Feel Like Shit or Shit Your Pants or Both! Why Choose?

I think it’s time to talk frankly about Wynonna’s “Alli” ads.  Wynonna is fucked up.  I don’t say that having some great insider knowledge, because I don’t.  I say that as someone who tries to pay as little attention to her as I can and even I can tell you all about her contentious relationship with her mom, her problems with men, finding out her husband was a child rapist, and her laudible efforts to reimagine herself as someone who is not fucked up every couple of years.

But let’s be frank.  She’s fucked up.

She’s not fucked up because she’s fat.  Her life doesn’t suck because she’s fat. She’s been fucked up for a long, long time.   And taking a pill that carries as its most common side effect making you shit yourself might make her less fat, but it isn’t going to make her less fucked up.

I say this because I just want to point out how self-loathing and fucked up it is to take a pill that, if you eat wrong, will make you shit yourself, as if somehow shitting yourself is less disgusting than being fat.  And yet, the premise of Wynonna’s ad campaign seems to be “Join me on this journey, in which we take this pill (that might make us shit ourselves) that will help us loose weight which will lead to us being less fucked up and more (emotionally) healthy.”

Yes, I swear, every ad I’ve seen with Wynonna in it for Alli sounds more like an ad for Cymbalta.

And I just want us all to be clear on what they’re doing–selling weight-loss as a key to emotional health–and who they’re using as the spokesperson to aid in that–Wynonna.

Shoot.  It’ll probably work.  But before it does, there should be just one moment where we all sit back and laugh long and hard at the audacity of that.

17 thoughts on “Feel Like Shit or Shit Your Pants or Both! Why Choose?

  1. It’s not just the ads for Alli that make me laugh, it’s all the ads for all the drugs. They tell you that if you have X disease, taking Y drug may help you. Then they list all the possible side effects of said drug, and I’m sitting there thinking I might rather not treat the disease with that drug because the side effects of the drug are worse than the disease.
    And yeah, I’d much rather be fat than have to worry about shitting my pants because I didn’t know some food I ate had more fat in it than I thought it did. Being fat in public isn’t near as embarrassing as shitting your pants in public. Wynonna has fully bought into the Fantasy of Being Thin, thinking that if she just gets thin enough, things will magically be all sunshine, rainbows, and lollipops. Ain’t happenin’. A physical change very seldom fixes emotional/mental problems, but that’s the dream that’s being sold by the makers of drugs like Alli.

  2. It sort of makes me miss the good old days of the Olestra introduction, when we, fat and thin, together as a nation, discovered that if you eat the whole bag of WOW! chips, you WILL shit yourself at the neighborhood barbecue.

    Because back then, it wasn’t so much about the self-loathing and fat-as-barrier-to-mental-health. It was about getting high and devouring a whole bag of Doritos. And then shitting yourself.

    WOW indeed.

  3. Vesta44, Rachel and I were just talking about that, because there’s a drug out there and the commercial for it makes it seem like “Oh, if you’re having a little trouble getting through the day, take this drug.” But really, it’s a drug used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and is used during major depressive episodes in addition to a person’s regular meds.

    So, yeah, it is for helping you get through, you know, if you’re having major psychological issues. But the ad totally makes it seem like it’s something everyone could use pretty frequently.

    And yes, Wynonna has completely bought in. As if being thinner is going to fix things.

    Jo, I laughed so hard when I read your comment. I had forgotten all about Olestra. Funny how when folks found out that could make you shit yourself that turned into a huge national joke and a pr disaster, but a drug that does the same? Oh, that’s cause for serious consideration.

  4. Because fat people who eat too much deserve to be punished, dontcha know? They need to wear their own shit as an outward badge of shame so that they can feel even more desperate and crazy about their bodies.

    Sadly, enough people internalize this message and blame themselves (that all they are really missing is sufficient willpower and if they just imbibe this jailer and hand the drug the keys to their colon, all will be well). This drug has been out there and problematic for a couple of years and still folks buy it.

  5. And in Wynonna’s defense, she’s not any crazier than anyone else who was born in 1964 in Ashland, KY. (smiles)

  6. Pingback: News Round-Up - Everything Under the Sun « Women’s Health News

  7. ALL drugs have side effects – look up aspirin in a PDR – it has a laundry list of negative stuff that it can do to a person. That said, I don’t think shitting oneself is on that list. However, what a way to lose weight! Just poo it all out, ya know?

    I’ll reserve my judgment of Wynonna as I haven’t walked a mile in her shoes.

    I think this is perhaps your greatest blog post/title ever.

  8. I gotta say, when I see the Alli ad I keep saying, “oh, Wy, why?” and I start psychoanalyzing this woman I’ve never met, wondering whether it was her problems with her mother, or having to see her sister looking beautiful at the breakfast table every day growing up that took all that talented woman’s self-respect away along with her self-esteem.

  9. Direct to consumer advertising for prescription drugs is awful but the rules are clear — if you say what the drug is for, you have to list the side effects (I don’t mind the print ads so much, but the TV ads are terrible). What’s even sadder is how adverse events are captured to create those warnings but that’s a topic for another day. Beth is right — all drugs have side effects. And every physician and patient balances that risk benefit (the toxicity and side effect threshold for a cancer drug is considerably higher than a drug for high blood pressure). Alli is stupid because the average weight loss is so small — and the side effects would appear to far exceed the benefit. I also find the tone of their marketing a turnoff (here’s a helpful tip: wear dark colored pants until you figure out how badly you’re going to shit yourself).

    To Bridgett’s point — Alli has been around for years – they just changed the name in the hopes people wouldn’t recognize it as Xenical.

    I’m curious though, Is there an Alli user who reads TCP who’ll step up in its defense?

  10. I almost wish I were a fat woman celebrity. There’s a cottage industry of late that revells in humiliating these women into shaming them into whatever drug or program will fork over for their services. I’d love to tell all of them that I’m just fine thanks and spend your money elsewhere.

    It pisses me off that these womens’ accomplishments are reduced to nothing as they gain weight. What a messed up world. I’m even more offended by the fact the makers of alli think we have no memory. Didn’t Wy already do at least two public diets? Shouldn’t she be living proof that diets don’t work?

  11. Shill, I actually have less of a problem with prescription drugs (except for the Abilify one, which I think has skirted right up to the edge of misleading and has one foot over–it’s not for folks who are just a little down and need a little chemical kick in the pants to help).

    Alli isn’t a prescription drug. It’s right there on the counter at Walgreens. And the marketing for it seems to me bizarrely all over the place. The Wynonna ads make it almost sound like an anti-depressant. I

    I actually preferred the ones with the pharmacist who was wearing white pants (though if that whole ad didn’t scream–look a science-person thinks it’s okay and would she dare wear white pants if there was any chance she’d shit herself?–I don’t know what did).

    I just find it funny that they’re now marketing the drug as kind of a general self-help drug and the person they got to be their spokesperson is notorious for being a hot mess. A beloved hot mess. I’ve never heard anyone who knew her say anything other than that your heart goes right out to her. But a hot mess.

    Shoot, too bad G G Allin’s dead. He could have turned that particular side effect into a selling point–“I often need to shit on my audience and I need to look good while doing so. That’s why I take Alli. It helps me keep the pounds off and helps me make sure the world knows how much I hate it.”

  12. I wish I were a fat celebrity

    Oprah has made a career out of her battle with weight. It’s her schtick. And here she goes again on tv talking about it. I find that whole thing proof positive that the universe has a sense of humour. Here’s this woman with more money than God, and the one thing she wants – thinness – her money can’t give her.

    I forgot to note that the first time I became aware of the unfortunate side effect, it was from my neighbor, the Austrian. The ad came on TV and she goes, in a moderately thick Austrian accent (somewhat like a female Arnold Swarzenegger) “now, why would I take something that would make me shit myself?” – I whipped my head around to her and said “WHAT?” I still can hardly believe the stuff made it to the consumer market.

    Yep, this is now the greatest TCP blog post ever – G G Allin was referenced.

  13. Oprah has made a career out of her battle with weight. It’s her schtick. And here she goes again on tv talking about it.

    If I recall correctly (and I do) Oprah even tried to help Wy, back when Oprah was Thin For A Season and felt it her duty to make every fat celebrity feel like shit for still being fat.

    She had Wy on there and had the bitch mother who’s name I forget and the sister, too. Both mother and sister basically shat upon Wy for like 30 minutes. They talked endlessly about how ashamed they were for having her fatness associated with them in any way and as much as they tried to make her thin she was still just an ugly pig who made those two beautiful flowers look baaaad.

    (of course I’m paraphrasing, but you get the general idea.)

    At the time they had this “intervention” she was still married to the child-rapist and had lost like 12 pounds on Oprah’s diet plan so she was feeling all good.

    I can only imagine the dark nights she’s had to reflect on that mess in subsequent years. It was possibly the first televised execution of a soul.

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