11-Year-Old Girl From Anti-Obesity Ads Has No Regrets

Illustration for article titled 11-Year-Old Girl From Anti-Obesity Ads Has No Regrets

Last year, the state of Georgia started running "Stop Child Obesity" ads featuring real-live kids employed as child actors. But, of course, the part the kids are playing — that of an overweight child — mirrors reality. Chloe McSwain, one of the kids on billboards and in commercials, has fantastic self-esteem: "I'm very pretty," she tells CBS News. She admits that she worried what people would think when she took the job (she's called "Martiza" in the ad), but decided it was important to help kids. A noble goal, but does this fat-shaming campaign work? The negative tone and "stop sugarcoating it" message seem to encourage the other-ing of overweight people.


As Pam Davis of the Obesity Action Coalition says, "Obesity is a complex, multi-factorial disease process, and it needs to be treated as such." The ads don't offer any guidance or advice — only scolding. Apparently this hasn't affected Chloe, who says: "I feel really good about myself. I have lots of self-confidence."

Child in controversial ad speaks out [CBS News]
Earlier: Childhood Obesity Ads Rely On Fat-Shaming



I can tell you from personal experience that when I feel good about myself, I eat very healthy and I go exercise. I work very hard to manage my weight. But at the first hint of body snark, fat shaming, or "othering" me I immediately want to eat a cheeseburger and to hide in my house.

Part of it is comfort eating (oh the irony) to numb the pain of the insult. Part of is that fat-shaming literally makes me ashamed to be seen in public. But the major part of it is that I worked so fucking hard and lost 40+ pounds...and for what? To still be shamed. No matter how hard I work, I will always be big, and even at my smallest I will still get shamed, so I think "what's the point" and I give up.

I worked out at a gym, until I couldn't bear the disgusted looks anymore. I switched to a different gym, and got the side-eye there too. Then I walked on the street, only to have insults yelled at me from moving vehicles (more than once). So now I've been reduced to exercising in the privacy of my own home in solitude.

Shaming does NOT WORK. Shaming is counterproductive.

(Eating a spinach salad as I write...meh.)