Friday, January 05, 2007

The Incredible Vanishing Woman..and other tales of misogyny.

Aaaah, Weightwatchers. Haven't we all at some time dallied with the idea of joining? Some of us have gone so far as to part with money and not a little dignity and made it to an actual session. Well, I decided long ago that WW is a con. It is a tool of the patriarchy, designed to humiliate and control women by shrinking them and eventually convincing them to shrivel away to nothing at all. A bit like the "star" of the new advert for said company.

So, the new ad goes a little like this: Middle-aged,paunchy man pushes so-so baby on swing, says how happy his wife is now that she is not fat. Caption "The Husband". Ageing woman sits at dining table and says how happy her daughter is now that she is not fat. Caption "Mum". Beautician (!!) explains that waxing ex-fat woman's legs takes half the time now that woman is not fat. Can't remember caption, probably "beautician". Man and woman sit at table and man says how much better other woman looks now that she is not fat. Apologises to woman at table: "sorry love". Caption "neighbour". Viewer is then invited to tell own story by going to WW meeting, shelling out around seven quid and being shamed into eating less and feeling utterly inadequate as a human being. End of advert.

At no point does the woman in question even appear on screen! WW have done what the patriarchy has been attempting to do for centuries: they have rendered woman invisible. This once bloated, hideous crone has slimmed down so amazingly that she is no longer a physical entity! The only clues to her existence are the approving comments from her gormless husband, her mother, a beaufuckingtician and her objectifying and frankly, lecherous male neighbour,....there may even be a child passing comment in there somewhere...The whole advert is staggering under the weight of its own misogyny. It would be funny if it weren't so mind-warpingly, stomach-emptyingly vile. As yet, I do not know how I will make it through my anger and out to the other side without my brain bursting. I am going to write to WW, telling them of my horror at this appalling advert. I urge you all to do the same. And if you EVER feel tempted to join in and throw away your hard-earned money and self-esteem, remember that WW is a COMPANY. They EXIST to make money. From you. Fuckers.


Edith said...

Christ. That's all I have to say. Oh, and: WW is WWeird.

spotted elephant said...

Yeah, everyone has a right to judge her appearance. Ex-fat is the only "moral" way to be.

A great feminist commercial would be to have the woman in question as the focus, and she could declare that she got rid of all the pain and stupidity in her life. She stopped starving herself, got divorced, and told her mom and neighbor to f*ck off. :) If we're ever rich feminists we'll have to do that.

v said...

which reminds me, i had a mini rant to make about WW myself, i'll link over here when i'm done :P

v said...

done, but it was slim fast. all these diet things blend into one, dont they..

Sapphi said...

I was just passing, and saw this, and felt like I needed to comment. I haven't seen the advert because I don't watch a lot of tv, but this just gives me the fear. The old ads about women who were so much happier now that they had lost weight were bad enough, but reducing the woman to something that only exists because other people talk about her is worse. But hey, at least it's truthful - how you feel doesn't matter as long as your husband, mother, neighbours and people you hardly know can approve of your weight.

Anonymous said...

Incredible. So, women only exist as creations of others. The "overweight" woman (and we are not even given any evidence of how "overweight" she was in the first place) has completely disappeared, become a myth, something that we only know exists because other people talk about her.

It sounds like she died and her family and friends are eulogising her after the funeral.

What does it say? That by conforming to some man-made image of what a woman should look like, women should slim so much that they literally disappear from view (and what, stop being offensive).

In the Victorian era, women were supposed to be "seen and not heard", now we are not even allowed to be seen, let alone speak for ourselves.

On a practical note, you should really complain to the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds that this advert is offensive.