Media

Well hello there!  The snow has finally stopped…and replaced itself with rain.  So things are definitely clearing out around here, but boy-oh-boy is it a slushy mess!  School ended up being closed on Friday as well, so it became a true “snow week”.  I may or may not have forgotten how to do school…

The other day, I saw this Subway commercial:

 

It’s intended to encourage people to eat healthy, specifically the healthy sandwiches offered at Subway.  But I saw it from a different perspective.

When people take a bite of their burger or other fast food meal, a button pops off their jeans, or their chair breaks.  One fellow’s water bed pops, and another person’s flying button shatters a pot of coffee.  On the surface, it seems harmless, right?  Eating a burger will make you fat, thus causing your buttons to fly and your chair to break…so eat a healthy sandwich instead!  Without trying to read into a silly commercial, however, I think there’s something hiding beneath the surface.

One Eating Disorder thought that I’ve often battled sounds something like this: “If I eat that slice of pizza, I’ll get fat.”  In reality, this is quite silly.  One piece of pizza (or two or three) eaten in one sitting won’t make me fat.  I’d have to eat 3,500 calories ABOVE what I burn in order to gain a pound.  Which, by the way, won’t make me, or anyone else, fat.  But this commercial totally reinforces that notion.  So what do I hear when watching this commercial?

  “One bite of a burger, and your jeans aren’t gonna fit tomorrow!”

Huh.

I know it’s not true, and I’m far enough into recovery to do an okay job of guarding myself from lies about instant weight gain etc.  But still, it’s almost a subliminal message to the viewer…on the outside they’re laughing.  I mean, these people do look slightly funny.  But internally, maybe even subconsciously, it could be a different story.

I worry about young people seeing this commercial.  Eating Disorders are becoming more prevalent at younger ages.  Commercials like this can’t be helping.

What do you think?  Are commercials like this more helpful or more hurtful?  I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂

Don’t forget to “like” me on Facebook, pretty please!

Take care!

Beth

**As a note, I don’t mean this post to be a bash on Subway – this commercial just happens to illustrate a point.

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7 thoughts on “Media

  1. I think your perspective is enlightening. And I do think it is hurtful although I do think they are being kind of sneaky I think it is rather intentional because if they sell that then people will buy more of their sandwiches. I think this kind of thing is similar to all the airbrushing they do to women’s bodies in magazines.
    I am proud of you for seeing it and intentionally calling it out in your mind to say what is truth to yourself.

  2. While I’ve never popped a button while taking a bite, I have had a seam on some worn jeans decide to pop at a random moment – not a good feeling! But I understand what you are saying. When I did First Place and lost a lot of weight I was afraid to take more than a few bites of something high calorie. Remember how I always got a bite or two of whatever you guys had but never got a whole serving for myself? Nice blog! Drive safe and stay warm!

  3. Thanks again for another great post.
    Without your perspective, I’d see this only from my own; a guy who eats like a horse and considers this commercial to be silly and benign.
    But you’re right.
    If these subtle messages were as innocuous as they seem, then eating and self image disorders would not be on the rise. Truth is, that in every issue we appear to be a country of extreme comparisons: skinny vs. fat, rich vs. poor, attractive vs. ugly… Not only are the issues themselves irrelevant to what life is really about, but the comparisons often set standards too high for any person to reach and the result is a community that either dies trying or accepts the shame of mediocrity.
    The best example of a healthy promotional for good decisions that I can think of is the bible. In this case, the difference between the message in the bible and what we find on tv is that in the bible we are accepted first. According to the media, we have something to prove. According to the bible, its proven. We eat healthy, not out of shame, but because our God loved us when we were fat. We work to be good stewards, not out of shame, but because our God loved us when we were slothful. We seek salvation because our God loved us as sinners. In other words, the difference between the promotional motivation between the media and the bible is the difference between shame and love.

    The healthiest way to promote good decisions is not to shame a person into making them, but to justify a love for oneself by loving them first.

    But that’s a lot to ask of Subway… 😛

    • I typed this on my phone. Please ignore the obvious typos and the excessive use of the word between in the last sentence 😛

      • I really appreciate your perspective! You’re right about the extremes, and I really like what you said about how the media reverses what Jesus taught/demonstrated in the Bible – we’re loved first. Thanks!

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