Mattel, McDonalds, only scapegoats for body image

May 22, 2008
By macy lister, Mcdonough, GA

People, in my eyes, have a tendency to blame anything but themselves. It’s an epidemic—it seems that today nobody is responsible for anything they do, and why should they be when there are so many places to put the blame?

This column started simply as my explanation for Barbie being a good role model rather than an icon that promotes poor eating habits and low self esteem. My explanation was deeper than how she inspired some to take up a gym membership; she was the president, a dentist, a teacher, a gymnast, a veterinarian, and so much more. Despite Barbie’s impressive resume, people still emphasize her small waist and large chest and suggest that Mattel, the creators of Barbie, should take some responsibility for making girls feel inadequate.

The blame for girls being self-destructive doesn’t stop with Barbie, actresses who are “too thin” and models advertising everyday products share the blame, on the flipside, we blame the clever advertising techniques of corporations like McDonalds for making children ridiculously fat.

Does anybody ever stop and think that maybe, just maybe, these children who are too skinny, depressed, or fat end up this way for other reasons? I’ll answer for you—no, they don’t because Barbie is an easy scapegoat; she’s plastic.

It’s much easier to say that a girl has low self esteem because of the images she sees on TV or the dolls she plays with rather than blaming her parents for not telling her on a daily basis how uniquely pretty she is. It’s even easier to blame the obesity epidemic (which is a huge topic that should be discussed all on its own in another column sometime) on the convenience of the fast food industry combined with our oh-so-busy schedules rather than our shear laziness to thaw some frozen vegetables and bake a chicken. Mattel and McDonalds really shouldn’t be blamed because a handful of parents don’t take the time to reinforce their child’s confidence while cooking them dinner.
I’m not perfect; I’m just being realistic about these situations. I stop at McDonalds anytime I’m in the car after 8:30 pm and I crave Taco Bell as vehemently as a pregnant woman craves pickles. However, I don’t blame the extra pounds I gain on the industry; I blame it on my lack of self-discipline.
I suppose the comfort we find in blaming someone or something else comes from knowing that the guilt has been displaced; if I can blame McDonalds for making me fat then I no longer feel guilty because it’s out of my control. (I don’t know when it became desirable to lose control over your own life and decisions.)
Wayne Dyer said "All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won't succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy," and I couldn’t agree more.

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This article has 5 comments.

on Aug. 20 2008 at 11:22 pm
You inadvertently compliment the influence of your own parents. They must be proud, as well they should be. Nice Job!

gramME said...
on Aug. 19 2008 at 12:00 am

Sanchez said...
on Aug. 15 2008 at 1:30 pm
I love the fact you stood up for McDonalds, I love the Big Mac, but I myself had to show some self discipline and cut back.

candy30260 said...
on Aug. 13 2008 at 3:44 pm
My feelings exactly. Good Job Macy !!!!

joeyguns said...
on Aug. 13 2008 at 4:26 am
macy you are 200% right we should all look at are self

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