I’m warning you ahead of time…this post may be a bit sloppy and all over the place (kinda like my sex life when I was younger) as I’m still trying to grapple with my thoughts behind it. Ok…here we go.
As most of you probably know, May is Celiac Awareness Month and lots of bloggers are doing their best to get the word out about our wonderful little autoimmune disease. Not only my fellow bloggers, but the large celiac organizations are also trying to create awareness. All good, right?
Then yesterday I saw the following tweet:
— Brianna Wolin (@breezygfreezy) May 9, 2019
My interest being peaked, I reached out to Brianna and asked what’s going on (like Marvin Gaye, but not nearly as cool). Here’s what’s going on.
Recently, the following organizations joined forces for a new celiac awareness campaign:
- Celiac Disease Foundation (who block me on Twitter?!)
- Beyond Celiac
- Gluten Intolerance Group
- Canadian Celiac Association
- National Celiac Association
What’s the campaign you say? Good question. I’ll let Beyond Celiac explain it.
And here is one of the videos:
The other two videos are the same idea. Putting ungodly dangerous items in food to show…to show…to show…I’m not sure really. All I know is that something didn’t sit right. So I reached out privately to Beyond Celiac and here’s how the brief conversation went:
A few thoughts (cause don’t I always??):
- Hill Holiday? Hill Holiday?? Why does that name sound familiar? Oh yeah…they were the creative geniuses behind the insidious Party City Super Bowl Ad where they called gluten-free people “gross”. Refresh your memory here. I suppose they are looking to make amends. Of course the CDF (who seriously block me on Twitter?!) couldn’t say enough nice things about them, saying they “are deeply appreciative of Hill Holliday’s outstanding efforts to help people understand what celiac disease sufferers face every day.”
- I get what they were trying to accomplish; providing shock value to drill home the point that food can be dangerous to those with celiac disease.
- This is nothing against any of the organizations involved, except of course Hill Holiday and the CDF (no really…they BLOCK me on Twitter).
- It was not well received by many on Twitter. Other advocates have called it “ridiculous”, “alarming”, “horrifying to children”, “a wasted opportunity”, “hateful” “the worst thought out campaign I’ve ever seen”, and “fear based”. And these are from advocates I respect. One advocate even said: “My kids watched the videos and my youngest spouted ‘What’s wrong with them? How stupid!'”
- To be fair, it was well-received by others that I saw on Facebook, calling it “spot on”, “so true” and an “accurate illustration of a celiac’s suffering”.
- Part of the campaign includes opening up a pop-up bakery in Boston’s busiest train station. Cupcake flavors like Razor Blade Bliss, Chocolate Thumbtack Surprise, Vanilla Rusty Nail Crunch, will be on display to “first surprise and then educate passersby.”
So what’s my take? (By the way…if you’re still with me, god bless you. I told you I’d be all over the place on this one.) I think it sends the wrong message. Do we need to be diligent? Yep. Do we need to take precautions? Absolutely. Should we live in fear? NOOOOOOOOO.
There is an unbelievable amount of fear-mongering online. “You can’t have this” and “you should stay away from that”. Some of it is accurate. Some of it is complete BS. Stick with the facts. Do not live your life afraid to do things simply because of GLUTEN. No matter what people say, it’s NOT everywhere and you CAN lead a normal life (with a few adjustments). I personally embrace food. I’m certainly not afraid of it.
Again…I get the intention. I just don’t think scaring the crap out of people is the answer. Would you want to get diagnosed with celiac after seeing these videos?
That’s my two cents. I’d love to hear from you, including the associations who put the campaign together. Except the CDF. Why? Because they BLOCK me?!