Is Damaging Internal Organs Right For You? Ask Your Doctor.

Fat? Achy? Frustrated by the lack of fashionable clothing in your size? Rarely fatal surgery could be right for you!

I'm no fan of pharmaceutical advertising in general, but for better or worse, I've mostly learned to tune out "Ask your doctor if our expensive name brand is right for you and the illness you didn't know you had" commercials. But this one for Lap-band — ask your doctor if our expensive name-brand gastric banding system, which will make it impossible for more than tiny bits of food to reach your stomach at a time, is right for you and your plus-size shopping challenges! — still has the power to make me ranty.


Let me get this out of the way: I am very much anti-weight loss surgery (although I'm also sympathetic to individuals who feel they have no other choice). If you disagree, that's fine, but there are still plenty of reasons to hate this ad.

Like, for instance, they make it clear that it's marketed toward women — we see four of them, and only two men. And not just women suffering from serious medical problems correlated with weight, but women who want to feel "more comfortable shopping." May I remind you that this is an ad for surgery. Surgery that costs up to $30,000, so you might be more comfortable shopping, but you'll have trouble buying anything. (Ongoing follow-up visits are $200-$300 a pop, too.) There's a whole world of plus-size fashion blogs out there, honey, and they don't have side effects including "band slippage, stomach injury, vomiting, heartburn" and the occasional fatality. Or, in the experience of a friend of mine, hair loss from vitamin deficiencies. Etc.

Back in February, Sociological Images wrote about an ad for The Realize Band that appealed even more horrifyingly to women's fantasies of thinness. "I dream of kissing him under the Eiffel Tower," says a woman who appears to already be partnered with the "he" in question. And you need surgery before you can do this? Even if you're too big to fit comfortably in a coach airplane seat, you can buy two seats, fly first class, or take a friggin' cruise ship overseas for far less than the cost of a gastric band, with none of the side effects!

If you have any doubt about how much our culture dresses up female beauty standards as "health concerns," look no further than these ads. Guys are supposed to want surgery because it might (might) help control diabetes and joint pain. Women want it so they can be more fashionable and get kissed under the Eiffel Tower. Any questions?

TOO OVERWEIGHT TO GO TO PARIS? [Sociological Images]
Guest Blogger Heidi: I Hate WLS - Here's Why I'm Having It [Shapely Prose]



I apologize if I sway from the topic... This makes me so sad. I want to shake women for hating themselves for their bodies... And I should shake myself...

I'm a feminist. I know this is all so wrong. I'm not that big. I'm not toned, though. Every morning I stare at myself in various stages of undress, and the hate I feel for myself (because I'm not perfect, because I know there's no such thing as perfect but I still want it, because I am a product of what I hate) is overwhelming. I tell my friends they're beautiful, because they are. That what matters is their humor, their mind, their goodness — because it does....

And then I look at myself. I see the fat sneaking over the top of my jeans, which fit me a year ago. I got my heart broken, my bulimia came back, and I got real thin. The echos of "you look so great" kept me going, kept me with him. But I healed, and as I healed, I gained the weight back.

And here I am, day after day, hating myself for how I look when I'm happy, when I'm productive, when I'm doing the things, seeing the things, eating the things I want.

I'm not unhealthy. I'm actually kind of pretty.

But my fat stomach, my stumpy shapeless legs... fuck, even my "inadequate" eye lashes... make me hate myself.

I'm sure I might get flamed for this. Maybe I deserve to...

But hey, sometimes we're victims of what we fight.