Jenna Marbles is one of the most important and frequently viewed YouTubers in the history of the video-sharing website. She’s also made some kickass, hilarious videos (see: How to Get Ready for a Date) about how sexism affects girls and women. In “How to Get Ready for a Date” she critiques the ridiculously sexualized and often unattainable beauty expectations that women face while getting ready to be evaluated by a man they’re about to go on a date with. It’s truly a clever and hilarious video, which I recommend you check out (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghA5oOPE-xg).
But then there’s her last video, posted on May 16th, 2013, entitled “Two Minute Cardio Motivation.” I’ll sum its thesis up for you very simply: The thing that is most likely to motivate you to “get in shape” so that you can dare to publicly show your body in a bikini is being seriously ashamed or afraid of being fat.
There’s actually a term for Jenna’s “motivational” tactic, and it’s called fat-shaming.
If you watch the video, which I hope you do, you’ll also realize that Jenna inserts two photos of people (both women, one whom is in a seriously fierce glittery red bikini) that are taken from angles that would probably be unflattering for anybody. While she shows those photos, Jenna asks, “Does your butt look like this? Mine too.” We’ve seen enough of Jenna on her videos to know that her butt looks nothing like this. In fact, it looks a lot more like the “ideal” butts she shows right after the “horrible, undesirable fat butts.”
That doesn’t seem to matter to Jenna, presumably because she’s using the two pictures of “fat” women as the brunt of her joke in the video: It’s so awful and disgusting to be fat (ha ha ha) so let’s just all stop looking like that and do some push-ups. Okay?
Not okay, dude, really not okay. When you treat people that we call “fat” like absolute crap in a video that you know is going to get over a million views, NOTHING is okay. Jenna, if you want to work out “until you can’t see your eyes” so that you can look more like the (extremely sexualized) pictures of women’s butts that fill your last video, that’s fine. That’s completely your choice, and I’m not about to tell you what you should do with your body.
But if you accompany your video about a bikini-body-work-out agenda with egrigious, ugly fat-shaming, I’m going to have a problem, and, likely, so are a lot of people who will watch your video, even if they’re too embarassed or afraid to say anything.
Now I have two more questions for Jenna, which I can’t believe didn’t occur to her before she posted the video:
1. Are you not aware that there are people out there who, no matter how hard they work out or starve themselves, will NEVER look like the Miranda-Kerr-ideal that you are bent on worshipping? Are you not aware that these body ideals are inherently exclusionary and gross?
2. Do you really feel okay about completely humiliating all the girls and women (and boys and men!) in your audience who might look like the two women you grossly fat-shamed?
So, that’s what I have to say on Jenna’s fat-shaming video. Listen, guys, I’m sorry if it made you feel humiliated about your appearance, but as Laci Green once wisely said:
“To have a beach body, you need to a) have a body and b) put it on the beach.”
If you decide to watch Jenna’s last video (“Two Minute Cardio Motivation”) please consider leaving a – polite and intelligent – comment explaining why fat-shaming is gross and declaring your support for people who have the right to look however they want but are shamed for it. Be a good bystander!
If you can’t think of anything, here are two comments I’ve left already that I am willing to share:
“You know what, I thought that “fat” woman in the red bikini looked pretty kickass.”
“How to have a beach body:
1. Have a body
2. Put it on the beach
(creds to lacigreen)
No need for all this fat-shaming.
I’m a long-time subscriber and fan, but Jenna at one point you’ll have to admit that you’re actually just insulting and degrading “fatness” and, by extension, fat people along with “empowering” people to work out.”
Even if Jenna’s video is a lighthearted and joking attempt to connect with other girls who are suffering through “pre-bikini season”, there’s no good excuse for humiliating people who just don’t look, and won’t ever look, or don’t want to look, like Doutzen Kroes.