Jenny Craig

Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Common themes represented here:

Handmaidens of the patriarchy.  Handmaiden of the patriarchy Valerie Bertinelli handmaidensplains to all of us how our female-specific, patriarchy-derived problems will be resolved via pro-patriarchal consumer spending.  If an actual man told us to do it, it might seem patriarchy-supportive and offensive, but when a woman does the same thing it creates plausible deniability of patriarchal intent and effect, even though the intent and effect are patriarchal in both cases.

Harm reduction/refusal to name the agent.  Weight-loss “systems” are supposed to reduce the suffering that female-bodied persons experience under patriarchy due to mandatory heterosexuality, where male-pleasing is synonymous with partner-pleasing and female sexuality and worth; enforced fuckability mandates and female-specific consumerism; normalizing male bodies and pathologizing healthy female bodies; and the severe consequences to women of patriarchal noncompliance.  Sure, eating tiny portions of crappy, processed food sucks, but being unpleasing to men can be an absolute disaster.  The consequences can be more or less severe to individual women based on their circumstances, but no woman is immune, not even famous women.

Normalize abuse/neglect.  Restricting women to tiny portions of crappy, processed food is abusive and neglectful generally, as well as normalizing self-abuse and self-neglect.  Chronic starvation and near-starvation is the preferred state for Western women who would otherwise have access to adequate food.

Reversal.  Tiny portions are satisfying; crappy processed food is nutritious.  Also, she says, “Believe it or not, this is happy!”  Eh, I don’t really believe it, but that’s because we seem to be saying that “relieved to be temporarily and conditionally suffering fewer consequences under patriarchy” is the same thing as happiness for women.  It’s not.  And she’s crying while she says it.  She actually looks pretty miserable and defeated (resigned?) to me.  Interestingly, Valerie seems to almost catch this reversal herself, even as she’s trying to get us to literally buy it.  Almost?

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3 responses to “Jenny Craig”

  1. ethicalequinox says :

    Funny, I was thinking in a similar vein on this subject this morning! What really irritates the hell out of me are the food advertisements that encourage women to believe they are pushing boundaries, being *deviant* simply by engaging in the act of eating. It’s as though they want women to feel selfish simply by doing the bare minimum to sustain ourselves in this environment.

  2. roaringinside says :

    It’s so perverse that women indeed are expected to feel selfish for eating, for breathing… I read somewhere that women in this century are evolving more pulmonary capacity because in past centuries we seemed to be afraid of breathing. Maybe it was a reference to corsets, can’t remember now, but the fact is women are made feel guilty for simply existing, for being, which is why if you are a woman, to be is to sin (Mary Daly dixit). It’s simply the essence and the meaning of oppression, as the rest of our prescribed experiences in the patriarchy.

  3. cherryblossomlife says :

    “handmaidensplains” LOLLOL