The student blog for Drake University first year seminar entitled Visual Politics

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jared the Subway guy

            An average sized man, holding a pair of pants twice the size of him, is the iconic image of Jared Fogle. The image gives hope to those who want to lose weight. Jared Fogle is the spokesman for Subway who lost 245 pounds eating their subs and incorporating exercise into his daily routine. Our generation is fast paced, always multitasking, at a great risk for obesity, and obsessed with fad diets.  Jared was an iconic image for those struggling with their weight, showing them that a few small changes can have a large impact on their life.  In 1998 he was a freshman at Indiana University and weighed 425 pounds.  He said on Subways FreshBuzz website that he would schedule his classes by how far of a walk they were. He tried numerous diets and like many others he failed at them.  Our generation has an obsession with fad dieting.  While Jared Fogle is a positive example of a diet that worked, his success also started the ball rolling for many others seeking alternative diets. An example on is the 7-day all you can eat diet. It consists of one-day only eating fruit (except bananas), another or only vegetables, another 5 bananas and 5 glasses of milk and so on. Our generation interprets the success Jared’s diet as motivation and looks for easier ways to get results. In short, we are lazy. One of the most frequently asked questions is how can I lose weight without having to do the work? The answer, you cant. Our generation being so fast paced looks for the short cuts and easy way out of dieting, while still trying to get the results.
In the image of Jared holding up a pair of pants that are twice his size, this helps to establish an emotional connection between him and the viewers.  As it’s said in No Caption chapter 2 “ we look for images of ourselves in the public media, which become the mirror of collective identity.” (Pg 33) Under Civic performance they discuss how people seek to belong and identify with something through the media. Subway using the personal story of Jared Fogle, aids the public viewing the campaign to make that emotional connection that is described in No Caption as motivation to the viewer. This picture gives encouragement to those who thought they couldn’t change themselves, and helps to inspire them to make an impact. Later in No Caption chapter 2 under emotional scenarios they point out that “ iconic images construct a scenario in which a specific emotional responses to an event becomes a powerful basis for understanding and action.” (Pg 35) By looking at the image our generation is stimulated to make the necessary changes in our lives.
The image has had a positive influence on many and has served a great purpose. Jared’s success helped to start the Subway fresh fit menu, which includes a list of subs with less than 7 grams of fat. The image affected our society in multiple ways, first it gave motivation for some to change their lives, it leads others to start dieting again whether with Subway or seeking alternative methods, and emphasized the importance of making changes, small or large if kept up can have great results in the end.- Caroline Salozzo

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