People with allergies are freaks.


People with allergies are freaks.  We’re geeks.  We’re undesirable.  We’re the weak, and we should have been weeded out with natural selection.  The weirder the allergy, the weirder the person.

At least, that’s what I pick up from watching TV.  The nerdy kid always has glasses and/or asthma.  I guess at least I don’t wear glasses like some of you real freaks out there.

The latest support to this line of thinking that has come to my attention is this lovely commercial:

Of course, I see the humor, and I’m not so offended that it’s ruining my day.  It’s just that the general perception of people with allergies kind of sucks.

If the guy had rolled through the door in a wheelchair, or walked in with crutches, missing a limb, blind, deaf,  or anything similar causing the date to be undesirable, it wouldn’t be acceptable at all.  You could even throw in other stereotypes like a different race or religion.  Both would be unacceptable.  I bet even if they threw in a guy that was 500 lbs. and turned it into a fat joke it would be considered tasteless… but making fun of a shellfish allergy is apparently acceptable.

They could have done this same joke and just had the guy dressed ridiculously or something… something that’s a choice, not an affliction.

If you’d like to pull apart the commercial for other reasons, check out this blog:  Who Are The Ad Wizards Who Came Up With THAT One? Zoosk alors.

There’s a radio commercial I’ve heard recently too, maybe for a phone or something… the line is “Bob is still allergic to shellfish.”  I wish I could remember what it’s for.  At any rate, it’s not offensive… it just puts the thought out there.

At least the peanut-allergic and gluten-free people have been getting a lot of good press lately.  How about passing it along to the rest of us?

All of this happens on the heels of articles popping up about kids with food allergies being bullied at school.  I wonder why?

I’m hoping that my #FoodAllergy Tweeps will hop all over this and help me let Zoosk know en masse that this isn’t cool.  Maybe they need to read this & watch this.

As always, your comments are not only welcome, but encouraged.

36 responses to “People with allergies are freaks.

  1. Someone once said something to me: “People are of afraid of what they don’t understand.” Maybe fear leads to mockery? I’d like to be generous here and suggest that the most unfortunate attribute of the allergic is that they don’t LOOK allergic. Generally, you can’t SEE a food allergy (unless of course someone is having a reaction.) How many times have I heard people remark of my allergic son, “But he looks fine!” As if I’m making up all the other stuff about Epipens and such.

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  2. I, myself, do not have any allergies but my son has a ton. I can definitely say that he is in NO way geeky, weak, or many of the other things TV often portrays a person with allergies to be like. He is a very (extremely!) active, funny, happy 4 year old. I’m just glad that as of right now he doesn’t understand that allergies are the butt of several TV jokes. Someday he will though and it makes me sad to think that.

    I do agree with you too that it would never be okay to make fun of all the things you listed and I really love the first commenter’s post about people mocking what they don’t understand. So true.

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    • Yeah, it’s hard to imagine that this is still acceptable. To me, allergies seem so prevalent, but it’s not really on the general public’s radar as anything other than an annoyance.

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  3. Sometimes my husband and I will sit back and watch movies from 80’s. I notice how far we’ve come with regards to those on the autism spectrum (then called “retards”). Now we see movies and shows supporting individuals with developmental disabilities but back then, they were ridiculed & mocked. Our children with life threatening allergies are experiencing what people with developmental disabilities experienced then. It shows in our commercials, movies and day to day speech. We have to change the culture but it’s going to be a long hard road. More PSA on prime time TV and radio needs to be made. More studies etc.

    This Z0osks (or what eve the heck it’s called) ad is so disturbing I don’t let me little one watch it. She’s already dealing with the emotional impact of food allergies. Seeing how “unwanted” and “undesired” that allergic date was to the woman would make her feel even worse. STUPID STUPID ADVERTISEMENT! Zoosks needs to learn from Bambi’s mom, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all….jerk” (I added that last bit)

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    • Yeah, we used to say “the other” F-word all the time when I was a kid… and it’s ridiculously prevalent in one of my 80’s favorites, Monster Squad. You’;d never get away with use like that from kids in a movie today. It’s almost shocking for me to hear it now.

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  4. I so agree with you allergies are really nothing to sneeze at … really I was appalled at this video. People with allergies make a choice everyday and we choose health. For my son Dairy can be deathly as he is anaphylactic to all forms of dairy even Goat’s milk, as a family we all have different foods that are triggers and the results are just as varied, I feel we need to speak up and speak out about this. Not only to educate but to make it safer for those who need it. We need not feel intimidated, in a restaurant yesterday our waitress rolled her eyes but after getting our orders correct I did leave a decent tip. So let’s all do what you said and make our voices heard.

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    • Wow, I can’t imagine the difficulty of having to deal with that. It is important for all of us to speak out often to make others aware of that we’re dealing with.

      I too tend to tip ridiculously well in places where I know someone has gone out of their way to make my meal safe!

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  5. I think it’s safe to say Zoosk will be sorry they smooched this subject…and I’ll tell you what else they can kiss…😉

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  6. I just contacted Zoosk via your link & gave them my 2 cents (which are quite similar to your 2 cents!). Good post; I like how you linked it to the prevalence of bullying & food allergies. I’m going to share this with friends.

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    • Thanks for contacting Zoosk, I haven’t yet… I wanted to get this blog up & perhaps refer them to it, but all these comments make it even better.

      Thanks to everyone for all the comments, and for helping to spread the word!

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      • Funny though… I did leave a comment on the YouTube video, but it was never approved.

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      • OK, just sent this to them, via their webform:

        Hello,

        Just wanted to let you know that there are people out there who are afflicted with real food allergies every day, and it’s generally not a humorous subject.

        I find your commercial to be disrespectful to everyone everywhere with a severe allergy, and I wish to direct your attention to one of my recent blog posts about the matter: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/people-with-allergies-are-freaks/

        Have you seen the CNN and MSNBC stories on kids bullying other kids because of their allergies? That behavior is perpetuated by making people with allergies the butt of a joke in TV, movies, and commercials like yours.

        The shellfish-allergic guy is certainly undesirable as a date, he certainly has nothing to offer.

        I supposed you’d have hesitated were the same joke made with a guy in a wheelchair unable to go up stairs, a blind guy knocking over a lamp, or a fat guy sitting on & breaking a chair… because you wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

        I posted a comment earlier on your commercial on YouTube, but it “mysteriously” wasn’t approved while other comments made after mine were.

        I hope you are able to read my blog and the comments, and am sure you’ll hear from others on the mater. I really would like to hear your response. Perhaps we also ought to open a dialog with the advertising company who put together this campaign for you?

        Thank you for your time, I look forward to your thoughts on the issue at hand!

        -Eric

        Can’t wait for a response!

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  7. Thanks for putting all those links here…and no joke, these are all great comments and I appreciate your thoughts as an allergic adult that is taking a stand for insensitive advertising, since it almost always the Moms that take that stand. I hope FAAN will make contact with them too and they issue an apology. Unfortunately, their shtick is to be edgy just for an impression and therefore the campaign works. Let’s not forget the study didn’t just limit the harassment to other students, 20% claim problems with school staff and some even have it in workplaces later in life.

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    • I can’t imagine a teacher or even a lunch server harassing a kid over food allergies, but I’m sure it does happen. I bet they’re told it’s not going to hurt them and they need to “build up a tolerance”.

      I was just pointed to another link with a crazy amount of responses:

      AllergyEats | Facebook

      “Don’t be put off by his edgy sense of humor or the title of this post – he’s a good guy and I like what he has to say about this.” Ha ha.

      Thanks to everyone for spreading the word!

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  8. Great letter Eric! I’ll let you know if I get a response too.

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  9. I’ve got a link from my blog: Food Allergies and Teasing: http://nut-freemom.blogspot.com/2010/09/food-allergies-and-bullyingteasing.html

    I also was horrified at this commercial and agree with everything you said. It’s outrageous–I can’t imagine any other group being “spoofed” this way without major uproar. I planned to post about this commercial later this week, in fact!

    Sadly, though you seem to think they are, I don’t think the peanut-allergic are getting media love. The latest crop of articles doesn’t really show a lot of “love” for the nut-allergic, it just points out that bullying occurs. I guess maybe I’ve read too many online comments slamming people with nut allergies and skewering them in general.

    Great post! I retweeted it.

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    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, & the re-tweet! I’ll be interested to read your blog if you decide to go through with it!

      Well, with the nut-allergic… perhaps I’m jealous that you get peanut free baseball games? I’d like a shellfish free beach trip. Ha ha ha.

      It seems that any research I read on allergy cures focuses on peanuts, which will eventually benefit all of us.

      We do certainly need to stick together! (…with a hypo-allergenic glue?)

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  10. Wow.

    I left a polite comment here stating that I didn’t think it was cool that the commercial could be taken as offensive: http://blog.zoosk.com/2010/09/13/brand-new-zoosk-us-tv-commercial-allergy/

    It was there earlier, but now it’s gone.

    I find their lack of response disturbing.

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  11. The only problem that I have with any of these allergies is that it can often affect other people who have no issue. There are a few schools in the city here where they have instituted a “nut-free” school zone. That means that you can’t bring in anything with nuts. Um, what? What kid doesn’t take a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for lunch on occasion? In fact, my kid almost always takes a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for lunch. If we lived in a different neighborhood, he wouldn’t be allowed to have his lunch. If you have kids, you know that this would be a problem.

    I’m going to go ahead and be controversial here, it’s just part of who I am. If I had an allergy to, let’s say, shellfish, I just wouldn’t go places that served that. I connect this to the people that I know who are diabetic. They have mentioned that they have been searching for a good sugar-free cookie recipe and that they wanted the stores in the area to offer more snacks that are diabetic friendly. What? Why? Why would you want something that is nowhere near as good as the real thing just because you can’t (shouldn’t) have the real thing? Just don’t have it. I don’t get it. Accept who you are and live within your restrictions.

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  12. I have a seven year old who has allergies since six months. I teach him to take care of himself and to expect that there will be dangerous food around him. That said, children are inadvertently sloppy and careless with food all the time. And yes, the peanut protein can be transmitted if airborne. Once, my daughter (who doesn’t have allergies) stood over my son as he was playing on his DS, breathed her penaut butter breath on him and he had an instaneious asthma attack. Peanut allergies have doubled between 1997 and 2002 and currently approx. 3 million children have severe food allergies. So, yeah, maybe your son could prevent some children from getting very sick by having a cheese sandwich instead. Maybe altering your diet on occassion and within reason isn’t such a big sacrafice given the benefit to his own young community? I see it as living together while living within your restrictions. Let me put it another way – if your son enjoyed climbing stairs but there were children with wheelchairs that needed ramps instead of stairs and the other kids didn’t really love climbing the ramps (but had to for the sake of the kids in wheelchairs) would you resent that kind of a community adjustment? My son can’t eat next to your son while he’s eating his peanut butter sandwich so where should he go?

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    • My son doesn’t want or even like a cheese sandwich, that’s the problem. He likes his peanut butter & jelly sandwich. Sure, I could cop out and get him those prepackaged, chemically-laden meal packs and he could put together a delicious meal of garbage and bullshit, but that’s not what he wants.

      As for your example, I think that modern society caters to the weak and invalid too much. There are entirely too many concessions made for handicapped people and people with disabilities in general. Sure, there may be some brilliant minds inside those unfortunate bodies, but they present the world with so many difficulties. I would not support the ramps instead of stairs example.

      As for what your kid should do, that’s not my problem. I don’t give a damn about your kid or any of the other little shits at the school. I have one and he’s plenty to deal with. I do this thing that people used to do and they don’t do so much anymore, I mind my own business.

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      • I get where you’re coming from… and I feel it’s ridiculous to make whatever-free zones in a school. Why is is just peanut allergies that get attention? If we weeded out everything that everyone’s allergic to, no one would be allowed to eat anything at all.

        I think that things like this need to be talked about more though… as a PB&J sandwich for Susan’s kid might be like an arsenic sandwich for your kid. You wouldn’t want another kid waving arsenic in your kid’s face. There ought to be stricter punishments in general for kids who threaten others. Talk about “weeding out”… we need to weed out the ones that can’t play nice with others earlier.

        Steven Hawking would be disappointed in you, ha ha ha.

        See, I’m a definite recipient of the wonders of modern technology. With my asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and allergies as a child… I bet even just 50 years ago I’d have been dead before I hit my teens. Now, I have a generally exceptional immune system… I hardly ever get sick with colds or flu & what-not. I’d like to think that I’m a now a functioning member of society, happily paying taxes so others’ can live off my work…. and even creating art in the form of music & blog posts happily annoying the masses.

        OK, I’ll be honest. Happily annoying the dozens.

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      • Dave, if you truly did mind your own business, as you claim in the last line of your comment, then you wouldn’t have commented on this blog! I feel sorry for you that the only kid you care about is your own. Most parents I know care about including ALL children and keeping kids with medical conditions safe. Sadly, your anger towards those with food allergies and disabilities may be rubbing off onto your child. Are you proud that you may be raising a bully? Think about it.

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  13. hi there blog world

    hahahahahahaaaaaa. I love it. Gotta fire in a little political crack there too. AiXeLsyD has it pretty correct as far as I’m concerned. The political ramifications of “free” zones are crazy. The world is a complicated place my friends. also an arsenic sandwich would kill all of us.

    A very enjoyable read!

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  14. Before I sign out – I want to be clear – the only schools where I think it’s helpful to restrict other kids from having nuts are pre-schools. There are some where there is a lot of food, in small space, and very young tactile children. I was just arguing ONE priniciple of those free zones. But my personal safety zone is just that – mine. I don’t feel I need them. Some feel otherwise.

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  15. Pingback: Get a proclamation from your state governor that says “diarrhea”! | World (and Lunar) Domination

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