Following yesterday’s post about why it’s a good idea to be critical around supposedly body-positive advertising and the like, I awoke on this fine morning to find the following photo sent to me by my very lovely Twitter follower:
Apparently, I’m so savvy I discovered this little-known cellular “switch,” without even realising it. Every day really is a school day.
Naturally, once I’d pulled my jaw off the floor, I followed the link to a website called “Start Beta Reduction Now,” and was greeted with a video by a woman called Sue Heintze, described on her Twitter page as “Former figure competitor, mum to gorgeous Kyah, & MD of Australia’s premier online fitness site for women.”
Bitch, please. You may have something of a reputation for being a trainer, a fitness competitor, and yadda yadda yadda – but this just ain’t cool. At best, it’s spam marketing, and at worst, it’s a cynical ploy to make money out of someone else’s insecurities by stealing images not only from me, but by the looks of things, a whole number of people who’ve shared their before and after photos with the world.
Either way, it’s asshattery, pure and simple. And boy, did you pick the wrong anti-bullshit-diet-blogger to mess with – because a) I don’t believe in selling people diets, and b) I turned down actual cash last year for someone to use my images on their product, so you can whistle if you think I’m cool with you doing it for free.
Having given up on the T&Cs, I decided to go back and watch the video. Y’all should understand, this was somewhat painful for me, because anything that’s “absolutely guaranteed” to help me lose weight gives me an ache in my soul not unlike stepping on a plug. I’ve ended up clenching my teeth so hard I think I’ve broken my jaw.
She talks about her struggles with body image, with bullimia, with obsessive calorie counting – all things that have been widely linked with the diet industry – whilst using an actual lie to encourage others to pay her money to follow her diet. She actually says her system will help women to escape negative body image, whilst using images throughout the video that imply that fat is bad, thin is good. These two slides follow each other directly:
Damn, y’all. It’s like I’m being trolled. Even more so once I reached this part:
Because, y’know, the way to escape negative body image is by constantly comparing yourself to other women and encouraging a culture of snarking and bitchery. Riiiiiiight.
It’s just so short-sighted, and so utterly complicit in everything that’s wrong with diet culture that I’m not sure I even have words to describe it. Except, y’know, I totally do.
Sue, you may have struggled with negative body image in the past, and sure, you might want to help women feel better about themselves – I appreciate that. Maybe you do think you’re doing the right thing.
But your whole product, the marketing behind it, the fat fear-mongering and the importance of what other women think of your butt over your own personal happiness, and the fact that you’re using “proof” that quite clearly isn’t? Girl, you need to take a step back and think about what you’re doing.
I know we’ve all gotta make a buck, and hell – I probably could sell my wares online and not have to work, but I don’t want to, because I’m not going to be a part of perpetuating diet culture – and I refuse to let you make me a part of your money-making scheme. If you can charge $325 an hour for personal training, as your video clearly states, then you sure as hell shouldn’t need to be stealing my photos to drum up interest in what you do.
The idea that there’s a single solution to weight loss, and that you have it (the reference for the science to back this up, by the way, was an image of a book that said “Medical Journal” on the cover – I ain’t no PhD student, but… Wait. Scratch that) is a myth, perpetuated again and again by people trying to make money out of the insecurities of others. And by suggesting that weight loss is the solution to negative body image, you’re completely missing the mark – because sure, you might feel a little better when you’re slimmer, but learning to love your body is a mindset change, not one that comes about once you’ve got a “smooth, firm butt.”
I can safely say, as an honorary representative of your product, that you’re peddling some absolute bullshit here, Sue. You need to go back, think about your life and where you come from, and make a decision as to whether you’re going to be a part of an industry that results in 35% of dieters progressing to pathological dieting, and 20-25% of those developing full-blown eating disorders like the one you say you struggled with.
If, given all that, you still want to be that person, then fine – you go right ahead. But I’m having no part of it – so cease and desist the hell out of using my photos, and feel free to compensate me with a sum that I’ll donate to BEAT immediately to try to balance out what you’re putting out there.
Karma’s a bitch, eh?