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For several months, whenever I surfed over to the Minnesota Tribune to see how the T-Wolves basketball team was doing, the sports page featured an ad for a weight loss program having something to do with Rachel Rae.

The ad shows a woman wearing a red shirt, who then goes through the diet and loses 25 pounds. After going through this metamorphosis, she turns into the anorexic-looking waif in the white t-shirt. The ads tell me that her name is Jenny.

Healthy, beautiful, sexy woman.

Jenny looking healthy and sexy!

Unhealthy, emaciated woman.

Jenny looking sickly and nearly transparent!

There’s no question in my mind that the woman at the top looks healthier, happier, sexier, and more natural. The new version of Jenny appears emaciated to me.

With whom would I rather cuddle and watch a good movie (and eat PLENTY of buttered popcorn)? Obviously, the red-shirted version of Jenny. I have visions of trying to hug emaciated Jenny and grabbing a stiff and noisy bag of bones. No, thank you!

Do I really need to talk about the cultural and marketing forces making women think they need to lose those aesthetically beautiful 25 pounds? My worst fear is that the fashion and diet industries are playing off the naturally competitive nature of women to be the sexiest bitch on the block.

Men are not the ones pushing this idea — women are. And they ought to stop and learn to love who they are and how they look. Sure, stay healthy, but 25 pounds is NOT going to shorten your life span or make you a failure in bed.

My great-grandma, who lived well into her 90s,  was right — a few extra pounds are both healthy and attractive on a woman — men, too, I think.

On  positive note, I have been using the Dove Real Body campaign to show my students how marketing and advertising can be a positive force for building self-esteem in women. It is a great campaign.

Here’s a video showing how the “beauty” industry bombards girls with unrealistic and harmful body stereotypes —

But my all-time favorite image of the healthy woman comes from Renoir’s “Bathers.” Any woman who looks like this — or Jenny pre-anorexia —  is welcome to come to Frank’s place and take a nice warm bath.

Free bubble bath and a back rub!


Renoir’s classic beauties look healthy and sensuous.