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Meredith
24th March 2012, 10:38
It's usually best to avoid these kinds of stories, as they often end up just giving publicity to the denounced companies. But this is too appalling a case to pass by.

The CEO of one of the most toxic diet-starvation companies, a company that profits off of making young women hate their bodies, has, appallingly, been asked to speak at a conference for school girls.

This is state-sanctioned promotion of eating disorders and body hatred, no less.

Fortunately, someone has started a petition against it. You can sign it here:

https://www.change.org/petitions/stop-jenny-craig-s-ceo-from-presenting-at-girls-schools-conference

The text of the petition is excellent:

On May 25 Amy Smith, the CEO of Jenny Craig, will present to a conference of educators for the Alliance for Girls' Schools (AGSA). Described as a "champion of women's health" by Catherine Misson, Principal of Melbourne Girls Grammar School, Jenny Craig's CEO will be enlisted to "inspire" attendees: what they learn will impact on what they bring back to the classroom.
"Inspire" them? To do what? Inspire them to hate themselves? Inspire them to starve? What kind of sick mind can call this "inspiration"?

Already letters from health professionals have begun flooding in, with some voicing their protests from as far as the US and Middle East. They all agree on one thing: Global giant Jenny Craig, which profits from the billion-dollar diet industry, is not an appropriate 'leader' for educators of young girls.

Bombarded relentlessly with toxic body-image messages, girls are constantly pressured to conform to an unrealistic and narrow ideal. Eating disorder experts report dieting to be the biggest predictor of eating disorders, with unhealthy weight loss practices becoming the norm in schools.

By the age of 12-17, 90% of girls will have been on a diet of some kind. 8% of teen girls smoke to control their weight, and many compete to see who can eat the least number of calories during lunch at school.

We are putting young people at risk of developing eating disorders and a lifetime pattern of unhealthy weight loss practices.
How can any school board sanction having a representative of one of these companies come in and begin poisoning girls' minds at a vulnerable, impressionable age?

Global giant Jenny Craig thrives on women's body dissatisfaction and the idea that their bodies are ‘not good enough.’ What is really being sold is weight cycling for most.

Regardless of what Jenny Craig's CEO is speaking about, having the Jenny Craig brand adopt a leadership role legitimizes the diet industry and sends a strong message to educators that weight is what matters most. One could just as easily have the CEO of a tobacco company present an "inspiring" talk on their business success.
The comparison is precisely apt. In fact, if anything, it is too generous to the diet-starvation industry, because at least the tobacco industry is nominally regulated in terms of where and how it can advertise and sell its products. But starvation-propaganda is unlicensed and ubiquitous, not just in the form of direct ads from these diet companies, but also in the visuals of the entire fashion industry, which promotes an emaciated appearance.

The petition makes this crucial point about how insidious and harmful this appearance by a diet-starvation CEO could be:

We wonder how many educators will walk away thinking weight loss should be on their agenda (and that Jenny Craig will be there to help them)? How many will transfer these negative body beliefs - consciously or subconsciously - to their students?

It beggars belief how Jenny Craig's CEO could possibly be seen as an appropriate choice for educators of young girls, let alone a "champion of women's health."

Several attempts have been made to discuss the issue with Jan Butler, conference organizer, however she has refused to discuss the issue.

It's time to escalate matters. Please sign the petition and tell Jan Butler it's time for Jenny Craig's CEO to go!!
Sign the petition. Take a stand. Stop this insanity at this point.

And if ever any school, anywhere, ever tries to bring in representatives from diet-starvation companies, which comprise the most harmful industry on the planet, make sure to stop them, thus keeping them from warping girls' minds.

Pamela
28th March 2012, 13:06
An article published yesterday seconds the notion that allowing a diet profiteer to begin recruiting future victims by delivering a speech at a school function is an obscenity, and must be stopped.

http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/the-weightloss-industry-has-no-place-in-our-schools-20120327-1vwf8.html

The author describes a nightmarish, humiliating scenario from her school days. I find it appalling that any girls have ever been subjected to such a barbaric public shaming. It sounds like something out of a dystopian novel.

I was 12 years old when I first came face to face with a set of body-fat calipers. It was year 7 health class and we were learning about weight management and body image. The teacher produced a pair of calipers and asked for a volunteer to be measured. No one moved. She scanned the room and eventually landed on me. Next thing I knew, I was lying down on the teacher's desk as she measured the fat on my thighs.

I suspect she picked me as the guinea pig because I was neither dangerously thin, nor heavily overweight. But as she read out my thigh-fat percentage to the class and declared it to be ''normal'', I frowned. By age 12 I had well and truly internalised the idea that ''normal'' meant ''not thin'' and anything other than ''thin'' was undesirable. When I returned home that day I weighed myself and resolved to lose five kilograms.
Calipers? Good God. No wonder this experienced warped the author's mind and deceived her into associating "underweight" with "normal," as most women do in our thin-supremacist culture.

The article identifies the weaselly way in which the diet industry deludes women into subjecting them to starvation: by pretending that body diminishment is some kind of magical path to fulfillment.

The dieting industry - a billion-dollar industry that profits off body dissatisfaction - is responsible for the extraordinary pressure placed on girls.

Every time girls turn on the TV or go online, they are bombarded with ads spruiking weight-loss products. The message they receive is not simply that ''thin is in'' but that body transformation leads to a happier life.
Far from it, it is a route to sure misery.

The author correctly indicates that dieting is, in fact, nothing short of a self-imposed eating disorder:

Many techniques endorsed by the dieting industry actually mimic and encourage eating-disordered behaviour.

According to eating disorder specialist Lydia Jade Turner, dieting is the biggest predictor of eating disorders and unhealthy weight loss practices are becoming the norm in schools
Given the fact that the diet-starvation is simply a peddler of mental and physical abuse, the idea that one of its representatives would be legitimized by a school board is intolerable:

It is no secret that the dieting industry has a vested interest in recruiting young girls in order to make them lifelong customers.

So why has Amy Smith, the chief executive of Jenny Craig, been invited to give the keynote address at a prestigious girls' schools conference to be hosted in May this year? Regardless of what she speaks about, why would anyone who directly profits from female body dissatisfaction be given a platform at a girls' school event?

When 12-year-old girls hate their thighs, the only one who wins is the dieting industry. The diet industry should be kept out of our schools, not given a platform within them.
Let's hope that the petition stops this diet peddler from appearing at this or any school function, and that henceforth, all representatives of this truly evil industry are banned from any public appearances.

M. Lopez
1st April 2012, 20:59
Lydia Jade Turner, the courageous and dedicated (and telegenic) woman who created the petition to stop this diet-starvation propagandist from warping girls' minds at an educators' conference, recently appeared on the news in Australia and got the opportunity to face the woman who organized the conference and invited the CEO of the diet organization to speak.

It's a shame that Ms. Turner wasn't able to confront the diet CEO herself, but at least she was able to make her case before the Australian public and state how appalling this situation is. Ms. Turner makes her case very passionately and eloquently. She states, point blank, that "This is an industry that's killing girls." And it is.

Watch the woman who organized the conference squirm as she is asked to defend her decision. She refuses to even name the diet peddler's position as the head of a starvation company; instead she equivocates about what a "successful businesswoman" she is. What rot! "Successful" at profiting off women's misery! "Successful" at ruining the body image of young girls. That kind of "success" is something to be ashamed of. If anything, the diet CEO should be held up as an example NOT to follow, a warning to all business women never to sell out by working for such a toxic industry.

Here's the video:


<div><iframe frameborder="0" width="690" height="388" src="http://d.yimg.com/nl/australia/au-tv/player.html#vid=28776303&shareUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fau.tv.yahoo.com%2Fthe-morning-show%2Fvideo%2F-%2Fwatch%2F28776303&browseCarouselUI=hide&playbackStart=0&repeat=0"></iframe></div>

The only downside is that the conference organizer, far from being persuaded to drop the diet CEO from its conference, seems sickeningly gleeful at the publicity she has garnered from the criticism. This is the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't problem with any such campaigns. On the one hand, one MUST condemn intolerable situations such as this. But on the other hand, such controversies often only end up benefitting the malefactors, by giving them free publicity. The Catholic Church learned this dismal lesson long ago, when it saw that, by attempting to protest works of obscenity and perversion, it only ended up inadvertently promoting them.

I applaud Lydia Jade Turner for her noble efforts, and am now even more appalled at the crassness of the conference, both for inviting the diet CEO in the first place and now for gloating about the publicity that it has been given, rather than seriously considering the ethical implications of its actions.

In every way, this conference will be teaching its participants the wrong lesson.