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Going Postal

I got an ad from the United States Postal Service in my junk mail yesterday and was reminded why I don’t like the government. Exhibits A & B:

Cathy postal ad 1

Cathy postal ad 2

While I wouldn’t go as far as to say it offended me, I did think it was lame and annoying, which is how I typically feel about the Cathy comic strip character featured on the card. She’s always been too neurotic for me to relate to. Grow a backbone, Cathy!

I know the post office is just trying to be hip to pop culture by getting a major cartoon character in their ads and that this comic is supposed to be funny. I’m sure to some people it is. I know many of us have experienced the horror of stepping on the scale and seeing a much bigger number than we expected. I can see the humor in freaking out over that. I once saw a PhotoShopped version of Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream” that had the screamer standing on a scale which I thought was hilarious. In fact, if the comic had ended after panel two I’d probably say it was pretty funny and true to life.

But it bums me out that the weighing experience is so torturous and Cathy feels so badly about her weight that she has to go out and buy postal boxes to avoid it. Spend your money on a gym membership instead, chica. It’ll get you farther. It also irks me that it’s a woman who is freaking out about weighing herself, not a man. The cartoon is a depressing reminder that women are judged more on their appearances than men and of how sad it is that people base so much of their self-worth on how much they weigh. The punchline is based on self-hatred and I can’t find that funny.

It also makes me think of all the time us weight loss bloggers have spent talking about how a number on a scale does not determine your self-worth and how hard it is for many people to actually believe that about themselves. Then this cartoon gets stuck in my face by my own government and seeks to undermine that idea. You might not be happy with that number on the scale, but that doesn’t mean you have to start buying tons of flat-rate boxes from the post office. For God’s sake, just buy a postage scale! And don’t stop weighing yourself. Denial doesn’t help. Go out and do something to make those numbers go down.

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LauraBora from Bufadora • April 27, 2006 at 1:56 pm

Man oh MAN, do I hate Cathy! This just goes to show how far up their collective asses the powers that be at the USPS have thrust their heads. I also appreciate their attempt at hipness…maybe they could have used the Peanuts or perhaps Dagwood and Blondie?

Cathy as a character is every single stereotype I hate about women: constant dieter, hates trying on bathing suits, loves chocolate, wants Irving to marry her, fights with her mother BLAH BLAH BLAH. She’s as relevant as Ziggy.


Amyt • April 27, 2006 at 2:10 pm

only the post office could acuse cathy of being hip.


vimilla • April 27, 2006 at 6:55 pm

Right on, sister! I thought the same things when I received that postcard yesterday. It’s yet another stupid and ill-conceived concept by our own people hired to look out for our betterment.

Our taxes pay Cathy :(


Hilly • April 27, 2006 at 10:21 pm

Amen, sistah! It is such a struggle for me to know the fine line between self acceptance and pushing myself to do better….so I know what you are talking about fo sho!


Kirsten • April 28, 2006 at 7:18 am

I have never seen Cathy before, and had indeed mostly heard of her because Wendy from Pound! used to say in her FAQ that she was allowed to swear once for every time Cathy had been shown standing on a scale going AACK! (which sounds like an acronym, if you ask me).


little miss ess • April 28, 2006 at 1:08 pm

I thought Cathy was gone.I haven’t seen one of those cartoons in years. What’s she doing back? Ew. I hate her for every reason everyone else has already given. And additionally, I have never liked the drawing style, either. Looks like something a junior high girl scribbled in her notebook.


Marla • April 28, 2006 at 8:10 pm

“Cathy as a character is every single stereotype I hate about women.” Amen!

I always liked Sylvia. Anyone know that cartoon?



John • May 3, 2006 at 12:06 am

If I could draw a cartoon, I’d show myself freaking out when weighing in. :-)


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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