Don't get me wrong. I grew up drinking milk like a good child. I drank 4-7 glasses every day because that soon was the only thing I'd drink. I gave up milk a little over a year ago as part of several other health choices to shake up my diet. I read some books about the dangers of animal products and how they really ain't as good for you as the corporations would make it sound. I'm not going to go on a vegan rant here. I'm not that strict a vegan anymore, but the truth of it is, I learned a lot. Specifically, the way that the meat and dairy industries have essentially put substandard products into our school lunch programs.
So, on a fundamental level, it bothers me the way that milk is The Cafeteria Lunch Drink. Not only is it served, often without any other option for children who are allergic or lactose intolerant or being raised vegan or any other reason, but there are posters plastered all over the cafeteria. Images of popular children's icons (Miley Cyrus, the High School Musical cast, Shrek, etc) with milk mustaches with the phrase "Body by Milk" line the walls in almost any cafeteria. Now, I understand that if you're raising your child in a non-dairy way, you just send lunch with your child and forget about the school lunch. However, it's another situation where I feel like it's blatant propaganda. You must drink milk or you will not be healthy. (This, by the way, is not remotely true.) You will also not be cool. (This is also not remotely true, though fewer studies have been done.) I went to a school the other day where the only decoration in the cafeteria consisted of milk posters and magazine ads. Plastering the walls.
I found one school that didn't have one single milk poster. Only one, and it struck me so strange to not see a milk mustache that I actually wondered if I was in the cafeteria. I wondered if it had to do with the fact that this school had a child with such a deadly milk/peanut allergy that the child actually had to be partitioned off with cones so none of the other children went near him. I am dead serious. That's a whole other zany rant altogether.
I guess I just have a problem with advertising-as-decor. Children don't understand that it's an ad. It's the same as putting up posters for Coke or for a snack or for some hot new toy. I don't care who they have on the ads. They're still ads, trying to sell a product and convince a child that the product is not only good, but essential to your diet and level of coolness. It just skeevs me out.