Over the past two days, the network morning shows have had features on these topics. They have them every weekend. And they're insidious.
On the CBS show yesterday, the 'Health' feature focused on a young woman who'd had liposuction to alleviate her...cankles. That's right, if you have cankles, that's a serious health issue and there are MD's out there who are willing to help you with it. The young lady in question was rather svelte, to my eye, and while she didn't have well-defined ankles, she had discernible legs, calves, ankles, and feet. She talked about how self-conscious she'd been over the years wearing dresses and shorts, and gushed about how the surgery, performed just a few weeks earlier, had already made a difference.
They showed 'before and after' photos of her legs/ankles from the back and honestly? I couldn't tell a difference. In fact, I thought the before photos showed more definition. But the victim...er, patient was happy, so I guess that's all that matters.
On this morning's Today show, the fellow who wrote 'Eat This, Not That' was featured, and the first words out of his mouth were: "If you follow what I'm about to tell you, you'll lose 20 lbs in the next six weeks." My first thought was, 'wow, a rapid loss like that is really not recommended these days, is it?'
His 'advice' for losing said 20 lbs? When you go to Red Lobster, instead of having one kind of cocktail that rings in at 800+ calories, have this other cocktail that comes in at 200 or so calories. And when you go to California Pizza Kitchen, don't have the yada yada asian chicken salad, have the cheese pizza. And when you go to Cold Stone Creamery, don't have the tall shake something. And when you go to...well, I can't tell you the last piece of advice, because I tuned him out. Because I haven't been to Red Lobster in about five years or so, and wouldn't dream of having a cocktail there when I do go. And there are no California Pizza Kitchens in SC, so no choice to make there. And I maybe go to Cold Stone Creamery once every three months or so.
And also because I was screaming in my head (because it makes Le Boyfriend nervous when I scream/talk back to the television), 'What kind of advice is this? It's presented as if people eat out at these places every day, and have one of these cocktails/shakes/salads/whatever every day as part of their regular diet.
Story #1 is insidious in the way that so much of women's appearance is being 'medicalized' these days. When a story is presented as a 'Health' topic, and a Dr appears to discuss the medical/health issues involved, it's not a leap to realize there are a lot of women out there who will think "ZOMG, I have cankles. I have something else wrong with me. My cankles can't be seen in public because they're not perfect."
Story #2 is insidious in the way it posits that everyone makes bad choices all the time and teh fat is BADBADBAD and you should NEVER HAVE A TREAT because it will make you fat and teh fat is BADBADBAD. Plus the writer is an authoritarian dick (disclaimer re: the last statement: my personal opinion).
ETA: I'm equally annoyed with the professional smilers who host these programs. Not once did the anchorwoman handling the cankles story yesterday ask how this was a 'health and/or medical issue; and not once did the anchorwoman today ask the obvious: 'how many people are we actually talking about here who eat like this every day that making these specific changes would precipitate the 20 lb weight loss?