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My World is Full of Can | Manolo for the Big Girl

My World is Full of Can

I’m sure others of you out there in Big Girl Land have seen Jennifer Hudson’s current Weight Watchers commercial, where she starts off by saying that before she found WW, her world was full of ‘can’t’.

Really, Jennifer?

This is a woman who competed on American Idol, started a singing/acting career and won an Oscar, all while being fat.

As far as I’m concerned, her choice to join WW is just that: a choice. It isn’t one I would make, nor is it one I would particularly encourage, but it’s her choice, she made it, and I honestly do hope that she’s happy with the choice she made.

But here’s the thing, being fat didn’t stop her from living a worthwhile life. It doesn’t stop me from living a worthwhile life. It doesn’t need to stop anyone from living a worthwhile life.

My life is filled with can. I can write. I can laugh. I can cook and bake. I can do craftwork. I can have a happy marriage to a wonderful man. I can fight for social justice. I can entrance children and cats. I can work to overcome my own fears. I can exercise my logic. I can share my joy in life with others. I can sing. I can walk distances. I can swim. I can hold a friend’s hand in a crisis – and have done so even across continents. I can both win and lose gracefully. I can be gloriously stylish on my own terms. I can see beyond my own choices to accept those the people I love make for themselves.

I may never win an Oscar (in fact, I kind of doubt I will since I’ve never been in a major release film), but there’s so much I can be and do.

I can.

I do.

I will.

And honey, I don’t need to reach a particular goal weight to do it.

16 Responses to “My World is Full of Can”

  1. Dawn September 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    Thank you! So very well said. I’m going to read this like a mantra to myself whenever I’m not feeling my wonderful, glorious, radiant, best. Thankfully, that isn’t too often because my life is filled with “can” too! Keep up the good work.

  2. Lisa from SoCal September 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    This whole narrative always annoyed me about Oprah, too, and her dialogue about herself when she was fat. Excuse me, you were amazing when you were fat, you are amazing now. Or, alternatively, Oprah fat jokes made by thin people who are unemployed lunchbuckets who can’t hold a job and whose kids can’t stand them. It’s like, oh yeah? How many multi-billion-dollar media empires and Oscar nominations have you gotten recently? Hmmmm?

  3. Thea September 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Thank you Twistie. I’m gonna keep this one too.

    And I agree with Lisa, I wish Oprah would just OWN her weight and stop apologizing. Heck if she would come out of the closet and say “Folks, even with a billion dollars, 24/7 personal trainers/therapists/chefs – I STILL couldn’t keep off the weight, because ya know what? Some of us are built this way. And ya know what else? I can still buy and sell your ass and I am not apologizing any more.

  4. txbunny September 15, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Amen Miss Twistie Amen.

  5. that redhead September 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm #


  6. Peaches September 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    I agree. The WW campaign has always bothered me. Just another message to us that we are not as valuable as the thin folks.

  7. Mifty September 15, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    I’m with Thea, and with Lisa — except that I would say that, to be fair, people who take shots at Oprah’s weight are only doing what she does herself.

    There is a great deal to admire about Oprah Winfrey, and she can obviously say whatever she wants, if that’s how she feels. But her message that being fat is a personal failure, and that it casts a shadow over any and every other accomplishment, seems very destructive.

  8. Curiousityandserenity September 15, 2010 at 7:18 pm #

    Good post. I wouldn’t have made the choice to endorse WW because I am suspicious of commercial dieting and don’t believe it works long-term.

    But I see where she could have been tempted to take the money. First of all, it’s a check.

    Jen is in the entertainment industry and it still doesn’t have a great deal of non-stereotypical roles for heavier black women, particularly in movies and TV. Her music career is less affected because it’s traditional soul, not crossover pop.

    Plus, Jen’s the primary breadwinner — her fiance has a Harvard Law degree but is not productively using it. When you can make six figures as a lawyer or CEO, I don’t get why one would take a risk in entertainment, but ah well.

  9. AmyK September 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Coincidentally, my can is full of life.

    (In all serious, this is very well put.)

  10. Jess September 15, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Hell yeah! This add makes me feel like she thinks that everything she did before she lost weight wasn’t good enough because she was fat (and really not all that big anyway). It also makes me not like her very much. I used to look at her and say to myself, “There she is, a big girl who has done fantastic things. She is a singer and an actress and successful at both!” It was proof to me that Hollywood (or parts of it anyway) was becoming less skinny centric, but I guess not if she feels she has to be skinny. It’s disappointing because I know that I can do anything I want, be whomever I decide to be (yes even with my huge fat ass) and I feel sorry for her because she obviously thinks she can’t, even with all of her successes.

  11. Amy September 15, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Ugh THANK YOU THANK YOU!! The Jenny Craig commercial with Sara Rue ALSO make me so ANGRY! Her comment that she couldn’t leave the house sometimes because she was fat and couldn’t find any pants that fit. Um really?!?!?! I’m a size 22-26 (depends on the brand), have suffered the occasional low self esteem where I feel like absolute crap, hate myself, can’t find anything to wear, blah, blah, blah. But then I get over myself (and found a really awesome tailor), because life is TOO DARN SHORT to focus on your so called flaws and hide inside. Go out and enjoy your life (and maybe get some anti depressants sweetie because you are suffering from depression and YOU need to fix that before you ‘fix’ your weight ‘issue’).

  12. ChaChaheels September 16, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    For Hudson WW wasn’t just any old choice, it was a choice with a big paycheque attached. And that’s a pity, because she could easily have made a choice to endorse any number of products which wouldn’t have made the “fat” issue a discussion at all. In fact, she’s the most depressing of the lot, because of her incredible accomplishments–things she managed to do despite the view that she was fat and therefore a lot less worthy of success.

    Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Herbal Magic, whatever multi-billion dollar anti-fat corporation you can choose: most of them are owned by the same companies (like Nestle, Pepsi or Coca Cola, etc) making a fortune selling junk food (and their “portion” foods are exactly that, too), or they’re selling you junk food and “supplements” that are inflated in price and useless. I’d love to see a celebrity make a public service announcement to make that fact well known.

    That would be a celebrity spokesperson you could look up to.

  13. April D September 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    *happy clapping* Honestly if the focus could ever be turned more towards one on “can” and not “can’t” we’d probably be so much happier and MUCH better off in the mental health department!

  14. We (The Awakening Center, Chicago) are participating in Tri-Delta sorority’s “Fat Talk Free Week” October 18-23, 2010 – I love one of their slogans “Friends dont’ let Friends Fat Talk”. I encourage you to look into it! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of the US participated for a week! What if for a whole week we didn’t see Ads for weight loss products or programs!! (…which if they actually worked would put themselves out of business!) You can google them to find out more information!

  15. Plumcake September 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm #

    @Amy Grabowski — and as a Tri-Delt I support this wholeheartedly!

  16. Kemi September 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    Preach!! This is the truth.. this always irritates me about those weight loss commercials–So what happens if/when the weight comes back?!