Jessica Simpson’s Weird Weight Watchers Debut

But the company strangely failed to show the body that she's working to slim down. 
Thu September 13, 2012 1:42 am
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Time for your quarterly update about Jessica Simpson’s waistline. This week, the pop star’s first Weight Watchers commercial debuted, and she appeared on Katie Couric’s new talk show to discuss it.

Simpson gained some fifty pounds while pregnant with her daughter Maxwell, who was born in May and signed a lucrative $4 million contract with Weight Watchers to get back her former figure.

In the 31-second spot, a platinum blond Simpson sits on a white couch in a well-lit room wearing a green top and making strange facial expressions:

I’m Jessica Simpson and yes, I’m doing Weight Watchers. There is a lot of pressure to lose weight but I’m not a supermodel. I’m just Jessica trying to eat real food in the real world and I really just wanna be healthy for my daughter. So I knew Weight Watchers was the only way to go. It’s working. I’m on my way and it feels amazing. Really I just wanna be a better version of myself.

The commercial contains tight shots of Simpson’s face, and never pulls away to show her body, something bloggers, including the Hollywood Reporter ’s Elizabeth Snead found odd . “The first installment of Simpson’s campaign was filmed in July, but strangely, the singer says she was ‘shy’ about her weight back then. And that’s why the commercial does not show her full ‘before’ post-baby figure, which seems like the first thing people will want to see – especially to compare the end results.”

In her appearance on Katie, Jessica explained that the commercial didn’t contain a full-body shot because “I really didn’t want it to be about my weight. I wanted it to be about the spirit of Weight Watchers.”

But at Blisstree, Deborah Dunham didn’t buy that explanation.

Wait, what? You don’t want Weight Watchers to be about losing weight? It’s all about the spirit of the program, not the results of dropping pounds and getting healthier?

That just seems fishy. Sure, Simpson’s body–or any woman’s body, really–is ordinarily none of our business. BUT, when she is repping a weight loss company and featured in their weight loss ad, it should be about her weight loss. Not that we expect her to be in a size 4 after just giving birth and not that we are champing at the bit to body snark and judge her post-baby belly. Because we’re not.

But if you’re going to tell other women to join Weight Watchers and lose weight, then you  should at least be honest about your struggles, your ups and downs of weight loss and an imperfect body–the very things that virtually every woman faces at some point. And that means talking about –and showing–your body and not saying things like, oh, it’s all about the “spirit” of the program. Anything else just feels fake.

Are we missing something here?

Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart did some heavy lifting, rounding up 109 “scarily obsessive headlines about Jessica Simpson’s weight” and bemoaning the existence of this particular national obsession.

Obviously, we’re a very celebrity-obsessed culture. And we’re always talking about weight and body image. Moms and motherhood? Hot topics. Thus, the Jessica Simpson Baby Weight Loss narrative, a combination of three favorite talking points, has become a juggernaut, chugging along for months. It’s not just about her anymore: It’s about fat-shaming, what we expect from mothers, accepting that weight loss is hard work, feeling that celebrities are “just like us” and, of course, Schadenfreude. …     

None of this is groundbreaking, scintillating, newsworthy or interesting, but still: Updates about Jessica’s body will surely continue. This is what America cares about. And Jessica has played along, tweeting about her pedometer and promoting Weight Watchers, as we imagine she is contractually obligated to do. Just to give you an idea of how much information is out there, we’ve been saving Jessica Simpson headlines all summer. She’s struggling, she denies struggling, she’s losing, she’s not losing, her boobs are huge, it’s all here. 109 headlines, not about her accomplishments as a business woman, not about music, her baby, a TV show, movies, charity, or death. About weight.

Read all 109 headlines here.

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