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A Little Girl Talk

April 5, 2012

Trigger warning for discussing Jenny Craig’s latest commercials.

Despite the odd combination, it seems that Jenny Craig’s partnership with Mariah Carey still retains its luster.

As the new spokesperson, I’m sort of thinking her time through the hourglass might slowly be running down, but until that happens I’ve been noticing a new batch of super-cushy “let’s pull off our shoes and sit cross-legged on this fake living room floor” themed ads for the weight loss giant.

They go a little something like this:

Mariah: “Hey, get comfortable because we are all good friends here, despite my legion of armed minions who will rip out your throat if you DARE speak to me off script”

Ronni: “Whatever shall we talk about?”

Mariah: “Oh, I don’t know… Jenny Craig?”

All: “GREAT IDEA!”

Erica: “What’s your favorite snack Mariah? And why is that big guy eyeballing me?”

Michelle: “Can we keep these mugs with the Jenny logo on them.”

Mariah: “Focus!”

All: “We chose Jenny and you should too.”

I know when I drop a shitload of money and time to eat specially packaged foods and obey my “consultant” I like to hang out with celebrities and discuss all the things we have in common like personal trainers and life coaches and praegustators (that person who tests your food to make sure it’s not poison before you eat it (we all have one of those)).

Anyway, the original ad which aired on one of my lowly basic cable channels today was slightly different. In one ad (and there are three additional versions as well), they discuss body image at length and Ronni says “If big people want to love their bodies it’s okay, it’s just that I wanted my body back.” I’m paraphrasing, but that was basically what she said.

Frankly, I winced a little and wondered if this was a defensive maneuver to prevent criticism and/or backlash. Still, it was slightly better than the usual “you better stop eating if you want your life to start” message we hear, but not quite enough to be considered revolutionary.

Most Fat Acceptance people want nothing short of a refreshing, but company-killing admission that these type of plans don’t pan out long-term, which creates a lifelong customer base in pursuit of the shrinking waistline.

What say you?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2012 11:00 am

    Mariah has obviously lost weight, but I doubt it was all JC. Even celebs go through periods of skinny and not so skinny and they can seem to do it a bit faster since they can afford a team of personal trainers and nutritionists to keep them on their toes. Common people don’t have that luxury.

    • Kala permalink
      April 5, 2012 11:05 am

      I don’t believe for a second, that Mariah Carey, a famous diva, is eating packaged frozen meals from JC. I’d be surprised if she’s even tried any of JC’s food. LOL

  2. Fab@54 permalink
    April 5, 2012 1:14 pm

    As for the ‘disclaimer’ in the first ad, (about big/ger people loving themselves), I found it … [searching for the right word] … condescending… the way the woman went on to say

    “…like, I mean, how can you really love somebody you don’t KNOW?”

    In other words, dismissing the batshitcrazy notion that larger sized people really can (and do) accept and love themselves, because after all, there is nothing REAL about being fat, the real, the GENUINE you is actually much thinner, slender, beautiful — and you are just kidding yourself, because….? Because why, O Wise One….why?
    Because it’s easier?
    Because we don’t want to TRY and be thin?
    Because there’s just something ‘wrong’ with accepting and loving ourselves if we’re fat, right?
    F U lady, and F U Jenny.

    • vesta44 permalink
      April 5, 2012 1:25 pm

      Fab@54 – you took the words right out of my mouth – condescending is exactly what that statement is. And ya know, if those women want to wait until they’re permanently thin to love themselves, they’re going to have one hell of a long wait and they’ll be hating themselves forever. Not the way I want to live my life – hating myself for being fat and hating every other fat person for not being thin. I’d much rather love myself the way I am right now and try to help other people love themselves just as they are right now – the world would be a much happier place if that happened.

    • Mulberry permalink
      April 9, 2012 9:51 pm

      By the same “reasoning”, how could I love a thin me? I’ve been fat all my life. I KNOW my fat me. Is this commercial just aimed at the formerly thin who’ve put on a few pounds with middle age? Can I get my body back if I haven’t misplaced it to begin with?

  3. April 5, 2012 1:37 pm

    I hope all of you signed the petition by Lydia Jade Turner to remove the ceo of Jenny from key note speaking at the All Girl’s School Conference coming up. Can you imagine the CEO of a weight cycling corporation speaking to people responsible for educating girls?? It’s a sure fire way to spread the word of diet diet diet as the road to happiness, wealth and success. I did Jenny…I got skinny…I got fat again…I gave them lots of money and it never changed anything about how I approached food, lifestyle, or self esteem. When I lost the weight I gave the credit to Jenny. When I gained it back I blamed myself..when I should have blamed the premise that eating 1000 calories of prepackaged food a day is NOT The way to managed ones health.

    • Fab@54 permalink
      April 5, 2012 1:50 pm

      Can you post the link, please? I’m interested in reading and most likely signing! 🙂

  4. JeninCanada permalink
    April 5, 2012 7:46 pm

    The only time I’ve thought “I want my body back!” is when I’m pregnant. 😛

  5. April 6, 2012 9:29 am

    Personally, I think it’s a minor victory that Jenny Craig is making television commercials that are, at least in part, confronting Fat Acceptance head on. Why would they choose to include this segment in their commercial? Why would they choose to draw attention to the fact that there are some fat people who love themselves and aren’t interested in changing?

    Simple: by allowing this Ronni woman to state that she has no problem with other women loving their bodies, she then answers that she’s uncomfortable in her body and the way to change that isn’t to simply accept herself, but to change her body with Jenny Craig’s help. It’s a subtle, but powerful, way to address Fat Acceptance through the voice of the Everywoman, Ronni, who acknowledges the importance of self-love, but the greater importance of transforming your body into something you can love.

    And while her answer is disturbing, it shows just what kind of an effect we’re having on the weight loss industry. Weight Watchers is doing the same thing when they have Jennifer Hudson say, “I was strong before, but I’m stronger now.” It’s sort of a “Yeah but…” reply to Fat Acceptance. They’re basically setting up the Fat Acceptance Strawman for their potential clients to knock down on their way to calling Jenny or Weight Watchers.

    Personally, I think the most pressing issue in this commercial is that somebody stole this woman’s body! I, for one, will not rest until our manhunt finds the bastard!

    Peace,
    Shannon

    • pyctsi permalink
      April 6, 2012 10:12 am

      Co-opting a message, broadcasting it publicly and then subtly changing it over time to your on message is an old tactic.

      Or you look like you are taking on a certain position, get very vocal about it and then allow it to be broken down when your half assed arguments are destroyed, looks really good to the public and most people can’t tell you were working for the other side all along. Either way people get screwed and somebody profits at someone else’s expense.

      The things you learn hanging out with the debate team…

  6. The Real Cie permalink
    April 9, 2012 2:31 pm

    Oh God, I just saw one of those ads. “I’m a marathon runner now! I never thought I could do that when I gained all that weight!”
    Whatever, bitch. I screwed up my knees worse than they already were by over-exercising when I used to go to the gym for between 3-5 hours a day to keep myself from gaining weight. No matter how much weight I lose, I’ll never be able to be a runner.
    These ads give people unrealistic expectations and set them up for failure.
    And Mariah Carey nauseates me. I suppose I could put a picture of her on my refrigerator if I ever decide that I want to motivate myself not to eat. Because the sight of her will make me lose my appetite.

  7. Ronni permalink
    January 9, 2013 10:50 am

    My goodness… why does someone else’s desire to lose weight inspire such negativity? Nobody’s forcing you to join Jenny! Nobody’s telling you that if you’re a certain size or weight, you have no right to love yourself. I was telling MY story. I don’t carry your weight around every day, and you don’t carry mine. I’ve been small, gained weight and kept it for years, lost weight and kept if off for years, and then put it back on. I feel most fit when I’m between 170 and 185 pounds, which is still fat by American standards. And since it’s a topic of debate, what I said during the entire hours-long conversation with Mariah, Erica and Joanna– NOT Michelle– (which people saw in two 30-second spots) was that my life had spiraled out of control and that I was eating in an extremely unhealthy way trying to fill a hole that had been ripped in my life. I said I didn’t love myself during that period, and that was evidenced by the way I was treating my body. As I came out of my depression, I made a choice to take better care of myself, and THAT’s where Jenny came in. I said (without paraphrasing) “That’s not to say that people who are big shouldn’t love themselves, but in MY case, how can you love somebody you don’t know?” That was in reference to the fact that I gained 60 pounds in a year because I was eating anything that tasted good and wasn’t nailed down. When I finally took a good look in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. It wasn’t condescending at all. It wasn’t a message to “fat” people. That was MY testimony. If anything, it was intended to serve as a reminder that you should love yourself no matter what size you are, and no matter what size the “Everywoman Ronni” on your tv is.

    Loving and accepting yourself regardless of your weight has absolutely nothing to do with what the next woman chooses to do with her body. Stop judging others and maybe you won’t feel so judged yourselves. I certainly wasn’t judging you.

    Sincerely,
    Ronni

    • January 9, 2013 10:58 am

      Ronni,
      Perhaps that was your sentiment, but the problem is that Jenny Craig chose to use your sentiment as a message to fat people. We have no idea what was said in your hours-long conversation. We only know what Jenny Craig chose to show us and how they chose to show us. We are responding to Jenny’s message, using your words, not all the context that we’re unaware of.

      Peace,
      Shannon

    • dufmanno permalink
      January 9, 2013 11:05 am

      Hey Ronni,
      My whole take on that particular set of Jenny Craig commercials was mostly tongue in cheek- I will say that I am actually a former employee (everyone gasp now).
      Your personal reasons for doing whatever you would like with your own body are yours alone, and you absolutely are right that this is the case.
      I will, however, continue to be skeptical of the long term effectiveness of these types of programs.

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