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:
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.