Jennifer Hudson You Ungrateful Little…

Can't? Really?

NOTE:  For what I think is a very cool update on this see “In Defense of Jennifer Hudson?

I caught Jenifer Hudson’s new Weight Watchers Commercial.  In it she says “Before Weight Watchers, my world was can’t”

This was the most horrifying, angering and frustrating diet commercial I’ve ever seen.

Why?

Before Weigh Watchers, Jennifer Hudson:

Was a finalist on American Idol.

Starred in a major film.

Won TWENTY NINE awards for her debut performance including:

  • Golden Globe
  • NAACP Image Award
  • Screen Actors Guild
  • Academy Award

Was the only person to ever go from a reality show to winning an Oscar

Had a debut album that won a Grammy.

How many actresses have gone an entire successful career without winning an Oscar?  How many singers have been well loved and highly successful without ever winning a Grammy? Let alone winning one each on your FIRST TRY.

So Jennifer, let’s you and me have a chat huh?  If you want to change the size and shape of your body that’s fine. If you reached your goal then celebrate your victory.  If you’re healthier that’s great and if you think that Weight Watchers is healthy and want to try to convince people of that – it’s your prerogative.  But what would possess you to stand there and say that none of your previous accomplishments counted because you weren’t thin?…that before you were thin your whole life was “can’t”.  Discounting not just your work but your fans, and the people who supported you.  I’ve always wanted an Oscar, since it doesn’t mean anything anymore, would you send me the trophy?

I am well aware that Weight Watchers wants us all to believe that there is no such thing as success or happiness unless you’re thin.  The diet industry makes 60 Billion dollars a year by convincing us of that. I am utterly unsurprised that they would write such a script.

What I can’t believe is that Jennifer Hudson is willing to be a part of the message that no matter what you are doing in your life, if you’re not thin it just doesn’t count.  During her Academy Award speech she thanked her Grandma saying “If my grandmother was here to see me now. She was my biggest inspiration.”  Now she is saying that it was nothing.  I wonder how her Grandma would feel about that?

I don’t know what Weight Watchers had to pay to get Jennifer to discount her achievements,  and I don’t  care what she was willing to say for pay. I know that Jennifer Hudson used to know that her life didn’t start 50 pounds from now.  Your life is only “all can’t” if you believe that it is.  If she really believed that her whole life was can’t, she never would have fought for her spot on American Idol.  Never would have won a movie role over hundreds of actresses and singers.  Never would have won a Grammy or an Oscar.

Gabby Sidibe was on the cover of Elle this week.  She says “I sleep with myself every night and I wake up with myself every morning, and if I don’t like myself, there’s no reason to even live the life. I love the way I look. I’m fine with it. They try to paint the picture that I was this downtrodden, ugly girl who was unpopular in school and in life, and then I got this role and now I’m awesome, but the truth is that I’ve been awesome, and then I got this role.”

Your life does not start 10 or 20 or 50 pounds from now. Your life has already started.  You will never get this time back, this day, this moment, this week – they are all gone. If you want to waste the time you have left waiting to be smaller that’s your option.  But if that’s how you’ve been living – aren’t you tired of that?  You DO have a choice, a choice nobody can ever take away from you – you can live an amazing life right now.

The way I know that is because I do. At 5’4, 280 pounds I have a fantastic life.  I am extremely healthy,  I have great friends, I date, I am succeeding in dance – a world completely dominated by a culture of “thinner is better”.  You can do it too. Even if you are trying to change the size of shape of your body, why not be happy and lead a fantastic life while you’re at it?

Unless someone is paying you a lot of money to say that your life is crappy, maybe you want to just go ahead be awesome.

Published in: on September 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm  Comments (53)  

53 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Yes. This. Wonderful post, Ragen!

    • Thanks!

  2. I am glad you wrote you something on this! Ever since she joined Weight Watchers and then appeared on the cover of People or whatever, all thin and happy NOW, I was wondering WWRS – what would Ragen say? I was really disappointed with all this and what she was still quite small to begin with. I mean she could not have been more than a 14? It is upsetting and I hate the wording that always comes with it – I was never happy or successful when I was such a fattie, omg! It makes me so sad.

    • I’m with you – I don’t understand why they can’t just say “I wanted to change my body size and shape. I did. Go me.” Instead of “Of course my life was HORRIBLE until I weighed blah blah blah…”

    • oh my goodness im soooo happy to see its not just me thats sick and tired of seeing these commercials!!! when i first saw it i was like “oh wow look at her she looks soo beautiful” and i was genuinely happy for her but they show it like every FIVE minutes and basically saying…that in order for life to matter you have to be that size!!! im a size 16 and very very happy with myself! when i lose the weight yes i will be happy then also but sheesh my life is still worth something at this size!!!!!!!! really im just sick of seeing the commercials and for real its making me dislike jennifer more and more everyday!

  3. Awesome post! Is there any way to get this on my Facbook page?

  4. Ragen you really rock inside and out. I thought similar what you did when I read about this in People yesterday(yes, I admit when I am not being an armchair size acceptance and fat activist,I am searching the web wide and far for celeb news as even though I rarely watch tv, I am an entertainment news junkie)
    We belong to some same groups on FB and have mutual friends. Most people think I am wordy whiny bitch or the opposite because for those who inspire me like you do, I don’t hesitate to say it and sometimes think I am blowing smoke up their ass, when really truthfully I am a hardcore cynic, it’s pretty hard to impress me. Like I have said to other mutual friends we have, thank you for being able to verbalize what I can’t and giving me new things to think about and doing it so beautifully and brilliantly.

    • Wow – thank you so much. It really does mean a lot to me that you take the time to read the blog in the first place, and that you think highly of what I have to say. Thank you.

  5. Well I am a hugh Jhud fan and I love the new honest commercial. I love Jen and all she stands. She is truely a class act. Really she is speaking on her very on happenings. How her life has changed. I can not be mad at Jen, because she worked hard to showcase and it paid off very well. I love her warm spirit and very kind heart. Truely a lady among many of her peers.

    • I was a Jennifer Hudson fan too. My point is that the commercial is NOT honest. Her whole life was not can’t before weight watchers. I’m sure that there were many ways in which her life was different, but if you star in a feature film, release a hit CD and subsequently win an Oscar, a Grammy and 28 other awards, saying that your whole life was “can’t” is just a lie.

  6. Uh, F-CK YES. That’s all I’ve got to add.

  7. GO FORTH AND BE AWESOME, MY LOVES!

    • Indeed! Thanks Wei-Wei :)

  8. I’ve been bugged by the whole Jennifer Hudson/Weight Watchers thing and you put into words very nicely my feelings. Another thing I was thinking: “you are a successful woman, what would it take to embrace your size and share a message of acceptance to all the young girls out there.” Like I wish Oprah would. Could you imagine the uproar if, instead of harping on her weight and yo-yo dieting, Oprah just one day said: “F*** it. This is who I am and I’m ok with that. Since I am the richest woman in this country I can stop worrying about being thin enough. Go forth and be happy with who you are!” I have a dream where Oprah does that I and I can finally be a fan! lol

    As always, superb post!

    xo Susie

    • Thanks Susie. You probably remember that I blogged about my feelings that I wish Oprah would become a successful role model for behavior centered health instead of a failed role model for thinness. It would make me endless happy but in the end I choose to make my case and then respect her choices as I’d want mine respected.

  9. Ragen,

    I LOVE your blog with extra “!’s” and this post make me love it even more. From the first time I saw that commercial it has rubbed me so wrong. While I wasn’t a fan of hers to begin with, this ensured that I will never be a fan. If she honestly believes that her life was nothing before the weight loss, then she doesn’t deserve those awards, or her fans. Had she said that she wanted to get healthy so her performances were better or whatever, then I could respect that, but as soon as the word “can’t” left her mouth that chance for respect was gone. Like my mother always says “there’s no such thing and can’t, only won’t.”

    • Thanks!! I love what your mother said – I think my dance team can expect to hear that at rehearsal today :)

  10. thank you for writing this.
    your blog gives me hope :)

    • Thank you! Glad I could help :)

  11. she lost weight get over it. Maybe if you spent less time worrying about her, and more about youself. you could lose weight to. People like you are the main reason, so many people are obese today..

    • ^^the point. you missed it. by about a bajillion miles.

    • first off you have no Idea what your talking about Tina! Get off the crack honey! Ragen made a perfect point and shes totally right about the comments and points she made! She never said anything about worrying, about Jennifer Hudson, her point (which you obviously missed ) was how misleading the commercial was!
      And trust me she is far from responsible for the world being obese today, she’s very much for people taking control of their lives and being happy with themselves no matter what!!! So unless you read her blogs often can it honey!!!

  12. This is taken so out of context. If you watch the commercial, she clearly refers to “can’t” meaning she could not successfully lose weight before, not that she was never successful before. This post makes me depressed. There is so much sizeism and fat discrimination out there, you really don’t need to exaggerate and take things out of context to make a thoughtful commentary.

    • Hi Maggie, Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really do get what you are saying and I understand that after her initial “My whole world was can’t” comment she goes on to talk about food. I completely understand that you didn’t take it the same way that I did and I I appreciate you pointing out another way to look at this.

  13. You did’nt make a pooint. You sound like an overweight hater. Who is just mad a former big girl lost weight.

    • Yes, that’s totally it. She’s angry that someone lost weight. Because that makes sense.
      How can she be an overweight hater when her WHOLE BLOG is about being happy with who you are?
      I agree with Smileys. The point was lost on you.

  14. Science proves it — fats are dumber.

    http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/abstract/67/7/1208

    • For those wondering why I approved this comment:
      I approve any comment that doesn’t seem to be overt spam. I think it’s important to see how people react when someone tries to encourage people to love themselves and make healthy choices. Seeing how these people choose to spend their time always reinforces the way that I choose to spend mine. Hugs! ~Ragen

      • It shows this guys an idiot is what it does so glad you let it through!!! had me rolling on the floor laughing!!

  15. Just discovered your blog… I want you to be my new bestie. Awesome post!!

    • Hi and thanks! Careful what you wish for though – you might want to ask my current bestie about how much of a pain in the ass I am before you sign up :)

      • 2 responses:

        First: MINE! You can’t have her.

        Second: She isn’t kidding. :-P

  16. This is the first time I’ve read your blog and I am SO happy I’ve come across it. I’m new to the FA movement and it is a daily struggle to accept myself and push away the negative commentary from various sources. Seeing a woman I am such a fan of for her strength and talent, it really hurt seeing her do that commercial, not because she got thin, because really, just as I have the right to be comfortable in my plus size frame, she has the right to lose weight if she wants to – it was as you said, the denial of her past achievements due to her size. Like no matter how accomplished you get if you don’t fit into the societal norm it really doesn’t mean anything? Not cool J.Hud, not cool.

    • Welcome to the blog, glad that you like it! I absolutely agree with you – changing your body shape is fine, but why turn around and do this? It’s cool though – we still have Gabby!

  17. I knew Jennifer Hudson was their new spokesperson, but I had not seen that commercial before. I have the same disbelief at what she is saying “…my world was can’t. Can’t eat this. Can’t do that…” But now she can “stand here not suckin’ in a thing” (and, of course, that’s worth so much more than anything else she’s done in life!) */sarcasm*

    Spot-on post.

  18. I just happened to come across this post from Jezebel.While I understand what your going for, I found it to be most condescending. There is always this feeling in the FA community that if your fat and want to lose weight then your a backstabber or something.

    Why exactly do you or anyone else feel personality offended that this woman lost weight? If she was to do commercials for Weight Watchers that’s her business. Of course she knows and STILL knows that life doesn’t begin when you get thin, but that doesn’t mean she can’t do it if she wants to and if she does she when back on all the things she has said before.

    And really? Why bring her grandmother into this? This woman lost her mother, brother, and nephew in a horrible murder, do you think she’s really worried how her weight lost bothers you. Just because she lost weight doesn’t mean she goes around saying, “To hell with all that shit I said and did in the past, I’m thin now, ha ha!”

    And on the subject of Gabby, what if she lost weight? Would you write something like this about her too? Why do you feel the need to tell this woman or any woman how she should feel about herself? What makes you think that she wasn’t happy with her life before she lost weight?

    It’s things like this, that makes me feel unwelcome in the FA community because apparently if you are fat and have a desire to lose weight your not part of the club anymore. I’m a fat girl who’s had a good life and have learned to love myself more and more, but I guess cause I still would like to lose a few pounds there’s something wrong with me.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. Your comment had some misconceptions that I want to clear up. Most importantly, I have nothing against people who choose to change the size and shape of their bodies. I don’t feel offended that she lost weight and never said that I did. In fact, as I’ve stated many times on this blog, I respect other people’s choices with their bodies as I want my choices to be respected.

      As I said specifically in this post “If you want to change the size and shape of your body that’s fine. If you reached your goal then celebrate your victory. If you’re healthier that’s great and if you think that Weight Watchers is healthy and want to try to convince people of that – it’s your prerogative.” I also said “if you are trying to change the size of shape of your body, why not be happy and lead a fantastic life while you’re at it?”

      My issue was with the line “Before Weight Watchers, my whole world was can’t”. I heard that as discounting all of her previous successes because she wasn’t thin. Other people didn’t hear it that way, but I did. To answer your question, if Gabby wanted to lose weight and did then I would respect her choice and have nothing bad to say about it. If she lost weight and then said that before she lost weight her whole world was “can’t” then I absolutely would blog something.

      I’m sorry that you feel unwelcome in the FA community and I do understand that there are people who are anti-diet and I can see how that attitude would be frustrating for you. I’m not one of them and while I can’t find a single thing that I said in this or any other blog that would indicate otherwise, I’m sorry that you misunderstood and I wish you the best of luck in whatever you do.

      ~Ragen

      • Thanks for your reply; I was kinda worried what the response would be.

        I saw the commercial and from what I got from it was not that she was saying her achievements beforehand were void, but that she was saying that before WW she thought she ‘couldn’t have this or that’ in terms of treats or desserts and that with the help of WW she now has learned how she can eat what she loves in reasonable portions. That’s what I got from it.

        The tone of the article and some of the comments just really bugged me because I guess her losing weight means that she hadn’t really ‘accepted’ herself and all what she stood before was a lie.

        Her losing weight and being a WW spokesperson is not a betrayal a woman who is a stranger to me has no bearing on my life. Lots of celebs shill crap products but these aren’t betrayals to me…if she wants to express how she lost weight I don’t see what the problem is, it’s like this post and some others I’ve seen around the interwebs is saying, “Damn we lost another fat girl role model!”

        “Why did she lose weight and feels the need to talk about how she lost it, arrrgh!”

        It just comes across as projecting personal insecurities and hiding it as a social commentary about fat in the media. It all seems like a trend to hate on fat women in the media who were fat at the beginning of their careers only to later become smaller. These women for their own reasons lose weight, and I can only hope that they are not more pressured to keep the weight off.

        I can more see how someone more developed in the FA or body acceptance community who loses weight and condescends his/her followers on the ‘wonders of weight loss’ would offend, which I believe something like this is going on right now. Even so, how I feel about my fat is not affected by that, I love myself now and if I lose weight I will love myself the same way. I would dare not curse the old body.

        My only issue with J.H. is that she lost so much weight that I feel she will gain it back soon, it’s very hard to go from the size she was at before to what she is now and keep that up.

        I actually liked the commercial in that it didn’t go into numbers and was very positive and happy in tone as opposed to the Sarah Rue commercial, which is mentioned on Jezebel, that seemed very depressing and hints a deeper emotional issues.

        I wouldn’t say I’m pro-diet, I think many in FA are very anti-weight lose which is problematic for me, but I support being at whatever size you please and have greatly enjoyed my mind being reversed on issues discussed on many FA blogs.

        Sorry for the very long reply but I do thank you for taking the time to read my response. I only feel that the message J.H was trying to give in the ad was of a positive nature and that you may have taken it the wrong way, but it is more understandable how you feel to me now, than it was when I first read the article.

  19. You have taken the entire campaign out of context and twisted it to serve your own smear campaign!

    Jennifer’s commercials have NOTHING to do with her career achievements. The CAN’T in the commercial was talking about what she couldn’t eat everything she had to deprive herself of in the past just to get her weight under control. You have probably never seen photos of Jennifer PRIOR to idol she was a very large woman and she has struggled with her weight for many years. The can’t was not being able to eat any of the things that she loved just so she could maintain some sort of healthy weight. Jennifer doesn’t define her success based on weight you need to get out of here trying to make these people think that’s what she was talking about.

    And Jennifer is anything but Ungrateful… How dare you! Have you ever set eyes on Jennifer in person, have you ever sat and spoke to her probably NOT but I have and she is the sweetest most humble person you could meet and she is unbelievably grateful for all that she has been blessed with and been blessed to do. Don’t take your weight issues and unhealthy lifestyle and put them on Jennifer.

    People like you are why their is an obesity epidemic in america. The human body was not meant to carry so much weight at all times. If you are happy being obese that’s fine but don’t down Jennifer for gaining control over her weight, and her health.

    Other than illness, obesity is about lack of self-control. And the so called big girls club that downs other women for getting healthy is about self-esteem and you may not admit it but in that deep dark place in the back of you mind that you don’t want to show or think about you know I’m right!

    And I’m not some skinny chick that is talking without experience. I used to be over 200 lbs and I got control and now I am HEALTHY!

    Get from behind your computer and stop hiding behind this blog and get some fresh air and gain control over your life, and your eating habits!

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment and congratulations on your journey to health.

      This is the kind of reply that frustrates me when I approve it because you made very salient points of disagreement – particularly that you feel that I took the commercial out of context and that you feel that I mis-characterized Jennifer Hudson,

      but then you mixed them with:

      grossly erroneous assumptions (telling a professional speaker and National Champion dancer to stop hiding behind her blog – especially when your comment is anonymous and my blog contains my first and last name, picture, e-mail, and hometown, – put the credibility of your comment at risk)

      poor critical reading (saying that I’ve probably never seen pictures of her before she lost the weight when there is a picture of her before she lost the weight at the top of the blog, and saying that I am downing her for losing weight when I specifically said that I was not downing her for losing weight in the text calls into question how carefully you read the post)

      with poor science (asserting that obesity is about lack of control, and assuming that your experience with weight is everyone’s is not supported by the research)

      and hyperbole (saying that people like me are “why their [sic] is an obesity epidemic in this country”).

      I heard the commercial very differently than lots of people did and it’s entirely possible that hearing through my filter caused me to mis-characterize Jennifer Hudson. There are two sides to every story and she absolutely deserves to be defended.

      I just wish that you had done a better job. Your choice to go beyond your salient points into the other issues caused Jennifer Hudson to not get the defense that she deserves.

      Again, thanks for taking the time to let me know you disagreed. Feel free to comment here any time, I just ask that you try to maintain or raise the level of discourse in your dissent.

      • You are still missing the point! Your post from the 2nd line was incorrect! I don’t feel that you mis-characterized her… you did mis-characterize her.

        But even in your correction of the 2nd line of the post you still mis-quoted the commercial and therefore it makes the rest of your argument irrelevant, Jennifer said and I quote “When it came to losing weight before Weight Watchers my world was can’t” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fh-1RfNVAUU You conveniently left out “When It Came To Losing Weight” that shows that she is ONLY speaking about her weight loss challenges prior to starting the Weight Watchers program.

        Now in regards to other points my post I will apologize because I was livid when I wrote it and I should have taken a moment to calm my nerves before submitting it and therefore in any personal comments towards you, you have my deepest apology.

        I do appreciate that you conceded to the fact that you “heard the commercial very differently than lots of people did and it’s entirely possible that hearing through my filter caused me to mis-characterize Jennifer Hudson”

        Jennifer is a lovely person an it is slanderous to refer to her as “ungrateful”.

        • Actually the commercial that you linked to is a follow-up to the one I saw. The original is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvZFGdcSlQU She says “Before Weight Watchers, my world was can’t…”

          I appreciate your apology as to the other points and I really do appreciate your taking the time to dissent, I think that discourse is important and I recognize that my blog is just my opinion and that there are multiple interpretations for every situation.

  20. You know what I wonder? Has Weight Watchers preyed on a woman who has been through some unspeakable trauma in her life over the past few years, who just might have some really terrible emotional issues due to what happened to her, and used that to their advantage?

    Now I’m not saying that Jennifer Hudson is in any way incapable of making her own decisions under normal circumstances, but what she has lived through with the murder of several members of her family is in no way normal circumstances and I honestly don’t know what would happen to me emotionally and with my self esteem, confidence and judgement if I had lived through that.

    But yes, one has to ask just what on earth she thought her life was before if that’s “Can’t”.

    • Tough to say – I’m so attached to the idea of personal responsibility that I don’t feel comfortable saying that she was preyed upon. She is now closer to the cultural stereotype of beauty and that comes with a lot of privilege and it’s her right to choose that. I just find the “my world was ‘can’t’” think patently offensive and inappropriate and I don’t think it was by accident.

  21. Very well done. The quality of life is not determined by the size of clothing one wears. Rather, its about acceptance, dignity, and being real. About two thousand years ago, there was another that sold out for thirty pieces of silver. I pray that Ms. Hudson has counted the cost of selling out.

  22. I agree with what the people on this blog are saying. Im 21 years old 5’4 I lost 116 pounds. I use to weigh 178 pounds, I lost it on my own with pure hard work. Know I weigh 162 pounds my goal is at 135. I feel like the same person that I was at 178 ponds ago, no diffrent I just look diffrent and have less health risk aganist me.Happiness and sucsess comes from with in not by your size.

  23. Great post! Thanks so much

  24. Well all i have to say is that commercial makes me gag and turn the remote mute button on. All the screeching that she calls “singing” is enough 2 call cats in heat in from the back alleys

  25. I am so tired of that damn Jhud weight loss commercial, everytime it comes on i rush to find my remote to turn it or mute it, it’s almost like they catch me off guard everytime where i can’t get to it quick enough. The constant screaming is pissing me off. Then on top of that they had the nerve to let her cousins sing in their portion of the commercial. I wish there was a way to block hated commercials on your tv so that these companies cannot force you to watch it, i guarantee you if it was a way to do that then these businesses would lose more money from making the commercials than they make, because they will see truly how many responses they get from blocked commercials. These commercials are overkill and they make me hate someone that i never had intentions of hating. Now when i see her on tv, even if it’s not a commercial, i still mute or turn it because i just don’t like her. Weight Watchers has scarred me for life. I hate them

  26. I hate the commercials with every fiber in me, i wish like hell i could block all of those commercials, they have made me hate her

  27. I just wanted to add to the chorus in thanking you for this post. I thought the exact same thing! She may be healthier now, but she isn’t better. For Weight Watchers to not just imply but outright SAY that Jennifer Hudson is a better person for being skinnier is horrifying. And you know what? I think she looked hotter “fat.”

  28. I HATE these commercials. If this is the image that Weight Watchers wants to show the world then I’ll just stay FAT. I find these commercials to be so grossly revolting that I don’t want to see or hear Jennifer Hudson again. By the way, since when is SCREAMING singing. Give me a commercial with a true story of weight loss with REAL people instead of these unreal entertainers.


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