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Hammer Time —

January 11, 2012

We interrupt this Theme Week to kick a little ass.

A while back, Deah expressed her disgust with Georgia’s Strong4Life campaign, which targets fat kids with hostile, depressing, shame-filled billboards and advertisements like these.

And if, for some sick and twisted reason, you want to see fat kids reading degrading scripts on self-loathing, check out this video stream.

Yesterday, I checked out Strong4Life’s Twitter account and my blood pressure spiked as I saw tweet after tweet sharing links to articles that were lambasting them for the needlessly cruel campaign. The fucking assholes were BRAGGING that pretty much anyone with a fully functioning conscience was pissed that this shit is happening. So, I plastered my Twitter account with criticism directed at them, and today they responded both to me and other critics. Their response? They had to issue a wake up call. Besides, it’s aimed at adults, not kids.

Bullshit. If you’re a fat kid and you see a FUCKING BILLBOARD of a fat kid talking shit about how horrible it is to be a fat kid, do you think that kid is going to say, “Hey Mom, I’mma let you handle this one.” No, you ignorant assholes, they will take that cruel fucking message as a direct assault on them.”

Now, previously, Deah directed us to contact the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), and when you go to the link, it looks like they’re pretty damned serious about pressuring this ad campaign out of existence.

But there are two main problems with directing your anger at the OAC: first, the OAC receives a significant portion of funding from companies that specialize in bariatric surgery or weight loss pharmaceuticals, so I seriously doubt they have our best intentions at heart. But second, there is an even better, and more direct, organization to direct our anger and energy: the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation (CHOA).

You see, when you visit the Strong4Life website, you’ll notice in the bottom righthand corner that this program is the copyright information belonging to CHOA.

When you visit the CHOA’s website, you won’t find these fat-shaming, finger-pointing advertisements that make fat kids the target of ridicule and degradation. Oh no, you’ll find this instead:

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaw, look how much CHOA loves fat kids. In fact, every time a fat kid comes to CHOA, they invite the entire staff to come around and give hugs to Tubby Timmy, and to tell him how much they love him.

Where’s the stark black and white photography of frowning fatties? Where’s the blame leveled at the mother in the photo, who is clearly the culprit, since she too is a shameless fatty? Oh, that’s right, in public we use shame and degradation, but for the actual client-serving side of things, we’re all about “Tender, Caring, Treatment.”

Fuck that noise.

CHOA, I’m calling you out on your hypocritical bullshit, and I’m asking each and every outraged fatty to do the same. CHOA is a non-profit agency that relies on donations. It’s time to tell CHOA that they will not receive a single dime from any of us until this big-dollar bullying campaign comes to an end.

And CHOA, if you want to help, then direct your attention at ALL kids. Do you think that sedentary kids with an unhealthy diet don’t have metabolic problems? Do you seriously think that only fat kids have high blood pressure? Do you think that the strong correlation between poverty and obesity might limit the ability of some parents to provide their kids the kind of healthy lifestyle they might otherwise want to provide?

It’s called the Social Determinants of Health, CHOA, and I strongly suggest you try and understand this concept before you paint yourself as some Superman out to save the world from obesity. This issue is complicated and difficult, but the answer is not to shame and blame children and families, or to plaster guilt-inducing billboards around your city.

Help us turn the screws on CHOA and let them know exactly what you think of their fat-hating campaign. And please share this information with anyone, and everyone, who is not a complete and utter asshole. Thanks!

UPDATE

When I call CHOA, they direct me to Kevin McClelland, so I have located his contact information so we may contact him directly. Also, call Stephanie Walsh, the medical director who is doing all of the interviews that defend this advertising campaign. Email and call, and if their voicemail fills up, please call the Children’s Foundation number below and share your opinions with them

Linda Matzigkeit (doing interviews in defense of the billboards)
Vice President of CHOA
404 785 7824 (her admin’s number, so please be polite)
linda.matzigkeit@choa.org

Stephanie Walsh (doing interviews in defense of the billboards)
Medical Director of CHOA
404 785 6104 (her admin’s number, so please be polite)
stephanie.walsh@choa.org

Kevin McClelland (who they direct you to for complaints about the billboards)
Public Relations Director for CHOA
404 785 7600
kevin.mcclelland@choa.org

Children’s Foundation
404-785-4483
choagiving@choa.org

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