Monday, April 26, 2010

Damnit Jillian, I'm a Mama not a Personal Trainer

OK. Here's the deelio and stuff: Jillian Michaels was "quoted" as saying she didn't want to get pregnant because she didn't want to ruin her body. According to her Facebook posts, that is not what she said. There's some other stuff, about adoption, that's a little off, but that's not my issue.

My issue is that people - smart people I greatly admire - are pissed and bloggin' up a storm. And these very smart people I greatly admire make many good points. Mainly that she's pretty much the spokesperson for Fat Hatred and the whole industry built around getting women (although they're increasingly recruiting teh menz) to hate themselves enough to starve themselves and hate their bodies and buy billions of dollars of useless and/or harmful crap.
And you know what? The Very Smart People are right about that.

But if you read that Shapely Prose link, you notice the introductory sentence: "So screeching, overly pushy Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels refuses to “ruin her body with pregnancy“. Screeching? Overly pushy? What?? I have seen women rip unsuspecting sexists to shreds for stuff like this. Screeching is part of that whole hysterical harpy imagery. Overly pushy is a judgement based on what? I mean, her job is to make people to lose 100+ pounds in what - two months? Three? Whatever. A very short amount of time - and if you just for a second grant her that feminist notion of not crucifying the less privileged for doing what they have to do to succeed (as far as possible) according to the rules of the more privileged... well... what the hell? She kicks ass at what she does.

And that's where it gets sticky in my perhaps-overly-relativist view. What she is SO good at is ultimately harmful. I believe, for whatever it's worth, that she believes she's doing good in this world and helping people live longer, more satisfying lives. In reality, she's a celebrity for shoehorning desperate people into extremely disordered and dysfunctional relationships with food and exercise. Or that's how it looks on TV, anyway.

So I can't really defend anything she says, ever. Because she's the spokesperson for self-loathing and fat phobia. And that sucks.

But at the same time, using sexist language and concepts to tear her down really, really bothers me.

So that's my little gripe of the day. Expressed here in my own sandbox where I won't disturb the grown-ups.

1 comment:

  1. One of my friends ripped Jillian Michaels a new one saying she wasn't fit to be a parent because she wanted to adopt and "save someone" rather than parent them. Wha?? I simply had to respond that a woman's body is HER BODY, and what she chooses to do or not do with it is her business and her right. And adoption isn't something all celebrities enter into on a whim, like my friend had suggested.

    I really agree with the fact that using sexist language and concepts to tear her down is wrong.

    Great writing, AE. :-)