Monday, August 07, 2006
This follows on from an earlier posting by Dr. Deborah Serani at Psychological Perspectives. The post examined the humorous or offensive (dependent on viewpoint) t-shirts for mental disorders and invoked some spirited discussion.
In a similar vein, I encountered the action figure that features at the head of this post. Obsessive-Compulsive Guy for sale at an Australian online store for the princely sum of AUD $19.00.
The blurb reads as follows:
This 13.3 CM tall, hard vinyl Obsessive-Compulsive action figure is worried about whether or not you washed your hands after you used the bathroom. Just in case, he's sure you won't mind if he wears his gloves and surgical mask when he shakes your hand. Or even better, maybe you could just bump elbows with him. Now, as soon as he finishes counting those ceiling tiles, he can get started on alphabetizing the canned foods. Mini surgical mask included. Packaged with a sanitary, hypo-allergenic towelette to clean off the figure before you touch it. Illustrated blistercard.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be extremely distressing, not only for the sufferer but for family and friends too. Yet often we see OCD portrayed as a relatively benign and humorous condition in the media. Think Monk, think As Good As It Gets, think What About Bob?
People had very mixed reactions to the mental disorder t-shirts. Some people said they would quite openly wear the t-shirts, preferring to approach their disorder with a dash of humour. A very valid viewpoint. Others found the t-shirts offensive and counterproductive to reducing the stigma associated with mental illness. Also valid.
But when does it go too far? When does humour become bad taste? What determines your reaction to this figure? Does it add to public ignorance of this condition by reinforcing stereotypical behavioural traits associated with OCD? Would OCD Guy be more acceptable if some of the proceeds were donated to OCD research as opposed to lining someone's pockets?
What do you think?
The Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation