Ever felt insulted by diabetes imagery?

Do you feel represented by the way diabetes is portrayed?

Vanessa Bolosier
Vanessa Bolosier

As a company, we often have to source, access and create visual content that aims to accurately and ethically represent the people we support. Despite being widely known and widespread, popular culture ignores people living with diabetes. The images used to show diabetes are depressing and inaccurate, and the real experiences of people with diabetes are rarely represented. This often forces organisations to in turn – knowingly or not – reinforce negative imagery. Imagery is at the heart of how we self-reflect and project as individuals. As a company we do not want to convey a message that rejects, excludes or confounds our users.

At Quin, we’re calling for a change. We want to help rethink how diabetes is represented. It’s time that depictions of diabetes match with the lived experience of real people with diabetes. We’re going to debunk the diabetes aesthetic. 

Our manifesto

To play our part in raising awareness, we created a manifesto. Below is a summary of our priorities.

Change the way that diabetes is portrayed by brands and in the media

Diabetes affects all sorts of people from all walks of life, but unfortunately the images that accompany the topic in news, advertising, and other media overwhelmingly depict one type of person. They primarily show people who are unhealthily overweight and almost always white. Too much emphasis is placed on the visceral image of an insulin needle breaking the skin (often in the wrong place), and too little on the rest of the person’s life.

The images show people suffering with diabetes, not living with diabetes. 

Diabetes is a personal condition, and that should be better represented. We will call on all types of media to use more human and natural imagery around diabetes, to remove stigma, and to support the community through positive representation – and we’re going to call out images that fall short. 

Educate people to remove stereotypes.

Unreflective images for diabetes stem from a lack of education about the condition and its causes. At Quin, we aim to debunk these stereotypes by separating fact from fiction and educating the public about this condition.

We vow to spread information about the realities of life with diabetes and resources to support individuals in sharing their experiences. 

Normalise diabetes

Diabetes is part of the lives of many people, and they deserve to have their experiences heard and understood. Quin aims to share their stories so that collectively we can work toward a better understanding of the condition. 

We will seek to improve the representation of diabetes by creating a pledge, and inviting all to join it. Our pledge is to seek out, produce, and only use diabetes imagery that represents the broad and lived experiences of people living with the condition.

Starting this Diabetes Awareness Month, we’re taking a stand – keep an eye out to learn more and find out how you can get involved. 

Here’s how you can help

1. Join our campaign by sharing this manifesto

2. If you see offensive images or any representation of diabetes that offends you and isn’t representative of the real experiences of people with diabetes flag them by tagging us on social media @quindiabetesapp.

We hope you join the movement.

Want to know what diabetes imagery we decided to flag? Some of these images are very graphic so click at your own discretion.

Vanessa Bolosier
Vanessa Bolosier