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Icy Inferno —

February 21, 2012

This post made me realize that we may need to create a rating for Jillian Michaels and all that she stands for.

Forget the Mayan calendar, I have definitive proof that the world is coming to and end, and that it will take place sooner, rather than later.

Why all the apocalyptic vagueries?

Ya know that one lady with who smiles when she makes fat people vomit? The woman I referred to as “Satan’s Sweatsock”? The woman who said she would give her kids coconut organic ice cream at $53.52 a gallon, but shames parents for giving their kids ice cream with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners (aka $2 a gallon Shop ‘n Save ice cream)? The woman who makes MeMe Roth* look like the shy sister?

This one.

Although you might recognize her better here:

Well, she and I are in agreement on something.

Time to lock ourselves in the basement with our Glenn Beck 72 Hour Survival Kit.

Theresa tipped us off to Jillian’s denouncement of Strong4Life’s stigmatizing campaign  (Thanks Theresa!)

While I think that Jillian has many, many issues surrounding obesity and fat people, she is still a human being with the experience of being a heavy child. And given my own experience, I can’t really judge how being fat affected her as a kid, although it does seem like further proof that stigmatizing fat kids is extremely dangerous. Imagine how many Jillian Michaelses we’ve unleashed upon the world by treating them terribly as fat kids.

Although I appreciate Jillian speaking up against Strong4Life, I also want to shake her by the spandex lapels and scream “How can you not see that doing this to fat people…

… paves the way for a $50 million campaign like this!?!?!?”

But baby steps, right? It’s a step in the right direction and it’s the most humane thing I’ve seen from her, maybe ever. And, no, I do not count those “touching” segments in The Biggest Loser when she listened to the fatty unload emotional baggage, then offered platitudes and wrapped it up with hug. I just don’t buy the humanity they’re selling in these segments, since they are almost always followed by a session of verbal abuse and degradation lobbed at the fatties who fail to achieve the strength, endurance and agility that Jillian Michaels demands.

And nobody can convince me that The Biggest Loser is a positive experience for anyone (except those who profit from its success) until they go back and revisit every single contestant, and show us the long term results of their social experiment.

If anyone wants to pay me to do that, I’d be on that story in a heartbeat.

But I digress…

The condemnation of Jillian Michaels (her condemning Strong4Life, not me condemning her) seems almost more significant than the condemnation of the NIH.

Now, when you’re done laughing, I want to make the case because I’m serious.

No, really, I’m serious. Jillian Michaels might trump the NIH.


Because Jillian Michaels’ voice may resonate more with anti-obesity types than the NIH, sadly enough.

And you know what? I welcome that voice.

I don’t give a shit if it’s a marketing ploy to sell her latest video series, “Hugs and Kisses for Fat Bastards.” If Jillian Michaels will speak out against Strong4Life, then I welcome her as an Unnatural Ally.

I will quote the shit out of this, “shaming children is NEVER the solution for any problem,” in order to force Strong4Life into submission… but in the very next breath I’ll still tell Jillian Michaels that her approach to adult obesity and health every bit as wrong.


Don’t forget to join our Super-Happy, Friendly and Polite Write-In Campaign to Carter’s (Operation Get Carter’s) and email the leadership of Carter’s a brief message asking them to stop supporting Strong4Life. I have a source at Carter’s who told me that although they’ve been non-committal in public, they have contacted CHOA and are demanding an end to the billboards, so please email them again and ask them to keep it up!

*On January 4, MeMe Roth confirmed that she was, indeed, still a terrible person.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2012 12:43 pm

    There is an argument that all allies are “unnatural,” that the optimal model regards “collective action” as being something that occurs on a case basis with distinct (although not disjoint) groups participating or not as they desire. Less theoretically, everyone has a reason or reasons to show up for these efforts, and I have no problem with it being the case, no desire to force unity. I’m not sure who Michaels is, except that she is some sort of exercise coach and that she was in a Super Bowl ad with Danica Patrick. Maybe her reasons for coming over to “our side” are largely defined by a dislike for adults with no accountability at all who get rich working out on children. If so, good for her.

  2. February 21, 2012 1:13 pm

    Urg. I feel sick agreeing with Jillian Michaels on anything – I think she is a genuinely horrible person – but if she’s going to speak up, let her speak up.

  3. Catgal permalink
    February 21, 2012 2:18 pm

    Oh my! MeMe Roth is a horrid person. Way to manipulate a conversation. Does she really think that parents don’t know their kids are obese???!!! I find that so hard to believe. She pulled out the old and tired I have to pay for your obesity meme. I could go on and on, but this isn’t the place. She just enrages me.

    • Jackie permalink
      March 3, 2012 1:47 pm

      You should see Penn & Teller’s BS episode Fast Food from Season 8. They make fun of Meme!

  4. February 21, 2012 4:29 pm

    Just thought you might like to know that Obesity Panacea, a Canadian blog, published a post criticizing one of F4L’s equally disgusting videos. The 10 people who responded (I’m the first, writing as WRG) all thought it was terrible. I particularly liked the comment of the last person who said that the behavioural psychology people at his university are using the campaign as a lesson in what not to do. The fellow called it “an absolute train wreck of a public health intervention”.

  5. February 21, 2012 4:31 pm

    Oops, I meant S4L (but then again, the F might be appropriate too…)

  6. February 21, 2012 10:05 pm

    While I don’t think Jillian’s kind of motivation is for me, I don’t think she goes up to random fat people and yells at them. She yells at the people who HIRED her to be their trainer. (I realize The Biggest Loser contestants didn’t per se hire her, but other than the very first contestants, they knew what they were getting when they signed up.)

    • February 21, 2012 11:41 pm

      I understand that some people like that sort of motivation, but that doesn’t mean that we need it on television, where the degradation has almost become a national bloodsport. And people watch it thinking that if they only devote their every waking hour to exercising and their entire mental energy on deprive themselves calorically, they too can get thin in X number of months (which is really X times 2 months, if not more). This isn’t about people who enjoy giving or receiving verbal abuse. This is about a show sending the message that Jillian Michaels’ style of motivation is what ALL fat people need to “get motivated.”

      The message of The Biggest Loser is absolutely TERRIBLE, and Michaels and Harper and all the producers and people behind the scenes raking in the money for it have a special place in Hell waiting for them. I mean that rhetorically, by the way. I don’t think Michaels is in any more jeopardy of going to Hell for what she does than the rest of us. I just… fuck, she’s such an asshole, ya know?


      • Cat permalink
        February 22, 2012 8:57 am

        We shouldn’t forget that The Biggest Looser is a television show that needs to have viewers so they can sell commercial time. It is all about ratings.

        How sad is that we, as a nation have taken to watching fatties try to lose weight with overly strict excercise coaches and strict calorie restriction.

        The nation likes to see the fatties suffer, as if we deserve it. I will not watch these shows.

        • Jackie permalink
          March 3, 2012 1:49 pm

          I won’t watch it either. I find it highly hypocritical as a horror film fan, that people will denounce “torture porn”, then turn on The Biggest Loser which in many cases is a form of “torture porn”. Jigsaw from the Saw films never made anyone vomit, outside of perhaps a few viewers watching those films.

          • Jackie permalink
            March 3, 2012 1:49 pm

            I might be wrong about Jigsaw, heh. My point is though, making fat people healthy, shouldn’t be done in a manner that is comparable to horror films.

  7. February 22, 2012 12:13 am

    “I don’t give a shit if it’s a marketing ploy to sell her latest video series, “Hugs and Kisses for Fat Bastards.”

    LMAO Seriously, I laughed out loud here in my kitchen. You have such a way with words, Shannon. And now, to the basement with the family and survival kit!

  8. J Elle permalink
    March 24, 2012 11:56 am

    Um. . .just a question: Why did you use the ice cream comparison as a point AGAINST Michaels?

    Cheap shitty ice cream- You will have more of it, and therefore will consume/offer more of it

    Expensive healthy ice cream- Smaller amount, higher quality (coconut oil is fantastic for you, coconut is rich in fiber) will *actually* be the rare treat that isce cream is supposed to be

    I’m just pointing out, that when those in the FA movement use examples like that, such as “Oh noez, MeMe Roth wants to ban junk food from elementary schools!1!!” you really are shooting yourself in the foot.

    All body types should, undoubtedly, be treated with humane dignity, and no one’s worth should be reduced to the size of their frame. No one should be shaming you or using vanity to motivate you into change (this is where I have a problem with Michaels)


    health is a completely separate matter. I’m a chubby lady myself, but I don’t poison my precious body with HFCS or any other cheap, Monsanto-created product that is only designed to give me a cheap “”high” and eventually kill me.

    If EVERYONE, fat and skinny and everyone in between, collectively worked to rid this shit from our food chain, we wouldn’t have to defend ourselves so much against those who say “all u fattehz just eat Bic Macs.”

    Jillian Michael’s is not our biggest enemy, fashion designers and those dictation thinness as VANITY are.

    • March 24, 2012 12:09 pm

      Because Jillian Michaels, who can afford fancier foods that are inherently healthy, can get ice cream for her family, but because poor people cannot afford this high-end ice cream, they’re supposed to go without ice cream all together? Because that’s what I got from Michaels’ comment: that if you can afford fancy, organic ice cream, she won’t judge you. But if you can’t afford that kind of ice cream, then she’s going to shame you for that. That’s bullshit.

      Yes, our food chain needs to be improved, but we don’t need to shame those who subsist on the low end of that chain.


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