Ripping off the Yay! Scale

For years, Marilyn Wann has created and sold Yay! scales, used them in anti-diet activism, and written about them online and in her book FAT!SO? : Because You Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Size. Others have mentioned Yay! Scales in books as well, including Health At Every Size.

Now Kellogg’s is using a very similar scale to sell their “Special K Challenge”. According to The New York Times:

In a new commercial, women in Times Square reluctantly agree to get on scales in public, then are pleasantly surprised when, instead of numbers, the scales display words including satisfaction, pizazz, confidence and moxie.

The commercial, part of campaign by the Chicago office of Leo Burnett, part of the Publicis Groupe, will be introduced on Jan. 2, high season for weight-loss companies.

“We’re trying to change the conversation from one that’s always focused about deprivation to one that’s focused on motivation,” said Doug VanDeVelde, senior vice president for cereal marketing at Kellogg.

Let me get this straight.

The entire point of a Yay! Scale is that you get compliments instead of a number.

Because the number isn’t important.

Because so many people in this society measure their worth by their weight.

Because it’s about changing the conversation. 

It’s about yanking away that all-important number and suggesting other things might be more important than weight.

It’s about making people smile instead of feeling judged.

It’s about changing the focus to life instead of weight. It’s about getting a life instead of yet another a diet.

And here’s Kellogg’s acting like they invented a scale that gives compliments, only it’s to encourage dieting.   Maybe no one at Kellogg’s knew about the Yay! Scale, but … you know what the first hit Google gives me on “scale compliments”?  A post about … a Yay! Scale.

Remember when Weight Watchers ads claimed that diets don’t work (because somehow Weight Watchers isn’t a diet)?   It’s co-opting the language of fat acceptance, but twisting it to support dieting.