The “I am Julie” advertisments that hint at a magical weight loss cure really irritate me. Who is actually going to ask their doctor about “Julie’s story”? The other morning I was standing in the subway underneath a picture of Julie’s butt and thigh. Said butt and thigh came packaged in black lace panties, garters, and stockings. Next to the photograph, propaganda in cursive script addressed the consumer: “What would you do with a few pounds less?” Julie’s answer: “Last night I did a striptease for my husband.” I can only hope her husband wasn’t responsible for the absent upper body and lower legs.
More annoyance followed. Immediately to the right of Julie’s striptease testimony was a poster sponsored by The Toronto Public Health Board. It featured a little girl holding a tape measure around her waist and saying, “I could stand to lose a few pounds.” The TBHB exhorted parents (i.e. mothers like Julie) to watch what they say about food and weight, lest kids become obsessed with fat.
Under the poster there was a pull-off fact sheet which proclaimed in bold print and all caps “Your kids are listening.” The paper urged parents to be good role models and to “teach your child that body images used by the mediea are not realistic.” Fair enough, but how are youngsters supposed to learn this when Julie’s cellulite-free butt is everywhere, including right beside the Health Board poster? Why does the self-acceptance lesson fall so heavily on parents when our media constantly sends poisonous messages? Campaign for real beauty? Yeah, right. How about campaign for government sanctimony and contradiction?