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Discrimination to Fight Discrimination?
May 15, 2009 6:42 PM   Subscribe

"How do black women fight crime? They have abortions." "How do you stop a poofter from drowning? You take your foot off his head." These and other 'jokes' featured in an advertisement on The Gruen Transfer, an Australian television program focusing on advertising. The ad, part of a segment called 'The Pitch' which usually produces humorous ads, was banned by the ABC, but the national broadcaster has still allowed it to be viewed online, and hundreds have now seen it. The ad was designed to sell "fat pride", with creator Adam Hunt explaining his motivation behind the ad being to say "if you discriminate against somebody on the basis of their shape then you are no different to someone who is racist, homophobic or anti-Semitic." Debate has raged online if the ad is offensive and discriminatory, as the ABC has declared, and whether or not it was effective. Watch the ad and judge for yourself.
posted by Effigy2000 (157 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
For the record, abortions actually (can't remember the source, so take the "actually" with a grain of salt) do help the crime rate after one generatoin.
posted by LSK at 6:51 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Debate has raged online"

sounds like they created a successful marketing ploy?

(I have not watched, and don't plan to)
posted by a. at 6:52 PM on May 15, 2009


LSK: "For the record, abortions actually (can't remember the source, so take the "actually" with a grain of salt) do help the crime rate after one generatoin."

This 'source' wouldn't be that bastion of integrity Bill Bennett, would it?

a.: "sounds like they created a successful marketing ploy?"

Natch.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:57 PM on May 15, 2009


Online - is there no better platform on which a debate can rage?
posted by fire&wings at 6:58 PM on May 15, 2009


I don't get it. Does this mean only minorities and homosexuals can tell fat jokes? Or does it mean fat guys get to be racist gay-bashers and it's okay because they're fat?

Is this some sort of viral ad for Family Guy?
posted by Saydur at 7:02 PM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Watch the ad and judge for yourself. "
No.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 7:05 PM on May 15, 2009 [19 favorites]


Confronting In-your-face at first, but the point was made clear by the end of the "ad" (note to furriners: this is not a real ad, but the result of challenges on the show to create a fake "ad" to illustrate what could be done given a contentious starting point and free reign, with an eye to humour*).

The real question is probably: "are you allowed to appear offensive & discriminatory, even for just a short time, in order to make a point?". I'd bet that responses to the ad are divided more along the lines of that question rather than if you actually find it offensive or not.

That said, the 'judge for yourself' link gives me "Sorry. The creator of this video has not given you permission to embed it on this domain". Probably because of my ad blocking / referer obfuscating Firefox plugins...

(* Personally, I don't find it funny, but I feel that way about the whole show - and it's host. It's not particularly enlightening either...)
posted by Pinback at 7:06 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Saydur: "I don't get it. Does this mean only minorities and homosexuals can tell fat jokes? Or does it mean fat guys get to be racist gay-bashers and it's okay because they're fat?"

I think the answer is "neither." Hunt claims the ad was designed to say that discrimination of any form is discrimination and that's not cool. I think where he falls over though is he's used discrimination to make that point. Whether that's effective as an ad designed to sell that message, or whether it's simply offensive no matter what, is what's up for debate.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:06 PM on May 15, 2009


LSK: "For the record, abortions actually (can't remember the source, so take the "actually" with a grain of salt) do help the crime rate after one generatoin."

This 'source' wouldn't be that bastion of integrity Bill Bennett, would it?


This is the subject of a famous paper by Steve Levitt and John Donohue. It's been debated, of course, but the methodology is very good and the conclusions should be regarded as plausible, if not proven.
posted by grobstein at 7:07 PM on May 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


This 'source' wouldn't be that bastion of integrity Bill Bennett, would it?

It was in that Freakonomics book. But:

a) I don't know if that makes it a Known Fact.
b) It didn't break things down by race that I remember.
posted by DU at 7:08 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


For the record, abortions actually (can't remember the source, so take the "actually" with a grain of salt) do help the crime rate after one generatoin.


According to "Freakonomics" that does seem to be the case; but it has to do with the legality of abortions, and the potential parent's or singel mother's economic status, not with race. (There might be some correlation here, but that's all it is,) And there are plenty of experts who find fault with those statistics.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:08 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Grobstein and DU beat me to it.
posted by Dumsnill at 7:09 PM on May 15, 2009


Re the abortion = less crime argument. Here's the Levitt paper (pdf). Not really that surprising, imo.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:09 PM on May 15, 2009


(Preview, damnit.) Never mind, carry on.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:10 PM on May 15, 2009


Effigy2000: "This 'source' wouldn't be that bastion of integrity Bill Bennett, would it?"

grobstein: "This is the subject of a famous paper by Steve Levitt and John Donohue. "

In the dialogue quoted in Effigy2000's link, Bennett actually references Freakonomics, co-written by Levitt, in which one chapter is a long reiteration of the paper you refer to. He may be a dingleberry, but at least Bill Bennett is well-read.
posted by Plutor at 7:11 PM on May 15, 2009


I think it's a bit offensive that he compares a group that is at worst discriminated against to three groups that have, at one point in history or another, had severe atrocities committed against them due to bigotry. I don't remember fat-lynchings, fat-bashers, or fat concentration camps (but I'm not sure that last one would work)
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:12 PM on May 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


It doesn't actually make a difference if abortions do reduce the crime rate- it wasn't trying to be a factual statement, it was trying to be a racist one.

Proving that God did invent alcohol 'to get fat chicks a root' doesn't change how offensive it is.
posted by twirlypen at 7:15 PM on May 15, 2009


I thought he said "Get fat chicks a roo" and assumed that Australians called babies roos. Do Australians call babies roos? You know like Kanga and Roo? Cause kangaroos live down there?
posted by ND¢ at 7:20 PM on May 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm a racist aren't I?
posted by ND¢ at 7:21 PM on May 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


(I have not watched, and don't plan to)

So you're commenting on something you can't even be bothered to look at? How high- minded of you.
posted by dhammond at 7:24 PM on May 15, 2009 [13 favorites]


Do Australians call babies roos?

No, we don't.

I think the ad fails not because it "uses discrimination" (the joke-tellers are clearly unsympathetic characters) but because the earlier jokes completely distract viewers from the real message.

And I don't see why the ABC banned it -- shown during a show about the advertising industry, preceded by appropriate warnings, and followed by the panel discussion, it would have been a great show.
posted by robcorr at 7:24 PM on May 15, 2009


Mitrovarr, the fact you just causally dropped a fat joke in to your reply makes me think you missed the overall point about discrimination.

NDc, he said fat chicks can get a root, root being Australian coloqiualism for sex.
posted by nudar at 7:25 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


causally casually
posted by nudar at 7:26 PM on May 15, 2009


Do Australians call babies roos?

No. If we were going to use the kangaroo motif it'd more likely be 'joey' which is what a baby kangaroo is called. Actually I can't think of any local colloquialisms for babies.
posted by andraste at 7:28 PM on May 15, 2009


My vote -- inoffensive and mildly effective.

Mitrovarr: The ad's message isn't "Fat people have always had it as bad as blacks/gays/Jews." To me, it's more like "Remember all these terrible forms of discrimination that took years to understand and overcome? Well there's other discrimination out there as well."
posted by brain_drain at 7:28 PM on May 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


I get the idea of what he's trying to say. You can say that discriminating against the overweight is different from discriminating based on race or ethnicity, because those things are not controllable. It's a little trickier when you venture into homophobia and religious discrimination, because it's really not clear how much sexuality and spiritual affinity (loosely, a "sense of the divine." Choices of denomination are probably a combination of environmental and genetic factors) are really decisions. Moreover, even if they are conscious decisions, there is no objective scale of correctness that can say one way or another is even really wrong.

That brings us to weight. Weight lies somewhere on the choice spectrum between 'what I choose to eat' and 'what kinds of people I want to have sex with.' Our food choice from day to day is essentially a completely free choice, while sexuality is still in a murky area. We can control our weight to some degree, but physiology dictates, depending on the person, how much affect our hand has on our weight dial.

When it comes to weight discrimination, the desire (assumedly) is for one to be able to assign blame to the person for being unhealthy. Unlike the ambiguity of homosexuality, for example, it's definitely preferable to be of average weight rather than overweight, because being more healthy is generally preferable to being less healthy. This assumes that deviation from average weight can be correlated with health.

But no one ever knows a specific person's situation. Moreover, people tend not to be able to think like computers. You can't realistically say, "Well, your glandular disorder means 30% of your overweightness is genetic, while the rest is your own fault for poor diet and exercise habits, so I will blame you for 70%." That makes no sense. People tend to assign blame as an all-or-nothing exercise, and there's not even really a way to quantify deserved guilt, anyway.

I think that, from that, it's best not to make any judgments about a particular person's weight, except by what can and should be determined empirically (for example, their ability to fit into a particular space). A person's volume is not a value judgment on them, but it is if you say that because their volume is greater than some determined average, they are not a good person.
posted by anifinder at 7:30 PM on May 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


how much effect our hand has*
posted by anifinder at 7:31 PM on May 15, 2009


My bad Australia.

Hugs?
posted by ND¢ at 7:36 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


My bad Australia.

None taken!
*hugs*
posted by nudar at 7:43 PM on May 15, 2009


Seconding the Freakonomics point, though (as usual) that has nothing to do with melanin-content of the skin and everything to do with socioeconomic status.

That said, obviously the "ad" was deliberately trying to be offensive to catch one's ear and equate civil rights, gay rights, etc. with some imagined agenda of "fat rights."

Of course obese people should not be discriminated against because of their weight problems. But of course there cannot be such a thing as "fat pride" because obesity is a public health epidemic, not a lifestyle choice, not a cause célèbre, not a political identity group.

For fuck's sake.
posted by inoculatedcities at 7:49 PM on May 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


"fat pride"

"For when you want your heart to burst with something other than atheromatous plaques."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:11 PM on May 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


Actually I can't think of any local colloquialisms for babies.

ankle-biter?
posted by onya at 8:14 PM on May 15, 2009


From what I've been able to glean, most groups that are targets of discrimination have, to some degree, a culture around which to rally and be proud of. Could someone tell me what exactly fat culture is?
posted by docpops at 8:20 PM on May 15, 2009


also tin-lid.
posted by onya at 8:22 PM on May 15, 2009


Could someone tell me what exactly fat culture is?

John Candy movies?
posted by onya at 8:24 PM on May 15, 2009


The first three jokes are worse than the last one. The first suggests controlling black population through abortion in order to fight crime, the second suggests that everyone wants to murder gay people, the third suggests that it's funny that Jews were incinerated. The last suggests that no one wants to have sex with fat people.

The message didn't dignify the ghastly setup. It actually left me thinking, people say offensive, hurtful things about fat people, but man, at least no one jokes about murdering them.
posted by palliser at 8:26 PM on May 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


Could someone tell me what exactly fat culture is?

No, but if you can nail down 'black culture' I'm all ears.
posted by nudar at 8:28 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm reminded of something I witnessed a number of years ago at (bear with me) a Star Trek convention.

Two men in Starfleet uniforms got up on stage during the Masquerade and did a brief sketch in which it was explained that one crewmember had beaten the living crap out of another because the victim was, and I quote, "a faggot." The superior officer agreed that this was a perfectly good reason for the beating. The crowd reacted with all the violence two thousand nerds can muster, and booed them off the stage.

Well, it turned out that the two men were actually a couple. They were trying to make a statement about homophobia and how it even infects Star Trek (homosexuality has been hinted at, and discussed allegorically, but never treated as a normal condition of life). Unsurprisingly, though, their intent was completely lost on the crowd, who were so repulsed by the F-word that they refused to pay any attention.

All this is by way of demonstrating just how easy it is to mistake satirical discrimination from genuine discrimination, and how just a little bit of carelessness with your message can offend people so much that they miss your point entirely.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:28 PM on May 15, 2009 [16 favorites]


Another thing to consider with abortion: even poor people can be good parents, but I imagine that people who actively don't want a kid are much, much more likely to be bad parents. And bad parenting can obviously be a cause of problems.

Also, are poor people actually that much more likely to have an abortion? Seems like it would be correlated more with reckless behavior (i.e. unprotected sex) which we know cuts across socioeconomic status.

But I imagine being poor would put a lot more stress on a bad parent who didn't want the kid in the first place then would be placed on a rich person.

--

The other problem with the frekonomics thing was that the data was, as far as I know, totally uncorrelated. I mean, during the same time abortion was being legalized, there were things like lead abatement going on (which many people think had a huge impact on crime 15-20 years down the road) Obvious people were getting richer during that time too.
posted by delmoi at 8:34 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've yet to meet a convincing argument why online debates should matter more than a good long visit to the bathroom.
posted by edgeways at 8:37 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


ankle-biter?

We have ankle biters here in the U.S. No tin lids as far as I know, though.
posted by delmoi at 8:38 PM on May 15, 2009


I've yet to meet a convincing argument why online debates should matter more than a good long visit to the bathroom.

You mean to throw up? Because you're so fat?
posted by delmoi at 8:38 PM on May 15, 2009


Lisa: If your advertising agency created all those giant characters, you must know how to stop them.
Man: Well sir, advertising is a funny thing. If people stop paying attention to it, pretty soon, it goes away.
Lisa: Like that old woman who couldn't find the beef?
Man: Exactly. If you stop paying attention to the monsters, they'll lose their powers.
Lisa: But people can't help looking at them.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:44 PM on May 15, 2009


Delmoi sez:
The other problem with the frekonomics thing was that the data was, as far as I know, totally uncorrelated. I mean, during the same time abortion was being legalized, there were things like lead abatement going on (which many people think had a huge impact on crime 15-20 years down the road) Obvious people were getting richer during that time too.
Not sure what you mean by "uncorrelated." The paper's design connected the staggered state-by-state legalization of abortion with differences in state-by-state crime patterns. (This is somewhat better than saying, "crime fell about 20 years after abortion was legalized;" it is more like, "crime fell in a given state about 20 years after abortion was legalized in that state.") Higher abortion rates also preceded higher crime-rate deductions. Check out the paper.

But not even Levitt would suggest that the whole drop in crime was created by abortion, and there's some evidence that lead abatement was a major contributing factor. From Wikipedia (plenty of links to research):
A May 2000 study by economic consultant Rick Nevin theorizes that lead exposure explains 65% to 90% of the variation in violent crime rates in the U. S..[18][19] A July 2007 paper by the same author claims to show a strong association between preschool blood lead and subsequent crime rate trends over several decades across nine different countries.[20] These results were discussed in a July 2007 Washington Post article, reviving interest in the subject.[21] Nevin's results reflect peer reviewed findings by Dartmouth political scientist Roger D. Masters,[22][23] and similar work is being done by other researchers. Amherst economist Jessica Reyes' working paper[24] and Masters' work are both pre-publication and available online.
posted by grobstein at 8:50 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


To me, it's more like "Remember all these terrible forms of discrimination that took years to understand and overcome? Well there's other discrimination out there as well."

That might work if all those years of understanding and overcoming were, like... over.
posted by rokusan at 8:55 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can't really identify with the whole fat pride thing. Probably because I used to be fat.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:59 PM on May 15, 2009


There is a fundamental difference.

People don't get to choose whether they're white, black, Jewish, male, female, straight, or gay.

The overwhelming majority of fat people have made the choice to not do what is necessary to change a situation which is hazardous to their health, wasteful of resources, and visually repellent. I once strayed into being overweight (by about 20 pounds) for a couple of months and with a few very simple and healthy lifestyle changes dropped 30 pounds in three months and then stayed at that final weight for good.

It is wholly wrong and unfair to judge or discriminate against people for things they had no say in, such as their gender, race, or orientation. Similarly, it is important to hold people to account for the choices they made and actions they did or did not take.
posted by Ryvar at 9:03 PM on May 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


Actually I can't think of any local colloquialisms for babies.


Australian slang for babies is "stubbies".
posted by KokuRyu at 9:09 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


The overwhelming majority of fat people have made the choice to not do what is necessary to change a situation which is hazardous to their health, wasteful of resources, and visually repellent.

Similarly, it is important to hold people to account for the choices they made and actions they did or did not take.


I love the self-congratulatory tone here.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:13 PM on May 15, 2009 [13 favorites]


Similarly, it is important to hold people to account for the choices they made and actions they did or did not take.

Is it? Is it really your job to hold people accountable for things that have no impact on you?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:16 PM on May 15, 2009 [40 favorites]


There's more to "important" than getting paid.
posted by boo_radley at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2009


You know who really wouldn't fare well in a concentration camp?


People with ADD.

I'm really sorry.
posted by graventy at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2009 [37 favorites]


The overwhelming majority of fat people have made the choice to not do what is necessary to change a situation which is hazardous to their health, wasteful of resources, and visually repellent. ... It is wholly wrong and unfair to judge or discriminate against people for things they had no say in, such as their gender, race, or orientation. Similarly, it is important to hold people to account for the choices they made and actions they did or did not take.

Wow, way to make no sense and be an utter tool simultaneously. So by this logic, it's alright to discriminate - not hire, or fire, not admit to a restaurant, deny voting rights etc. - based on voluntary choices such as political and religious affiliation as well as body shape. And how about other people who "waste resources"? Did you drive when you could have walked? Sorry, you're fired. Or engage in other practices hazardous to their health? Eat junk food? Yeah, you can sit in this designated area of the restaurant. Oh, and I find crooked teeth "visually repellent". You could easily change that, but won't, so go fuck yourself, you don't get to vote.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:19 PM on May 15, 2009 [33 favorites]


I love the self-congratulatory tone here.

You know something? A person should feel pretty damn proud of themselves for correcting a serious health problem - obesity - quickly and decisively. Losing weight and maintaining the weight loss is probably on a par with quitting smoking, if not more difficult. For every ten people I see that are overweight, morbidly obese, or super-obese (yes, that's a real clinical term), I can think of one person that vanquished the problem with a ton of effort. Making fun of anyone's difficulty is plainly imbecilic and if you need a PSA to remind you of that then you need to stop sniffing glue. But we need to raise awareness of what a disaster obesity is for the economic prospects of a nation trying to bring health care to all it's citizens instead of further normalizing it as some sort of identity choice.
posted by docpops at 9:22 PM on May 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


What?! Fat people are discriminated against!?

I get bullied by 'big folks' day-in and day-out about me being a 'beenpole.' WTF? I demand equality and a 'bash fat people day!'
posted by porpoise at 9:25 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Australian slang for babies is "stubbies".

Hmmmm, where I live a stubby is a beer, as in "crack me a stubby mate", and a "bubby" is a baby (remember the Rolf de Heer movie Bad Boy Bubby)?
posted by ginky at 9:31 PM on May 15, 2009


But we need to raise awareness of what a disaster obesity is for the economic prospects of a nation trying to bring health care to all it's citizens instead of further normalizing it as some sort of identity choice.

Say it with me Docpops, Orstraaaleeya.
Not Amereeeca - Orstralya.
posted by nudar at 9:31 PM on May 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


I always wondered how you'd spell the pronunciation.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:33 PM on May 15, 2009


docpops: I'm not even remotely obese myself, but on the other hand: I am pretty visually repellent.

That said: Sure it's great if somebody corrects a serious health problem. But I'm not so sure that hurling insults at people who haven't been able to do the same is very helpful.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:33 PM on May 15, 2009


nuday - no shit. But the same thing exists here in the states and last time I checked the vast majority of commenters on MeFi were the same ones clamoring for minimum universal health care. Which I strongly favor as well. And obesity is probably a bigger threat to economic viability of such a program than any other issue within a person's control.
posted by docpops at 9:39 PM on May 15, 2009


The idea of that you can fight discrimination against shape by illustrating other offensive discrimination is legitimate. The use of offensive material to illustrate offensive discrimination against weight is legitimate. Nevertheless, I agree with the guy on the left that the structure of this ad fails because no one is going to remember the fat joke after the preceding offenses. The mere fact that the first part was offensive? Get over it you politically correct sissies. ;) OK, really though, we can not let our political correctness overwhelm discussion of discrimination. It is as if we are more afraid of the fear than of the underlying offense. This ad still fails, not because it is too shocking to be allowed, or even because it is lacking in good taste, but because its shock value overwhelms its message. Basically, the fat joke has to be much funnier than the rest of them. It is sort of like the Lolita theory, where H. Humbert is the protagonist, you are shocked at yourself when you identify with the evil doer. Let the first few jokes shock you, then let the fat joke make you laugh, then let that reality sink in. Why did you laugh? This ad fails because the fat joke sucks, not because the other jokes were so shocking. Of course, there is that little issue of who in there right mind would ever let this ad run during their programming.....
posted by caddis at 9:42 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's nudar, btw.

But the same thing exists here in the states


We have universal healthcare. So no, it does not.
posted by nudar at 9:46 PM on May 15, 2009


Not sure what you mean by "uncorrelated."

Man, I meant to type "uncorrected" but apparently my fingers went on autopilot some point between the u and the first e. Crime rates in different states may have changed at different times, but you would need to correct that data for other factors that are known to effect crime rates.

Oh well.
posted by delmoi at 9:50 PM on May 15, 2009


same thing = endless debates over obesity.

And from the looks of things your fine country is poised to assume the number one fattest country on the planet. Deck chairs, Titanic, etc.
posted by docpops at 9:53 PM on May 15, 2009


This ad still fails, not because it is too shocking to be allowed, or even because it is lacking in good taste, but because its shock value overwhelms its message.

Yes, thank you for putting into words what I was feeling there. The first two jokes were especially harsh. I understand and agree with the creator's point, but the jarring effect in the beginning still had me a little blinkered by the time they got to the end. An effective PSA ends with the punch; it doesn't lead with it. Without the explanation from the OP, I would've wondered myself what the message was.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:53 PM on May 15, 2009


Bill Hicks.
posted by Pecinpah at 9:54 PM on May 15, 2009


Define "poofter," BTW. Isn't that what normally happens when such discus... Oh wait, we're taking offence here. When taking offence no such thread derailing is required.

Carry on!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:54 PM on May 15, 2009


And from the looks of things your fine country is poised to assume the number one fattest country on the planet.

So? And who is number one again, seeings you think it seems to matter to this conversation?
posted by nudar at 10:02 PM on May 15, 2009


It's kind of interesting that the creators of this ad, with the term "Fat Pride" have embraced the word "fat", which is, of course, a term frowned upon and discouraged in recent years (at least in the US). I believe "large" is the acceptable term, now, no? I suppose it's like "queer", which used to be one of the foulest anti-homosexual slurs, being "reclaimed" or whatever by gay rights groups and used as a self-labeling term of pride. Will we see the same, then, I wonder, with "fat"? Or is such usage already common among "large" folk in the US who are demanding equal treatment and non-discrimination? (Being an ex-pat means I'm often not right up to date on these kinds of things).
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:08 PM on May 15, 2009


meh. they were obviously just being ironic.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:12 PM on May 15, 2009


nudar,

I simply find the parallels interesting. The US has a similar inability to confront the reality of what obesity really means in terms of costs to our economy, and yet there are such clear and obvious ways to start to effect changes that will bring rates down in time. I suppose this is all tangential to the thread at hand, but my reaction is more to the moronic notion that societies would actually spend time telling it's citizens to be nice to the obese instead of confronting the problem head on.
posted by docpops at 10:13 PM on May 15, 2009


the moronic notion that societies would actually spend time telling it's citizens to be nice to the obese instead of confronting the problem head on.

Get yer mutual exclusivity here, folks! Step right up!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:16 PM on May 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


meh. they were obviously just being ironic.

That reminds me, I meant to say the same thing! I mean, when it's so clear that the objective of the ad is to point out how stupid and vile discrimination is, it's disheartening to think that there are still people who would actually take offense.

But then, hey, I guess if I'm not black, gay, Jewish or fat, I don't exactly have a right to question that...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:20 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


This advert is ridiculously creepy.
posted by koeselitz at 10:21 PM on May 15, 2009


Is it? Is it really your job to hold people accountable for things that have no impact on you?

My job? You make it sound like I'm lurking in the bushes waiting to spring out at fat people and say "AH-HA! You're fat!" You're casting things in personal terms here, and projecting that onto me. I don't go around and perform the verb of "holding people accountable" for things, and if that's how you operate... I don't care.

What I'm saying by held accountable is that, as an example, if you chosen to maintain a lifestyle in which your body cannot fit into an airplane seat without overflowing into the neighboring seat, it is not "discrimination" for the airline to require you to purchase tickets for two airplane seats. If an airline is charging black people for two tickets on that basis alone, then I assure you I will be there with pitchforks, torches, and sharply worded letters of protest to every elected official I can find.

Wow, way to make no sense and be an utter tool simultaneously. So by this logic, it's alright to discriminate - not hire, or fire, not admit to a restaurant, deny voting rights etc. - based on voluntary choices such as political and religious affiliation as well as body shape. And how about other people who "waste resources"? Did you drive when you could have walked? Sorry, you're fired. Or engage in other practices hazardous to their health? Eat junk food? Yeah, you can sit in this designated area of the restaurant. Oh, and I find crooked teeth "visually repellent". You could easily change that, but won't, so go fuck yourself, you don't get to vote.

This is the same fallacy as above, taken to an extreme that's difficult to address with a straight face. Nowhere in my original comment, at all, did I say anything or make any suggestion about how or in what manner 'holding people accountable' was intended (or whether it was even non-abstract!). That you immediately leap to some sort of weird Gattaca fantasy is a bit telling, but never mind.

The point I was making was this: how you were born is not something you can control, but for the overwhelming majority of people with the resources to read a comment on the internet, how you choose to live is. It is *never* acceptable to treat people differently for things they cannot control, and is never acceptable to treat people as less than human no matter what.

But it is also never acceptable to repeatedly and continually make poor life choices and then insist that others act as if you are not doing so.
posted by Ryvar at 10:26 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Your assumption Ryvar is that all overweight people are that way because of there own lack of control. Have you considered that you might not be correct in that assumption?
posted by caddis at 10:31 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ok fair enough, blind freddie [NOT BLIND-IST] can see obesity's effects on society in terms of economic loss. But this,

the moronic notion that societies would actually spend time telling it's citizens to be nice to the obese instead of confronting the problem head on.

Yeah this seems like a false dichotomy here. If I'm not 'confronting the problem head on' then I'm turning a blind eye... I think there is more middle ground than that.
posted by nudar at 10:33 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I'm saying by held accountable is that, as an example, if you chosen to maintain a lifestyle in which your body cannot fit into an airplane seat without overflowing into the neighboring seat, it is not "discrimination" for the airline to require you to purchase tickets for two airplane seats. If an airline is charging black people for two tickets on that basis alone, then I assure you I will be there with pitchforks, torches, and sharply worded letters of protest to every elected official I can find.

Right. But we weren't talking about selling airline tickets. We were talking about mocking people. And, while your original comment was worded passively, if you're saying that you, personally, aren't the one who should hold people accountable, then who should?

Also, whether or not you, personally, found it easy to change your weight through lifestyle changes is pretty irrelevant. As anifinder really nicely points out upthread, it's impossible to know why someone's overweight. It's not always because the person is a lazy overeater. And, maybe more significantly, there's a really large class divide here--people who are privileged to have the time and money to work out and eat healthy, high quality food are just that--privileged. The sad truth is, in our society (and I'd hazard a guess that the lack of universal healthcare, which requires people to work very long hours to have their basic medical needs taken care of, contributes to this), many working class people don't have the time or the money that's requisite to maintain a healthy body size. You can say, hey, fattie, make time--you're just being lazy and you need to be held accountable, but really, that's an attitude that's lacking in both empathy and perspective.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:43 PM on May 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


But it is also never acceptable to repeatedly and continually make poor life choices and then insist that others act as if you are not doing so.

Also, fat people know that they're fat. They don't need "others" to tell them that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:45 PM on May 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


The worst thing for me is now that I have watched this I have several very unpleasant "jokes" in my head. I would rather these sorts of jokes were allowed to fade away into oblivion.
posted by ginky at 10:59 PM on May 15, 2009


So no one else was wondering about a panel of 5 white male mesomorphs talking about discrimination...? (said the white male mesomorph)
posted by birdsquared at 11:01 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Fat Pride" is a movement wherein the participants reclaim their self-esteem and pride despite their weight (at least as I understand it). I have a friend who does a Queer Fat Femme podcast; she's all about positive body images and being happy with yourself no matter your size, shape, sexuality, or whatever.

I love her podcasts and her attitude. I've been fat my entire life. As a kid, my brother and dad teased me about it and I grew up with a horrible image of myself. Seeing my friend rebel against the negative labels that society applies to fat people (some of which have been tossed about in this thread: lazy, self-indulgent, wasteful), helped me reclaim some of my self-esteem. That's what 'fat pride' is: loving yourself even though the world wants to denigrate you, even though the majority of society thinks it's okay to say hurtful things about you.

The kicker is that once I made the first steps towards being comfortable in my weight, I discovered that my weight was caused by an undiagnosed medical condition that I've had all my life; no amount of exercising or dieting helped take the weight off - only medication for the underlying condition could. So for those of you who think that obesity is just a sign of someone's laziness, fuck off. You have no idea what you're talking about.

Also, if you haven't been fat, then you have no idea what it's like to be fat and to be pointed at, cruelly made the butt of jokes and comments.

Is it okay to use discriminatory comments such as those in the ad to draw attention to this? The comments make me uncomfortable; it seems to me that whatever attention might be drawn to fat pride is taken away again by the anger/irritation the viewer experiences from the other comments. The campaign is effective in that it gets people talking, but, as we can see in this thread, most people miss the point that bashing fat folks is not okay.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 11:09 PM on May 15, 2009 [18 favorites]


Perhaps I should note that my Queer Fat Femme friend, in her quest to be body positive, also stresses being "healthy at any size". Being overweight does not automatically equate to being completely unhealthy. There are some fit fatties out there. I used to walk a mile a day and spend an hour at the gym five times a week but I was still way overweight.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 11:15 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually I can't think of any local colloquialisms for babies.

Sprog.
ex: "She dropped a sprog."
posted by -harlequin- at 11:16 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


The idea of "fat pride" is ludicrous. It's like being proud of drinking until you get cirrhosis of the liver, or smoking until you get emphysema, or whoremongering until your brain rots from syphilis. It's like "meth addict pride". Poor lifestyle choices leading to morbidity doesn't make you an ethnic group/culture.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:31 PM on May 15, 2009 [7 favorites]


Actually I can't think of any local colloquialisms for babies.

Deadly fucking venomous spawn that will kill you in before you can yelp, "Ow, I've been bitten!"
posted by dirigibleman at 11:32 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Kill you in" being the new kids' slang for, you know, kill you. In.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:33 PM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


caddis:
Your assumption Ryvar is that all overweight people are that way because of there own lack of control. Have you considered that you might not be correct in that assumption?

I recognize that a minority of overweight people have a genetic or other medical condition that renders them incurably obese, or would require them to engage in an amount of dietary/lifestyle modification that is simply not reasonably achievable. There is no decision there or choice on their part.

That is why I wrote:
The overwhelming majority of fat people

if you chosen to maintain a lifestyle in which your body cannot fit

I assure you that caveats in my wording were very much intentional, which is why I drove the point home at the end of my second comment:
But it is also never acceptable to repeatedly and continually make poor life choices and then insist that others act as if you are not doing so.

I feel extremely sorry for people who are born in such a way or have developed a medical condition such that they could not, with a reasonable amount of effort and self-control, maintain a healthy weight. There is no choice for them, and that's truly awful.

But that is not the case for the vast majority of overweight people, and for that majority there seems to be significant potential overlap between "fat acceptance" and "abdication of personal responsibility." That's why I care about this issue at all.

And, while your original comment was worded passively, if you're saying that you, personally, aren't the one who should hold people accountable, then who should?

No one should ever proactively "go around holding people accountable" for non-criminal choices - this is a free society, witch hunts have no place here. I have difficulty visualizing what you are implying - some sort of farcical fat police or something?

That might make for an interesting TV show, at least.

Back in reality, what I am saying is that failing to exercise personal responsibility and then labeling the consequences of that failure "discrimination" is wrong, because it cheapens the meaning of discrimination.

And for your reference:
dis⋅crim⋅i⋅na⋅tion
1. an act or instance of discriminating.
2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

Self-control is one facet of merit.
posted by Ryvar at 11:34 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


DecemberBoy: "The idea of "fat pride" is ludicrous. It's like being proud of drinking until you get cirrhosis of the liver, or smoking until you get emphysema, or whoremongering until your brain rots from syphilis. It's like "meth addict pride". Poor lifestyle choices leading to morbidity doesn't make you an ethnic group/culture."

Good point. Fat people, or "fatty-fatty-boom-ballatties" as I believe they are properly called, are equivalent to and deserve to be treated like syphilitic prostitutes and meth addicts, and it is appalling and morally repugnant that they should feel any sense of pride in themselves or be at all ok with who they are--because no one can hate fatties as much as they ought to hate themselves.

Bravo!
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 11:56 PM on May 15, 2009 [11 favorites]


disclaimer: I have nothing against the Amish (not that they'll criticize this post)

did anyone get to the end of the video (which was not just the ad, for those that avoided it, but a show discussing the ad) where the host (who had admitted to making fat jokes on tv) asked rhetorically 'who can I make fun of now'. 'the amish! their not watching this show...'

I chuckled, I must admit it. I didn't mean for my laughter to be at the expense of the Amish, but it seemed to ring true, which resulted in my amusement.

unrelated: I knew someone that told ethnic jokes like this 'an ethnic walked into a bar..' - they still seemed a bit offensive (perhaps because such jokes are mean-spirited), but it took some of the venom out of them.
posted by el io at 12:15 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The idea of "fat pride" is ludicrous. It's like being proud of drinking until you get cirrhosis of the liver, or smoking until you get emphysema, or whoremongering until your brain rots from syphilis. It's like "meth addict pride". Poor lifestyle choices leading to morbidity doesn't make you an ethnic group/culture.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:31 PM on May 15


I think all of the "pride" movements are a complete joke. Particularly the ones like Fat Pride or Disabled Pride, etc.

Now, you can be proud of yourself, no matter what you look like, who you are, etc.. but being proud of being fat? Being proud that you are disabled? Being proud that you are White, Black, Asian? I don't really understand any of these things. Be proud of your achievements - you did nothing to be any of these things (save for fat or in some few circumstances, disabled, but I wouldn't really consider those to be an achievement.)

I'm fat. I'm proud that I'm a pretty good artist. I'm proud that I am relatively healthy considering my weight (which is because of a health problem). I'm proud of having a wonderful husband and two well trained dogs.

Do I feel bad about being fat? No, certainly not. Am I PROUD of it? No, certainly not.

I appreciate the effort made on behalf of fat folks everywhere. Those jokes ARE rude and for the most part should not be tolerated.. but teach people to be proud of themselves, not proud of their fat.

The ad, by the way, failed miserably at achieving anything at all.
posted by Malice at 12:20 AM on May 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


A huge percentage of the population just lacks personal self control, but not ryvar. Right.
posted by caddis at 12:29 AM on May 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ryvar: You seem to be saying that judging people on weight is a valid metric to include in judgements of merit. So you're saying that you can look at any person and tell, from the shape of their body, whether they are exercising self-control in their diet and exercise habits.

Jesus Christ, I feel like the predominant thinking here is that fat people obviously are not hated enough, because if we could only hate them more furiously maybe they would feel bad enough about themselves to change their ways.

Here's a contrary fucking data point, Ryvar: I am 6'3", 155lbs. That's a BMI of 19.4, fwiw, just above underweight. I must be a meritorious person with excellent self-control. Quick, hire me!
Actually it turns out that I do not eat particularly well, work at a desk all day, and get real exercise only once every couple of weeks, at present. I just happen to have the metabolism of a hummingbird on crank. Books, judging, covers, etc.

Also: me and my beautiful, overweight family pay our own usurious health care costs, at present. Until we get single-payer health care, let's not complain overmuch about people driving up our costs and wrecking our system. When we do get single payer health care and tell people they have to exercise more or get fined, can we also tell people to stop riding motorcycles and playing contact sports?
posted by agentofselection at 12:31 AM on May 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


Did any of y'all read how 'fat pride' is actually used by those who are interested in it? For the majority of the people who engage in 'fat pride' ideas and activities, the pride isn't in being fat, it's in being able to love themselves even though society is telling them that they are unlovable, unattractive creatures that should crawl off to the nearest cave and die so that the thin people in society don't have to look upon them.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 12:31 AM on May 16, 2009 [16 favorites]


Also:
Metafilter: If we could just hate [fat people/cat declawers/circumcisionists/Xtians (choose one)] more furiously, maybe they would feel bad enough to change.
posted by agentofselection at 12:38 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


it is appalling and morally repugnant that they should feel any sense of pride in themselves or be at all ok with who they are

Again, obesity is not "who they are". Fat people are not an ethnic group. Obesity is a self-inflicted health problem caused by poor choices, not a culture.

Am I perfect and thus in a position to condemn their poor choices? Not really, I'm an overweight cigarette smoker with a long history of drug problems*. Then again, I'm not making high-larious commercials where I tell jokes about murdering gays or incinerating Jews in an effort to illustrate that you should accept my poor choices as my fucking cultural identity because my sense of entitlement demands it.

* My new record, FEAR OF AN OVERWEIGHT SUBSTANCE ABUSING PLANET, drops this summer
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:53 AM on May 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Fat pride"? Seriously? No, just no.

First of all, we're not talking about fat. Fat is somewhat overweight. My mid-section qualifies for that. But I can stop eating all my empty carbs, exercise more, and get rid of it. It's not about being fat.

It's about obesity.

People who are discriminated against for their weight are obese. Obesity is a medical condition, and while no one should be discriminated against for it, it's ludicrous in the extreme to want to form a pride movement to honor that obesity. This is a medical condition that should be avoided and fought against, not resignedly taken as a legitimate minority group.
posted by zardoz at 12:58 AM on May 16, 2009 [7 favorites]


"Fat pride"? Seriously? No, just no.

For those who missed it, the section on the show is a competition between two ad agencies to come up with a pitch to "sell the unsellable".
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:05 AM on May 16, 2009


DecemberBoy: "I'm not making high-larious commercials where I tell jokes about murdering gays or incinerating Jews in an effort to illustrate that you should accept my poor choices as my fucking cultural identity because my sense of entitlement demands it."

The "high-larious commercial" wasn't made by fat people, entitled or otherwise. It was made by some jerk trying to win some reality show (best as I can tell, I'm unfamiliar with the program). FYI.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 1:15 AM on May 16, 2009


For those who missed it, the section on the show is a competition between two ad agencies to come up with a pitch to "sell the unsellable".

Count me among the ones who missed that. Thanks, Ubu. Puts the thing in a whole other light, that does.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:23 AM on May 16, 2009


Again, obesity is not "who they are". Fat people are not an ethnic group. Obesity is a self-inflicted health problem caused by poor choices, not a culture.

While, for some people, sodomy may have a genetic component, for many it is a lifestyle choice. Homosexuals are not an ethnic group. By choosing buggery, not only are they making destructive moral choices, they are engaging in activities that are damaging the general public health, by spreading serious blood borne viruses that may ultimately end up infecting people who haven't even embraced this morally bankrupt lifestyle choice.

And those who have the genetic predisposition towards fudge packing aren't obliged to act on it. Simply by exercising a little bit of self control, we'd have a much lower prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis C, not to mention avoiding all of these socially divisive discussions about whether or not turd burglers should be able to marry.

Of course, the idea that we should form gangs and beat up homosexuals in the street is completely wrong, but there's nothing wrong with my being able to express the view that God Hates Fags as it's obviously a legitimate health epidemic as any objective person who doesn't enjoy uphill gardening can clearly see for themselves.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:36 AM on May 16, 2009 [11 favorites]


If I was a fat gay black Jew, I'd be mortified by this.
posted by ob at 1:53 AM on May 16, 2009


Do overweight people get beaten up and left to die?

Do overweight people get laws written to discriminate against them by fundamentalists, both in their public and private lives?

I think the answer makes the ad somewhat offensive, personally. Jokes making fun of the overweight are cruel. Jokes about stomping fags systemize and legitimize violence by a majority on a minority. They are in two entirely separate spheres of existence.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:05 AM on May 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Self-control is one facet of merit

So is empathy.

Aaaaanyway, you know that bit of your brain which said "Hmm I'm overweight, I should cut down a bit and exercise to lose it" a lot of people don't have that. Although they probably have the bit of the brain which lets them know that their shit does indeed smell, unlike you.

Ironically in a discussion about a show called the Gruen Transfer our understanding of the power of marketing, advertising and the food industry is changing the ideas of obesity as just a simple willpower/cake interface.

Or to put it another way.

When you see a 300 pound plus person struggling down the street, wheezing sweating and generally looking fairly miserable surely you may entertain the thought that perhaps cake isn't that nice and maybe there's some other psychological drive going on here. Or do you watch crack-heads blowing tramps for pennies and think "wow, if I was addicted to crack I'd lay off it for a couple of weeks until I'd saved up enough to score some of that sweet sweet rock."

Now, I'm not saying food is as addictive as crack, but surely, after you've passed the morbidly obese mark no rational or sane person would choose to carry on gaining weight, just like no rational or sane person would choose to blow tramps for crack.*

*ignoring rule 34. mmmmmm tramp cock
posted by fullerine at 2:07 AM on May 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


OK joking aside, I really don't see discrimination against the obese as anything like homophobia or racism. In fact that whole notion is so ridiculous as to be offensive.
posted by ob at 2:16 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]



Do overweight people get beaten up and left to die?

Do overweight people get laws written to discriminate against them by fundamentalists, both in their public and private lives?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:05 AM on May 16


Generally, fat people DO get beaten up (and sometimes left to die, I am sure) just for being fat. They are discriminated against throughout their entire lives. Some fat people can help that they are fat. Some (like me) cannot, and fight an uphill battle fifteen miles in a raging blizzard both ways just to not GAIN weight, much less lose it.

I've been fat and I've been toned and in great shape. You DO get looked at differently, if you are weak enough you DO get fought with/beaten up. You DO get bypassed for job opportunities simply because of your weight. You don't even realize how much fat people struggle every single day just to get by (not to mention the extra weight they carry on their spines) in society. Most just want to go home, crawl into their privacy and die.

When I was in gradeschool, everyone was going around introducing themselves. A boy said, in his introduction, "I HATE fat people. I just hate them, I can't stand them." He went on and on about it. The teacher allowed this, and even chuckled.

If he had said, I HATE JEWS, or I HATE BLACKS, that would have NOT been acceptable. Why is it less shocking, and even laughable to hear this said about people just because they are fat?
posted by Malice at 2:31 AM on May 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


Am I correct in assuming that the ads folks usually come up with for these challenges are totally tongue-in-cheek? That's the only explanation I can come up with for how upset some people are about the ad. If everyone was expecting a good laugh and instead got that, I can imagine it being a shock.

But if you just take it by itself, I don't think there's any way to see the things that people are projecting onto it. What, we're supposed to think that the ad is actually racist and homophobic because it has racist and homophobic characters in it? Are we supposed to think it's not actually an ad for anything? It's just supposed to be a montage of people making one-liners about minorities for the audience? I don't think that's a thing.
posted by roll truck roll at 2:43 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


If he had said, I HATE JEWS, or I HATE BLACKS, that would have NOT been acceptable. Why is it less shocking, and even laughable to hear this said about people just because they are fat?

Wasn't this covered upthread? However inaccurately, obesity is viewed as gluttony incarnate which makes people think they have free rein to mock it.
posted by ODiV at 2:51 AM on May 16, 2009


They are in two entirely separate spheres of existence.

I don't see this at all. It's a matter of degree. The fact that fat people aren't subjected to the same volume of cruelty as other minorities doesn't make the cruelty qualitatively different -- just quantitatively different. But I'd argue that the impulse is precisely the same. It's an attempt to render a group as inferior, as somehow lesser and therefore as less deserving of our respect than everybody else.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:55 AM on May 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Or to put it another way.

When you see a 300 pound plus person struggling down the street, wheezing sweating and generally looking fairly miserable surely you may entertain the thought that perhaps cake isn't that nice and maybe there's some other psychological drive going on here.


Or to put it another way.

When you see a gay man lying in a trough in the back room of a gay club being urinated on by half a dozen men, or bending over in a harness taking two fists simultaneously inside his rectum, surely you may entertain the thought that perhaps gay sex isn't that nice and maybe there's some other psychological drive going on here?

Damn, I need to lay off those 1970's Larry Kramer novels.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:04 AM on May 16, 2009


People who are discriminated against for their weight are obese. Obesity is a medical condition, and while no one should be discriminated against for it, it's ludicrous in the extreme to want to form a pride movement to honor that obesity. This is a medical condition that should be avoided and fought against, not resignedly taken as a legitimate minority group.

And laughed at, same as all those cancery tumor monkeys. Gosh darn they crack me up. Hey, Mr. Clean, you're so skinny these days! Want a smoke?

No. You don't do that. Casting the first stone and all, right? You all have flaws, every single one of you, and you'd feel worse for having them mocked, be they flaws you can or cannot control.

First of all, we're not talking about fat. Fat is somewhat overweight. My mid-section qualifies for that. But I can stop eating all my empty carbs, exercise more, and get rid of it. It's not about being fat.

So...when you gonna get on that, lardass?

Really, not to pick on you, man, and I'm sorry for singling out your comment, but your comment is a good example of one to pick on for what it doesn't include, and that's a little bit of understanding and forgiveness for all the ways in which we screw ourselves up (it's a far cry from some of the people here, though, who are just merciless, and my comments are directed more to them than you). I smoke, and I probably drink and masturbate too much. And some people have heavy midsections, and most people feel guilty about their own failings, and most people's failings are probably a combination of internal and external factors.

You're still allowed a modicum of self-esteem, despite that. That's what "fat pride" is about. Yes, ok, some people are fat. Some people make bad choices. Some people have diseases. So what???


Now, you can be proud of yourself, no matter what you look like, who you are, etc.. but being proud of being fat? Being proud that you are disabled? Being proud that you are White, Black, Asian? I don't really understand any of these things.


I do. :) It's pride in being a member of a community that accomplishes something. And especially being disabled/overweight, who have to struggle just to get through a normal day sometimes. If you're in a wheelchair, odds are 10-1 you work harder than someone who isn't. That effort deserves recognition. If you're overweight, you're battling something that may, in fact, be a conscious choice. But I've never seen "fat pride" advocates clamoring for obesity to be stricken from the list of things a doctor can diagnose you with. They're as concerned with health as the rest of us, and are a lot more concerned with body image and being treated with decency despite looking different. It's been mentioned above, and we all know this, that there are healthy "fat" people who work out 5 days a week, or hell, who maybe even don't and just like to eat a whole cake every now and again. I'm thin, but I'll take down a leftover cake no problem. Healthy?...So long as your arteries, heart, and the rest of your organs and bones are ok with it, yes.

There are too many factors for you (the rhetorical) to decide whom to mock and whom not to, except in some very specific circumstances. Relish them for what they are, but also understand that the obese aren't one of those circumstances.

This commercial?! No. No. "ur ugly" is not equivalent to "kill the faggot". I could find 50 different jokes that would reverse the punch arrangement in this ad using the same idea. They screwed it up.
posted by saysthis at 3:08 AM on May 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Am I correct in assuming that the ads folks usually come up with for these challenges are totally tongue-in-cheek?

Yep, although the show tends to declare the most shocking one the winner, so I can see where the ad agency decided it'd be a good idea to be as shocking as possible.

Generally, I find the show a bit dull. It's promoted as being about finding out about the ins and outs of advertising so that you'll be be more cynical about it, but often spends a lot of time defending crap ads with the usual "oh, but it got people talking" etc etc. The panelists are usually insiders who are apologists for the standard PR crap, they're nowhere near as cynical or edgy as they think they are.
posted by harriet vane at 3:24 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


metatalk
posted by Hat Maui at 3:24 AM on May 16, 2009


It's a matter of degree.

It's more like they just don't really compare. We don't hear of a "fat defense" for violent crimes, we don't have Prop 8 referendums on how the overweight are trying to recruit our children, we don't have Supreme Court cases that have to decide whether an adult is allowed to eat whatever he or she wants, we don't have cops look the other way while overweight people are run over by cars, etc. Cruelty is wrong (duh), but it is those kinds of systemic differences that make how this ad delivers its argument ridiculous and offensive.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:25 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Puts the thing in a whole other light, that does.

you can see the competing entry here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:43 AM on May 16, 2009


Anyone who thinks you need to just suck it up and buy two airplane seats because it's your own fault you're fat needs to read this.
Seats in coach, as Meowser points out, are about 17″ wide. I had planned to do a surreptitious measuring of the free space in my seat for blog purposes anyway, but it turned out I didn’t have to: my size 10 ass fills one of these seats exactly. My hips were exactly lined up with the edge of the seat. If my clone sat next to me, our hips would have touched. (As it happened, a fat guy sat next to me, and our hips didn’t touch — because his fat was in his belly, not his hips and thighs.)

This is why United’s policy is ridiculous and sexist. I am thinner and taller than the average American woman, and I just barely fit in an economy seat, width-wise. As with BMI alarmism, the difference between who Jane Box-wine thinks counts as fat and who really does count as fat is (ha) enormous — thanks in no small part to the headless fatty phenomenon. People who are outraged that their seat might be colonized by errant chub are not imagining someone who weighs 5 pounds more than me.
posted by Jeanne at 4:08 AM on May 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


This is the same fallacy as above, taken to an extreme that's difficult to address with a straight face. Nowhere in my original comment, at all, did I say anything or make any suggestion about how or in what manner 'holding people accountable' was intended (or whether it was even non-abstract!). That you immediately leap to some sort of weird Gattaca fantasy is a bit telling, but never mind.

Well, here's the thing, Ryvar: the ad contends that it's wrong to belittle people based on race, religion, sexual orientation and body shape. Your response to this is that there's a "difference", in that the majority of overweight people chose to be overweight. Why even make the distinction if you're not giving license to discriminate? The implication here is that it's OK to mock them, then.

Even if it is true that the majority of overweight people choose to be so, there are numerous other choices people make that still don't make it OK to mock them, such as political affiliation. There are numerous ways in which people "waste resources". There are numerous qualities that any number of people find "visually repellent". This is why I brought it up. I wanted to point out the ridiculousness and outright arrogance of your assertions there.

I notice you've been doing considerable back-pedalling in this thread now, without really saying how we - the wise few who make no poor decisions, who do not waste resources, and are not visually repellent - are to hold those who do accountable. I think the classy thing to do here would be to admit you made a really awfully-worded comment and just speak plainly about where you're coming from here.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:25 AM on May 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


I should clarify that when it comes to political affiliation, mocking based on policy is totally fine - being fired for having a McCain/Palin sticker still on your car, not so much.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:32 AM on May 16, 2009



So...when you gonna get on that, lardass?


Uh...well, I'm going jogging tomorrow, for one thing. Why do you ask?

Really, not to pick on you, man, and I'm sorry for singling out your comment, but your comment is a good example of one to pick on for what it doesn't include, and that's a little bit of understanding and forgiveness for all the ways in which we screw ourselves up (it's a far cry from some of the people here, though, who are just merciless, and my comments are directed more to them than you).

That's okay, I can take a little misdirected outrage every now and then.

I smoke, and I probably drink and masturbate too much. And some people have heavy midsections, and most people feel guilty about their own failings, and most people's failings are probably a combination of internal and external factors.


So do you get offended if someone says "fucking stinky-ass smoker!"? No, because you agree. Are you petitioning folks with alcoholic acceptance, because that's just the way you are and you might as well be happy with waking up hungover every day? Are you rallying for Pathological Masturbators Pride Week?

You're still allowed a modicum of self-esteem, despite that. That's what "fat pride" is about. Yes, ok, some people are fat. Some people make bad choices. Some people have diseases. So what???


Ok, let me speak slowly so you can understand. A serious medical condition should not be a point of pride. It's the absolute wrong message to be sending. That's it, that's all I'm saying.
posted by zardoz at 5:46 AM on May 16, 2009


So no one will object if I say I'm a proud smoker now?

/lights up
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:49 AM on May 16, 2009


As long as I don't have to breathe any carcinogens, you can snort lines of asbestos off a mirror, dude.

Alright, actually, don't do that. It probably wouldn't be good for you.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:59 AM on May 16, 2009


Being proud that you are White, Black, Asian? I don't really understand any of these things.

Well, let me try to help you out with the whole Asian pride thing. I'm not one of those rabid Azn types, but I can understand it. Being proud of being Asian probably doesn't come from any belief that there is inherently something superior about being Asian. Being proud of Asian comes from a reaction to the idea that being Asian is something to be ashamed of.

Look, there are some very unflattering portrayals of Asian people in the media in the United States. There are two common reactions: Either people try to get as far away from their Asian-ness as possible; they try to be 'white' (because white is normal in this culture. White people aren't trapped into being nerds or submissive geishas or what have you). There are problems with this, of course; no matter how 'white' you try to become, someone will always be willing to turn around and remind you that you're not. I personally think people who embrace this aren't very happy people.

The other way is to realize that despite the stereotypes you're constantly being shown, that there is nothing inherently wrong with being Asian. That's where you get Asian pride from; it's a reaction to the nebulous force of Asian shame which is being put forth by ethnic stereotypes, etc.

The other thing I want to address is the idea that if someone wants to tell a racist joke, that I need to not be offended, quit being so sensitive, etc. Look, first of all, nobody's ever required to laugh at a joke, especially one that's aimed at them. To me, telling racist jokes is one of those things that reinforce ethnic 'shame'. Do you laugh and reassure people that yes, it's true, those people are like that (but I'm not like those people! I'm me!). Or do you object and say that that joke is kind of racist? (Which doesn't always make you very popular).

We all have things which we're a little ticklish about. If you think a joke about a particular ethnicity is hilarious and you're not part of that ethnicity, well, hopefully you can understand why someone who _is_ that ethnicity doesn't find it so funny. If you can't, I don't know what else to tell you.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:07 AM on May 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


So when the asbestos-snorters get really sick, are you going to stand at the hospital doors saying, "no, hey, you can just lie there and die while I watch" ?
posted by amtho at 6:07 AM on May 16, 2009


Of course not. Why would I do that?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:09 AM on May 16, 2009


I've never understood what it is about fat people that encourages meanness toward them. Is it the sense that they are somehow responsible for their weight, and therefore have brought cruelty down upon their own heads?

If I had to fire someone, I'd fire the mean person, not the fat person. I guarantee you almost every overweight person you have ever met has done something to try to address their weight. If they're not when you meet them, it's likely that you're meeting them at a time when they are so discouraged by the trouble they have losing weight, and are already dealing with all sorts of shame and disgust about the fact, before they eventually get around to trying to address it again. Some do so with more success, some with less, but there are very few overweight people who just absolutely refuse to try and get their weight to someplace that feels comfortable and healthy to them, and try again and again.

Assholes, in the meanwhile, never seem to do much to address the fact that they are fundamentally unpleasant people. They always seem to feel fully justified in causing pain, as though they are doing somebody a favor by venting their spleen on them. And, strangely, these same jerks, who take so much pride in their unpleasantness, and puff themselves up and crow about being the kind of people who are straight shooters and tell it like it is -- these summits of self-love and pride -- are always disgusted by fat people wanting to have a little pride in themselves. Well, thank goodness you're here to knock fatties off their pedestal and remind them how contemptible they are. The world definitely needs less fat people and more bullies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:25 AM on May 16, 2009 [44 favorites]


Fire the mean people!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:33 AM on May 16, 2009


Ok, let me speak slowly so you can understand. A serious medical condition should not be a point of pride. It's the absolute wrong message to be sending. That's it, that's all I'm saying.

I don't know if I agree with that. Why shouldn't medical conditions be a source of pride? I recently started freelancing for a book company that's out to author children's books aimed at disabled kids. Many disabilities that we portray are caused by serious medical conditions. I have no problem with having a hand in normalizing these conditions for kids, much less helping them to feel proud about who they are. What's the difference in making fat kids (who are no less aware of their differences, I promise you) feel good about who they are?

Of course, the difference is that we assume fat kids are just lazy. They just lack self control. Soooorry! I'd forgotten!

And for your reference:
dis⋅crim⋅i⋅na⋅tion
1. an act or instance of discriminating.
2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.


ryvar, I wanted to thank you for your extremely patronizing and condescending tone! I hadn't known the definition of discrimination! Thank you so much for teaching me! I'm sure it's been edifying not just for those who disagree with you, but for all the overweight people who just need to be told that they need to buck up and eat less carbs to be "healthy." Because, you know, fat people aren't just fat--they're usually pretty stupid, too.

You still haven't said who will be the one holding fat people accountable. And your insistence that fat people are (apparently) universally held as "visually repellent" is, well, repellent. It all boils down to how hot people are. Well, how hot you think people are, I guess, since I've found people of all sorts of different sizes aesthetically pleasing, much less sexually attractive. And more importantly, people have no obligation to alter themselves in order to make themselves more visually appealing. Ugly people are under no obligation to get plastic surgery. Likewise, fat people have a right to be fat, whether or not it skeeves you out to look at them.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:12 AM on May 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ok, let me speak slowly so you can understand. A serious medical condition should not be a point of pride.

It's about having pride despite being fat. Because a lot of people feel constant shame and humiliation. Because even if we don't hate how we look -- and most of us do -- others hate how we look, and they tell us. Because people who once lost 10 or 20 pounds and kept it off think that the only thing that separates them from people who have 100 or 200 pounds to lose is that they are superior human beings.

The fat pride movement is a way to counteract the shame and humiliation and self-loathing. I assure you, there's no danger that fat people aren't ashamed and humiliated enough. Fat people are not fat because they have too much self-esteem.
posted by callmejay at 7:19 AM on May 16, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't go around and perform the verb of "holding people accountable" for things

no, you just sit around on your ass and hope that other people will hold people accountable for you

that makes it worse
posted by pyramid termite at 7:27 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Being overweight does not automatically equate to being completely unhealthy.

I just read these articles at the Newsweek website yesterday:
The Best Diet Is No Diet: Fat Acceptance Authors Weigh In.

The Fact-o-Sphere: Can Heavy Be Healthy?
posted by ericb at 8:43 AM on May 16, 2009


MStPT: as long as you keep your fat ass out of my way (and off my medical bills) you can chow down all you want.

I kid, sort of. Because if you drive to work I'm breathing your carcinogens too

(Ah, but driving has social utility, you say? Just like eating twice as many calories as you need, right?)

Like I said, I kid. Sort of.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:45 AM on May 16, 2009


I don't drive to work, or anywhere, for that matter. More out of poverty than anything else.

But, um, since you're only "sort of" kidding, can you "soft of" say what you're trying to say?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:55 AM on May 16, 2009


Risk is always socialized.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:25 AM on May 16, 2009


Mkay.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:32 AM on May 16, 2009


Here's a serious riff, though.

Obesity is sometimes a sign of discrimination, not just a cause of it, and the two can become mutually reinforcing.

Many Native American societies whose subsistence cultures and metabolisms had co-evolved for several thousand years in relation to particular calorically-challenged (or for that matter enriched) ecologies, were forced to adapt to the worst version of the (working-class) western diet over the course of less than 100 years. The effects, well documented for such peoples as the Akimel O'odham/Pima and the Inuits of the Arctic, have been devastating rates of diabetes, obesity, and other diet-related morbidity. When your body stores fat with supreme efficiency because your environment puts you through periods of feast and famine, it's a form of genocide to be forced -- which is the right word for many people for much of the last century -- to eat the low protein, high carb, cheap but always available diet of the conqueror. Bad health at the community level (and this is to leave out the question of genetic lack of resistance to inebriants) compounds with cultural depression and degraded living conditions in a downward spiral. I could go on. A lot of Native people are overweight, just like a lot of working-class white people and Latinos for reasons that really do have a social, historical character, and can't be reduced to acts of individual choice, will, or character.

A rational and liberal society accepts that no one is perfect; some people are really struggling with challenges. All of us struggle with serious challenges of one sort or another. We tolerate, we ameliorate, we educate, we reform and agitate. Better not to shame either individuals or individuals as members of groups for failures in the normal spectrum of human weakness, although we don't necessarily understand the motivational powers of shame very well. We just know too much about addiction, dependence, compensatory behavior, and the compounding effects of metabolic and emotional illnesses to be naive about the need to reach beyond explanations or solutions couched in the language of character and intellect.

But it is a community problem. And that's the flip side of the issue. It's why a language of "pride" grates on some people. Humans are not supposed to be (or at least remain) fat, which makes it really different from phenotype in general (with some allowance for variation, as I read the science). Recognizing obesity and its myriad causes and costs as a *problem* for society and for the obese individual is not the same as stigmatizing it. (I take this to be docpops' point above.)

On the other hand, we learned yesterday that a 35,000 year old carving -- the oldest representational art yet found -- had been dug up in Germany. And what did Fred Flinstone carve when he first figured out how to do it? A pornographic image of a fat woman. (Video link, perfectly suitable for work, from the science journal Nature.)

Freaking Germans.
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:52 AM on May 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oldest representation of a human figure, I should have said.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:07 AM on May 16, 2009


Freaking Germans.

Methinks there weren't any Germans 35,000 years ago. ; )
posted by ericb at 11:11 AM on May 16, 2009


Yeah, I thought so too. Before this.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:39 AM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Australians...

Remember, the Sons of Brittiania Hardness scale goes: Canadians < Americans < Austrailians.
I mean, look at their "football", for pete's sake.

One of the commentators was right, I didn't even remember the fat joke, so stunned by the hardness of the first 3.
(Poofter?? They still say Poofter?? Root??? Getting laid is getting a Root? OK Fat Pride, whatever, I'm going to look up some Aussie Slang now...)

So Fail for Hardness and Slang. Let the debate rage on...with more aussie slang.
posted by djrock3k at 11:48 AM on May 16, 2009


It is wholly wrong and unfair to judge or discriminate against people for things they had no say in, such as their gender, race, or orientation. Similarly, it is important to hold people to account for the choices they made and actions they did or did not take.

I disagree with the rubric being established here. Holding someone "accountable" based on personal choice is not freedom as I know it. It really sounds like that personal responsibility conservatism that justifies making arbitrary rules, placing the freedom of choice in there as a pretext. Cops use this excuse all the time when accidentally killing a suspect, because the suspect chose to engage is suspect behavior, etc.

And it is unfair to judge someone for something they had no say in, but that misses the logical mistake. It is wrong to discriminate because we commit the fallacies of composition and division. This stereotyping happens all the time in the average mind. For example, a manager reads a statistic that says that men are more aggressive than women on average, and has a woman and a man apply for an aggressive sales job. He then automatically hires the man, who is not aggressive or unqualified, instead of the woman who possesses natural sales skills. This usually happens because people are afraid to go against popular notions, not just because they are lazy.
posted by Brian B. at 12:11 PM on May 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Fire the mean people!

Not to try to detract from Astro Zombie's post or point, because I think his comment was more pointed towards the 'mean people' who take joy in knocking fat people down...

But some of us are mean or assholes sometimes because we have psychiatric disorders that mess with our brain chemistry. And something about Astro Zombie's post just made me really sad about that.


Please don't fire all the mean people who are trying hard not to be
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:39 PM on May 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


But some of us are mean or assholes sometimes because we have psychiatric disorders that mess with our brain chemistry. And something about Astro Zombie's post just made me really sad about that.

That's true. I was addressing myself to people who are cruel because they enjoy it, or think it's okay or justified, not because their brains have gone haywire.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:12 PM on May 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, thank goodness you're here to knock fatties off their pedestal

ah, the tall poppy syndrome.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:48 PM on May 16, 2009


My mom was diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis about eight years ago. It has since gotten progressively worse, and with it has come significant weight gain. It's not a choice for her to move less. Sure, you could say that she should eat less, maybe cut down to two meals a day, or one, but with only a few years of life left before the scarring in her lungs stops her from breathing, why should she? Especially if she enjoys it. Not all fat people are there by choice. That assumption is more than annoying. I made it myself when she was first diagnosed. Why was she using a cane or a cart? She should fight this thing and that meant losing weight and moving more. But as the disease has progressed, I've grown to understand—It hurts to move, food brings comfort. She doesn't want to be fat, it's just not her choice, and she shouldn't be treated like it is. Fortunately she lives in Mississippi so she fits right in.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:54 PM on May 16, 2009


Other people have said it, but I'm just quickly ducking in to say: yes, there is such a thing as "fat culture."

I know this may seem repellent and ridiculous-sounding to those of you who've apparently decided that fat people are icky-poo, a threat to public safety, and never to be regarded as fully human -- but there you have it. It exists anyway, despite you.

And I'm proud as fuck to be a part of it.

This thread? I'm somewhat less proud of that.

As far as this ad goes: there's always a troublesome aspect to 'comparing' different experiences of oppression, but I also think it's a bit to stringent to insist that such comparisons never happen due to the risk of Oppression Olympics or whathaveyou. There are relevant comparisons to be drawn.

But I didn't fully like the ad because, honestly, the preceeding jokes were way harsher than the fat joke. I've heard worse fat jokes shouted from the windows of passing cars. But, more important than the fact that fat jokes exist, is what use they're put to: namely, making fat people feel as if they don't have the right to exist or engage in activities (ironically, especially activities like exercising in public) that other people take for granted in our culture.

Those of you doling out more of the same here in this thread just reinforce the point that this ad attempted to make.
posted by peggynature at 5:58 PM on May 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


All right, that's it. My freakwire has officially been tripped. I dont post much, but man, when you gotta, you gotta.

If you are the kind of person who thinks that being fat is a choice, that losing weight is possible for everyone - and some of you even think it's merely a matter of willpower, which is hilarious to me - and especially if you think that being cruel to fat people, ostracising them, being rude or nasty or making fun of them, will make fat people more determined to lose weight, then you are an ignorant, backwards, sophomoric, poison-mean moron without a shred of decency or empathy in your body.

This issue burns my ass like very few other issues do, not least because I am fat and have been fat all my life and probably always will be. I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I have pretty severe clinical depression and being fat has not helped this. The additional mental anguish - nothing short of suicidal-level agony - that I have endured at the hands of my fellow humans since elementary school has been unceasing. The fact that it hasn't yet turned me into a serial killer is all the proof I need that I am an amazing human being - even if it werent for all the other proof that comes factory-installed already. Unless you are or have been fat, you have no idea - NO IDEA - what it is like to be fat, how you are treated if you are fat, and most especially what life is like if you are a fat woman.

I am not represented by my bulk, and you are not represented by your apparent perfection. To believe that you are justified in being cruel to anyone for any reason is bad enough; to feel that you have every right to be an unmitigated shitstain to me because of how much I weigh means that you have virtually no redeeming quality about you whatsoever.

People who are fat are never happy about it. Nobody ever wants to be fat. Nobody. For the vast majority of people who are able to lose weight at all, it is a major struggle that one must wage every waking moment of every day, and if you are a woman you have an even harder battle because men lose weight more easily than women because of their natural body composition. Age makes it harder as well.

Almost all fat people suffer from depression. There is a lot of chicken-or-egg debate in the mental health community around this topic, but the result is the same. Depression makes you fat; fat makes you depressed. Either way, it makes gaining or sustaining the motivation to lose weight much harder than it would be for someone who had no depression, and making fun of fat people only adds to their depression and self-loating, making it worse still.

LOLAttorney2009 explained fat pride beautifully. I personally need no "pride" movement to believe I'm just as good as anyone else because I'm not an asshole, like, say, someone who runs around thinking it's okay to make fun of someone because of their dress size is. You might think I'm a subhuman because I go 250 pounds, but I can assure you that whether or not you believe something doesnt make it true. It may, however, make you a raging scumbag. If you dont understand what the pride movement is all about - and LOLAttorney2009's explanation of fat pride fits any other "pride" movement's definition - then you either dont want to or you are too cognitively impaired to be able to. Again, just because YOU dont see a reason for it or understand it doesnt mean it's invalid. It just means your opinion of it is.

Once you are fat, your body changes and becomes more prone to adding and retaining fat. Contrary to what most people believe, the vast majority of overweight people CANNOT lose weight in any significant degree, not on any kind of permanent level, and constantly being on a diet and losing / gaining weight repeatedly is more dangerous and less healthy than never losing weight at all. Weight loss is a lifelong battle.

Furthermore, for fat people who are fat because they take in far more calories, almost always via junky kinds of food, than they need, food acts exactly like an addiction. The sugars and fats, especially in processed foods, have been proven to act on the addiction centers of the brain. Hetero men have this exact problem with feminine beauty, too - feminine beauty fires the same area of the brain as cocaine consumption. Sex? Gambling? Same kind of thing. For fat people who are not fat due to some kind of underlying medical condition or as the result of a drug side effect, but who are fat because they take in too much food (for whatever reason, and there are many), most sugars and fats are addictions and they are extremely difficult to break. Drugs and alcohol are only two things that are addictive. And finally, laziness and gluttony are two of the least common factors for obesity. Yes, they are.

Nobody understands yet why all these things are true. Researchers have been working tirelessly for literal decades to find out, primarily because the first person who invents a weight-loss pill that actually works is going to the wealthiest person in human history. Money is the biggest motivating factor on the planet, only slightly edging out sex. People WANT to find this cure not so the poor abused fat people can catch a break but because they want the money it will bring them. Trust me. If there were an easy answer, you'd be able to buy it off a shelf right now.

It astounds me how self-righteous people can be when they dont bother to find out what the fuck they're talking about. You can look this shit up for yourselves. I'm sure, though, that the vast majority of fat-bashing dickheads out there would far prefer to just make fun of the fatty-fat-fatty waddling her way up the street than actually grow a fucking brain.

I could spew a lot more vitriol here about fat-bashers and their mentalities and ignorant, self-serving presumptions, but this is long enough already and I'm sure most of you have TL;DR syndrome just looking at it. But there ain't no way I'm going to ever pass up a thread like this, here or anywhere else, and not write a fucking essay about it. There is NEVER AN ACCEPTABLE REASON TO BE CRUEL TO PEOPLE, most ESPECIALLY if they haven't fucking done a goddamn thing to anyone. I'm fat, for chrissake. I'm not Pol Pot. Fuck you, man. I am just as good as anyone else, and from the looks of it I'm a hell of a lot better than some of you. How dare you tell me that you have a right to make me feel bad about myself because your uninformed ass thinks I might be lazy or because you dont like the way I look. The way I LOOK, of all things. Are you fucking KIDDING ME?

Do I sound pissed? I sure as fuck hope so. Anyone out there who thinks behaviour like that is okay, you need to die in a motherfucking fire and do the rest of us a favour. Jesus wept, but you people disgust me. I'd so much rather be fat than be you. Oh, man, I consider myself blessed to be 250 pounds instead of mean and stupid. I'd still be glad if I weighed 500 or 1,000 pounds. I'd rather die at 30 and be mocked by everyone in the world than be that kind of horrible person.

LOLAttorney2009, PeggyNature, AstroZombie and a few others who commented in this thread know what the real deal is.

Most of the rest of you? Christ, what a bunch of assholes.
posted by perilous at 7:08 PM on May 16, 2009 [27 favorites]


Pretty much a bunch of people commenting in this thread is just stupid fucks. You think you are skinny or something, but then you made a whole bunch of ignorant comments about how superior you are to fat people - first rule of being a stupid fuck. Of course you let your prejudice against "fatties" completely overwhelm you. You forgot about the controversy with the first three offensive jokes because you were having too much fun making fun of fat people - second rule of being a stupid fuck, or perhaps you were OK with that kind of racism, but probably not, probably you just prefer your own brand of fat hate. For christ sake, why stop with fatties when you can just move on to the faggots, niggers and what not, it's all pretty much the same thing? Some of you guys are pretty pathetic.
posted by caddis at 10:01 PM on May 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Malice: The ad, by the way, failed miserably at achieving anything at all.

Amongst other things the (mock) ad - which wasn't even shown on Australian TV, let alone anywhere else - has generated 150-odd responses, many of them quite passionate, on a web forum from commentators most of whom don't even live in Australia.

It's helped spark a passionate discussion - which for an ad tackling this type of subject matter is one pretty convincing indicator of whether the ad is successful.
posted by puffmoike at 9:47 AM on May 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


perilous, i wish i could favorite your comment about ninety thousand times.
posted by palomar at 11:49 AM on May 17, 2009


What I'm having trouble understanding in this thread is the disconnect some people are feeling about the concept of "Fat Pride." We've accepted "Gay Pride" and we all know that this is not because gay people think that they're better than straight people. It's the same for any other "pride" movement.

We're here. We're [insert x here]. We're not going anywhere.

As for "Disabled Pride" - I have a chronic disease that falls under the ADA category of "disability." No one can see this by looking at me. I'm not in a wheelchair. But fuck if I'm not proud of myself for getting my ass to work a full time job and living a normal even though going to the neurologist is like a hobby for me and I still have seizures at least twice a month. It takes a hell of a lot more work for me to make my life "normal" than it does for anyone without epilepsy. I'd be the last person to complain about this and the first person to lead a SPAZ PRIDE PARADE. I'm not proud because I have a disease - I'm proud because I'm not going to let the effin' bastards grind me down, even if those bastards are within my own brain.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:50 AM on May 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


alcoholic pride.
posted by fistynuts at 12:06 PM on May 17, 2009


What I'm having trouble understanding in this thread is the disconnect some people are feeling about the concept of "Fat Pride."

Because being proud of yourself despite being fat is easily mistaken for being proud of being fat. In the past, the Pride movement has been about being proud of being deaf, being proud of being gay, or being proud of being black. It's shifting the goalposts a little.
posted by dydecker at 12:24 PM on May 17, 2009


As someone who made a derisive and dismissive comment regarding fat pride upthread, I've been drifting between here and the MeTa, unsure where to elaborate on my position. Anyhoo.

I'm 30-40lbs overweight and know many other heavy people, and sadly, the ones who identify with 'fat pride' display the most emotionally unhealthy attitudes and destructive behaviors. Obviously, I don't think everyone with the affiliation is as full of shit as the people I know, but it certainly colours my personal reaction to the term. Friends and family who've worked to overcome social and self-imposed barriers and moved towards constructive and positive self-images, rather than be caught in a horrible and hate-filled relationship with their bodies, regard the term with suspicion, pity, and occasionally, hostility because they've seen the same things. It's not that the term is bad, or the idea behind it, but it has certainly been depreciated in my eyes by those who would pervert 'fat pride' to justify actions and attitudes which are pretty much antithetical to it.

dydecker's mention of other pride movements and communities struck a chord. In much the same way that cochlear implants are the subject of much controversy in the deaf community, with the more militant/pride wing characterizing it as child abuse, I've seen self-proclaimed proponents of fat pride insult friends who've worked hard and healthily to lose weight as being pathetic sell-outs who basically 'let the team down'. Of course, heavy people don't have a monopoly on that sort of internecine viciousness; it appears in any group where solidarity and insularity are born out of decades of persecution, prejudice, and marginalization, but being as it's a group and a behavior that I am very familiar with, it's something I have strong feelings about.

Again, I don't think that all the fat pride/fat community people are of the same ilk as those I'm biased against - and sincere thanks to the people for whom pride has been a positive and constructive part of their lives for sharing their point of view.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:49 PM on May 17, 2009


alvy, it might help to think about it, as others have pointed out, like this: fat "pride" isn't so much pride about being fat, it's a refusal to be shamed for being fat.
posted by Hat Maui at 1:54 PM on May 17, 2009


Amongst other things the (mock) ad - which wasn't even shown on Australian TV, let alone anywhere else - has generated 150-odd responses, many of them quite passionate, on a web forum from commentators most of whom don't even live in Australia.


Except they didn't discuss the ad, and a whole handful of these posters merely reinforced the stereotype and prejudices that the ad was supposed to fight. Epic fail, on both the part of the ad, and Metafilter.
posted by caddis at 5:53 PM on May 17, 2009


The man behind last week's controversial "fat pride'' Gruen Transfer ad - aimed at ending "shape discrimination" - once sold t-shirts bearing slogans offensive to fat women.

But Adam Hunt says the process of creating the ad for the ABC TV show had made him "re-evaluate my own prejudices" and, as a result, there "won't be any fat chick gags" on his next line of t-shirts.

posted by UbuRoivas at 7:17 PM on May 17, 2009


Late to the "party" as usual, but Christ on a crutch, the stench of HURF DURF BUTTER EATER is horrific in here.

If you're not fat, good for you. That does not entitle you to make assumptions about the physical or mental health or the value as a human being or the backstory or personality or willpower of a person who is fat. You don't know unless you ask, and frankly, it's none of your fucking business and you shouldn't ask unless you are a healthcare provider engaged in providing services to the individual in question in which his or her weight and history may be relevant.

If you are fat, you're already aware of this fact and of the additional risks it poses to your health, regardless of how you got there, probably more so than 90%+ of those who are judging you for it.

I'm not fat, but I was at one time, and I can tell you I certainly got treated differently when I was fat. Funny how people who couldn't seem to see or hear me at all when I was fat saw me just fine once I was slender again.

My cousin was maybe 15-20 lbs overweight when she was struck by a rare liver condition at only 18 years old. Metric fucktons of steroids to keep her alive resulted in a massive weight increase. She worked extremely hard under the supervision of her doctors to lose half her weight -- 140 lbs -- so that she could qualify for a liver transplant and is now a fairly healthy 25 year-old. She'll struggle with the liver and associated health problems for the rest of her life, but you didn't know about any of that when you were judging her when you saw her trying on her size 24 wedding dress or getting what may have been her only soda in a week or moving slowly ahead of you in the store, did you?

You do not know what you think you know about other people, especially if you base it on appearances and brief encounters.
posted by notashroom at 1:09 PM on May 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


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