Greeting cards company withdraws diabetes card following complaints

Woodmansterne Greeting Cards has apologised for the creation of a card which used diabetes as a punch line, causing offence to many in the diabetes community.

The Genius card 364785 featured the question “(a) Mark has 40 slices of cake. He eats 38. What has he got now? Diabetes X No! (it’s type 2 diabetes anyway)”.

In a message on the Woodmansterne website, managing director Paul Woodmansterne revealed that the card has since been removed from sale to retailers and Woodmansterne is destroying its stocks.

He said: “As a child, I learned that it is wrong to mock the afflicted and, over the years, I have never thought differently. If we had, for one moment, seen this as directed towards those with diabetes, we would never have published it.”

Woodmansterne referenced the “strong” reaction to the card and apologised for the hurt and offense that it may have caused.

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Unhappy Tilly alert: 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ so offensive I don't even know where to begin! I saw this for sale today so I bought it in order to complain to the company. I'm sick of seeing diabetes used as the punchline to jokes. Anyone who lives with diabetes, whatever type, knows that it's far from funny. I'm going to hold my hand up and say that I too have been guilty of making misjudged comments about type two diabetes and diet, but before I knew better. It is incredibly frustrating when people confuse the two, Daily Fail I'm looking at you. However, the reality is this: no amount of cake causes diabetes – definitely not type one (autoimmune diabetes) and not even type two. Yes, the majority of people who have type two are overweight, but the majority of overweight people do not have type two diabetes. It's pure bad luck that some people are more susceptible to type two. Yes, it's true that to a certain extent, healthy eating and exercise can relieve the symptoms of type two diabetes. No, it's not helpful to stigmatise it. This kind of ignorance affects all diabetics, and I'm really frustrated to see a major greetings card company like @woodmansternecards perpetuate nasty stereotypes. I for one won't be buying any more cards from them (and I buy a lot of cards!)

A post shared by Tilly (@sweettilly) on

One particularly vocal campaigner was Intagram user sweettilly who said the card was “so offensive I don’t even know where to begin!” Her post earned 253 likes within 72 hours.

The Hertforshire-based Woodmansterne Greeting Cards was founded in 1940. It is now a leading supplier of greeting cards to independent retailers in Britain and supplies around 30 million cards per year.

It is good to see that the card has been removed from circulation. While sugar can be a contributing factor towards type 2 diabetes, it is just one of a range of contributing factors including stress, genetic predisposition, adverse reactions to medication and the presence of other medical conditions.

As Tilly points out, to simplify type 2 diabetes down to just one factor is to do people with the condition a disservice and creates unnecessary stigma. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that requires strong management. Poking fun has a negative effect which only makes life more difficult for people with the condition.


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