The last remaining acceptable stereotype. . .

Is the borne by fat people.

It is reflexive and ingrained and the reason why the word “fat” is no longer descriptive; it is pejorative when applied to people. Obese is a medical term used to describe a condition that is dangerous, sometimes fatally so, and very, very difficult to treat. Yet most see nothing wrong with using the term “obese” as a devastating insult. Now one would think to do this with the words “diabetic” or “hemophiliac”.

When I call myself fat I am not putting myself down. I am just describing myself. Just as it is not a put-down when I call myself “brown-eyed”. Similarly, people who describe themselves as “thin” are not thought to be degrading themselves.

Why is this? Because being fat implies you exhibit certain characteristics inherent in being fat. A stereotype. Let’s take a look at some:

Fat people are lazy. If they weren’t so lazy they’d get off their fat butts and exorcize.
Fat people are weak-willed. If they had any kind of will-power, they wouldn’t eat so much and be so fat.
Fat people are greedy. Since they are continually stuffing food down their mouths. This is why they are fat.
Fat people are whiny This thread is proof-positive of this fact. Fat people shouldn’t complain about how they are treated because. . .
Fat people choose to be fat After all, the only thing fat people need to do is lose weight. If they weren’t all so lazy, weak-willed and greedy they would be such terrible human beings.

I don’t think there is any debate in anything I’ve just said, but anytime a thread mentions the words “fat people” or “stereotypes” a debate usually follows. If the thread needs to be moved I’ll understand. And I promise I won’t whine.

Hi, Biggirl.

  1. Are you right? Yep.
  2. Pit? Yep.
  3. Been done? Yep. [sigh]
  4. Is that okay? Yep. [thumbs up]


  1. The stereotype(s) you refer to are generally not acceptable. The number of responses you will get in support of your post will be evidence of this.

  2. The stereotype(s) you refer to, even if they were acceptable, would certainly not be the last such stereotypes around.

Don’t get me wrong; I agree with your main point. I just get nervous when people start talking about the “last remaining acceptable stereotype”. Many, many different stereotypes have been suggested as the “last remaining acceptable stereotype” by all sorts of different people, and I always think they are being simultaneously overly-optomistic and over-pessimistic. Optimistic because they think there is only one acceptable stereotype left, and pessimistic because they believe the stereotype is indeed acceptable. In my experience, both beliefs are usually wrong.


It is true that people make fun of fat people alot, but I don’t believe that the stereotypes that you describe are more acceptable than any other stereotypes (and they’re less widespread than many)

You know as well as anyone with half a brain on the SDMB that all those points you made are simply huge stereotypes. No doubt you pointed them out because they are the most commonly used critiques leveled at obese people. So what’s your point? That this kind of prejudice is bad? Well, yes. Yes it is. That people need to be more sensitive and aware of some of the medical and genetic reasons behind excessive weight? Also true. That it’s unfair to be singled out because of one’s appearance? Okay, you’re right, it’s unfair. But the world is an unfair place. I think it’s slowly getting better but it’s going to be a very very long time with many more injustices to overcome before we can declare a utopia.

However, do some overweight people fall into one or more categories you’ve mentioned? Yes. Do some overweight people have the capability to improve their health through better diets and exercise without spending unreasonable amounts of money on so called “health” foods and expensive health clubs? Again, yes. Is society at large responsible for the fact that some people neglectfully gain and maintain excessive weight to their own detriment despite the wealth of free medical and nutritional information on the subject? No. Is descrimination and stereotyping going to help fat people lose weight? Of course not.

But just like in the cases of smoking, narcotic use or excessive drinking - sometimes no amount of good information will convince a person to stop doing things that are bad for them. Some people will continue to practice self distructive behaviour no matter what the consequences may be.


Let’s face it. Most fat people would be fat if they ate a bit less and exercised a bit more.


I think that’s gluttony not greed. Anyway I suppose fat people do have a weakness. After all being fat is unhealthy and most people consider it to be unattractive. But I don’t think it is fair to classify them as all being weak willed or lazy.


Well, since most people are fat as a result of their own actions what would you expect?

Fat people are supposed to be jolly!

I would love to make Courtney Cox wear that fat suit she dons for those oh so funny friends episodes out in public where people won’t treat her like a star.

My best friend used to be very over weight. I used to be much thinner than I am now. One night we went into a WhattaBurger. There was a boy about 12 years old and he started humming the Laurel and Hardy theme song. The fact that he knew the Laurel and Hardy theme song was the only reason I didn’t pummel him into a mass of goo. (Well that and the fact that I fear jail)

And all this time I’ve been exercising…
Damn, there is an easier way.

[PRIEST] I cast you back to the depths from whence you came [/PRIEST]

Now the pounds should melt away, since I’m no longer eating for two…


Fat people cannot spell! Or, more likely, use spell check and don’t check the checker.

MGibson, here is a statistic for you. 6 to 10 percent of premenopausal women have PCOS. Guess what one of the major symptoms of this syndrom that up 10% of all young women have!

Most fat people would still be fat if they just ate a bit less and exercized a little more. Perhaps not as fat, but still fat.

Fat people whine just as much as anyone else about all things. Some whine more, some whine less --just like regular old normal people. How did fat people get labeled whiny?

But this is besides the point. There are lazy, greedy, weak-willed, whiny fat people (and jolly ones too). This does not mean that all fat people are lazy, greedy, etc… The problem with stereotyping, which you have just demonstrated, is that you presume to know something about a person’s character without knowing the person.

Where a negative stereotype of fat people shows up the most (IMO) is on TV. Race stereotypes are not PC anymore (anyone else cringe when they see how Asian people were portrayed on Gilligan’s Island? I know this was just a comedy, but I don’t think anyone’s laughing about this type of stereotype anymore), but getting a laugh out of portraying a stereotypical fat person (adult or child) is still A-OK. Fat people are valid people who are leading valid lives, not defective and laughable. I give “The Practice” full credit for having the guts to have an overweight character who seems to be living a normal life, and is not just there for comedic relief.


I have no idea what PCOS is. But that still doesn’t account for the 30% obesity rate in some cities. I don’t have a cite handy but I think New Orleans was once the fattest city in America at 30% obesity.


I seriously doubt that. How many obese people were around 50 years ago vs. the amount we have today?


I wasn’t aware that fat people were labeled as whiny before you brought it up.


MGibson wrote:

That’s what we need! A good old-fashioned Great Depression, followed by a good old-fashioned World War with food rationing. We’ll starve the nation out of obesity!

Well then I guess it isn’t genetic is it. Most fat people are fat because of two simple reasons. They eat to much and they don’t exercise enough.


  • I’ll include the consumption of sugar in the form of soda as well.


Yes, saying “It’s all in the genes” ignores the obvious issue that “calories in - calories out = weight gain”.

However, saying “It’s only because you eat too much and don’t exercise enough” also ignores the issue that one population can have a much greater propensity for obesity than another, even when both populations are exposed to the same dietary and lifestyle choices.

On PBS (or the Discovery Channel or one of them things) recently, there was an hour-long docushow about fatness. One segment featured a native-American population that lived on both sides of the Mexican border. The ones to the south continued to live off the land as their ancestors had done before the Eurpoeans came over. The ones to the north partook of the modern American lifestyle and diet. The ones to the north not only had a much higher incidence of obesity and diabetes than the ones to the south, they had a significantly higher incidence of obesity and diabetes than the average American population. Due to the harshness of their pre-colonization existence, and the occasional food shortages that accompanied it, they were almost certainly genetically predisposed to pile on the pounds more readily than us American’s who’d come over on the Mayflower.

I’m looking forward to the day when the Human Genome Project locates the “excessive appetite” gene and finds a way to turn it off.

Well, gay stereotypes are still out in full force, too. The reason I mention this is because they both share a strong common factor:

To someone that isn’t, it’s icky.

Hard to place yourself in the shoes of ickiness, and so it’s not so hard to hold rather derogatory views of it.

Genetic manipulation?? :eek: You godless Commie!! :stuck_out_tongue:

Seriously though, while I agree with you, that’s material for a whole 'nother debate in its own.

The last acceptable stereotype is

Like tracer said, don’t pretend that being overweight is only a function of genetics. Being fat is, for the most part, a choice made by the individual regarding diet and excersize. Fat people who are content with being fat aren’t lazy. However, those who desire to lose weight, claim to be helpless, and are unable to lose any weight are lazy.

How do people not choose to be fat? I understand genetics may make being skinny more difficult (it is in my case), but whether or not most healthy people want to be fat or not is a matter of choice.

When did being fat become so acceptable anyway?

"The last remaining acceptable stereotype. . . "

is Fat people ?

Sure that’s very sad, but perhaps someone forgot to take their Prozac ?

You seem to have forgotten the acceptable stereotyping of people with bipolar disorder,schizophrenia, depression, psychoses etc. etc., or don’t you think of “crazy” as a stereotype ?

Utopia wrote:

The late 19th century. I’m not kidding. It was fashionable to be fat back then. Being rotund was a sign of affluence – you were saying to the world, “I’m so economically successful I have all the food I could ever possibly want to eat!”

Nowadays, when wheat costs 15 dollars per ton and starvation is this weird malady afflicting only Ethiopians and Callista Flockhart, being thin is “in.” You’re saying to the world, “I’m so economically successful I can afford a personal trainer to keep me slender!”