Jillian Michaels Is Still Trying to Glamorize Bullying

I guess that Jillian Michaels was desperate to get in the news again because she’s on Yahoo.com talking nonsense in a piece titled “Jillian Michaels warns of ‘glamorizing’ obesity: ‘We’re politically correct to the point of endangering people.”

She starts out well, giving (what turns out to be) lip service to the actual truth – that body diversity is normal and bullying and body shaming are not good for anyone’s health. She says:

Yes, we want to be inclusive of everyone [and respect that] everyone comes in all different shapes and sizes.”

Good, because that’s the only right thing to do. She goes on…

Nobody should ever be body shamed or fat-shamed or excluded and that everyone is equally deserving and should feel equally valuable.

Exactly right Jillian. You’re on a roll.

 But obesity in itself is not something that should be glamorized. But we’ve become so politically correct that no one wants to say it.”

Aaaaaand she drove the truth truck right off a cliff.

The idea of “glamorizing” the result of a math equation wherein someone’s weight in pounds times 703 divided by their height in inches squared is greater than 30 is not only ridiculous on its face, it’s ridiculous at every level.

Like the closely-related (or perhaps thing she actually meant to say) concept of “glorifying obesity,” this just isn’t a real thing. Fat people being allowed to exist, be happy, do stuff, live our lives, achieve things, be in the spotlight etc. aren’t “glamorizing fatness” we’re just being happy, doing stuff, living our lives, achieving things, and being in the spotlight. We talked about this at length here.

Besides which, either you think that everyone is equally deserving and equally valuable, or you (wrongly) believe that some people’s body size should be “glamorized” (whatever the hell you think that means) and some shouldn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

Our culture glamorizes thinness and shames, stigmatizes, and oppresses fatness. The notion that the world might actually start to, as Jillian just said it should, be inclusive of people of all sizes, isn’t about glamorizing fat bodies (though of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with glamorizing fat bodies,) it’s about equality of access and options for people of all sizes because, as Jillian so eloquently put it, “everyone is equally deserving and should feel equally valuable.”

The message “everyone is equally deserving and should feel equally valuable, but fat people should still be made to see their bodies as bad and wrong, but that’s, like, totally not fat-shaming” would be laughable if it wasn’t used to harm so many people.

“I think the world has shifted to a place where [the Biggest Loser] format and messaging is considered fat-shaming,” she explained. “But it isn’t, and it’s not meant to be. Now we’ve gone so far in the opposite direction.”

The Biggest Loser format and messaging were nothing but fat-shaming. The entire show was based on the premise that a fat body is bad, a thin body is good, and that fat people, (including children,) should be physically and emotionally abused  (for profit!)  I’m completely convinced that if The Biggest Loser had been shot with dogs instead of people it would not have lasted more than one episode because people wouldn’t have tolerated dogs being treated that way.

The “direction” of The Biggest Loser was shaming, stigmatizing, bullying, and oppressing fat people on the show, and by extension in the world. There is no way to go too far in the opposite direction. We should be going in the opposite direction as fast and far as we possibly can. The day they went off the air was a celebration, but unfortunately, they are coming back again.

There is no way to go “too far” in the direction of people being treated with respect and equality regardless of size.

Jillian Michaels is nothing but a bully who wants a world where she can continue to use fatphobia to profit off her weight loss lie. That’s bad enough, but trying to co-opt the language of fat activists to do it is a new level of despicable, even for her.

Was this post helpful? If you appreciate the work that I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat-positive stuff, a monthly e-mail keeping them up to date on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask me questions that I answer in a members-only monthly Q&A Video!)

Need some fat-positive end-of-year cheer? Here’s a playlist of re-vamped holiday songs that highlight things like the importance of fat-friendly seating, singing the praises of our amazing bodies, and just saying no to giving unsolicited weight-loss gifts. Enjoy!

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Body Love Obstacle Course

This e-course that includes coaching videos, a study guide, and an ebook with the tools you need to create a rock-solid relationship with your body. Our relationships with our bodies don’t happen in a vacuum, so just learning to see our beauty isn’t going to cut it. The world throws obstacles in our way – obstacles that aren’t our fault, but become our problem. Over the course of this program, Ragen Chastain, Jeanette DePatie, and six incredible guest coaches will teach you practical, realistic, proven strategies to go above, around, and through the obstacles that the world puts in front of you when it comes to living an amazing life in the body you have now.
Price: $99.00
($79.00 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Wellness for All Bodies ProgramA simple, step-by-step, super efficient guide to setting and reaching your health goals from a weight-neutral perspective.  This program can be used by individuals, or by groups, including as a workplace wellness program!
Price: $25.00 ($10 for DancesWithFat members – register on the member page)

Love It! 234 Inspirations And Activities to Help You Love Your Body
This is filled with thoughtful advice from the authors Jeanette DePatie, Ragen Chastain, and Pia Sciavo-Campo as well as dozens of other notable names from the body love movement, the book is lovingly illustrated with diverse drawings from size-positive artist Toni Tails.
Price: $9.99 softcover, $7.99 Kindle, ($6.95 + free shipping for DancesWithFat Members)

Non-Members click here for all the details and to register!

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRON-distance triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!  (DancesWithFat Members get an even better deal, make sure to make your purchases from the Members Page!)

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

I’m (still!) training for an Iron-distance triathlon! You can follow my journey at www.IronFat.com .

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.





7 thoughts on “Jillian Michaels Is Still Trying to Glamorize Bullying

  1. A stunning example of the “false capitulation” or whatever the rhetorical term is, where someone pretends to go along with you for a moment just to put you off guard and then goes right back to spouting crap. And you did a nice job of pointing out how it is also doublethink/internal contradiction, and, of course, bullying.
    You keep up the good work. You will probably never know how many lives you have made easier, or even saved, but some of us might not be here without you and your predecessors.

  2. Teal deer, this whole tantrum is sour grapes because they’re putting The Biggest Loser back on the air but not inviting her, and instead of being mad at the industry higher-ups responsible for that decision, she’s blaming it on fat people wanting rights and equality and stuff.

    Remember, folks, when a fatphobe starts talking about “personal responsibility,” they mean when fatphobes act like entitled vulgarians and/or things go wrong for them, fat people are personally responsible.

    However, that they’re lighting back up the dumpster fire that is [That Show] to stink up a new generation means that, for all these fatphobes kvetching about how the media is glamorizing/glorifying/normalizing “obesity” and society is just getting too PC about weight, we still live in a society where you can drug, dehydrate, and physically brutalize fat people to the point they need surgery to correct the injuries you inflicted… and be rewarded for your actions with MORE power over MORE fat people.

  3. Way. I have seen her face on the edges of celebrity again. I think she really misses the good old days when she was viable as a trend setter, message maker/hate spewer for profit. What she didn’t realize was she had her fifteen minutes, more than, and the culture shifted, millennials don’t want her close-minded, judgmental, exclusive nastiness any more than they want ‘back of the bus racism, how dare you homophobia or you are my property to use/abuse sexism’. Jillian is out of style, and even though hating fat people isn’t gonna disappear, by the time society wants strutting/condemning martinets weight control back, Jillian will be too old to be of interest. Bias number twenty-three- ageism. In Hollywoodland, a 30 year old woman is passe’.

    1. EW. Material on how to marginalize a whole group of people, strip them of their humanity so you can treat them like animals? Was psych health class right? I wish!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.