Jackie O is fat.
She is so freaking fat that once a week, every week, she stands on a scale in her radio studio and announces her number to the nation’s largest breakfast audience.
Invariably her co-host, Kyle Sandilands, then taunts her about her fatness. Her laziness. Her inability to lose the weight that she gained when she had her daughter Kitty, um, five years ago.
“You haven’t just fallen off the wagon,” he told Jackie yesterday in KISS FM’s “Fat Club” segment, when she admitted that she had gained a kilo, after losing three.
“You have been dragged across the desert by a rope. This is a bad situation.”
Let’s, for one moment, set aside the supreme irony of Mr Sandilands hassling anyone about what they eat and how much they weigh.
And then let’s set aside the illusion that we should take any lessons in life from commercial radio, even on the supremely slickly produced and often funny #kjshow.
And let’s just ponder the message that hundreds of thousands of Sydneysiders, plus a national drive time audience, are absorbing with their cornflakes and exhaust fumes.
The message that a woman who looks like this:
Should be ashamed of her physical appearance, publicly ridiculed for her ill-discipline and focussing hard on calorie deprivation.
While a man who looks like this:
Should be worshipped as a God because he is obscenely rich and has a girlfriend of unarguable "hotness".
But never mind all that. There's something else worrying about what Kyle and Jackie O are doing of a morning with their Fat Club. And it's about numbers.
Any expert in disordered eating will tell you that public figures revealing their "number" is something that they just should not do.
Young people (mostly women, and on the above evidence, it's not hard to see why) who are susceptible to eating disorders will take those numbers and cling to them. What number is too big, what number is desirable, what number is their ultimate goal.
Watch the trailer for Embrace, a documentary about body image and how we're going to change the future for women and girls.
There's no context about other factors of height and health and lifestyle when bald KGs are being flung about on radio shows and on magazine covers professing to tell you WHAT CELEBRITIES REALLY WEIGH.
There are just the cold, hard numbers to focus on. And numbers lie.
Jackie O's number is less than the weight of the average Australian woman. Jackie O - an attractive and successful professional who has made her own fortune, has a happy marriage and a healthy, beautiful child - lives a life of privilege few of us can imagine.
And yet, apparently, it's still her weight that matters.
So it's weigh in day tomorrow. I'm part of a fat club bet going around the office, everyone has chipped in $50 and at the end of 8 weeks the person who has lost the most weight wins all. @patrickdempsey and Renee Zellewegger tempted me with my most favourite food ever HOT CHIPS!!! I really really wanted to eat those crispy, fluffy on the inside, lovely salty sticks of potato, however after much consideration I stayed strong and said no. Dieting sucks by the way!! Who's with me? Hopefully it all pays off in the end.
A photo posted by Jackie O (@jackieo_official) on Aug 24, 2016 at 3:55am PDT
Maybe the fact that "Jac" is not razor-thin is a plus to the commercial image-makers who want her to appeal to the masses. Because the mass of us do not have her money, her handbags or her glamorous job, but we do have insecurities about our bodies.
Feeling that there's just too much of us is a common female experience. Stressing about numbers and falling off diets are things that many, many women relate to.
But there isn't a woman alive who enjoys being publicly ridiculed for the size of her body, no matter how much she's getting paid for it. Post continues after gallery.
And if the number so irresponsibly thrown out of our radio speakers is deemed lazy and unacceptable for a 41-year-old mother, then more than half the women in Australia should be gazing at their bodies in disappointment and shame.
Unfortunately, they are.