12 August 2008

Anti-obesity campaigns: minimising and prettifying weight loss surgery

I'm not a huge believer in guilty pleasures, like Patti Smith I seek pleasure and I have no guilt, but reading Oprah magazine is certainly one of my dark little secrets because there's always something fantastically body-hating in it. This month is no different.

The surgical interventions described in Sara Reistad-Long's perky article Beyond Stomach Stapling: What's New and Better on p116 can only be described as chilling and hideous. Her article is a revolting, clueless and uncomfortable read, even though she signs off with a jolly "Whichever approach takes off, one thing is certain: Patients struggling with obesity have plenty to be hopeful about." No no no! Also, don't ask for clarification on that "teeny sewing machine," believe me, you don't want to know about it.

But what really grabbed me about this piece was the illustration chosen to go with it. Art Director Ted Keller must have been having a funny turn when he commissioned this image by Eddie Guy. Maybe he doesn't know what gastric bypass really looks like, or maybe he does and he knows it ain't bright and shiny magazine fodder.

So what does this image say to you about what weight loss surgery is about? It'll make you smile! It'll make you look just like a skinny white blonde woman! Pretty pink balloons in your tummy! I mean, really, what the…?!


Cari said...


There was a lot of hullabaloo in the classical singing world about surgical whatever-you-want-to-call-it after the Deborah Voigt business.

But the idea of seeking to *permanently morph* my digestive tract in order to make me thinner? EGAD. I don't know. Maybe if I was so fat I couldn't *walk*, but short of that--short of my life being a living HELL--I couldn't imagine advocating something that insane.

And making a picture with pretty pink balloons? Yes. That is so truly horrifying... it is NOT even FUNNY.

And you know what? I think I'm gonna go have some chocolate cake. To celebrate the fact that I don't hate my body, I'm getting healthier without worrying about weight, and chocolate is just GOOD STUFF.

Charlotte Cooper said...


Maybe if I was so fat I couldn't *walk*
I still don't think I would choose it.