Friday, June 16, 2006

Is Mother Nature Single Because She's Fat?

Not too long ago, Kirstie Alley signed on as the promotional spokesperson for Jenny Craig. I realize that I did not approach this ad campaign (and Ms. Alley’s involvement) with the greatest objectivity. Years ago, I remember reading that, as a Scientologist, Ms. Alley marched on Capitol Hill in protest of psychiatric medication. While I don’t prescribe medication and realize that everyone is entitled to her own opinion about its use, it worried me to think that people who might benefit from (or require) psychotropic medication might be swayed by Ms. Alley’s congressional protest.

Recently, her Jenny Craig commercial promotion features her slimmed down, dancing to the song, “It’s Raining Men.” The connotation here is simple—lose weight and attract men. A visit to the Jenny Craig corporate web site revealed:

The new campaign, which will launch nationally on December 26, 2005, continues to focus on Ms. Alley’s increased energy, Jenny Craig’s personalized program, and the wide variety of foods offered by Jenny Craig. The first commercial includes a splashy, music video-type dance production, in which Ms. Alley realizes her oft-expressed desire that her weight loss — and the associated boost in her self-confidence — will enhance her appeal to the opposite sex. She discovers that she’s not only finding men, but that “It’s Raining Men”! The ad concludes with a fanciful double somersault, a special effect that captures Ms. Alley’s new spirit.

I was wondering exactly how they might capture Kirstie’s “new spirit”—a double somersault! Of course!

It is possible that someone who loses 60-plus pounds may attract more male attention. It is also possible that a boost in self-confidence might be perceived as more attractive. But, of concern is the direct correlation posited here and the frightening alternative, which suggests that if you don’t lose weight (or you’re not thin enough), you won’t find love. It’s a message that, perhaps, as a consumer with an analytical eye, you can dispel and attempt to discard. But, imagine a little girl watching the same commercial—can she do the same? Or, will she internalize the concept that her weight will forever determine her plight with men?


Haley-O said...

It's frightening....And, irresponsible. I wouldn't expect Ms. Ally to know better, either. My friend's on Jenny Craig. She says she "cheats" on the diet all the time to get her calories up to a healthy level. I took a look at the food she gets to eat--and it's ridiculous. Everything's frozen and packaged. But, I guess looking good comes before health here....Ugh. It's depressing to think of the work I have ahead of me with my baby daughter. It's me against the world....

Teacher lady said...

I was on Jenny Craig when I was married to my first husband. I understand it's a "business" and everything, but WHY didn't they take one look at me (for cryin' out loud, I was a size four!) or weigh me and say, "You know what? Here's the number for a good eating disorders specialist." But nope - they were happy to take my money and sell me their really horrid pre-packaged food. And the women? I think we were "assigned" 1200-1500 calories a day. What with the insane exercise, no WONDER I was always freezing (while living in Hawaii!) and falling asleep sitting up in the middle of the day! To put it in scholarly terms, "They blow." ;-)

PalmTreeChick said...

Ha ha! I love your post teacher lady!

allisonsky said...

Hey, you guys forgot to mention the cost of eating close to nothing at Jenny Craig.......Start up costs are about $500.00, and for half as much food as you would get at the grocery store you spend nearly triple! I was a size 4 and also on Jenny Craig, how funny! I did go down to a 2 though..... for about 2 weeks till I started eating though, and that was after 2 months at Jenny Craig and about $1500.00 later! What a scam!
All I learned from Jenny Craig was portion control and good food choices which you can do on your own, for a lot less money! And you can eat real food not frozen high in sodium food.
PS I wish I could do the Zone, like Aniston and look like her too!

Shaunta said...

Size four on Jenny Craig? Wow.

Kirstie Alley is a gorgeous woman, who is under such tremendous pressure to be thin that I can't even imagine it. Everytime she goes outside looking 'fat' she ends up on a magazine or tabloid cover. Who can live like that? No wonder she's willing to starve herself for thiness. Most of us only have to deal with INTERNAL pressure to be thin and perfect. She's got the whole world looking over her shoulder.

I read a local newspaper article once about a dating service. The owner of the service said that a full NINTY percent of the men who use her service are unwilling to date a woman who is even 10 pounds overweight. Damn. The raining men thing sounds silly. And I know it is...I've been married twice at well over 200 pounds, and in between dated many smart, interesting men. But that statistic was alarming enough that I remember it now, at least five years later.

kelly said...

I've gained weight but started dressing differently. I get more interested looks as 150 than I did at 110 just because I started dressing for my body (and eating regularly actually did improve my appearance I'm longer really pale or tired looking).