Thursday, 12 December 2019

Jillian Michaels Is Still Trying to Glamorize Bullying

Jillian Michaels bullyI guess that Jillian Michaels was desperate to get in the news again because she’s on talking nonsense in a piece titled “Jillian Michaels warns of ‘glamorizing’ obesity: ‘We’re politically correct to the point of endangering people.”

She starts out well, giving (what turns out to be) lip service to the actual truth – that body diversity is normal and bullying and body shaming are not good for anyone’s health. She says:

Yes, we want to be inclusive of everyone [and respect that] everyone comes in all different shapes and sizes.”

Good, because that’s the only right thing to do. She goes on…

Nobody should ever be body shamed or fat-shamed or excluded and that everyone is equally deserving and should feel equally valuable.

Exactly right Jillian. You’re on a roll.

 But obesity in itself is not something that should be glamorized. But we’ve become so politically correct that no one wants to say it.”

Aaaaaand she drove the truth truck right off a cliff.

The idea of “glamorizing” the result of a math equation wherein someone’s weight in pounds times 703 divided by their height in inches squared is greater than 30 is not only ridiculous on its face, it’s ridiculous at every level.

Like the closely-related (or perhaps thing she actually meant to say) concept of “glorifying obesity,” this just isn’t a real thing. Fat people being allowed to exist, be happy, do stuff, live our lives, achieve things, be in the spotlight etc. aren’t “glamorizing fatness” we’re just being happy, doing stuff, living our lives, achieving things, and being in the spotlight. We talked about this at length here.

Besides which, either you think that everyone is equally deserving and equally valuable, or you (wrongly) believe that some people’s body size should be “glamorized” (whatever the hell you think that means) and some shouldn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

Our culture glamorizes thinness and shames, stigmatizes, and oppresses fatness. The notion that the world might actually start to, as Jillian just said it should, be inclusive of people of all sizes, isn’t about glamorizing fat bodies (though of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with glamorizing fat bodies,) it’s about equality of access and options for people of all sizes because, as Jillian so eloquently put it, “everyone is equally deserving and should feel equally valuable.”

The message “everyone is equally deserving and should feel equally valuable, but fat people should still be made to see their bodies as bad and wrong, but that’s, like, totally not fat-shaming” would be laughable if it wasn’t used to harm so many people.

“I think the world has shifted to a place where [the Biggest Loser] format and messaging is considered fat-shaming,” she explained. “But it isn’t, and it’s not meant to be. Now we’ve gone so far in the opposite direction.”

The Biggest Loser format and messaging were nothing but fat-shaming. The entire show was based on the premise that a fat body is bad, a thin body is good, and that fat people, (including children,) should be physically and emotionally abused  (for profit!)  I’m completely convinced that if The Biggest Loser had been shot with dogs instead of people it would not have lasted more than one episode because people wouldn’t have tolerated dogs being treated that way.

The “direction” of The Biggest Loser was shaming, stigmatizing, bullying, and oppressing fat people on the show, and by extension in the world. There is no way to go too far in the opposite direction. We should be going in the opposite direction as fast and far as we possibly can. The day they went off the air was a celebration, but unfortunately, they are coming back again.

There is no way to go “too far” in the direction of people being treated with respect and equality regardless of size.

Jillian Michaels is nothing but a bully who wants a world where she can continue to use fatphobia to profit off her weight loss lie. That’s bad enough, but trying to co-opt the language of fat activists to do it is a new level of despicable, even for her.

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