesn't sit in bed with their computer or a good book once in a while? Who doesn't drink soda and eat snacks? I'm not ashamed to say that I do.

Gaining Back My Life said...

Stereotypes.

That's what they are promoting, don't you think?

Just Eat It! said...

All this does is perpetuate awful stereotypes. I think kids would benefit more from nutritional advice than from scare tactics.

Sally Comes Unraveled said...

I get it. Kids are fat because they aren't ashamed enough. *rolls eyes*

Tiptoe said...

Good discussion and points everyone. I think in some ways it is stereotyping and shaming. In general, we seem to fall into this category of extremism and scare tactics to try to make a point. But in the end, it backfires, and we're left in a worse position than before.

I have to agree with Emmy that when it comes to children, it does seem difficult to know what is the right thing to do.

On a side note, I read a study about wanting to give kids heavier weighted toys, so they'd essentially burn more calories! WTF! I think most nixed the idea due to fear of physically injuring children.

Ai Lu, I agree with you that I'm sure we have all sat in bed with a book, computer, or food. I think for this purpose, it wasn't shown well or in a humorous way unfortunately.

Kyla said...

I think this is sad. It perpetuates stereotypes of fat people as being stupid and lazy and eating all day long. This is usually not true.

Gwen said...

I agree with Kyla. That Barbie is perpetuating myths about overweight people. And I guess I don't understand why there is an urgency to "keep obesity away" from the children. It makes it seem like obesity is some dread disease that we should be disgusted by. Where is the tolerance? Where is the acceptance of all people, no matter what their body type or shape? I know plenty of overweight people who are hard-working, happy, wonderful human beings. I don't have any problem with the doll being overweight, I have a problem with the fact that the toymaker is apparently try to convey some sort of message that overweight people are lazy and eat fast food. That makes me sick. Thanks for posting this. Your blog is very interesting and well-written.

Tiptoe said...

Gwen, thanks for the comment. Their campaign slogan does make it sounds like obesity is contagious and kids can just "catch" it. Maybe one day, people will get it and realize this is just not the best approach for helping children gain healthier attitudes towards size acceptance, weight, and positive eating habits.