*Results Not Typical

Now that I'm only working part time, I get to enjoy some (trashy) daytime TV. Some of it is entertaining and fun kind of trashy, but some of it really got me thinking.

News is that
Jenny Craig has a new spokeswoman (it would be a woman now, wouldn't it?), one by name of Ms. Valerie Bertinelli. Now, perhaps this is totally identifying my age, I really don't have a whole lot of familiarity with Val. I recognized her name and her picture, but I never quite put them together. And, as I looked for pictures of her on Google (yeah, I'm that kind of girl), I began to wonder what the fuss was over her weight. She looked astonishingly...normal. Average-sized. She wouldn't be filmed from the waist down as an obese person waddling along for a newsclip that is repeated with every new article about the "obesity epidemic". (As a note to all you news companies out there, do everyone an honor and film their whole bodies. Fat people are...people. They're not just a piece of ass.)

When I'm in the grocery store checkout line, I read the tabloid headlines. I find it amusing that some people think that Bigfoot is a sign of the second coming of Christ. Or that he IS Christ. Or the anti-Christ. The opinion tends to change weekly. However, I remember the headlines of Kirstie Alley pointing to her cellulite and broadcasting her weight.

Lord have mercy! A woman? With cellulite? Holy crap! That's news! I have cellulite. Everyone has cellulite. It's NOT NEWSWORTHY.

We should be worried about celebrities that are anorexic, too, but their thinness is exploited with a kind of fascination. Fat people? Forgetaboutit. There are arrows pointing to butts and guts and their weight in enormous numbers on the front page. That's pretty humiliating, celebrity or not. I know I'd think everyone was staring at my rear if that was printed about ME.
The motivation for Val B. to call Jenny (or the other way around, I'm not quite sure)? A comment by an unoffensive sales clerk. Says Val on
Access Hollywood:

"I was in a market just six months ago buying some chairs," she begins, "and obviously the guy thought I left and he said you'll never guess who was just here, to the next customer . . . Valerie Bertinelli."The customer asked the man what she looked like and his reply hit Valerie hard."He goes ‘hmmm . . .she's a lot bigger than she should be," she recalls.

Valerie has the full support of ex-husband Eddie Van Halen with whom she has one son, Wolfie. Eddie just got out of rehab. "He just said congratulations, you know good for you," he said, "I got sober, you're getting thin, this is great," she laughs.

The solution? Easy. Become a spokeswoman for a weight loss company!

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Problem solved.

I'd love to say that, in a similar position, I'd stand up, say "F*ck Hollywood" and walk around in a thong bikini with my cellulite hanging out. That would be proud cellulite, though, let me tell you. I'd wear my Size 14 pants (the size that Val said she was when she thought she should "do something" about her weight) tag out. Most women are Size 14 and above. So the hell what? Being a Size 14 shouldn't increase your risk for serious disease- in fact, it may even protect against it.* Yo-yo dieting creates far more health issues than maintaining.

Fat has become a fear issue. The fact that celebrities are using their fame to sell weight loss, says "You don't want to look like me. Here's how not to." And in comes the weight loss program. It's almost like prostituting yourself, selling your image for money. In a sense, it's not even the image, it's the malleability of the image that sells. That a fat person can become thin by doing X, Y, and Z. Screw genetics!
I'm not going to pull a Kate Beckinsale and call these ladies crack whores. But women who trade sex for drugs are so desperate for their next fix that they do whatever they need to in order to get that drug now! It seems that women are so desperate to lose weight that they trade in their sense of self-respect to lose weight.
What's really ironic is that on the intro Flash segment on the Jenny homepage it says: "Results not Typical."

I find that funny. You'd purchase a product (in this case, a weight loss plan) where what you get isn't typical? In what other industry would that happen?

I rest my case.
*It is worth pointing out that the authors of this article put in a little caveat at the end that it's still not good to have a BMI over 25. Remind me again...who are you trying to fool? Oh yeah, everyone. Never mind.

**It's even more amusing that I found this article on a weight loss website. So I guess they can't have an "accept your weight" news article without saying "wait a minute...not so fast."

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disordered girl said...

That comment by Eddie Van Halen is very telling... like being even a little bit overweight is just as bad as needing to get off drugs?! HELLO?! WTF?!


Exactly. Another difference is that getting sober improves your health. Getting thin? Research says not necessarily. And I would say no given that Ms. Bertinelli really wasn't "overweight."

Charlynn said...

Great freakin' post! You nailed so much here. Looking at the magazine headlines at the checkout always makes me turn a shade green. The hypocrisy makes me want to gag.


Or how (as one blogger pointed out...can't remember her name...if you are she, please take credit) the whole story of Val B was basically facing the story of Allegra Versace having anorexia. But the attention is quite different in terms of attitude. Anorexia has this morbid fascination attached to it. Anything bigger than a Size 4 and the attitude is...how could you let yourself GET this way???

Sick. Really sick.

Charlynn said...

Yes, there is definitely a sick obsession with the "real" anoretics that look an inch away from death. The headlines splash the "TOO SKINNY!" comments in big, bold print. But if that person gains ten pounds (or heaven forbid, more), suddenly said person is losing control. Suddenly, "the food evidence," as I call it, shows up. Pictures of said anoretic eating pop up everywhere thanks to the Paparazzi. Then it's a headline free-for-all: "_____ can't stop eating!" "______ now a size 4...and getting heftier!" Mary-Kate Olsen comes to mind with this kind of scrutiny.

It's no wonder Hollywood is such a hotbed for eating disorders - no one can win at any size. It's too bad the American public loves indulging in such unnecessary gossip fodder.

mary said...

I'd much rather you were focusing on all the goals for your future without an ED but respect your need to analyze how society keeps throwing us contradictions. Love yourself BUT get thin or disappear. yea right? Love yourself but leave the room.Love yourself but not all of you.

Still, you are going to need to leave those thoughts behind eventually and try not to concern yourself with what Val B. does or why Jenny Craig is rich enough to hire spokespersons in the first place...all cause they exploit our weaknesses, our fear of fat.
It really doesn't matter whether we look at a person and determine them 'average'. It's not our business unless as Val B. has done they feel it's necessary to drag us along with them, expecting any of her followers to pay her, no doubt.[I don't think spokesperson is a volunteer job!] Even then it's our right to ignore them. I am going to exercise that right! That's my daily exercise!
Go ahead and Kate Beckinsale me Carrie. I love that cat...exactly as she is.
I just want you to be mindful that your not stepping through mine fields as you google for images. MAKE SURE YOU ARE TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF. If it causes you to question your recovery at all or compare then stop looking...if it is giving you conviction to remove ED from your head then go for it and expose the industry. First you!: ) /*

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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