Oops – I managed to get embroiled in yet another Twitter ‘discussion’! This time it was around sexism and weight loss – and a lovely guy wanting to become a Slimming World consultant had decided to label Slimming World as ‘sexist’ as they have an offer in a magazine aimed at women. Ignoring the obvious fact – that it probably wasn’t the best idea for someone wanting to become a Slimming World consultant to call them sexist on a wide reaching social media platform – I wanted to give this more consideration…as my first thought was, “boohoo!”. And I don’t want to make a point about this Twitter comment in particular; it just got me thinking about it in a general sense. The chap on Twitter really is lovely and will, I am sure, be a fabulous consultant as he is so passionate about Slimming World!
Before I get started, I wanted to say that just because I have given myself the name ‘Weight Loss Bitch’ doesn’t mean that I am some raving weight loss feminist who hates men! I am all for equality but think that we have to be a little realistic at the same time. I have worked in a number of male-dominated environments and was a bit of a tomboy at school who had predominantly male friends and I even wore a red hard hat and dungarees to bed as a child! So I won’t be beating any drums for the progression of women in society as I think we can pretty well handle our own. And likewise, I won’t be beating any drums for men either…I am sure they can handle their own too.
What I object to is the labelling of something when it is not really necessary and is perhaps a little misguided. I don’t think that this chap thinks that Slimming World are sexist per se, more that the practice of advertising in a magazine called ‘Woman’ is not exactly inclusive. But my personal thoughts are, “so what? Slimming World have advertised in ‘Woman’ magazine – it isn’t a voucher specifically for women.”. A man could buy the magazine, just as I used to buy FHM to read the incredibly sexist but funny jokes in it. Yet I can see that his point was an absolutely fair one to have when a member of the opposite sex is trying to enter the domain of another.
But is Slimming World really the domain of women? We have two gents in our group…and only about fifteen of us stay…so they are outnumbered. Larger groups that I have been to tend to have a few of men, but they are well outnumbered by the ladies again. Yet the ones that do stay actually seem to revel in the attention and enjoy the banter! Slimming World actually ran male-only groups – they were doing this in 2005 but found that men preferred to go to mixed groups. They were, at time, the only commercial slimming organisation to do this, which I think shows how far they were prepared to go in order to attract men. As the uptake wasn’t there, they decided to revert to mixed groups. Roberto and Matt – my two ‘weight loss hero’ men – were ‘Greatest Loser’ title holders and their efforts were highly publicised, and this no doubt helps to encourage male membership.
Slimming World’s last offers were run in the Daily Mirror which has a larger male readership than female readership, so that is a start I suppose. But what are they supposed to do when research shows that men tend to turn to exercise – so hit the gym – before they consider changing their diets? There was an interesting article that had comments from men regarding commercial slimming organisations. Some comments surrounded the female-centric advice and said that sessions contained advice about how to lose weight and keep skin looking good, or how to resist the temptation of cream cakes! Some even complained that they couldn’t even make the later groups…as hard working men. Now if these sorts of comments don’t fuel the sexism debate, then I don’t know what will! Personally, my group has discussions that are very inclusive – regarding cooking tips (and yes, men do cook!), and tips about exercise…even weight lifting – imagine that women…weight lifting, whatever next?
As a large business you have to think of your current demographic and customer base ratio. When I was responsible for a large advertising budget, I would consider who we wanted to target – for example a specific ethnic group, sexual orientation, or people with certain educational backgrounds. I would then consider the return on investment for similar advertising efforts and adjust my spend and coverage accordingly. So the majority of my advertising was done through mainstream channels – such as Totaljobs and Monster – and I advertised in more specialist publications but on a much smaller scale. This didn’t mean that I wasn’t be inclusive, but instead was being realistic. What is the point of disregarding your main source of customer / job applicant? Keep bringing them in, in droves, whilst supplementing where possible with non-niche media.
According to a recent article in the Independent, in January 2010 around 44,000 men had signed up to the weekly sessions with Slimming World, but by January 2013 that figure had doubled to 88,000. And the main reason for this seems to be that men are understanding the importance of the fight against obesity and feel as if it is more socially acceptable to tell their mates that they are trying to lose weight. And perhaps this is the crux of the issue…men need to take responsibility and just walk into a group, following the trend-setting men who have already done so. After all, the more men that do this, the more men there will be to motivate each other. And, if men use commercial slimming groups, then the male-oriented press would be far more likely to report about it, and advertise it.
Anyway, now that I have probably pissed off even more of you, I am off to start a war with the makers of Yorkie bars ‘not for girls’, McCoys ‘man crisps’, and Kleenex for their blatantly sexist ‘man sized’ tissues! No, wait – in fact, I am going to amend my own marketing policy for fear of being sexist and will change my name to ‘Weight Loss Bastard’ in the hopes of increasing my male readership! 😉
Todays usuals – other than my above musings – were fairly normal…
I woke up and showered whilst my other half and his mate headed off to let the horses out. I read a bit more ‘Rebus’ and then begin preparing lunch. As I am on babysitting duty this week, I thought that it makes more sense for me to have my main meal at lunch – before I head off there. So after my lovely lunch I then headed off to see the kids…and we had lots of fun! We played princesses, had a picnic, and played musical statues and had a dancing competition whilst watching MTV Dance! Once they were in bed I cleaned up for my sister and settled down for an hour or so until my sister got home, and then I headed home myself. I am looking forward to group tomorrow, but am nervous even though I know I have been good…I am still wondering if this higher syn level will work for the third week in a row!
Breakfast: Two HiFi bars (2 x HEB) and a banana.
Breakfast was a bit of a nightmare – without the car, shopping has been difficult – and I didn’t have any milk in…so no porridge! But at least I had a bigger brekkie than I was having. Lunch was delicious, but cost me more syns than I had hoped, as the Thai curry paste turned out to be a concentrate sauce for 8.5 syns a jar, and I had to add another 2.5 syns as the yogurt wasn’t the normal one either. But I can safely say that my portion – 5.5 syns worth – was well worth it – it was lovely. I had chopped up a couple of red onions, chicken breast, courgettes, cauliflower, aubergine, celery, green pepper and mushrooms…a bit of a mix, but it tasted so nice! And I am glad to have leftovers to enjoy! Dinner was just designed to be quick, easy and tasty, and it was certainly that…how could all of that melted cheese not taste good?
Exercise: Dancercise and running around after the kids!
A very active day – in the world of Weight Loss Bitch anyway! Lots of running around and dancing…it felt good.
Thank you for reading…and I hope you all have a fantastic week,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx