What Would Janice Do?

I know I know, Janice Joplin didn’t write Bobbie McGee, but she immortalized it to the point that it was practically an anthem when I was in High School. It was such an integral part of the fabric of our culture that my high school Social Studies teacher, Mr. Tannenbaum, wrote the words, “Freedom’s just […]

I know I know, Janice Joplin didn’t write Bobbie McGee, but she immortalized it to the point that it was practically an anthem when I was in High School. It was such an integral part of the fabric of our culture that my high school Social Studies teacher, Mr. Tannenbaum, wrote the words, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” on the blackboard one day and we spent the entire class debating its meaning.  We pondered over the possible interpretations and debated the practical and theoretical applications for this phrase.  The conversation was so juicy that for one brief moment in Hewlett High School History the Geeks, the Freaks, the Jocks and the Greasers were all participating and I remember it 40 years later.

But the one translation we did NOT come up with was that the infamous lyric had anything to do with being thin.

SET YOURSELF FREE!  GET THIN! 1800-GET-THIN

These billboards are everywhere now.  And despite some public outcry, seem to be here to stay.  In February, 2010, Michael Hiltzik wrote an article in the L.A. Times reproaching the ad campaign that was spreading like acne in So. Cal.  I remember reading the article because a close relative of mine had lap band surgery and I was reading everything I could on the subject.  Hiltzik was outraged, as am I, that the billboards give the impression that you can drive through on your lunch hour get a lap band and go off into happy thin land…free…free…free at last!

But of course this isn’t true. The procedure takes time, anesthesia, and a recovery period that may last weeks.  And that’s not including the people who got the lap band and did NOT find freedom or thinness at the end of the tunnel!

When Hiltzik wrote the column last year, I had not yet seen the billboards in the Bay Area.  I assumed it was a Hollywood thing that wouldn’t be tolerated here…in Janice’s backyard!  But I was wrong and now they are everywhere.  And the fact that these new billboards are equating freedom with lap band thinness is so offensive to me I don’t even know where to start.  If freedom’s just another word for having to measure food in teaspoons in order not to regurgitate…well…that feels rather restrictive to me.  To assume that everyone who is fat is living a life trapped by their fatness is outrageous, but even if it were true…I’d propose that the bars of imprisonment may be an Allergen product as well!  Although in defense of Allergen, maker of the lap band, they too have decried the bill board ad campaign. Stuart Pfeifer’s L.A. Times article last February explains that the billboards lead to a referral source of lap band providers and is not an ad for Allergen.  Still, with the weight and age requirements for lap bands getting less stringent I would imagine the demand for them is growing as rapidly as these billboards are popping up and that’s good for “Al’s” business.

Bottom line: the billboards are deceptive and offensive and if I were “Queen” I’d banish them from the Queendom! But alas, I am left dreaming and humming, “Freedom’s just another word for no more billboards on the road.”

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

Find a Treatment Facility Near You

Click on a state below to find eating disorder treatment options that could be right for you.

The information provided on EatingDisorders.com is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of EatingDisorders.com nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017 EatingDisorders.com.
Company Information

© 2017 EatingDisorders.com. All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of EatingDisorders.com's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.