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These days, it seems you can't watch any entertainment program on television or read through any Hollywood magazine without being exposed to Jennifer Lopez, or "J. Lo", as she has dubbed herself. Lopez is a gifted singer, songwriter, and actress. Her work has garnered her well-deserved acclaim from industry pundits everywhere. She has legions of adoring fans, many of whom are impressionable teenage girls.
There's just one problem.
Her butt is so huge that you could damn near land a helicopter on it.
Let me be the first to agree with the vast majority of Hollywood critics: Lopez is talented. Of this there can be no doubt. However, according to Hollywood Insider magazine, "J. Lo" spends the majority of her non-working hours at home, gobbling fudge by the handful. This is a poor and unfortunate lifestyle. Equally unfortunate are the hordes of women who are calling Lopez a "role model" for young women. How can we possibly, in good conscience, take a woman who has let herself go like this and call her a role model?
Now, I know what many of you must be thinking; namely, that we are sending the "wrong message" to girls when we tell them that they must be thin and fit. They'll say that this type of thinking will cause psychological damage to young women, and that many will fall victim to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. I agree completely that we do not need hordes of teenaged girls clogging up restrooms, kneeling over the toilets, forearm lodged in their esophagus, yacking up plateloads of chili cheese fries. But this is not what I am advocating, and to suggest otherwise is to erect a strawman of nearly unimaginable proportions.
However, I will draw the line at telling young girls that it's "okay" to be fat. Only the most beslubbering of dodder-brained morons is unable to make the connection between obesity and an endless array of health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. The lifespan of the average chronically fat person is decades less than that of a normal person, and telling girls that this bodily state is acceptable is like encouraging them to play Russian roulette or guzzle diesel fuel.
But obesity is much more than just a public health problem -- it's also a public wealth problem. My health insurance premiums (and yours) are much higher than they would be if fatness was not such a widespread problem. To be fair, my employer does cover most of the costs, but I am left holding the bag for the rest, and it does not please me to be subsidizing the milkshake and deep-fried cheese log habits of a large group of large American women. Furthermore, the considerable weight of many of these women takes an incalculable toll on our society's infrastructure. Many of these pieces of infrastructure (such as sidewalks, public transportation, etc.) are taxpayer-funded, and upkeep fees come directly out of my paycheck. Others, such as elevators, escalators, furniture, etc. are maintained by private business owners who pass obesity-related maintenance costs onto us in the form of higher prices for goods and services.
So where do we go from here? I have no problem with Lopez being a role model, so long as she is able to tear herself away from Chuck E. Cheese and get into a gym a few days a week. Perhaps we can get the U.S. Congress to pass a resolution urging Lopez to lay off of the pizza, glazed pastry, and candy bars. If she is unwilling to do so, then perhaps the Congress can enact some restrictions on how the media is allowed to portray Ms. Lopez. (If you think Congressional action is ludicrous, consider this: How important is the long-term health of American's current generation of teenage women?)
Our schools should be centers of learning, and they should instill in our young women a sense of self-image and and a set of good personal health habits. They should not be whale factories. They should not teach girls that it's okay to have an ass the size of Rhode Island. And they should not give these girls the idea that Jennifer Lopez is some kind of goddess that can do no wrong.