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. http://jennycraig.com/corporate/news/releases/122105.asp
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?