A number of high-profile bloggers have united in opposition to the Strong4Life Campaign, which features photos of obese children in their print and media ads with slogans like ““being fat takes the fun out of being a kid”. The campaign has purchased billboard ads all over the State of Georgia and is also running a number of television commercials in an effort to educate Georgian parents about childhood obesity.
While most are in agreement with the goals of the campaign, many find the methods of the campaign, using photos of overweight children paired with negative slogans, to be quite offensive. Leah Segedie of Mamavation has organized a protest of the campaign, with several bloggers writing posts today and taking part in a twitter event this evening. In her post entitled Shaming the “Fat” Kid is NOT Solving the Obesity Epidemic, Leah says, “I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly offensive this ad is to me. I was that overweight kid years ago. I lived everyday of my life with shame about my own body.”
The reaction to the campaign has been far-reaching, sparking discussions on many talk shows as well.
A number of bloggers have signed on to a joint statement organized by Segedie, which details the concern:
We believe it’s wrong to fight obesity by fighting obese people…especially children. Children are defenseless and cannot fight back on their own. Obese people are not the problem, obesity IS. Campaigns that have a focus on hope, support, and education are far more beneficial to children. Most overweight children already suffer from self esteem issues, which are going to be considerably exasperated by these ads.
Segedie goes on to say “I’m concerned these images are going to lead to more public ridicule in schools AND reinforce the shame these children ALREADY feel. Honestly, I think it’s emotionally abusive and I’m floored it’s sanctioned by the State of Georgia.”
Bloggers who would like to participate in the protest can join Segedie and others on twitter this evening from 9-10pm EST, using the hashtag #ashamed.