Not everyone can combine body shaming, inaccurate information about health and fitness, and cultural incompetence – but Jillian Michaels sure can. A while ago some troll signed me up for Jillian Michael’s e-mail list. I find it fascinatingly horrifying that she seems to have no professional ethics and will say absolutely anything for money and so I never unsubscribed, instead dumping her e-mails – all with the subject “Losing it with Jillian Michaels” – into a folder for future blogging. Well, today is the day:
It will be no surprise to regular readers that I think Jillian Michaels is an abusive ego-maniac, who puts people in danger both on the abomination of a television show that made her famous, and in her subsequent solo work. Today I want to take a look at a few of the “greatest hits” from her “Losing it with Jillian Michaels” emails:
“Skinny jeans”? No, I’ll just rock my fat jeans, thanks.
“Dreaded Muffin Top”? Jillian loves to use this kind panic-inducing body shaming language. to get her readers to hate their bodies so that they keep paying her money. This is, as my friend CJ Legare puts it, stealing people’s self-esteem so that she can cheapen it and sell it to us at a profit.
“Trust me.” Ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha. Good one Jillian, you might be dangerously incompetent, but at least you’re hilarious!
“Really help you sculpt those trouble zones”? Say it with me, there’s no such thing as spot reducing, I started teaching aerobics in the early nineties and even then they told us that it was important to counteract the myth that you can “spot-sculpt” any part of the body. It’s 20 years later and Jillian doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo on this.
This would be hilarious if it weren’t so messed up. First she’s trying to make us fear the “dreaded muffin top,” now she wants us to focus on health and love our “imperfect” body? The most ridiculous thing though, is the picture of Jillian that accompanies this message:
Then there is the e-mail I noticed today:
First of all, this is hella disrespectful to Japanese Sumo culture. No loincloth? Wrestlers may look funny and flabby? As long we we’re talking about words that start with F, I have one for Jillian.
Then there’s the “funny and flabby BUT strength and balance” mess. This “someone who looks like this” BUT “they are actually physically fit/talented etc.” is the language of stigma and stereotypes and, in this case, fatphobia. The wrestlers look “funny” to her because she’s culturally incompetent. The fact that she thinks that she needs to say that they are “flabby BUT they’re ACTUALLY powerhouses of strength and balance” tells you that Jillian holds certain stereotypes about fat people, and instead of using this opportunity to examine her appearance-based prejudices, she’s creating a very specific exception so that she can hold onto her stereotypes.
I’m “Losing it with Jillian Michaels” alright – I’m losing any shred of respect, any lingering hope that she might become competent, and any patience or compassion that I might have had for her. I’m losing everything but the certainty that she will say absolutely anything for money and fame, and that she is hurting people and it no longer matters whether it’s because she’s delusional, incompetent, or she just doesn’t care.
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