Congratulations to Ardee-Ann! You won the free copy of Abigail Green’s Mama Insider! Make sure to contact me so we can get you your new book. Enjoy and thank you for entering.
Have you checked out my latest column on Owning Pink? If you haven’t, let me give you the short version: Georgia ranks #2 in the nation for childhood obesity and decided to use shaming tactics directed at our children in order to get the point across that things need to change.
I’m a smartass, sure. But I’m also a recovering bulimic, a (mostly) recovering binge eater, and probably rank a 10 on the How Messed Up is YOUR Body Image scale. Growing up I was always referred to as The Big Girl because what else were you going to call the 5’1” eight-year-old who was borrowing her mother’s jeans? Exactly. It’s okay. The complex I have now is probably old enough to be considered retro.
It may be up for public debate how Georgia’s Strong4Life campaign is going to affect our kids (for the record, my bet’s on more bad than good) but one of the featured child actresses, Chloe McSwain, has spoken out recently saying she feels pretty and feels confident. That’s all well and good, but she also is quoted as saying she needs to get healthier and lose weight and that the ads are meant to help other children do the same.
I’m applaud this little girl’s self-image, (of course she’s pretty) but if this is any indication of how these ads are going to affect other children her age, I don’t like it. The girl is no doubt reiterating what she has heard other adults say and quite frankly, it’s disturbing to me to hear a girl as young this one equate health and weight. The two are not mutually exclusive no matter what anyone says.
The problem is that no one who has ever chased shame with a Twinkie or dealt with an eating disorder can actually understand what the thought process is like for someone who has, or at the very least, is even susceptible. And I’m glad for that. If you have no idea what I’m talking about and assume I’m just bitching about these ads because I was a fat child who didn’t like getting picked on and s ee nothing wrong with the approach, then good for you. I’m glad you grew up with a healthy body image and boat loads of confidence and didn’t cry yourself to sleep because you got made fun of in swim class again. But throwing these ads in the faces of a new generation of children already primed for a skewed sense of reality and no control over what the government is calling a vegetable in the school cafeteria is just adding gas to an already smoking fire.
The actress feels pretty and confident. That makes me feel good for her and for her future sense of self worth. But what about the children who will see the ads in which she and other children are featured?
I’ll tell you a secret: I made myself throw up for the first time after watching a news special on eating disorders because it sounded like a good idea. I was 15! Who’s going to address damage control for those who, when they look at the messages emblazoned upon them, see a reason to follow down the same path?
Did you know that the shape of the school crossing sign is made to represent a school house so as to help those of us behind the wheel of a car remember to follow the posted speed limits?
Yeah…me neither. Which is probably why I was standing in line with 50 other people to sign in for traffic school. As much as that sounds like it would be made of absolute suckage, I have to admit that (aside from the waking up at 5 a.m. thing) the day was pretty entertaining. And by entertaining? I totally mean educational and *clears throat* always obey the rules of the road, kids. You’re too pretty to become someone’s girlfriend in prison.
And for that matter, so am I.
This is why I’m here today, y’all. To share with you the highlights of what I learned in traffic school. Keep in mind that some (or all except for one) may only apply to Arizona, so I hereby recuse myself and The Army of Ermas of Any of Your Issues if you try to use any of the contents of this post to fight some crazy traffic ticket in the Alaskan boonies.
That being said…
* Never, under any circumstances, point out to the instructor that you found your almost falling asleep at the wheel on the way in to traffic school ironic, seeing as this whole thing is supposed to be about safety.
* It’s probably also an even better idea to not file a formal request to allow those with access to the Internet to send in traffic school payment via PayPal and take the course during a special Twitter party with the hashtag “RoadRulz”. Trust me…it won’t go over well.
* While the driver of a motorcycle is not legally required to wear a helmet, his (or her) passenger is. Insurance companies are thereby encouraged to point and laugh at each biker who willingly signs off on the safety gear and instead chooses to pay a higher premium on his (or her) insurance policy.
* Homeschooling is required for children ages five and up.
* Well, maybe only if parents of said child who will be in a five-point-harness until she’s 30 wish to spare her the humiliation of being unstrapped from her car seat every morning at school drop off from now until her senior year of college, seeing as safety seats for kids are not required for children over the age of five.
* “Work with your neighbor” in regards to class tests means the person sitting next to you, not the people who are laughing at you on Facebook for landing yourself in this mess.
* “So, what are you in for” is an acceptable greeting in traffic school.
* “I was FRAMED” is an (obviously) acceptable response to the aforementioned greeting in traffic school but…
* Streaking blue eye-shadow across one’s face and screaming “FREEDOM” upon dismissal tends to be frowned upon.
* Oh right…and the brake pedal’s on the left.
I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with life lately but I finally came up for some air and remembered there was a contest for a signed copy of a book by a certain favorite child actress gone powerhouse Mom. And that I was supposed to come back here and post the winner for you all to oooh and ahhhh over before clicking over to Amazon to buy your own copy?
My methods for deciding the winner were complex in that I avoided Random.org because that would have involved too much effort and not been as amusing as asking The Husband to choose a number. He chose the #9. Which is Jodi.
Congratulations, lady! Be sure to contact me with your information so I can get on that thing involving your SIGNED COPY OF SOLEIL MOON FRYE’S BOOK! And Soleil? Thank you for this opportunity.