Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Musical Youth

I loathe campaigns to teach fat children to know their place or "obesity prevention" as they are creepily tagged. I've already said how unimpressed I am with Michelle Obama's insistence on taking this stance, I have to say though, I quite enjoyed this video and found it unexpectedly uplifting.

If anything that again shows how pointless and unnecessary it is to target fat children, rather than concentrating on building on the joy of movement and physial expression in children. Something we actually owe them for its own sake.

Teaching children to take possession and direct themselves physically, has a spiritual element. Not only is it an avenue of expression, release and sense of freedom, it can increase their sense of confidence.

Apart from natural highs, this helps to ballast their mental health and decrease the neuroses that seem increasingly prevalent among them.

Watching it made me wonder if someone has gotten through to those running the campaign as it features a noticeably fat child very prominently from the start, something I can't easily recall in the usual mainstream efforts to invoke child activity.

Although it's as likely to be in part cultural expectation, fat people are not by necessity excluded from movement like they are in those led by commercial interests, who see fat people exercising as tthreat to their delusional pretence that fatness is incompatible with (any) activity.

When it comes to dance its almost a mode of conversation, a bit like some cultures associated with gesticulating to make, support and underlie verbal expression.

As with those cultures he is expected to be part, keep up and express himself in his own style, included along with everyone else. I note the featured routine is a mix of running on the spot, alluding to skipping and certain kinds of dances that have relevance outside the usual context of 'exercise'.

I also suspect that might be behind Beyoncé wearing heels, if you look at her beforehand you can see she changed from trainers. I think that's about the constituent of teen girls who tend to stop a lot of physical activity quite abruptly at a certain age as part of defining themselves as women.

Hence singing pointedly about "a little sweat never hurt nobody".

A fraught sticking point with those not wanting to mess up their hair by getting sweaty.

Very important.

It does occur that it's a bit jump heavy and although one might dance vigorously in a club, I would not advise anyone to be jumping up and down on a regular basis like that in heels.

The spectre of things such as "Shin Splints" hover in the air.

But then, that's as much a defect of trying to use calorie wastage via activity to regulate weight, it's fundamentally flawed notion at the best of times.

The routine also reflects current fashions in the fitness industry, conditioning the body from a standing position, fewer gaps in shorter routines and using the whole muscle groups together to increase energy expenditure.

In other words, exercise has had a slow drift from punishing de-contextualized repetition, to more and more imitate real and/or pleasurable movement. So predictable and so funny. When I think of the people they've written off who struggled manfully with their more ill conceived efforts.

No matter, as long as kids of all sizes can be given more options to express themselves physically, as phys ed has virtually been jettisoned in favour of sitting kids at desks to make up for inadequate teaching and fulfil parental ambition.

This campaign may not do quite as much harm as I feared.

But I'm keeping my eyes wide open as it is very much a hope.


  1. Wasn't able to view the computer's limits. No matter.

    I try to comment periodically, haven't had luck yet, again I'm sure it's my computer issue(s).

    So. Once again, with feeling: I appreciate your blog, your thoughts, very much.

    I love the way you take commonly held *truths* then unpack them and show their insides, which often look quite different--and fascinating!

  2. Thank you for the encouragement. I didn't thank you for your kind words over at Debra's blog. (The moment had passed by the time I saw them:-)

    I hope this works. If not it's over at youtube.

    Sorry my comments are still mis-behaving, I gave up on sorting them out after much effort before. I'll try again and post a message when I get them sorted.

    Let's be positive.