Equally Shitty Treatment for All!

It has come to my attention, via Truth Dig, that Weight Watchers, that most insidious and cruel of weight loss companies (public weigh-ins?  thinness via humiliation?), has gotten hip to the fact that they’re not yet really at one with equlity principles.  As Truth Dig puts it:

‘”Weight Watchers Picks a New Target: Men.” The story details how the nation’s biggest diet company is using the NBA playoffs to launch its first male-focused advertising campaign.'”  Sounds great—except for one thing: Why only now?’

Why only now?  Because, as the article rightly points out, in our society, men can be fat.  And women can’t.  Well, they can of course, but not without being assumed to be lonely, to-be-eaten-by-cats-when-they-die miserable and openly available for public abuse.  Fat men, of course are allowed.  They are imposing, jolly, fully paid up members of society.  In fact it’s almost de rigeur for male MPs to run to fat very early on in their tenure, which proves my point.   So, why only now?  I’m guessing it’s the same reason I seem to be spying quite a few men on those puerile I’m-only-trying-to-help-you-Roland TV programmes about weight (sorry, a quite obscure reference there to an old children’s programme, Grange Hill – which I used to run home to see); maybe jolly just isn’t cutting it anymore for men?  Maybe fat men are sensing they have to get with the programme, and start hating themselves as much as fat women are told to?

As Truth Dig says,

‘This is a significant question in a country [the US] whose debilitating weight problem is more male than female—and “more” means a heckuva lot more. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, almost 70 percent of men are overweight, as compared with 52 percent of women. Yet, somehow, 90 percent of the commercial-weight-loss industry’s clients are female and, somehow, this industry hasn’t seen males as a viable business. How can that be?’

Market researchers typically explain the situation away in trite “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” platitudes, insisting that it’s only “because men tend to want to lose weight on their own by working out in a health club or designing their own exercise program, and they are less likely to join groups or seek counseling,” as one told Advertising Age. But such generalizations are, at best, truthy, and more likely, completely apocryphal. The real explanation for the gender disparity is found in a chauvinist culture whose double standards demand physical perfection from women while simultaneously celebrating male corpulence.’

So now men will be targetted by Weight Watchers and will be routinely subject to the same humiliating crap that women have had put up with for decades.  It will, no doubt, gradually become less acceptable to be a ‘fat man’ and, one can only imagine, that the definition of what constitutes a ‘fat man’ will get thinner and thinner.  There will be rumours (backed up by claims – naturellement – that it is feminism’s fault), that more fat men than fat women are *now* being consumed by their own cats after their obesity-related premature deaths and what about DA MENZ?.

It’ll be interesting to see how this marketing scheme plays out.  Will men fall for it?  With men following women in large numbers into plastic surgery and ‘miracle’ grooming products, one can only imagine they will.  Which, on one hand (my Ner ner ner-ner ner hand), isn’t a shame (serves ‘em right, let’s see how they like being judged solely on their appearance, eh? and fat shaming will be actually taken seriously), but on the other, it really is.  Because, sheesh, now I have to put both my kids on strict diets, rather then just the female one and those milkshake thingys are expensive… And, more seriously, because I don’t actually want to move a step closer to a world where everybody in it in is just made to feel like shit about themselves.  I was kind of hoping for a world where nobody was.

I know, I know.  I live in LalaLand, right?

This, my friends, is where you get to when you think the word ‘equality’ exists in a cultural vacuum.

About MistressofBoogie

Feminist. Loud-mouth. Sometimes those two are linked. Sometimes not. View all posts by MistressofBoogie

3 responses to “Equally Shitty Treatment for All!

  • TMae

    WAIT A MINUTE! Men are fat/? I thought they were just “carrying a few extra pounds.”

    I’ve noticed (in the US) that there’s been a significant shift towards men in personal care advertising; Axe (seriously? WHO BUYS THIS STUFF??!?!), Dove for Men, Weight Watchers…okay, so I’ve only witnessed two, and now read about the third, but that’s up 3 products from zero five years ago. Woohoo!!! Equal opportunity consumerism.

    Why now? Because men are an untapped demographic. If they can be made to feel as shitty about themselves as women are, THINK OF THE MONEY!!! And maybe the children, but mostly the money.

    The real question here is, how do we harness some of this to finance the revolution? There has to be a way….

  • TMae

    Whoops…HTML fail….

  • mistressofboogie

    Ha, I like your thinking! Out of our disdain for blatent consumerism, we will figure out a way to make money out of it! For a good cause, obviously. Genius! (There’s a lot of genius going about just recently – the revolution may only be moments away…)

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