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social justice critique of michele obama’s health promotion, ‘Let’s move’ campaign..

August 17, 2011

This is deeply refreshing.

… a growing body of research points to the fact that structural-level inequalities, not individual-level health behaviors, account for the majority of poor health outcomes.  This research illuminates a disconnect in most health promotion initiatives — people have personal responsibility (engage in physical activity) for structural problems (poverty; the high price of nutritious food; safe, well-lit, violence-free places for kids to play).

Critiques like this are incredibly necessary for any sort of actual change to happen anywhere.

Here’s the ad, Barcelos is talking about.

The gender, racial and class blindness that Barcelos discusses is not unusual in advertising. It’s so common, we don’t even see it, much less get outraged by it. But she makes important points here about why a socially conscious approach to public health is always far more vigorous and meaningful than one that basically works to roll a wheel downhill  (like the ad above).

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