We thought the Museum Of Ice Cream was suspect, as it was based on a notoriously non-permanent substance. But this new pop-up museum is even worse: A press release announces that “Rubi Rymenmy, creator and founder of Art Flying Aerial, is presenting Cheat Day Land to Los Angeles, CA. Cheat Day Land is a space where healthy lifestyle advocates can take a break from their dietary restrictions and indulge in whatever strikes their fancy for the day. Everyone’s entitled to a cheat day after all.” For some of us, Cheat Day Land, that day is every day.
In the pop-up museum, which will live in L.A. for the month of September, for a mere $38 (“Children 4 and under are free”) attendees will be able to enjoy a “donut gym complete with pastry dumbbells, or a life-size bowl of cereal where you suspend from the spoon to get that perfect insta shot. This is a playful, fun, whimsical world where your inner child can come out to play.” Okay, maybe playing with food in an artful manner could help de-mystify it for those who usually forbid themselves from have a doughnut. But merch with the word “Cheater” on it, pushed in the gift shop, only adds to the judgement value on what people are eating.
Most people realize that restrictive diets are rarely successful, and adding labels calling food “good” or “bad” can be detrimental. On the current AMC series Dietland, for example, the main character, who is overweight, is being conditioned to forget about gastric bypass surgery and calorie counting in favor of actually listening to what her body wants. (See the works of Geneen Roth for more.) Erecting even just a pop-up museum to the joys of “cheat day” only appears to strengthen those possibly harmful restrictions.