They always give the game away. Big weight loss companies, I mean. Oh, they will say they are all about eating better and being healthier, but in the end it is about women sacrificing to fit an idealized (thin) body type and--this part is important, because the weight loss industrial complex doesn't make money otherwise--feeling bad when they don't. Consider the spokespersons companies like Jenny Craig choose to "inspire" women:
When, Kirstie Alley was a Jenny Craig spokesperson, she spewed her pathology about weight from People magazine to The Oprah Winfrey Show. People even published a photo retrospective, allowing Alley to denigrate her former fat self:
"[The scale] said 228 lbs., which is my highest weight ever. I was so much more disgusting than I thought."
"I'm totally inhibited. When I'm overweight I will not go out. With my closest friends, yeah. But you wouldn't see me at a premiere."
"I don't know what you're supposed to wear when you're fat," says Alley, who rotates 12 identical Target dresses.
"I haven't been having sex." (In the past, Alley has claimed that she avoids "fat sex.")
Jenny Craig, now just Jenny, has announced a new spokesperson, Mariah Carey, who recently lost weight after the birth of her twins. Celebitchy reports that, at a press conference yesterday, Carey shared these thoughts on her pre- and post-partum figure:
When she was heavy, she always covered up: “I had a towel on in the tub. I’m not lying, I promise you! You think I would let Nick see me looking rancid like that?”
She didn’t want to know how much weight she gained while pregnant: “I didn’t want to know, because why would I want to feel that bad? I know it was a number that I never want to see again.”
Bones: “I had, like, no bones for a while. It’s important to me to feel my bones!” Read more...Message: Hey you, new mom! Stomach a little pouchy and jiggly? You'd best stay covered up at all times, cause the menz hate a "rancid" fat chick. I know you're busy caring for your new baby, but get thee to Jenny Craig if you value your marriage. You really expect your husband to look at that?\
Is this inspiring or demeaning--A trick to send women who may be feeling insecure about their bodies doing new things post-baby running to give Jenny Craig their money?
I don't doubt that many women will relate to feeling unattractive after giving birth (mostly because of shitty mainstream messages about women, weight and beauty), but there is commiserating and then there is endorsing a fucked up way of thinking and abetting low self esteem. Where was the discussion by a Jenny Craig representative about how feeling "rancid" is not healthy or helpful? Where is the discussion about feeling beautiful at any size? Where is the discussion about eating whole foods (not pre-packaged crap) and moving as a way to stay energized and healthy during the busy early days of motherhood and breast feeding? Where is the acknowledgement that any man who would find his wife "rancid" after she has given birth to a child is a jackass? I hope Nick Cannon, Carey's husband, doesn't think this way. If he does, she needs a new partner, not a new body.
But Jenny Craig will continue to serve up celebrity spokespersons who talk about their "disgusting" and "rancid," poorly dressed, unsexy fat bodies. They will endorse the insecurity you feel about your weight, whatever your weight is. Because encouraging women to feel loved and comfortable in their skin never sold a meal plan.
Photo Credit: Just My Perspective