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Kate Cohen’s article, “What if Ozempic is the new orthodontia,” presents a compelling argument against the normalization and potential consequences of widespread use of injectable weight-loss drugs, specifically semaglutides like Ozempic and Wegovy. However, she does this through a unique and thought-provoking analogy between orthodontic treatment and weight-loss injectables. Cohen explores the societal pressures and implications associated with the pursuit of thinness.

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Cohen opens her piece with a personal reflection, expressing her previous belief that wealth would lead to thinness, followed by the revelation that injectable weight-loss drugs might make thinness attainable for a broader socioeconomic demographic at least for the short term.

She emphasizes the potential societal shift towards considering thinness not just a luxury but a requirement for middle-class status, drawing parallels between the class dynamics of weight and dental aesthetics.

The comparison between orthodontic treatment and weight-loss drugs serves as the central thesis of Cohen’s argument, highlighting the social and economic factors driving both industries.

She critiques the cosmetic nature of orthodontics, noting the absence of conclusive evidence on the health benefits of straight teeth compared to the significant influence of dental aesthetics on social interaction and psychological well-being.

This critique sets the stage for her examination of weight-loss injectables, framing them as potentially harmful interventions driven by societal beauty standards rather than genuine health concerns.

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Cohen’s analysis delves into the ethical dilemmas posed by the increasing availability of weight-loss drugs for children, particularly in combating anti-fat bias.

She raises concerns about parents turning to pharmaceutical solutions to address perceived weight issues in their children, likening the scenario to the cosmetic consumerism of orthodontic treatment.

By highlighting the potential side effects and impact on food enjoyment associated with weight-loss drugs, Cohen challenges the notion of prioritizing thinness over holistic well-being.

Throughout the article, Cohen adopts a critical stance towards the commodification of weight loss and the perpetuation of anti-fat bias in society.

She questions the ethical implications of medicalizing weight management, particularly in children, and urges readers to consider the broader societal implications of normalizing injectable weight-loss drugs.

By framing the issue within the context of class dynamics and cultural attitudes towards body image, Cohen prompts readers to reflect on the underlying motivations driving the pursuit of thinness and the potential harm it inflicts on individuals and communities.

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Kate Cohen’s article offers a thought-provoking critique of the societal pressures driving the increasing use of weight-loss injectables. By drawing parallels between orthodontic treatment and weight-loss interventions, she highlights the complex interplay between beauty standards, consumerism, and health outcomes.

Through her analysis, Cohen challenges readers to critically evaluate the implications of medicalizing weight management and calls for a more nuanced approach to promoting holistic well-being beyond superficial appearances.

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