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detention for you, jenny craig

Australian comedian, Wendy Harmer has been approached (more than once) by diet giant Jenny Craig to star in their campaigns. This made her embarrassed and not a little offended. What made her feel even worse though, was the news that a Jenny Craig representative was invited (as part of a group of other invitees) to give a talk to Australian school students. Australian female school students.

What. The. Fuck.

Isn’t it enough that companies like Jenny Craig have already set up shop in the plus size departments in stores in some states (if it reaches Brisbane, I will not be shopping in the departments stores here), but now they have to invade our schools? Warping young girls and their minds?

We’re all already influenced by outside media and our peers. We can’t escape it, even as adults. We’re swimming in it. And we’re the ones who are supposed to be above it all, not impressionable in the slightest. As if.

As a pre-teen and teenager, I was mostly influenced by fashion magazines and my friend group. I thought I was humongous, a complete beast. I was down to eating, literally, an apple a day and hiding it from my family. I can’t imagine how much worse I would be if I also had the addition of a large, adult (respect your elders, your elders know better, adults know all, they’re the authority figures, they would never lie) company watching my every move, deciding what was “good” and “bad” to put into my mouth.

I’ve spoken before about the rep my sister saw who co-opted that Kate Moss quote, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” (really? Not even a peanut butter cup? Dark chocolate with cardamom?). My sister believed this wholly at the age of 23. How much worse would it have been at the age of 13?

I’m glad that a petition was started to protest a representative coming out to speak at the school. I’m glad it was signed by over 1000 people. I can’t believe the idea was even put into motion in the first place, but I guess I’m not entirely surprised by it either. Marketing for absolutely everything starts young (think of the commercials played during the day on television solely aimed at stay-at-home mothers and children that are too young for school) and continues on through the rest of our lives. How are we ever expected to fight it when it is everywhere, and particularly when it’s invited in? If adults can’t fight it, how do we expect children to?

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