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Queen, We Need To Talk | Manolo for the Big Girl

Queen, We Need To Talk

Can I talk to you, Queen Latifah? Just for a second over here? Thanks.

Jenny Craig? Really? Do you remotely need them? I completely understand how getting your name on their spokespuppet list is doing them a world and a half of good, but what about you? What about your legions of fans who adore your curves and your confidence in said curves?

I’m glad you’ve decided to focus your message on healthy living rather than straight up weight loss, but I can’t help thinking there are better ways of getting that message across than signing on to advertise a company that makes millions every year off of sending out the punishing message that fat is automatically ugly and any woman who is fat is simply lazy and gluttonous…and needs to spend hundreds of dollars every single month on specially made, pre-packaged foods if she’s going to learn to be thin.

Eating healthy foods and getting adequate exercise are excellent goals we all should be trying to meet more often in our lives, but couldn’t you have put out an exercise DVD? Written a book of your favorite healthy recipes? Designed a line of gym clothes? Gone on Oprah to talk about keeping fit and strong regardless of size? Any of these or a dozen other ideas would have gotten the concept out there without making women feel bad about their bodies. Jenny Craig exists to make us feel inadequate. If we already love our bodies, we don’t need Jenny Craig to fix them, after all.

Don’t get me wrong, Queen, I’m still going to love a lot about you. You’re a beautiful woman with a boatload of talent. But every time I see you in a Jenny Craig commercial, it’s going to make me sad. What I always loved most about you was your ability to show us all how to be comfortable in our own skins. You led by example, proving by your very existance that bountiful is beautiful, that size doesn’t define attractiveness, and that confidence is the best aphrodisiac.

I just wish you hadn’t made a deal with this particular devil, even in the excellent name of healthy living.

17 Responses to “Queen, We Need To Talk”

  1. smmo January 26, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    Given that my mother went on Jenny Craig, lost some weight, and then ended up in the ER for emergency gall bladder surgery, I can say with feeling that I HATE Jenny Craig and all it represents. Eating prefab food is NOT a healthy lifestyle. JC exists for the sole purpose of making money, not helping women or anybody else except their executives and shareholders.

    So I am extremely disappointed in Queen Latifah. I always thought she was such an independent spirit, defying expectations all through her career. Now? She’s just another sell out.

  2. rosarita January 26, 2008 at 3:58 pm #

    smmo, I’m sorry about your mother, and I agree with your opinion of Dana Owens, aka Queen Latifah. Her last couple of movies haven’t done very well, and this Jenny Craig gig does seem like a smooth way for her to make some decent cash, but it makes me sad and disappointed, too.

  3. Ripley January 26, 2008 at 4:48 pm #

    When I saw the ad, I was sad too. I said to my husband, “Oh, no! Queen Latifah’s shilling for Jenny Craig!” And he said, “Why? She’s beautiful.”

  4. Olivia January 26, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    I swear, when I first saw that commercial, my first thought was “What will the super fantastics at Manolo Big say?”

  5. Jennie January 26, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    Yes, we are all mourning the sell out of one of our heroines. However, please tell me honestly, Jenny Craig reps walk up to you with a check made out for, let’s say, 5 million dollars. Do you:
    A. Spit in their face.
    B. Say dramatically, “I will not, for it compromises my ideals!” (giant arm flourish)
    C. Tilt your nose up and snarl “Paltry sum!”
    D. “So all I have to do is a few commercials and lose 20 or 30 pounds? Hell YES!”

  6. Kimocean January 26, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    As someone who spent thousands of dollars with Jenny Craig I was really dissapointed with this. The “consultants” at JC are so focused on making money that they don’t help you transition to real foods (they make commission off the products you buy) and I couldn’t maintain the loss on my own. I ended up in debt and fatter than I’d begun. This is a company that preys on woman’s insecurities and it really disapoints me to see the Queen selling out for them. There must be other ways she could have supported herself, she’s a talented woman. Sometimes morals have to win over money.

  7. Kimocean January 26, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    As someone who spent thousands of dollars with Jenny Craig I was really dissapointed with this. The “consultants” at JC are so focused on making money that they don’t help you transition to real foods (they make commission off the products you buy) and I couldn’t maintain the loss on my own. I ended up in debt and fatter than I’d begun. This is a company that preys on woman’s insecurities and it really disapoints me to see the Queen selling out for them. There must be other ways she could have supported herself, she’s a talented woman. Sometimes morals have to win over money.

  8. Kimocean January 26, 2008 at 7:16 pm #

    As someone who spent thousands of dollars with Jenny Craig I was really dissapointed with this. The “consultants” at JC are so focused on making money that they don’t help you transition to real foods (they make commission off the products you buy) and I couldn’t maintain the loss on my own. I ended up in debt and fatter than I’d begun. This is a company that preys on woman’s insecurities and it really disapoints me to see the Queen selling out for them. There must be other ways she could have supported herself, she’s a talented woman. Sometimes morals have to win over money.

  9. Kimks January 26, 2008 at 7:38 pm #

    Like Olivia, when I first saw the Ad I wonddereed HMM, what will the Manolo Women Say. What is disturbing is that I know of bigger teenage girls who are really dissapointed in her- Yes Queen is emphasizing health in the ads, but for many young Superfantastic Women out there who looked to Queen for inspiration and proof that you can be super fantastic and super cool and super curvy, this is breaking their hearts. She has seriously sold out. Jenny Craig does not teach you how to eat in the real world- there is no real food in their food. If she had to sale out to a diet chain, their are others with life affirming, real food, real world HEALTHY models.
    I am so dissappointed. She sold out, and legions of young, healthy but bigger girls have lost a true role model. I really hope she sees the error of her ways.

  10. Urban Chick January 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm #

    Agree. I kept hoping it was just random net rumor…until I saw the interview on morning TV. I am so disappointed with her choice to go with Jenny Craig.
    Ironically, it was the ease of the endorsement dollar that probably drew her to it. True, she could have put out a book or a DVD – but that requires a lot more work than signing on the dotted line and a few days of shooting.
    And even though the premise is all about “better health”,there’s the underlying unspoken message of “not only is big not beautiful….it’s DANGEROUS”. If she had struck out on her own, it would have been a truly ground breaking HAES moment.

  11. Jeanine aka MsChilePepper January 27, 2008 at 12:47 am #

    I’m disapointed, too. I’ve always felt she was an incredibly talented, beautiful woman who demands to be accepted for who she is. She has been outspoken about not wanting to erase that scar she has on her forehead, and also about her breast reduction. I applauded and admired her for those things, as well as her “take me as I am” attitude.

    Tangentially, I have eaten samples of both NutriSystem’s and Jenny Craig’s prefab food, and that shit is fucking FOUL! Granted, I’m very, very picky about food, in that I do not eat boxed, prepackaged, premade junk. I can’t stomach so much of the shit that people eat and rave about. McGriddles? Gag me!

    I grew up in a restaurant family, and my Mum is a FANTASTIC cook who taught me well. Fresh, made-from-scratch is what I’m all about. Of course, living in Seattle, I have access to lots of fresh options, as well as amazing restaurants for any sort of cuisine I could want. Thai? Indian? Fresh seafood? Yes!

    I may have a big ass, but I sure didn’t get it from fast food and prepackaged crap!

  12. sara January 27, 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    I agree with all of you – it made me really sad. Embracing a healthy lifestyle is great, embracing a life full of prepacked frozen dinners is not. That’s not HEALTHY.

    I’m sad, too, because Queen rocks my world.

  13. Bridey January 28, 2008 at 1:50 pm #

    How sad. I’ve been a Queen Latifah admirer for quite some time — I think she is hands-down the most beautiful woman in pop music right now — and I find this extremely disappointing.

    I mean, I’ve no objection to people making money any honest way they can (though whether weight-loss shilling counts as honest, exactly, is a debatable point). But Latifah has been so noteworthy as a fat woman who has had some success in a murderously competitive and looks-driven field that this is really quite discouraging.

    And crummy little boxes of expensive frozen food have not a thing in the world to do with healthy living. And Latifah must be aware of that, however she’s spinning this decision. She’s a lot of things, but I never thought she was stupid.

  14. Dent January 29, 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    I saw the ad and was disappointed. She is supposed to focus on being healthy, not losing weight. But at the end of the ad there is a voiceover saying “lose 20 pounds for $20”.

    And as Urban Chick noted, it seems the underlying subtext is “being overweight is dangerous”.

  15. Single Girls February 1, 2008 at 3:28 am #

    Hier sind auch sch

  16. Nemtynakht February 13, 2008 at 9:27 pm #

    A little outdated, but still… I just saw the ad, and I actually liked it. No, I’m not inspired to join Jenny Craig, but yes, she does stay true to her word and promote health over weight loss. The ad actually got me thinking about losing 10% of my body weight and how much healthier/more energetic I’d be. Hmm…

  17. Lydia January 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    I lost some weight with diet and exercise and ended up getting my gallbladder out too. It’s not the weight loss program’s fault – it’s just that the body can’t handle it. If you lose weight at a rate where your body can’t process it all fast enough, you end up with gallstones. Any heavy person losing weight loses a lot fast and then slows down…that initial rapid weight loss is more than enough to cause gallstones. I’m still dieting and still exercising…the surgery didn’t phase me, and it certainly shouldn’t be a reason not to get healthy.