TV's reality: Everyone is thin, and fat people are often ridiculed
October 8, 2001 9:02 PM   Subscribe

TV's reality: Everyone is thin, and fat people are often ridiculed Overweight characters on TV are less likely to date and have sex than their slimmer counterparts, and they are more likely to be the butt of jokes and be seen chowing down, fueling possible bias against the heavyset, according to research being presented today. The question is: Is television reflecting reality?
posted by Rastafari (82 comments total)
Three out of 100 female characters on TV are obese. In real life, one out of every four women are obese, which is roughly 30 pounds over a healthy body weight. About nine out of every 10 women on TV are an average weight or underweight, compared with half of women in this country.

If 3% of TV characters are overweight, and 90% are average or underweight...

where the heck are the other 7%??

Ditto for "real life:" if one in four (25%) is overweight, and half (50%) are average or underweight, what are the remaining 25%?

I smell a pantload. Here's a better question: do these studies reflect anything other than made-up bullshit?
posted by UncleFes at 9:09 PM on October 8, 2001

Well, peoples' treatment of overweight people off TV is certainly no less hateful than it is on TV (as the last few grafs of the article make crystal clear), so I guess yes, it's reflecting reality rather well.
posted by aaron at 9:09 PM on October 8, 2001

The answer to your question is 'Yes', in my opinion.

But besides that, these "studies" , as a general rule, appear to lean towards an expected result as they are being conducted. They "set out" to prove a point, making them not "studies" at all but expository pieces.

For instance, in the limited Non-Simpsons TV viewing I participate in:

Boston Public: The overweight main characters on this show are a principal and a teacher who both are rather sympathetic, strong characters. Arguably the most interesting on the show. And I don't recall seeing either of them eating on the show except for the episode where they went on a date. Thus negating two key points of the study.

Drew Carey Show: Well, DUH.
posted by glenwood at 9:12 PM on October 8, 2001

Well, I agree. But here's my take on why it happens. Most TV shows--and entertainment in general--are produced either in NYC or LA. Few if any are from the mid-west and few if any are based in the mid-west.

So basically, writers and producers are heavilly influenced by the world around them. An in NYC and LA, fatness is not as common.

Not saying this is the only reason thin people dominate the airwaves, but it's a reason that I think few people in "the biz" even think about the topic.
posted by RoyalJack at 9:23 PM on October 8, 2001

If "television reflected reality", or if viewers even wanted it to, the news networks wouldn't be running Afghanistan 101 courses right now.

Next week's revelation: overweight people less likely to be presented positively in Vogue, Elle, and other magazines designed by spiteful coked-up anorexics.
posted by holgate at 9:28 PM on October 8, 2001

Of course overweight people are ridiculed on television. Don't you know that they are the last group of people who it's ok to make fun of because they're different? Wait, no, I guess it's still ok to make fun of old people too. I wonder which group will be laughed at for demanding dignity first?
posted by Hildago at 9:35 PM on October 8, 2001

So basically, writers and producers are heavilly influenced by the world around them. An in NYC and LA, fatness is not as common.

Maybe, but I think producers/network execs. simply have high school mentality: thin, beautiful people are cool and over-weight/nerds/not-so-beautiful are butt-of-all jokes. Just like high school. Makes sense since high school aged kids are their prime target audiance. In other words, pandering to the lowest denominator for maximum profit.
posted by Rastafari at 9:44 PM on October 8, 2001

We have lots of groups to make fun of. Lots and lots and lots. People pretend we have less now, but really we don't.
Fat people get made fun of more then say, people with beards, because fatness makes people larger and heavier, and weight and size have a great impact on one's interactions with the world. And that most people find overweight people unattractive, of course. Not that I support making fun of people for their physical traits.
posted by Jack Masters at 9:49 PM on October 8, 2001

And that most people find overweight people unattractive, of course.

Which is, of course, hate. (It is not acceptable to dislike someone for their skin color, now is it?)
posted by aaron at 10:00 PM on October 8, 2001

aaron, there *is* a difference between disliking someone and not being attracted to them.
posted by rebeccablood at 10:02 PM on October 8, 2001

Fat people piss me off. Unless it's genetic; then I feel sorry for them.
posted by dopamine at 10:17 PM on October 8, 2001

rebecca, if one isn't attracted to a person on account of their ethnicity and one expresses that preference verbaly, or by way of action, one is likely to be called a racist.
posted by robotcore at 10:20 PM on October 8, 2001

also, i wonder if the question shouldn't be "is reality reflecting television?"

clearly tv isn't the origin of discrimination of any kind, but is it serving to perpetuate discrimination beyond what would be acceptable with out the influence of television?
posted by robotcore at 10:29 PM on October 8, 2001

robotcore: well, then, those people don't understand the nature of attraction. people are attracted to whom they're attracted. it's not usually something you can control.

someone who is racist may not be attracted to another race; on the other hand, despite their best efforts, they might. ;)

you might be able to make a reasonable case for someone being *shallow* if they were only attracted to people who looked a certain way, or made a certain amount of money, or had otherwise some trait that you and I don't possess. :)

but that's about as far as you can go with it.
posted by rebeccablood at 10:29 PM on October 8, 2001

I can't believe we're going through this again. Simple query -- can you name a fat character on TV who isn't a.) on a David E. Kelley produced show or b.) doesn't make at least one fat joke about himself or someone else in every single episode of the show in question?

Anybody? Anybody?
posted by Dreama at 10:29 PM on October 8, 2001

I admire the ones that DO something about it though
posted by h0ney at 10:35 PM on October 8, 2001

oh, and robotcore: many would argue that the emaciated images of women in the media *do* create the unrealistic expectations that everyday people have for themselves and others. make no mistake about it: most of the women you see on magazine covers and on tv are clinically underweight. healthy women usually don't look like that.

but we've been trained not to see them as "undernourished" but as "hot".

dreama: I don't watch any tv to speak of, but what about that female lawyer on that one law show? (sorry--I really *don't * watch tv.) it also starred that incredibly emaciated woman who used to be on twin peaks.

also, drew carey, who, from the few shows I've seen, projects a wonderful healthy self-image. there was the incredibly heartbreaking episode where he broke up with his fiance, did you see that? she was so full of self-hatred because of her weight that she didn't believe anyone could love her. it was very sensitive and very truthful and very well done. and incredibly sad.
posted by rebeccablood at 10:36 PM on October 8, 2001

UncleFes, that's average/under and obese. The "missing" percentages would simply be overweight, but not 30 pounds or more.

It seems obvious that TV would feature mostly thin people, as they are generally considered more attractive, and sex sells. Of course, since TV is largely responsible for what people consider attractive (In degree, if not kind. Studies have shown it's largely cultural.), it's a downward spiral situation.
posted by Nothing at 10:36 PM on October 8, 2001

Here's another one in the "of course" column.

In my lifetime, I've suffered from job discrimination, lack of interest from other people, both social and romantic, childhood teasing that escalated into death threats, etc.

Among some people, even seeing the words "I'm fat" conjure up images of the writer being stupid, slovenly and lazy.

So, yeah, I'd say it's doing a pretty darn good job.
posted by digital_insomnia at 10:45 PM on October 8, 2001

you know, in my lifetime, seriously, I've suffered from job discrimination, lack of interest from other people, both social and romantic, and childhood teasing, and I've never been fat.

not to discount your experience in any way, but each of those things has happened to me -- the job discrimination only once, to my knowledge, the rest in spades. things like that happen to everyone.
posted by rebeccablood at 10:50 PM on October 8, 2001

rebecca, i wasn't trying to imply that people who aren't attracted to those of other ethnicities are racists, but if you watch enough (or too much?) daytime tv, you'll see how frequently people who say they just aren't attracted to people of other races are coloured by the host and/or the audience as racists.

i think the drew carey show can be pretty good, but as i recall, most of the episodes i've seen have featured some mocking banter regarding girth between drew and other characters on the show.
posted by robotcore at 10:51 PM on October 8, 2001

I don't feel sorry for obese people unless its genetic (which for most isn't). When I see an overweight person, I usually see a gluttonous, unhealthy and pyschologically weak person. For me, obesity itself isn't the only thing that I find unattractive- the life style that follows it is equally detestable.
posted by Aikido at 10:52 PM on October 8, 2001

Wow, so if I don't find long hair or blue eyes attractive I'm a hateful person?
Lemme ask you this, Aaron, when you're fantasizing about the woman of your dreams, does she look more like Catherine Manheim or Catherine Zeta Jones?
posted by Doug at 10:56 PM on October 8, 2001

Aikido: See, those are the CRAAAZY thoughts you keep INSIDE your head. I'm not going to bother to try to explain why they are so fucked up, but, I'd just suggest that you maybe just think 'em for now, so that people don't think of you as a big ass.
posted by Doug at 11:01 PM on October 8, 2001

not to discount your experience in any way, but each of those things has happened to me -- the job discrimination only once, to my knowledge, the rest in spades. things like that happen to everyone.

Oh, I'm sure it has. But overhearing your boss tell a male coworker that he's going to a get a position and "not that fat cow" because it wouldn't reflect well on the company? Having an online friend of 3 years disassociate himself completely from you once he saw a picture? Being forced to change schools because you genuinely feared for your life from a group who didn't like you based solely on your shape?

I'm not saying that things like this don't happen to everyone to some degree or the other. But my experiences have hammered home the fact that to be accepted, you have to be thin. I'm not decrying it, it's just the way it is.

(See comments above for further proof.)
posted by digital_insomnia at 11:03 PM on October 8, 2001

So, Aikido, what would you think about an overweight person who runs marathons and plays soccer? Aw hell, they probably don't exist.

*poof, disappears*
posted by calvarez at 11:11 PM on October 8, 2001

"Is television reflecting reality?" Nope, never has, never will. That was settled in my mind when I seen Erik Palladino playing a doc on ER. I don't have anything against him, but how many docs are immature as his character (which I am not even going to try to spell the name of)?
posted by Katy Action at 11:13 PM on October 8, 2001

the infamous fat thread in which stories were shared, attitudes were displayed, and a few people learned some things.

click on that link now if you weren't there, or even if you were, to refresh your memory. lots of disinformation debunked in that thread. go have a read.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:14 PM on October 8, 2001

aaron, there *is* a difference between disliking someone and not being attracted to them.

Indeed that is the case... But saying...

And that most people find overweight people unattractive, of course.

Is a very broad and extremely prejudiced statement that claims to speak for all, but really only speaks for one. It only speaks for the writer who wrote it.

A more true statement is that most people find dirty Hippies filthy and skanky. Now THAT I can agree on ;)
posted by RoyalJack at 11:15 PM on October 8, 2001

(See comments above for further proof.)

*sigh* People REALLY need to be able to distinguish race from a physcial condition. Okay, in a nutshell folks, one is innate while the other is a product of your lifestyle. Not to say all obese people aren't inherently obese, but the truth remains MOST modern cases of obesity are not hereditary.

Unlike race, disease, or ethnicity, you can change obesity. A vegetarian diet and excerise do work, you just need to be able to adhere to them.

Doug: Damn, looks like I'll be laughing in my sleep after reading your post. I'm literally slapping my knee here.

clavarez: Gee, you're going to tell me your obesity is not a result of your high glycogen diet? Do you run through marathons are simply walk to the finish line?
posted by Aikido at 11:21 PM on October 8, 2001

As a fat guy, I do not want to see a ton (no pun intended) of fat people on tv. I see enough in real life. Television is fantasy, show me pretty, thin, people. If I want to see fat and ugly people, I'll go to the mall on any given Saturday evening.
posted by owillis at 11:29 PM on October 8, 2001

Television gives people what they want to see, which (in the US, anyway) is fantasies of violence and romance and youth and adventure and power and wealth, all stripped to the pink. Viewers imagine themselves out of their tedious lives and into these simple tales for simple people.

Television that offers them the obese reality -- bulbous people gasping for breath after short walks, bulging out of stretch pants, hanging over straining belt buckles, sweating when everyone else is comfortable, dying young but not young and beautful -- is not going to be watched.

Accept it or outlaw it, because you can't change people's fantasies.
posted by pracowity at 11:40 PM on October 8, 2001

but we've been trained...

:::ding!::: Just like white people used to be trained that African-Americans were "subhuman savages." Just like they used to be trained way back when that the ultimate in attractiveness was to be as fat and pale as humanly possible, because it indicated you were an aristrocrat and didn't have to live and work outside like the serfs. It is entirely TRAINING. You are trained to dislike and disparage overweight people. You ought to see a major, major problem with that.

well, then, those people don't understand the nature of attraction.

No, we understand it perfectly. And as the article makes clear, your (universal you) "lack of attraction" for overweight people is so overwhelming that it directly negatively affects every aspect of how you treat them as human beings, in platonic friendships, work relationships, everything across the board.

And even if it were completely limited to matters of dating, we would have just as much right to be enraged, because again, the hatred is near universal. Doug tries to make the specious argument about "some people not liking people with long hair or blue eyes," but the reality is that there are huge percentages of people that DO go for people with long hair or blue eyes, so the overall effect for long-haired blue-eyed people is nil. But if you're fat, practically everyone will completely ignore you romantically, unless you, you know, "stay with your own kind," as the Old School bigots would say. So yes, even on matters of attraction it's societal ostracization and hatred.

Just own up to it: You are a bigot. We all are in some ways ... you, me, everyone in this thread, everyone on earth. We have advanced as a society at least partially, to the point where those people who are members of groups with large amounts of money and media access have finally been able to shame society into providing them some small measure of pseudoequality. The overweight just haven't developed a good enough lobbying organization yet, and humans all still have a feral need to label and stomp upon SOMEBODY in order to establish that they themselves are not at the bottom of the totem pole, so right now fat people are still acceptable targets.

And then there are people like Aikido, who seems to actually revel in their hate:

I don't feel sorry for obese people unless its genetic (which for most isn't)

You have no way of knowing that at all. And you especially have no way of knowing through casual eye contact whether any random person's weight is genetic or slovenly. Ergo, you are a bigot. QED. (Not that the rest of your hate spewage in that paragraph doesn't already indicate that...)

Rebecca, not long ago there was a study done of successful career women and weight. It was discovered that if a female in the United States is overweight, she has almost ZERO chance of ever making it into management at any company, no matter her prior successes, brains or ability. The number was literally 3%. If you are a female and overweight, you are almost completely doomed to be a low-level salaried employee until the day you die. So please, don't even try to compare your own experiences to those of the overweight, because it isn't even in the same ballpark. (It is somewhat less horrid for men, by the way, but only when comparing to overweight women. For men it was around 18%, as I recall, which is still in the realm of widespread societal evil.)

And for the record, I have always considered Catherine Zeta-Jones to be a remarkably plain-looking woman, with an ego so massive and such a warped view of her own importance that I couldn't stand to be around her for two seconds. So yeah, I'd absolutely go for Manheim first.
posted by aaron at 11:43 PM on October 8, 2001

"but we've been trained not to see them as "undernourished" but as "hot"."

We haven't been "trained" to see them as hot, they are on TV because we see them as hot.

TV is the reflection, not the cause. What is generally seen as attractive can be shown (with at least as much science as this 'study') to be evolutionarily programmed.

Thin, symmetrical, clear skinned and a large number of other characteristics are simply more attractive for the majority... get over it.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:44 PM on October 8, 2001

Culture definitely affects what the majority of people consider "attractive". Look at breasts (no, not like that, silly -- you'll get slapped). In our current culture, larger breasts are considered more attractive. However, in the past it has been the opposite; women actually strapped their breasts to their bodies to reduce their apparent size.

The same thing can be said for other body features; weight is just one of them. The voluptuous women in the renaisaince period were considered highly desirable (and still are by some people). Today, our culture considers the tall skinny model to be more attractive.

It sucks, but certain physical features are considered more or less desirable by our culture. All we can do is refuse to be a sheep and remind ourselves that it's the person inside that counts.
posted by Lionfire at 11:50 PM on October 8, 2001

there is a difference between being a lady with a voluptuous fuller figure and being a lard-ass.
posted by Frasermoo at 12:15 AM on October 9, 2001

UncleFes, there is a difference between “overweight” and “obese.”

Is television reflecting reality? is reality reflecting television?

Neither. Culture products have little to nothing to do with an objective reality as this study, and a million others, conclude. Culture products, especially those produced by corporations, are mostly made by a fairly homogenous group of people centered in a handful of towns. For the most part, media “realities” are dependent on their ideological constructs and desire to make money.

Or, as the Aspen Report partially states: media are constructed, and construct reality; media have ideological and political implications.

simply have high school mentality: thin, beautiful people are cool and over-weight/nerds/not-so-beautiful are butt-of-all jokes.

owillis mentioned the reason for this above.

Producers pick pretty actors because that’s who audiences want to look at. Fat people and nerds are made to seem inferior because audiences can relate. Is it good? Is it right? No, it’s business.
posted by raaka at 12:16 AM on October 9, 2001

yes, by all means, let's let fat people think it's OK to be fat. even though, you know, it's not.

see -- i used to be fat. i grew up as 'the fat kid' and got plenty of ridicule for it. being called 'fat ass' instead of your name for a long time isn't something easy to deal with. eventually, i got tired of it. i stopped sitting on my ass constantly playing video games and i started exercising, eating well and concentrating on my health. i lost plenty of weight and no one i meet these days can believe i was once the fat kid.

which leads me to this. i feel no pity for fat people (aside from those with extreme cases of glandular disorders that all but shuts down their metabolism. THIS is genetic and can be blamed without me calling bullshit because it results in extreme cases of morbid obesity), whether they're 20 pounds overweight or 100 or more. MOST people are fat because of a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, etc. people like to hide behind the whole 'genetic' bullshit because it allows them to blame something but themselves. and thats the way it works in this country. no one's responsible for their own actions, we can always blame something else. fuck taking responsibility.

a friend of mine's family welcomed a foreign exchange student from somewhere in europe (the exact location escapes me) into their home for a schoolyear. she's tall and thin, as is her whole family. one day, this girl said to her 'mary ... your family is full of freaks!' when she asked why, she replied 'you're all thin! aren't most americans fat?' i could be wrong, but isn't it like something like almost 50% of america overweight?

the problem is -- this isn't like being black or arab where you're BORN in such a way, it's simply a result of being lazy and gluttonous. and we're SUPPOSED to feel sorry for these people? we're supposed to ignore the fact that being overweight attributes to numerous health problems and say 'it's ok!'

fuck that. we ban smokers from restaraunts because people fear for the unhealthy effects of second-hand smoke, but don't stop for a second to consider the unhealthy effects of sucking down an enormous slice of cheesecake?

does it make me insensitive that i happen to be disgusted by fat people? does it make me insensitive that i call them lazy slobs as opposed to 'genetically challenged?'

when did it become virtuous to admire laziness? i have to work out hard to keep the fat off. isn't hard work supposed to be admirable? or am i somehow more of an ass for losing the weight and shunning my hefty brethren?

see, i know what it's like to be fat. and i'm *GLAD* people didn't coddle me and tell me it was ok. because it's fucking unhealthy and it's NOT attractive -- the only people that say that are fat people or people trying to appear caring and open-minded -- kinda like only ugly people say looks don't matter.

my advice to the fatties -- get off your ass, get away from the computer. you're not so important that you don't have 30 minutes a day to work out. stop sucking down a six pack of mountain dew a day, stop eating a bag of cookies a night. and get off your fucking high horse begging to be accepted just because.

you know, aaron, i don't *HATE* fat people. if i hate someone, it's because of something they've done to me. i don't go around picking on fat people for no reason, i don't point them out of a crowd, because i know what it's like to be treated like that and it truly sucked. BUT ... i do NOT have any sort of bullshit respect towards them just because they're fat, i do NOT think it's ok to have that sort of lifestyle, i do NOT buy the genetic bullshit 95% of the time and i do NOT find them attractive. if that's bigotry in your eyes, so be it. i'll just accept that it's also ignorance in your eyes that being fat is simply -- ok.
posted by aenemated at 12:19 AM on October 9, 2001

You know, aenemated, fat doesn't go away over night, as you probably realized because you lost weight. Just because someone that started their diet at 411 pounds and the next day is 410 doesn't mean that they aren't trying. If someone's trying to lose weight, then that should be good enough for the general public who think that they aren't trying at all, or that they like to be that way. It's rude and ignorant, more so than being fat, to sit there and laugh at people who aren't annorexic looking. That last comment isn't directed at aenemated, but anyone who thinks that bone-thin is beautiful.
posted by Katy Action at 12:28 AM on October 9, 2001

A vegetarian diet and excerise do work, you just need to be able to adhere to them.

Hehe, let me tell my brothers and sisters that. We've all been vegetarians our whole lives, and we run 5/10 thin and 5/10 fat. Interestingly, it's the five busiest of us who tend to be the five fattest.

The amount of kneejerk hatred that gets spewed here every time this topic comes up makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with a lot of you. If you really need to be so indignant about someone's lifestyle, why not choose those who have some impact on your life, not just their own.
posted by Dreama at 12:32 AM on October 9, 2001

the problem is -- this isn't like being black or arab where you're BORN in such a way, it's simply a result of being lazy and gluttonous. and we're SUPPOSED to feel sorry for these people? we're supposed to ignore the fact that being overweight attributes to numerous health problems and say 'it's ok!'

Although it's not likely to happen in my lifetime, no, not sorry. Just treated as something slightly better than subhuman simply because of the way we look.
posted by digital_insomnia at 12:53 AM on October 9, 2001

katy -- yes, i know this. it took me quite a while to lose the weight (i was 15 when i started and was around 70lbs overweight for my height at the time. i was probably around 18 or 19 when it finally leveled out and has remained where i am today at 6' and 165lbs) and it was a struggle. i tried several different methods and what finally worked was pretty simple. i stopped consuming foods and drinks containing sugar (complex carbs are what you should worry about -- foods with large amounts of flour or sugar are the culprits i believe), stopped eating a lot of pasta, drank LOTS of water and ate pretty much normally for the most part and started running at least 3 times a week, more if i felt like it. by still eating foods i liked (steak, cheeseburgers, pizza, etc) meant i didn't have to struggle to stick to eating bland, flavorless food -- i just kept in mind my caloric intake and worked out accordingly. i considered a 2000 calorie a day diet (most often reccomended) and figure if i could do all i could to at the end of the day be able to count off 1500 calories, i'd be good to go. it just meant i had to work out harder sometimes. it's known that consistent exercising will raise your metabolism and burn MORE calories all day, not just during a workout. before long, it got to the point where i actually felt 100 times better AFTER running 4 or 5 miles than at any other time during the day and therefore looked forward to it.

i don't purport to be the healthiest person or lead the healthiest lifestyle. i probably drink too much, i smoke quite a bit, i have a fucked up sleep schedule -- but fuckit, gotta die somehow. i know these things are bad for me, but i don't blame the tobacco companies nor do i blame bombay sapphire for making such damn good gin. it's my choice to smoke and it's my choice to get stupid drunk every now and then. that's fine with me, but i don't beg people to accept me despite these facts. if you have a problem with my smoking or drinking -- sorry! you're probably no fun to go out with if you don't let go and get silly sometimes, so i probably wouldn't wanna hang out with you anyway.

i just know i feel MUCH better despite these other things because i work out and eat sensibly. i feel better about myself because i know i was able to motivate myself to lose weight, something i see as a respectable accomplishment.

i'm equally disgusted by anorexic looking people. i prefer some amount of meat on the chicks i dig. but there's a limit to what i like. and i really can't say i'm 'preaching' to the fat people, i'm just stating my opinion and the experience i had. if you're fat and don't mind, good for you, but don't expect me to appreciate it. my issue lies in the people that want to blame something besides themselves, because that mentality in ANY instance sickens me. i was fat because i sat around and played video games as a kid, eating swiss cake rolls, pop tarts, fudge rounds, etc. and no matter what any of some of you choose to say, i'm going to believe THAT's the primary cause of obesity.
posted by aenemated at 1:02 AM on October 9, 2001

dreama: I don't watch any tv to speak of, but what about that female lawyer on that one law show? (sorry--I really *don't * watch tv.) it also starred that incredibly emaciated woman who used to be on twin peaks.
Her name is Camryn Manheim. She and other 'women of girth' were discussed at length at MeFi's previous Annual Fat Women on TV Thread.
posted by tamim at 1:03 AM on October 9, 2001

Dreama wrote:
Simple query -- can you name a fat character on TV who isn't a.) on a David E. Kelley produced show or b.) doesn't make at least one fat joke about himself or someone else in every single episode of the show in question?

May I suggest Nero Wolfe, whose razor-sharp wit and abrasive personality are far more memorable and interesting than his girth. Highly recommended.
posted by JDC8 at 1:24 AM on October 9, 2001

Those of you who see overweight as a sign of moral weakness: what if a virus made you fat? Or it was in your genes?

Food for thought, you should pardon the expression.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:56 AM on October 9, 2001

Y'know what always pisses me about the "fat people are lazy" is that plenty of fat people aren't lazy, they're just sedentary- there's a difference. And more broadly, why aren't these fat-haters asking the question, "Why are so many Americans getting fat?" Are you fat-haters too simpleminded that you can't hold two entangled thoughts in your head at the same time- one being that each individual person is responsible for their physical condition yet at the same time if a significant number of people show a trend- weight gain, divorce rates, heroin use- there's something deeper going on that transcends individual conscious or unconscious action? Fer 'xample, if a movie like "Heathers" happened in real life and suddenly 5% of school kids in town started killing themselves, it's not good enough to just utter a "pshaw!" and say that each kid is responsible for their mental well-being. That kind of trend would have every parent, psychologist and sociologist asking, "What the FUCK is going on?!" because clearly it's not as simple as "Oh a bunch of kids were sad and self-absorbed. Who cares? They need to pull themselves out of that deep blue funk!"

Similarly, if Americans are getting fatter, and they definitely appear to be, while each one of them should change their lifestyle we still need to figure out why so many people's lifestyles and eating habits are so crappy to begin with. This dismissive fat-hating thing- yeah, it is bigoted and more so it's stupid and thoughtless. If we were just talking about the one town fat guy, like Mayberry's one town drunk, that'd be one thing- but if 30, 40, 50% of Americans are becoming close to or clinically obese, then that's a national problem.

aenemated: i was fat because i sat around and played video games as a kid, eating swiss cake rolls, pop tarts, fudge rounds

Well, then you were a gluttonous lazy fuck, but don't hold your own poor habits against the rest of us. Christ, you're like a born-again Christian, except about cellulite! For the record, I myself am a somewhat chubby guy who eats healthy food in normal-sized portions- I grew up with a clinical dietician Mom and have always known how to eat right, no mountain dew or snacky cakes for me. However, the long hours I put into being a sysadmin- for which I make an irresistably higher salary than both of my parents' combined- means a lot of time sitting motionless over a keyboard, and that has slowed my body down completely. A little math: just 100 calories a day- equal to just a half a soda- for a year equals 10 extra pounds of calories. So it doesn't take much imbalance in lifestyle to start adding up over two or three years, even without considering the virus or genetic theories. Fat people may be fat, but they're still fucking human beings. Why hate them?
posted by hincandenza at 2:11 AM on October 9, 2001

Is television reflecting reality?
Only if it's turned off, and you've got a hella-wide-screen, you big fat wobbly yankee bastards! And I mean that in the nicest possible sense, of course.

And for the record, I dislike pretty much everybody. Misanthropy makes it easier to keep track of who you're intolerant towards - it's the whole species!

Flame away.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:21 AM on October 9, 2001

Bigotry is a lot uglier than fat, IMHO.
posted by walrus at 3:53 AM on October 9, 2001

How come that pointing out that most people are fat because of their lifestyles is called "hate"?

If that's hating, what do suicide bombers feel? Hate and a mild desire to fly airliners into skyscrapers?

If overweight is mainly hereditary, then the rapid rise in recent years wouldn't happen (unless someone is quietly kiiling off the thin people ;-). And as far as I know, the idea that it's a disease caused by some external agent is considered pretty whacky. So lifestyle is the accepted explanation.

It seems to me that the argument should be whether people have the right to choose a fat lifestyle, not whether they are victims. For the record, I think they do have that choice, although I personally find it difficult to understand why anyone would do so (but then I find it difficult to understand lots of things).
posted by andrew cooke at 3:54 AM on October 9, 2001

Stavros, you posted to tell us that you hate everybody? Big suprise there. How mature. Why bother saying anything at all, when it is so not relevant? Now I wait for the predictable yet boring rant...

Personally, over weight people only bother me when they make an issue of it themselves. I feel for people who have a genuine medical issue with obesity and I admire people who see something in themselves that they're not happy with and try to rectify it. What I don't like is people who complain about their weight while sitting in front of the tv, stuffing their face with potato chips, and doing nothing to solve it.

If your weight doesn't bother you, it doesn't bother me. But when it does bother you, don't complain, act.
posted by Jubey at 4:26 AM on October 9, 2001

Personal agenda ahoy, captain! Sorry I hurt your feelings last month, Jubey. Get over it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:41 AM on October 9, 2001

You flatter yourself way too much, while also being off topic.
Anything you'd like to say about the subject at hand?
posted by Jubey at 4:53 AM on October 9, 2001

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:02 AM on October 9, 2001

This is the subject:
"TV's reality: Everyone is thin, and fat people are often ridiculed"
I repeat, is there anything you want to say about the subject at hand. You seem to be interested in picking a fight.

I responded to you bcause you actually asked people to flame away and I addressed your remarks.You tried to be inflammatory and when it worked and you got a reaction, you proceeded to get defensive. Why post something, ask to get flamed and then get upset when you do?

I'm not interested in addressing a past discussion, I'm not interested in hijacking this thread, if you can't stay on topic, don't expect anything more from me. Thank you, and in your words, get over it.
posted by Jubey at 5:15 AM on October 9, 2001

Can't you both get over it?
posted by walrus at 5:17 AM on October 9, 2001

Sorry about this distraction, walrus. Please continue the topic.
posted by Jubey at 5:25 AM on October 9, 2001


>> And that most people find overweight people
>> unattractive, of course.
> Which is, of course, hate. (It is not acceptable to dislike
> someone for their skin color, now is it?)

If failing to find someone attractive is the same as hating him then having an aesthetic sense is now hate, and no doubt soon to be a hate crime.

Try not to trivialize hate this way, aaron. Hate is for death camps and lynchings.
posted by jfuller at 6:07 AM on October 9, 2001

I always thought that finding somebody attractive or not was purely a personal preference. Most of the people I work with do nothing for me. This doesn't mean I hate them, on the contrary, most of them are great. It's an extremely strong word, as jfuller said.

What do you think about attractiveness in terms of an entire race? I saw a show on Eskimos, it was extremely interesting, however the people I saw aesthetically did not appeal to me. If I don't find these Eskimos attractive, what does that make me? They're a capable group of people, I certainly don't hate them, I just don't find them attractive. Am I a racist? Just curious.

I don't think people should be persecuted for having a preference. If they preach hate against a group, that's different. However simply liking one thing over another is just human nature, and after all, there are people out there who prefer overweight partners over any other. I don't hear anyone giving them flack!
posted by Jubey at 6:31 AM on October 9, 2001

I'm with you, Aikido. Whatever happenned to the concept of self-restraint? Taking care of yourself? Getting off the couch and getting some exercise? Free will -- remember that?

I'm not sure most people do, these days... they just think of themselves as products of their genetic programming...
posted by ph00dz at 6:34 AM on October 9, 2001

Great, another "fat people are lazy fucks" thread.

I'm a fat person. I'm not any more lazy than the next person. I don't drink a six pack of Mountain Dew and eat an entire pizza at a time. I do have some problems with portion control, yes, but I'm working on it. I'm also working on making better food choices. And I fully admit that my weight problem isn't wholly genetic (despite the fact that my family is a bunch of short round people), but mostly due to having a desk job and having problems with self-esteem and depression. I've lost nearly 20 pounds in the last two months, but to look at me, you wouldn't know that I'd lost any, as I still have a long way to go. It took me 10 years for me to gain this weight; it would be ridiculous for me to expect to lose it all immediately.

It really distresses me that people would just assume that all fat people do nothing but eat all the time. And that they are unaware of how unhealthy being fat is. Fat people tend to be pretty aware of such things--their friends, families, co-workers, and healthcare providers have made sure that they know. Not to mention the media. However, I know that it's something that happens, as this thread has so clearly demonstrated.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that unless you know for sure that the person in question is a lazy fuck, maybe you shouldn't assume that they are.

And yes, this is a sensitive issue for me.
posted by eilatan at 6:53 AM on October 9, 2001

This is purely a devil's advocate type question: but if a large percentage of obese people are obese because of glandular/metabolic/viral disorders, then why has there been such a DRAMATIC rise in the sheer volume (no pun intended) of obese people, and why are they indigenous to the United States?

I think it's sugar. Sugar, white flour...our grocery stores have become probably 60% empty carbohydrates that severely fuck with our system. I'm 6' tall and last year found myself approaching 200 pounds. I replaced my daily soda with water and stopped grabbing kit kats from the honor jar and without any more effort almost immediately found myself at 185, and in need of new pants.

Having a 2 year old I'm more acutely aware of just how much sugar is waved in our face. Almost every advertisement aimed at children is trying to sell them empty calories and food coloring. Everytime the average American's body craves water they grab carbonated sugar-water, which in turn dehydrates them and screws up their blood sugar levels.

Could this be the culprit?

(No, I'm not an atkin's diet freak or sugar buster)
posted by glenwood at 7:23 AM on October 9, 2001

Hincandenza: great post, thoughtful and (I think) correct in many respects.
posted by MattD at 7:30 AM on October 9, 2001

Yay, glenwood! sugar is an addictive and nasty thing.

I would like to point out that the higher up the economic ladder you go, the thinner people tend to be. It's the poor people living in crappy neighborhoods and trailer parks who tend to be the fattest. And the rise in obesity that glenwood points out has happened at exactly the same time as the huge movement of wealth toward the upper end of the socio-economic scale that begun in the Reagan years. Coincidence? I think not.

Poor people -- all of them lazy, "gluttonous" shiftless, selfish, etc? I think not. Not educated on good nutrition? Yes. Living in crappy neighborhoods where they can't get out and safely walk for exercise? Yes. Unable to afford healthclub memberships? Yes. Living near cheap grocery stores that always have sales on Pringles and hotdogs but charge a lot for nasty old fly-blown produce? Yes. Generally depressed and feeling powerless and watching a lot of TV (with ads for snacks)? Why, yes. And generally without positive teachers or role models to help them develop self-discipline and motivation as children? Absolutely.

DO NOT GO DOWN THAT SORRY PATH where you tell me about how you saw some welfare mom buying cigs and beer in front of you in the checkout line. While I am sure some people like that exist, it defies REASON that every person on welfare is like that, or is as "lazy and gluttonous" as you who condemn fat people claim. Just read through the list of strikes against them above, and admit to yourself how hard it might be to be thin if you lived like that.
posted by jfwlucy at 8:35 AM on October 9, 2001

Good golly, folks.. some of you say mean, unthinking things. I think (okay, with the possible exception of aaron) most of the people here speaking out for the overweight aren't demanding that y'all find us bootylicious and start hanging plus-sized pinups on the wall, but instead treat us as human beings. This includes not being prejudiced against in the workplace, not being made fun of in public, and not being called lazy bastards at every opportunity.

The only people that say that [fat is attractive] are fat people or people trying to appear caring and open-minded.
Oh no! We wouldn't want to be caring and open-minded! Think of the children!
posted by jess at 8:57 AM on October 9, 2001

The "get off the couch" attitude just royally pisses me off. People assume that fat=lazy without knowing ANYTHING about the person's lifestyle.

Try working 80 hour weeks and see how much fucking exercise you get, bucko.
posted by Foosnark at 10:28 AM on October 9, 2001

I can't imagine that you get much exercise done with an 80 hour week, and I'm not suggesting that you're lazy however it IS a lifestyle choice for you. You've chosen to relinquish time to exercise for time to focus on your career. Other people may have jobs which allow them more time to focus on their lifestyle where fitness is a priority.

If a lifestyle change is important enough to you, you will find a way to do it. I'm not suggesting that is what you're after, but you are in charge of how much you work and for whom, surely. There are many people with time intensive jobs who can still make exercise a part of their life.
posted by Jubey at 10:51 AM on October 9, 2001

The only people that say that [fat is attractive] are fat people or people trying to appear caring and open-minded.

Oh no! We wouldn't want to be caring and open-minded! Think of the children!

Why is considering someone to be unattractive because they're fat so wrong? Everyone has their own idea of who or what is beautiful. If someone considers fat to be unattractive, who are any of us to tell them their wrong. One of the best part's of being an individual is the ability to think for yourself.

Personally, I find obese people to be unattractive. Notice I said obese. I think you can be overweight, and still be amazingly attractive. But there comes a point where just a little extra weight transforms into obesity. And for me, it's not so much the physical aspect of the obesity, but the health aspect. Obese people have a significantly higher risk of heat attack, stroke, blood clots, death at a young age, and numerous other negative side effects.

And please don't feed me the "it's genetic" line. While for some people it may be genetic, 9 out of 10 times, it's just poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. I know there's going to be a backlash for me saying this, because it's not politically correct. Fuck being politically correct. I've been around enough overweight people in my life to know exactly what it is.

During my childhood I was skinny. Stick-like, almost. I could eat anything and not gain a pound, so I did. As I hit middle school, and puberty, I kept the same eating habits. Know what? I blew up. From about 8th grade until freshman year of college, I was anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds overweight. And because of fucking genetics, I got a nice decease called gynocomastia, which made high school really fun.

In any event, to make a long story short, through out high school I continued to eat like I was a kid who could eat anything, when I was a teenager who couldn't. I played a lot of video games, and most of the time I stayed indoors. I also played some lacrosse, but not nearly enough to shift the balance. So I get to college, start running around more, and becoming more active. Eating better meals, and getting some better exercise walking to class. In 3 months, lost 40lbs. People didn't even recognize me in the winter. I'm a sophomore now, and over the past year I've taken my weight from 210lbs, to 155-60lbs (I'm 6 feet tall, by the way).

So I guess my point is, if you're overweight, there are things you can do about it. Instead of being so defensive about it, as I see many people on this board doing, take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself if it's REALLY genetics that's causing it.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:05 AM on October 9, 2001

>> We haven't been "trained" to see them as hot, they
>> are ? on TV because we see them as hot.

Really? Anorexic models were always hot? I thought that this was an "aquired taste"...?

Seems to me, by your thinking, some of the most famous models and actresses from the 40's, 50's and 60's just wouldn't qualify?

Gee, weren't they on TV/film too? Marilyn? Betty?

>>"TV is the reflection, not the cause. What is generally
>>seen as attractive can be shown (with at least as much
>>science as this 'study') to be evolutionarily

No, actually "media" can, has, does and WILL influence our thinking, emotions and habits. "Twiggy" wasn't always considered the "ideal" body-shape. Heck, up until last century, obesity was considered reasonably attractive (it showed at least that said person could AFFORD to be obese, which was attractive in itself for terms of supporting oneself)...

And, according to most of the information I've seen on evolution, "twiggy" and anorexic are not prime movers in terms of "subconcious beauty" requirements... The mind tends to like some curves. Maybe if your culture is "food scarce" you would consider an anorexic spouse attractive for logistics reasons, but again that is something that could change with circumstance...

>>Thin, symmetrical, clear skinned and a large number of
>>other characteristics are simply more attractive for the
>>majority... get over it.

Have a look at even recent American media history. The 40's, 50's and 60's... "thin" wasn't attractive until relatively recently. Most of the "superhot" babes of the past wouldn't cut it today. They would be considered too "fat" for TV... Times change, and frankly "media" helps shift opinion, tastes and thought.
posted by jkaczor at 11:24 AM on October 9, 2001

Fat/thin does not make one unhealthy/healthy.

Ultimately it is your genetic mix that will make you more succeptable to health conditions. There are people who are quite obese by current "health" standards, but actually are quite healthy, active and will live a long life.

The problem with statistics, studies, reports, standards and their ilk is that they are usually:
- funded by a special interest.
- take a small sample population.
- occur over a short duration.

Frankly how short-term ARE your memories? All of these "healthy/unhealthy" dietary choices, regimes, etc have "ping-ponged" back and forth over the last 30 years...

This is good for you one year, bad another, this is a "wonder" fiber, now discredited, etc, etc, etc.

Ultimately it comes down to your genetic succeptability to illness, the factors that will shift your balance and most importantly YOUR STRESS LEVEL...

If you are a happy, self-actualized person, who is not affected by what people think, you will be just fine. However most people cannot live in todays society without feeling "left-out", "singled-out", "tormented", that they aren't living up to the "ideal standards"...

The "media" affects this. The "media" does not simply show what the public wants, we've seen what is attractive and acceptable change over the years, it's not a normal mirror, it's more like a "fun-house mirror" that distorts, makes you think "maybe I should look like that?"...

Gee, cut fat out of your life, and jog every day, you will be perfectly healthy, right? Hnmmmm, didn't the guy who started the whole jogging craze drop dead of a heart attack? Too little body fat? 'course I think he smoked like a fiend as well...

Yet, on the other hand, didn't old "rolly-polly", smokin', jokin', drinkin' Winston Churchill live well into his 90's?

Until you have an accurate map of our DNA, and data for at least a century you'd better fuck off when it comes to calling fat people lazy, gluttonous or indolent.

Thin people get cancer, heart attacks, strokes, etc. Heck, I think recent studies have shown that the thinner you are, the more succeptable to stroke you are.... Wooohooo! I'd rather have my brain than my body.... To make a Copeland quote; "my body is the station wagon I drive my brain around in".

This just in: staying single and having kids will ensure that you are at a lower risk for senility later in life... So you will be old and smart. Cool! Let's everyone do this, yep, make sure we all age "gracefully", it's soooooo important, right?... Gee, what will happen in 150 years? Who the fuck cares, right?

Short-term memories, short-term thinking, small minds and pig-headed attitudes... Ya woulda thunk this whole "internet" thang woulda changed somu dat, eh?

(A not so obese, but overweight kind of sendentary guy, who is married to a "clinically" obese, always active, "never eats" lady... who see's the effects of "comments" from ass-wipes lavish on her daily. You've figured out how to use a fucking computer, connect to the internet and communicate in a forum, maybe you've heard of the terms: "self-fulfilling prophecy" and "cyclical"...)
posted by jkaczor at 11:52 AM on October 9, 2001

Sugarbusters... not so crazy...
Glenwood made an excellent point about the sugar/white flour issue, which is what I was sort of getting at; asking about the larger causes and circumstances that make so many of us fat or even obese. While yes, most individuals can't really blame genetics or virii, and obese folk are often woefully unattractive- in particular morbidly obese, because someone who puts on 30 pounds can still look reasonably attractive- we need to be asking the larger questions why are so many people becoming fat? If it's particular to American society and our previous generations weren't this heavy, then what's changed for us?

Sedentary workplaces and home lives, along with the limited carb-heavy dietary choices available to us such as preprocessed and packaged foods and fast foods, all heavy in sugar, fat, and basic carbohydrates: these seem to be the real culprit, of which a large percentage of Americans are falling prey. Sugars and fats and grain are super cheap produce; meats and especially fruits and vegetables are more expensive and harder to package/preserve reliably for store shelves. Again, we are still individually responsible, each of us, for that choice- but the choice is made easy, even ubiquitous and irresistible. Consider that eating healthy has to even be an effort, that it requires great motivation to change those eating habits, and that IMO is a problem that overshadows mere individual decisions.

Yes, the media is partly to blame...
A great deal of television advertising tells us again and again to reach for that fast food or snack food- and we do. Surprise, surprise! So let me ask: either that advertising is effective in changing our behavior- hence the need to actually work hard to create a simply, healthy diet- or the tens, even hundreds of billions in advertising dollars spent each year to affect our behavior, our desires, our sense of what is important is a complete waste of money, and the biggest scam ever perpetrated on businesses. wasted money. Which scenario do you prefer? This is a critical point to remember: we can't just whitewash the media influence, not when so much money is spent to tell us that 5% body fat is desirable, yet tell us our lives will be more exciting and fun when we GO EXTREME! with the latest soda or snack chip. We're a materialist, consumerist society, and hundreds of billions of dollars are spent to reinforce this notion. So either businesses around this country are wasting a SHITLOAD of money for no reason, and advertisers are the latest snake-oil salesmen- or maybe, just maybe, those advertisers are effective at what they're doing, effective enough that Coca-Cola and McDonald's still feel the need to advertise persistently. Newsflash: they aren't still advertising because they worry someone might not have heard of their companies....
posted by hincandenza at 12:34 PM on October 9, 2001

Please don't cop out and blame the media.

The media isn't forcing you to down that soda, or candy bar. It's not forcing you to go to a movie instead of going for a walk or a run. The media isn't forcing you to do anything. Your own will is.

I don't give a damn how many billions in money is spend on advertising fast food. I bet if the same amount was spent on advertisting, lets say, carrots, I don't think the country would be any more healthy.

Let's face the facts - we like things that taste good. Things that taste good are also usualy bad for you. If you want to be healthy, try and avoid eating those things.
posted by SweetJesus at 1:37 PM on October 9, 2001

Ah, you agree then, SweetJesus, that those billions of dollars in advertising have no effect whatsoever. Then I presume you'll be writing to your local congressperson and demanding an investigation into this horrible fraud called "advertising" that bilks taxpayers and citizens out of untold billions of dollars a year in this "advertising" scam they run. Because those ads have no effect whatsoever on how we behave. None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada...

Oh, and please be so kind as to send me a photocopy of the final letter you write, thanks. I'll be looking forward to it- when did you say you were going to write it?
posted by hincandenza at 3:09 PM on October 9, 2001

Wow aaron, by your logic all gay males hate women. Spare me your politically correct bullshit... my point still stands. 'Nuff said.
posted by Aikido at 4:37 PM on October 9, 2001

I don't believe it has no effect on our minds, what so ever, but I think it only effects one to an extent. Do you think, Hincandenza, that we are mindless zombies, willing to buy and consume every product that flashes past our eyes on the television? I know I'm not.

And maybe you should towel off, as your last post was just dripping with sarcasm.

You can blame the media, and the goverment, and the guy at 7-11 down the street all you want, but until you look inward at yourself, you'll be blind to the facts of human nature.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:42 PM on October 9, 2001

Dear God, did someone just call aaron politically correct?
posted by kindall at 4:48 PM on October 9, 2001

What do you think about attractiveness in terms of an entire race? I saw a show on Eskimos, it was extremely interesting, however the people I saw aesthetically did not appeal to me.

Totally off the topic so I apologize, but Native Alaskan's hate to be called "Eskimos." They prefer "Native".
And I've met some very attractive Yupik people.

Beauty is on the inside.
posted by culberjo at 5:07 PM on October 9, 2001

It really distresses me that people would just assume that all fat people do nothing but eat all the time.

Amen, and getting back to the original topic, this is another problem with television. If I see that moron Martin Short in that fat suit, stuffing his face with donuts and pizza for laughs one more time, I will vomit. Nothing better to reinforce the idea that fat people are irresponsible, pathetic pigs than to show that, time and again, as humour.

And Rebecca, Camryn Manheim doesn't count -- the aforementioned David E. Kelley angle, one of two major producers (the other being Stephen Bochco, Kelley's mentor) that hires real-looking people to play real-playing characters.
posted by Dreama at 5:57 PM on October 9, 2001

Judging by all of the stupid, bigoted comments seen here I see we have a long way to go. What is ironic is that Americans as a population are getting fatter by the year and overweight people will soon be in the majority (if they aren't already).

Will this lead to a change in perceptions? I kinda doubt it.
posted by zeb vance at 8:29 PM on October 9, 2001

1.) I love that someone has the handle "SweetJesus". Priceless...
2.) "And maybe you should towel off, as your last post was just dripping with sarcasm"
I drip with sarcasm a lot. This is why I'm always nude when I sit at my computer- easier to mop myself up after I post.
3.) I was kidding about that, but it's still not something I needed to say... I'm sorry. :)
4.) "I saw a show on Eskimos... however the people I saw aesthetically did not appeal to me"
Seriously, I know this one stripper with huge bazoongas, and she bears an eerie resemblance for the pornstar Raylene. She's Aleut/Eskimo, and she's like totally major- league HOT. So there- just goes to show that Eskimos can be hotties too...
posted by hincandenza at 12:55 AM on October 10, 2001

Sorry if I'm a bit late to add my tuppen'orth, but the only reason people are so hard on fat people is because you can see them. Smoking is a far, far more stupid and irrational habit than overeating but I don't see hated like this directed towards them. There really is no excuse for taking up smoking, but you can't *see* the effects of lung cancer so, although people disapprove, they don't tell smokers to clean out their disgusting tar-lined lungs.

Another point directed to the people who think that fatness isn't genetic: look around you. There aren't 'fat' people and 'thin' people. There are women with small breasts and wide hips, women with fat stomachs and skinny legs, thin men with fat stomachs, skinny straight women, skinny curvy women, short stocky men, tall weedy men etc etc etc. There's precious little you can do about your body type. If you have fat thighs you have fat thighs and that's it.

I read some research recently which suggested there was a certain weight your body was always heading towards and you could diet yourself away from it but your body would always be fighting to get back there in the form of cravings. For some people that weight is 110 pounds, for others its 170. That makes sense to me from my own experience. Like every other woman in the western world of every weight, I've been on a diet most of my life. I always slip back to the same weight but never go above it.

You diet for a while then the craving for fat and sugar gets so bad you give in. You feel like you're deprived, like you're not living a normal life because you're constantly hungry. No-one can blame you. Your body is working against you. Your body can never be sure when you're going to eat again. It doesn't know you live in a rich country with three supermarkets in the town centre. It thinks you're hunting for your food, therefore it overcompensates.

Last point. About the Reubenesque beauties of the 17th and 18th centuries. That sort of thing looks OK as depicted in oils or disguised by a floor length, cleavage-enhancing dress. Try looking at a 'larger lady' through a camera lens with cellulite and pallid flesh exposed and it's a different story. That's why I think thinness wasn't a virtue till photography was invented. TV is just an extension of that. Flesh-baring fashion is also a culprit.
posted by Summer at 4:47 AM on October 10, 2001

Fatness is not as pretty as sveltness. It is also not as healthy. The PlumperFlab gene will never be listed as an option in the design-your-kid catalog.

TV is a pop-culture looking-glass, a trailer-park Stargate - not a fuckin' mirror. We don't want to see actors sporting facial melanoma, and we don't want to see fat people. And since TV's influence seems only strong enough to dent a few wobbly self-esteems, and not strong enough to compel sustained recuperative action, it is obviously not a relevant source of motivation.

I guess I should mention that I am svelte, and can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and not gain an ounce. This, of course, has no bearing on my opinions...
posted by Opus Dark at 5:26 AM on October 10, 2001

>Ah, you agree then, SweetJesus, that those billions of
>dollars in advertising have no effect whatsoever. Then I

I'd have to agree... If advertising doesn't truly work, doesn't truly affect the way we think, and affect our actions, why is it there?

I mean, c'mon, if reading a book, attending a class, listening to a speech can affect your actions, concious thoughts and subconcious, 30+ hours per week of TV, radio, printed, online media MUST HAVE SOME FORM OF IMPACT.

Face it, absolute free will is something of an illusion. Was it not George Carlin who stated: "we have 180 different kinds of breakfast cereal, and 2 political parties...". Your thinking is conditioned by the way you were raised by family, your culture, your education, your media intake, your diet, your income, your electrical & chemical brain input/activity. Recent studies show that we are affected strongly by subconcious pheromones... Wonderful? Advertisers are already there, with special devices that mist stores with certain combinations of scent... You smell a nice perfume in the store, but within it, it's loaded with pheromones.

Get a clue. Yes there is free will, ultimately there is the choice to not eat the twinky. But how many people are simply on "auto-pilot". Hell, even the sweat at the gym, eat only whole grain breads crew are mostly on "auto-pilot", simply following a different herd.

Fucking sheep.
posted by jkaczor at 1:43 PM on October 15, 2001

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