Earlier this week I walked down to the commissary on the Lot where I work to eat lunch and was surprised to find it swarmed with many more people than usual, many of who were wearing red. The source attracting the masses became clear immediately: a large Sprinkles cupcake booth. What was less clear was why it was there and why so many women were wearing the same shade of red. So I started poking around and found this sign (which had fallen off its display stand):
Does anyone else see what’s wrong with this?! Does anyone else find it infuriating?
The event – and fundraiser! – for Women’s World Heart Day was a cupcake festival. Presumably, since the proceeds of this fundraiser were going to the American Heart Association, this World Heart Day was about heart health. And what could be healthier for our hearts than a calorie bomb of sugar, fat, and processed ingredients?! Oh wait… that’s right: pretty much everything.
Sprinkles cupcakes are giant, sugar and fat-laden concoctions often topped with candies, cookies, and/or cream. They have negligible nutritional value, and their calorie range is anywhere between 400 and 600 calories per cupcake. This kind of calorie bomb, along with major ingredients like sugar, contribute to conditions that create and exacerbate heart disease (among other ailments). So WHAT the fuck is this about?
Willful ignorance, presumably. We live in a society that has all the answers we need about dietary health but that continues to promote eating highly processed, sugar-laden, crap food because it’s a major source of profit. People are encouraged to buy (literally) into unhealthy behavior through constant marketing of products created intentionally to be more desirable and addictive because of their flavor palates. And this heart health day at work is a great example of how insidious it is.
These cupcakes at work were being sold as a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. That action was encouraging people (lots of people – there was a line) to buy something that is actively bad for their heart health. This double message is infuriating because it says: Support heart health! By buying and consuming this thing that hurts your heart’s health!
I’m not saying people can’t have cupcakes, or even that they can’t be sold as part of a fundraiser (although I really think there are more responsible fundraising options). But I think it’s horribly irresponsible to use a product that contributes to poor health to promote good health. It’s like having a Virginia Slims stand at a cancer awareness event – except that people would recognize how ludicrous that would be. We have not reached that level of awareness with highly processed foods yet, although hopefully some day we will.