I know what you’re thinking: why is SBG harping on commercials so much? Doesn’t she have anything better to do with her time? Trust me, I do, and I do better things. Really!
But for now, I have a real problem with the way society tries to tell us how skinny equals pretty and fat equals ugly. Even when it’s under the guise of “health,” this message is pervasive, and I know it’s not the only horrible, deeply ingrained thing being stigmatized (swap in black, gay, transgendered, short, bald, etc. for a myriad of terrible societal prejudices). We live in a truly challenging and sometimes awful world. So when I come across this commercial, which seems to air every break on the stations I tend to watch most, I am always appalled.
Notice how Jillian Barbarie acts all horrified at the fat person on the left hand of the screen, and very quickly kicks the image away. If this isn’t saying “fat is ugly and unwanted,” I don’t know what would. It’s blatant and horrible, but I suppose we’re to think nothing of it because she’s doing it to herself. But why is she doing it? Why isn’t she a beautiful woman forty pounds heavier? We can’t tell if she is or isn’t – for crying out loud, she’s wearing a frigging brown muumuu in her fat, ugly, old self before photo. I think there are very few people who could pull that off and be sexy…but that’s just it. WHY is the “fat” her draped in unflattering clothing?
I’m 10-20 pounds heavier than I would like to be (wholly for vanity, I’ll admit), but this does not mean I walk around wearing shapeless potato sacks in my shame at being heavier than I want. I’d like my curves to be less curvy, but that does not mean the curves I have are something to be ashamed of. I like to show off what I DO have right now. I like to look good where I am, because it helps me feel good.
Second on my peeve about this commercial is Jillian catching a football and acting all stunned and eye-blinky, questioning how many women could do that. Er, what? I can catch a football. Raise your hand if you can, too. I think, of course, it’s supposed to reinforce the idea women don’t like sports the way guys like sports. This is a pretty sweeping generalization. I personally know quite a few women who get all face-painted crazy right alongside men when it comes to their teams. All I can figure is that sports portion of the ad is supposed to lure the male portion of the audience. Except…the men are also probably lured to watch her hot, new, bikini-clad bod.
Somehow, realizing the commercial is actually geared almost entirely to the male and straight audience, makes the idea of Jillian kicking her fat self away almost worse. It makes me less inclined to believe she did it for herself, and more inclined she did it because it’s what people (guys) want to see. Being thin is the only way she’s attractive. I’m not saying that’s actually the case, but it is what the advertisement is implying to me.