• Tue, Feb 18 - 11:45 am ET

Jessica Simpson’s New Weight Watchers Ad Proves You Don’t Have To Shame People Into Losing Weight

jessica-simpsonJessica Simpson has a new commercial for Weight Watchers and it’s surprisingly body-positive. Even though, you know, it’s a commercial for a company that wants to take your money in order to teach you how to make yourself thinner.

Entitled “This Body,” the ad shows J. Simpson cavorting around in a sexy black dress and saying things she likes about her body, including that it carried two children. She says, “I love this body and what’s capable of, no matter what size.” She says, “My body, like my life, is a work in progress.”

Well, ok! I’m on board with this, more or less. It’s certainly a better way of looking at weight loss and weight loss management than like, weirdly Photoshopped before-and-after pics or personal stories about how ashamed and terrible a person felt when they were overweight. Jessica looks healthy, she’s smiling, she seems relatable.

Jessica’s last round of media attention for her weight loss and work with Weight Watchers was also more body-positive than not, so I feel like things are moving in a good direction, both for Weight Watchers and hopefully for weight loss advertisements as a whole. People, especially women, are losing patience with the body-shaming and body-negativity that pervades our media. We want to see different types of bodies and we want those different types of bodies to be celebrated for their very differences. Obviously, Weight Watchers isn’t going to ever say “Hey, it’s ok to be fat!” but by changing the rhetoric of the way their spokespeople, like Jessica, discuss their own bodies, the company is contributing in a small way to making culture just a bit more body-positive.

Of course, no matter how body positive the language and tone is, it’s still an ad for a weight loss company. And when you’re selling weight loss, the implicit argument is that being overweight is bad. There’s a little of that in Jessica’s ad, like when she talks about liking “this version” (aka the thin version) of her body. Still, as I said, I’d way rather see weight loss peddled in this fashion than in the sketchy way that seems common with lots of other companies. Baby steps, you know?

Photo: Getty Images North America

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  • Lindsey Conklin

    I actually think the video is well done. Good job, Jessica. no shaming involved

  • http://ThePeppercat.com/ Candace

    Yeah! It’s still trying to sell weight loss, but the line having the body “she wants” nails it. No one should feel like they have to lose weight, but some people want to look different than they do, and that’s okay too.

  • JennyWren

    This is really the only way I can stick to a good exercise/diet routine. Body shaming is really based on comparison, and the minute you start comparing yourself with other people it’s all over. There’s always going to be someone faster/stronger/slimmer than you. In the past I would get totally discouraged because I was so far “behind” the women I saw running for hours at a time on the treadmill that there didn’t seem to be any point in even trying. It took a long time for me to just focus on what I was doing and to remember that every time I exercised I was getting stronger. And once you understand that this isn’t a quick fix, and that it’s something you’ll be working on for the rest of your life, there’s something very freeing about that.

  • Anonachocolatemousse

    I heard this commercial last night and it made me happy. Especially since WW and Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem etc have employed the body shaming technique. Though not nearly as harsh or unrealistic as “diet pill” commercials.

    I don’t think wanting to lose weight and loving yourself should be such a conflict. This is where I get tired of body shaming. I love myself, I’m smart, independent and my body at my current size is capable of awesome stuff. BUT I am also destined for a life of diabetes and infertility (THANKS PCOS!) and losing weight will keep me from being trapped with those issues. So I will love myself at any and all sizes and to me loving myself also means taking care of my body and that’s what I’m doing and that’s what Jessica Simpson is doing.

  • Crayzcheshire

    I saw this commercial a few times and was really enamored with it. Jessica is radiant and evokes her naturally bubbly self, and looks happy.
    As we’re careful not to body-shame ourselves and others, it’s also important for us not to shame those who are choosing to change their current shape/size, ESPECIALLY when it’s making them healthier! Additionally, some people need a little guidance, some people need a lot, and help isn’t usually free… therefore I don’t think that JC & WW etc are bad for offering their services. That’s like saying personal trainers are taking advantage of their clients (but on a large scale)… like yeah I could ‘technically’ do all those moves on my own… but sometimes just having the schedule / responsibility / simplicity of choice, makes (some of) us want to stick to it.
    Nothing wrong with loving your body, or trying to improve it… Even if that means you need to spend $ to get help get you there. <3

  • Crayzcheshire

    And for whatever it’s worth… at least these companies are promoting a healthy lifestyle to get a realistic body… as opposed to bs such as the victoria’s secret diet & exercise plan which is promoted in women’s mags. And at the end of the day, Jessica is a smart & beautiful millionaire who chose to make further millions by promoting her weight-loss. I could only DREAM for that business opportunity! ;) <3