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Two steps forward, one step back

May 1, 2012

Trigger warning: Discussions of weight loss programs and a history of dieting and weight loss.

I’m a stay-at-home mom. As such, in between my usual daily housecleaning, cooking, and child care, I watch TV and such. A lot. (Or at least it’s on in the background so I don’t just hear the tick tick tick of the clock all day long). And I’ve noticed something recently. Fat Acceptance phrases are getting eaten up by diet companies and used to sell their crap. I think that means we (the Fat Acceptance movement) are starting to gain attention and a following like never before. Legitimacy. You wouldn’t copy something and appropriate it if there weren’t power in the message. Diet companies wouldn’t be scrambling to “negate” our message if we weren’t threatening their bottom line.

Remember the Yay! scale? Created by the esteemed Marylin Wann in 2006, the Yay! scale replaced the numbers with awesome phrases. When the scale first came out, critics cried all sorts of “OMG LOOK! Fatties with self esteem! ROFL”-type articles all over the news and internet. But almost five years later, Special K co-opted the Yay! scale for their “what will you gain when you lose” commercials .

I think they missed the point entirely.  The point is “YOU ROCK.” Period.

Not “you’ll rock once you lose X amount.”

Or how about the latest Jenny Craig commercial?

They acknowledge the “Love your body” Size Acceptance slogan, and respond with “That’s not to say if you are bigger you shouldn’t love yourself, but I didn’t FEEL like myself.” No, you need to love yourself, NOW or you won’t take care of yourself.

I know that when I am dieting, I HATE my body. I try to distance myself from it and any hunger pains I feel I run ragged with exercise classes, ignoring my body’s warning against injuries. My body becomes my enemy, something to hate and punish. These diet companies are trying to take a phrase that is a SALVATION for many and twist it into yet another avenue for guilt and shame.

Again, they wouldn’t be stealing our words from us if we weren’t gaining power and visibility.

We’ll continue gaining power and legitimacy. More and more people are starting to listen to us and the science behind weight loss. More and more companies are seeing this and trying to capitalize on that, to sell their shit just a little bit longer. What companies have YOU seen stealing our ideas, co-opting our words to sell stuff?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. The Real Cie permalink
    May 1, 2012 12:50 pm

    The new Jenny Craig ad with Valerie Bertinelli is really annoying. “I dieted myself up to a gargantuan, planet-sized 175 pounds! (GASP!) But then Jenny Craig came along and (chokes up) SAVED ME!”
    Because Jenny Craig, after all, is NOT another diet.
    Reminds me of this time in high school when this dippy classmate of mine tried to sell me a bag of “pot.”
    Classmate: “Real Cie, this pot is really good pot. It may look like oregano, smell like oregano, and taste like oregano, but trust me, it’s really good pot.”
    Me: “Dorky Classmate, this pot looks like oregano, smells like oregano, and tastes like oregano, because it’s oregano. Now take it and go make a pizza.”
    Hell, I think my dorky classmate’s offer would be better. At least with the oregano I could make something good to eat. With Jenny Craig, I’d still be hungry–in spite of the fact that it isn’t a “diet,” right? :/

  2. May 1, 2012 9:03 pm

    There’s an ad that I’ve seen recently that replaces jeans’ sizes with sizes like “fabulous”, “gorgeous”, etc. I think they’re selling some weight loss shtick. I’ve blocked out the name of the product.

    • vesta44 permalink
      May 1, 2012 10:48 pm

      Kellog’s Special K – eat it for 2 meals a day for two weeks and you too can fit into those “size sassy” jeans (ROFLMAO). What they neglect to tell everyone is that the other meal you eat is also on the order of starvation, and you’re not going to keep the weight off forever because, after all, who is going to be able to eat 1/2 cup of cereal with skim milk for 2 meals a day, every day of the week for the rest of their lives just to fit into those stupid jeans? I can think of things I’d rather eat for breakfast and lunch than cardboard cereal and skim milk, and as for those “size sassy” jeans? Lane Bryant and Catherine’s carry them in my size, thank you very much.

      • May 1, 2012 11:17 pm

        I actually really like Special K, but I still wouldn’t eat it for 10 meals a week!

  3. LittleBigGirl permalink
    May 2, 2012 12:47 am

    THANK YOU for calling out the Special K thing! I noticed this months ago – the first time I saw the jeans commercial it was a total bait and switch. I was thinking “Wow a self-acceptance ad cool…and in the back of my mind I was thinking if it was going to be selling anything it was probably Dove or something but…Special fucking K?!?!?!? It’s the most fucked up ad I’ve ever seen – “love yourself as you are…after you’ve eaten our cereal, drinks, and crappy meal bars.” Hate hate hate it!
    And the diet ads that are all “I love myself…now that I’m thin and you can be too if you give us your money.” *GAG*

  4. May 2, 2012 1:03 pm

    I think you’re dead on, erylin. Self-acceptance is a potent tool in disenfranchising the lifetime dieter. Once you get someone to accept themselves as they are, that’s one more lost customer for Jenny or WW or NutriSystem. They have to control that conversation too if they are going to remain relevant.


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