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Tag archive for: depression

Are You a Lawnmower Parent?

College Admissions Scandal Reveals Dangers of Clearing Smooth Path for Kids

You’re really not a parent of import anymore unless you’ve nabbed yourself a slick motor-vehicle label. First there were Helicopter Parents, hovering figuratively over their poor children’s heads, overseeing every miserable aspect of their orchestrated lives. I never fretted much over this classification, as it doesn’t apply to me; I lack the energy to be that controlling.

But the latest sobriquet intended to shame inept moms and dads hits a little closer to home. Like the front yard.

Have you heard of Lawnmower Parents? Known in chillier climes as Snowplow Parents and in less subtle neighborhoods as Bulldozer Parents, these are the well-meaning but misguided folks who continually clear a smooth path for their children, pre-empting any potential embarrassments, challenges and discomforts, and removing any obstacles that might impede Junior’s success. (Some call them Curling Parents, after the Olympic sport that involves shoving a toddler, sorry, a heavy stone towards a goal while someone sweeps the ice in front of it to decrease friction.)

From innocuous-sounding things like rushing to school with a forgotten lunch to more obvious line-crossing like calling in a sick day for your child so she can finish an overdue homework assignment, Lawnmower Parents think they’re being helpful. Supportive. Even loving. But the recent college admissions scandal showed us how parents can go from mowing lawns to clear-cutting entire freaking forests for their kids.

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Better Blind Than Fat?!

One in seven women would rather be blind than obese. That’s what researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) found when, in a study of how “obesity spreads socially,” they asked 100 women to choose — hypothetically — between obesity and other socially stigmatized conditions like alcoholism and herpes.

One in four would rather suffer from depression. Severe depression. It’s a sick question, really. But the responses say a lot about our culture — and the ways in which we’re unfathomably stupid.

It’s interesting that it comes down to a comparison between body proportions and eyesight, when it’s our society’s fixation on looks that fuels the great Fear of Fatness. And it’s funny to me that these imaginary scenarios, if rendered real, would leave us obese but not depressed about it, or svelte but unable to admire ourselves in a mirror.

Let’s remember that “obese” doesn’t necessarily mean “Biggest Loser”-sized. A full third of adult Americans fit the definition; many are your friends and family members. You may fit it yourself: 5’4″ and 174 pounds, 5’9″ and 203. Six feet, 221. Sound familiar?

Obese people are not starring in big-screen rom-coms, not modeling Victoria’s Secret’s new Sexy Little Things Supersmooth Cheekinis (yes, they’re real). But they’re everywhere else. And they’re doing just fine.

Continue reading Better Blind Than Fat?!

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