It’s never okay to make fun of diabetes. The insensitivity and ignorance behind such attempts at humor is stunning. They are not funny and they perpetuate the myths that those of us living with diabetes are trying to debunk.
In my book, Parenting Joyfully When Your Child Has Diabetes, I offer suggestions about how to deal with this lack of education. But I confess I am shocked at how much insensitivity remains.
Last week I almost fell off the treadmill watching Gilmore Girls when the chef, played by Melissa McCarthy made a superb strawberry sauce so good that “Someday when we open our own inn, diabetics will be lining up for this sauce.” I wondered how that asinine comment would make my son Alexander feel. Would he shake his head at yet another person who thought you could get diabetes by eating too many sugary sweets? Was that even the point of the joke? Or did the uninformed writer mean people with low blood sugars would line up to eat the sauce to treat a low? Ridiculous writing. Obviously no research done.
If Gilmore Girls was still running I would contact the writers and respectfully educate them about diabetes. Although, a slow process, I intend to counter ignorance with education bit by bit.
Such callowness is sadly common. Do you remember the Starbucks incident earlier this year when a customer picked up the coffee with a label that said, “Diabetes Here I come.” In whose world is it appropriate to mock a disease, any disease?
In what other TV shows or movies have you seen diabetes be inaccurately portrayed? The website diabetes.co.uk mentions four instances of film and TV that needed better research for their diabetes portrayal: The Syndicate, That’s My Boy, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and Con Air. To read more about the details they got wrong click here.
If you know of any other examples of diabetes being misrepresented in the media, I’d love to hear about them. Maybe together we can help them get it right.