Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Celiac in the Media

This is one hot topic! No one wants to be the butt of a joke, it's not fun. Now there are times we all do dumb things that our friends will remind us of for the rest of our lives, and hopefully those things we can laugh about at some point. But turning on the TV and seeing that condition you suffer from is the butt of a joke, especially if the joke is "it's a fad", or "it's all in their head".

A friend of mine recommended watching Two Broke Girls, that it was absolutely hilarious. Honestly I never made it thru the first episode because within the first 15 seconds there is a joke about Gluten Free and how it's an eating disorder. I didn't find the humor and I never finished the episode. Maybe had I bonded with the characters first, I could have found it more enduring... But without anything there to hold me in, I wasn't interested.

I love the show White Collar on USA, it does help that the lead character is a cutie with nice eyes, but that aside; in one of the episodes where his side kick Mozie is in the hospital it's mentioned that they should take him brownies, but making sure they are gluten free. Now I do watch the show every week, I know both characters drink a lot of wine, but honestly I've never paid much attention to what he eats, and if everything he eats is gluten free. The show isn't focused around eating and food, so I've never noticed, but I did giggle a bit when it was mentioned the brownies needed to be gluten free. Part of me even got a little soft spot in my heart for him, he's gluten free too! I'm sure other people rip it apart because they analyze everything he eats and has seen something along the way that was "probably not" gluten free.

An episode of a show on Disney Channel was pulled because of a scene where kids throw items containing gluten at a fellow student who is gluten intolerant, and parents felt his was bullying. I don't know I'd go as far as saying bullying, but kids are cruel when they want to be, and it's sad to think kids may do this to another child. Most people touching gluten isn't going to kill them; but what if it was a child with a nut allergy this happens to, or someone who does have an allergy to items that could harm them. That is an issue. Now why Disney didn't automatically put a lesson in there where the kids are taught this is not appropriate behavior, who knows. Personally I think that would have been beneficial.That one a lot of people took offense to, because it was flat out making fun of gluten, would it have been different if it was an adult who was being bullied... Maybe, but again, could have been a teaching moment for Disney. 

In the Iron man movie that recently came out Tony Stark comments on eating gluten free waffles for breakfast. This too got people up in arms because they felt it was being used as a fad diet. Again, it caught my attention, my boyfriend and I both giggled and moved on. Some people took high offense to someone eating gluten free waffles because in the Avengers movie his character ate a meal with gluten, so they felt it was mocking Celiac disease. I really sat there scratching my head thinking, Really?! I don't see the offense!

The one that put me over the edge recently was Long Island Medium, a "reality show". Honestly I don't watch, my mom does so I overheard the whole episode. The daughter of the star of the show, thinks she has Celiac disease, but her mother thinks it's crazy because they are Italian and they have to eat bread an pasta. The whole episode the daughter is fighting with her over it, and the mother telling her she's wrong. The end of the episode the daughter who is 19 goes to her pediatrician who tells her she doesn't have Celiac disease because of the type of poop she has. WHAT?! Are you serious?! You based it on her poop? If that's the case I'm not a Celiac after all and the pain that went away going gluten free is all in my head! only one third of those with Celiac disease had diarrhea before being diagnosed, or major constipation. I was gassy, but that was it. So the episode ends that she's not gluten intolerant because her poop is normal, and the doctor telling her she only thinks she has Celiac disease because it's a fad disease right now. I didn't know diseases were fads! 

Honestly I can't think of any show that has trivialized or poked fun at having Cancer, or being diabetic, or even something like MS. Generally we are more sensitive to these types of issues, but I'm not sure why Celiac disease is different. Is it because people don't understand it? Is it because all of a sudden it's gotten a lot of attention and is a buzz word in the media? I'm not sure but I think it's a two way road that we as Celiacs need to look at the situation in the media before freaking out and complaining. But people who find these types of jokes funny need to realize it hurts the people who suffer from Celiac disease. We spend countless hours researching products, places to eat, recipes and ways to explain ourselves to others, to have someone trivialize it and say we're CooKoo is painful. 

I've heard people fly off the handle at comics that mention, or as they saw it, poke fun at gluten free. I guess it depends on your humor, but I find both of these very funny. Again depends on your humor, but the first one reminds me of myself after I'm 75% of the way done baking, thinking thru all my ingredients for the 10th time.


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