After seeing the clip above on Feministing.com, I was in a state of disbelief… I actually thought that it just might be a SNL spoof; unfortunately, this is a real preview for a real show. So, now that the validity of the commercial is established, let’s look at everything that is wrong with this commercial, and I must say there is A LOT.
First of all, what is with the creeper? The beginning starts off more like an ad for how to be a stalker- “I watch their every move… I dig through their lives.” I don’t care if this is for a show or not. The woman clearly is not consenting to this invasion of privacy because in the commercial she is oblivious to his presence. This commercial perpetuates the idea that stalking is not a crime and not so bad. In reality stalking is a serious issue.
The end is what really is amazing. The husband and the stalker (who is apparently some weight loss expert—which, mind you, is never stated) confront the woman when she walks in the door carrying food. There are so many things wrong with this, where do I start? -There are two MEN who are confronting this woman who is presumed to be overweight because of some deep-rooted personal issue…
First, this is outrageously sexist, that a husband, or partner, would apparently seek out some outside intervention to stalk their significant other to essentially say- “you are no longer good enough as you are… so we have decided to take control of your life. Because you clearly don’t have the right to own your body, and we know what is best for you because we are the so called experts.” Throughout the commercial the woman has no voice and is never given any power of decision over her body.
Second, this is reinforces the belief that women who are overweight all have some secret past that is causing poor eating habits. America is the known for having the highest obesity rate, but this couldn’t be because of fast food restaurants and lack of healthy eating education. No no no, it’s because we are all mentally unstable women.
So, if we didn’t have enough media shaping our perceptions of what women should look like from ads and TV in general, now we have that extra push that shoves us over the edge. This show essentially shouts, “Well, women, we have tried- all the skinny models and faultless actresses were not enough and frankly we are just not impressed with your lack of self-esteem, clearly, it should be a lot lower so that you can try and fill an impossible ideal. So, we’re here to save your life even though you never asked for it to be saved.” This commercial is absolutely outrageous. Women do not need men controlling their bodies or their eating habits. We certainly don’t need to be told that we are overweight because we have some unresolved mental issue. For all we know this woman could have just had a baby. This show is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with patriarchal media and we shouldn’t permit men or the media to define women’s beauty.
Really what is overweight? Why does there have to be a mental reason that we are heavier? Why do we all need to be skinny? Why do we need men to tell us that we have a “problem?”