Thursday, January 5, 2012

And while we're talking about things that make me angry...

I dislike commercials all the time. In fact, I think it's safe to say I dislike most of the commercials that are on television. Sometimes I even dislike them enough to talk with other people about disliking them. But I've never gone so far as to look up the video on YouTube so that I can 1) dislike it, and 2) rant about it here. 

But while weight loss commercials--well, really, weight-obsessive American culture, but that's a whole different ballgame--generally don't sit well with me, with all the implicit criticisms of people's "Before" selves and the tiny print at the bottom of the screen that reads "Results Not Typical". I have gotten used to be annoyed by these things. 

This new Jennifer Hudson and Weight Watchers commercial takes it a little too far, though.

I won't even start by mentioning that no one will ever win my favor by singing Whitney's song from The Preacher's Wife. That's beside the point. 

The ENTIRETY of the problem is that heavier Jennifer from the past sings "I was looooooost," and then thinner Jennifer sings, "and now I'm freeeeeeeee." That's it! That's all I'm taking issue with. But my issue with it is huge.

Now, let me come out and say that I am NOT by any means hating on Jennifer Hudson for losing weight. She looks GOOD. In fact, let me further say that I'm not hating on Jennifer Hudson for anything, because she didn't design the damn commercial.

But I want to be really articulate about what I'm upset about. This commercial isn't just your average run-of-the-mill hey, look, I lost a lot of weight and I'm happy about that; watch skinny me talk about how my whole life changed. Those commercials imply some negative emotions or understandings of having been overweight, but oftentimes shift the blame for that negativity to other people and in a small sense could be interpreted as advocating for the rights of heavy people by drawing attention to how others demean them. (Don't worry, I'm not foolish enough to believe that actually happens, but hey, a girl can dream.)

But this commercial takes it a step further. By heavy Jennifer singing her line, "I was lost," it's like Weight Watchers is trying to shame heavy people. They're suggesting that people who don't have flat abs or could stand to lose a little arm flab have "lost their way," have made bad decisions, are bad people. And then new skinny Jennifer is "free," having found the path to enlightenment in a size whatever. That's the message I'm supposed to be getting, right? There is an academic term for what they're doing: fat-shaming. And it's not okay, not even a little bit.

Depending on where I'm shopping, I'm sometimes a plus-sized woman (because society keeps trying to convince women that smaller and smaller sizes are the norm), and no matter what I'm a large-structured curvy woman. My skeleton probably weighs more than most fashion models whole bodies. And I'm fine with that. I am not lost, and I don't like Weight Watchers insinuating that I am just because I don't count calories and obsess about being toned and defined. I refuse to let them shame me into thinking there's something wrong with me, my body, or my mind.    

1 comment:

  1. *claps*

    also i don't like that the old her has curly hair and the new one has long straight hair. so before (when she was still hella successful) she was fat and had noticeably black hair and now shes free and skinny and has long straight hair? dislike -.-