Social Question

spittingblaze's avatar

Why are humans very obsessed with how much they weigh?

Asked by spittingblaze (258 points ) December 23rd, 2010

If a woman weighs a few hundred pounds maybe it would be painful for the knees, but is the motivation to lose weight mainly for the attention of the opposite sex, self-hatred or well what is the main motivation? If a woman wants to lose weight the reasons that come to mind might be because they still want to be asked out by the gender they are attracted too or they have self-esteem issues? Or maybe it is not these reasons, why are people, magazines and humans in general, even some men very preoccupied with weight loss? Why is so important?

Will a man really not ask out a pretty perhaps woman out, great sense of humour, confidence and personality out just because she is hefty? Or for the reader is it important for her gender of attraction to be a certain weight? Or do some men or people prefer their gender of attraction to be hefty?

Is it really of extreme important for a person to worry all the time about their weight? If so why?

I am just curious. My mother never raised me into the notion that I should always be worrying what or how many pounds I am. My mother always told me that my weight was fine.

So maybe the major factor in worrying intensely about weight loss or the major motivations are courtship and self-hatred or self-esteem issues? Why does the reader, if they do, worry or care about their weight or how many pounds they weigh?

If fat people still are able to get romantic relationships and to get laid then- or are they able to? If they are able too, if a person maybe a little over weight is fat will they still be able to be courted if they have a sense of humour, style or personality?

Is how fat the reader is subjective or in the eye of the beholder?

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36 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

The reason is that the weight has been connected withoverall health. Everyone wants to be healthy, and everyone wants to see others as healthy as well. We are told by the pervasive media that to be Overweight is unhealthy. Most of the media portray the thin people as being the more desirable and the viewers accept that as the truth.

spittingblaze's avatar

So the media feeds everyone the ideas that thin people are more desirable sexually, more healthy and that is why everyone is so interested in how many pounds they are? So it is not possible that over weight people are healthy and desirable by some? My brother says he prefers some women with meat on their bones then overly thin people. And dwarfs in fantasy games like Dragon Age often prefer fatter people to elves.

Thanks for the response.

YARNLADY's avatar

@spittingblaze—You are confusing some with the media influence

spittingblaze's avatar

So media influence is more important than what some people think? I suppose media influence has more wide spread influence than what some people think and prefer. It is not as if some of these people make their preferences known and try to show stereotypes of fat people where they are more healthy or desirable or at least more desirable. And video games with fantasy characters in it preferring fat people over stick thin elves are probably not the norm.

I suppose the media influences us and their audiences to be somewhat shallow, appearance obsessed.

spittingblaze's avatar

The media also trains women to worry more about their appearances than men do, I suppose since men do the courting usually unless women have balls.

YARNLADY's avatar

@spittingblaze Yes, that is correct. Some people can make their own choices and decisions that are not based on any media generated obsession, but I have provided a possible answer to your actual question.

spittingblaze's avatar

I think more people should make their own choices and decisions that are not based on any media generated obsession, but most people are not trained to do that growing up. Your answers were logical and thought provoking thank you.

YARNLADY's avatar

@spittingblaze I agree, but Fluther is not exactly a debate forum, but rather a discussion type ask and answer forum.

spittingblaze's avatar

Oh yes that is true and my question was answered. There might not be any more answers and if that is the case the ones I got were satisfactory. Thank you.

ratboy's avatar

It’s just a phase.

spittingblaze's avatar

A phase the individual person experiences or a phase that a whole society grows through? Is obsession with weight something that fades with time?

rooeytoo's avatar

I like to be skinny because I feel better. I like being lean and light. I do think it is healthier as well. You don’t see many spry old fat people but I know lots of skinny old runners, swimmers, tennis players, etc.. So at 66 (and female) I keep an eye on my weight and when I pick up a pound or two as I probably will over the holidays, I then watch my carbs for a couple of days and take it off.

spittingblaze's avatar

So you fell healthier being slender and that is why you do because it makes you feel better? Not because the media and the opposite gender might want us too? This desire is not influenced by what other people want you to look like but what you want to feel? You do this to make YOU feel better and to soothe and take care of YOURSELF? If so then I commend that. And what do you think of other fat people who possibly do not care about their weight or their health?

spittingblaze's avatar

I like the idea that interest in personal physical fitness the main motivation could be just to feel better.

rooeytoo's avatar

I feel sorry for fat older people. I can do so many things they cannot. I can run after my dog, I ride my mountain bike down mountains. I swim laps for an hour. I can hike and do practically anything I want to. Now maybe older fat people don’t want to do those things, but I bet they would like to be able to get around without a cane or a walker and often they must resort to such appliances because of their excess weight and the health problems it causes.

So yep, I am pleased you like the idea that I stay light and lean because I feel better that way, because it is indeed the truth. Now I am off to do my 5k run with my dog.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

No dodging the logic, I would say many more people are not concerned by their weight, they just buy larger clothes. If they do care about their weight they appear to do little about it. 60% of the population is over weight. My brother’s ex was over weight and because of that she hated to walk more than 15yd anywhere. She had bad knees and sex was a chore because if they did it missionary there was too much of her in the way to even make it functional.

I think the simple physics and logic shows that being thinner is more healthier and you can function better thinner. When was the last time you seen an over weight or obese gymnast, women beach volleyball player, indoor volleyball player, Rockette, pro cheerleader or professional dancer? There are certain sports where it would never work, you could not do a lift in pairs skating if the woman was 214lb I guess if he was built like the Hulk otherwise it would be dangerous if even possible. The media may play more to slenderness but physically slender people are more aesthetically symmetrical and we humans like many thinks balanced and symmetrical.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central – let’s not just pick on the women, there are just as many fat old dudes with their bellies hanging way out over their belt buckles and I don’t see them playing volleyball or pairs skating either!

spittingblaze's avatar

Ah so people think sex is unsatisfying with fat people involved? If sixty percent of the population is fat then the majority of the population have unsatisfying sex because their partner is fat?

There are just as many fat men as women probably more because women are more influenced to care about their appearances then men do. I am slender and a fat person I know in grade school frequently bested me at vollyball and she bested other skinny people as well.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@rooeytoo let’s not just pick on the women, there are just as many fat old dudes with their bellies hanging way out over their belt buckles and I don’t see them playing volleyball or pairs skating either!¬ That is true however, right or wrong society and the media tend to be more forgiving of chunky or overweight men. Though I have never seen a chubby pair skating man I believe one could do it even if not very graceful because he doesn’t have to be hoisted overhead or thrown as the women are. Chubby and slightly overweight men many times are seen a burly and capable while very slender men are seen as weaklings who would get mopped up in a fight; scrawny men were not often seen in a positive light.

spittingblaze's avatar

So beafy men are seen in ten times a more positive light than twig men? And fat women are seen in a negative light when compared to slender women? Is that not a double standard fat men are okay but fat women are not?

meiosis's avatar

Overweight people tend to:

- have more health problems than those who are not overweight

- have limited mobility compared to those who are not overweight

- be considered less attractive

- be seen as greedy and somehow morally deficient.

All of these are powerful factors that can help motivate people into stressing about their weight.

spittingblaze's avatar

So those who appreciate food, some food critics for eating so much food who gain weight, fatness are seen by others as greedy and fat? Perhaps that is true, I do not think everyone has such a negative opinion of fat people, if what some say above is true that 60 percent of the population is fat and people have sex with fat people, though they have apparently negative sterotypes I do not think all fat people are hated. But yes they do have to endure negative sterotypes, and perhaps because of this others do as you already stated above. Stress about their weight.

spittingblaze's avatar

There is nothing wrong with wanting and attaining slimness seeing there are so many benefits to it. However unfortunately there is such a prejudice against over weight people, I wonder if some people fear them.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central – all of the society I know think fat men are just that fat men, not burly or strong. You must be listening to what the fat guys themselves are saying!

tinyfaery's avatar

The diet industry exist for the reason all industry exists, money. There is no profit in telling people they are good the way they are. No problems = no products to sell.

BoBo1946's avatar

Health.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It may not be a perfect indicator of health but it sure is a good one. My BMI is right in the middle of the band. When I compare myself with my friends with higher BMIs I can run further, jump higher, (love longer,) don’t get out of breath often, fit comfortably in airline seats. I can go to a store and pick out clothes that fit. I’m flexible. I can bend over a tie my shoes. I don’t ache and my knees work.

It’s not all totally positive. Here’s what they can do but I can’t…
I cannot wolf down a whole pizza. I can’t drink 2 beers with my meal. I can’t sit and watch TV every night. I can’t eat everything I want. I can’t eat that whole box of chocolates -2 or 3 is my limit. I can’t eat 6 doughnuts in a sitting -1 a week is plenty.

When looking for a mate, I want a partner who has the same values.

spittingblaze's avatar

You sound as if you are quite fit worried guy. So you would want a mate that values health and thinness as much as you do.

As phychocandy, I had never thought of it that way! That is how most industries work, they take advantage of the problems of the people, their addictions and such. The more they are addicted to something, like being slim and looking great and feeling healthy, or maybe smoking or slots -if no one had any addictions a lot of businesses would go out of business. I used to be addicted to video games and oh did I waste money on that.

Health is good, but should we not take pride in ourselves whether were we are fit or thin either or? Most people would probably not take pride in a fat body because of the prejudice against fat bodies.

But there are definitely many, many benefits to being thin, though I prefer being fit to thin. Some people are as skinny as sticks but they do not have athletic looking bodies. Not all fit people with muscles look very thin. I guess some weights are neither fit nor thin, somewhere in between.

Jeremycw1's avatar

Media, media, media. And social pressure is what I believe to be the cause

gondwanalon's avatar

I think that the best reason for maintaining a healthy BMI is for health. I’m a man who works in the medical field which is dominated by women. I get exposed to every fad diet that comes and goes. I feel so sorry for the dieters as they struggle so to no avail. I try to explain to anyone who will listen to me of the importance of having a regular (daily) exercise routine within their life. Regular exercise plus a healthy diet (as descibed by the NIH) is the best way to reaching a normal weight. Sadly most people seem not understand this. There is no easy way in which to reach and maintain a normal BMI and good health. It takes discipline, and never ending commitment but the benefits are well worth the effort. Good health!

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@spittingblaze So beafy [sic] men are seen in ten times a more positive light than twig men? And fat women are seen in a negative light when compared to slender women? Is that not a double standard fat men are okay but fat women are not? It might not be an even hand but a fattish type guy is seen a “jolly” I don’t often see that coined to really chubby or fat women.” Fat women are mostly seen as……..well…..just fat women.

@rooeytoo all of the society I know think fat men are just that fat men, not burly or strong. Right, that is why I said mostly. I guess a lot tends to come in the community you live in. When I was growing up we did not have 257lb Jr. high schoolers or freshmen with double chins and 3 bellies hanging under them. From grade 1 to 12 there was only 3 kids in school who were ever considered fat and by today’s standard they would be no more than chubby. When I was growing up if you were built like a defensive tackle or middle linebacker you got more respect than if you were a 5’ 9” tall lanky dude of 158lb or lighter. Scrawny look on men just look weak and less capable of hauling hay, moving furniture, chopping out a stump or anything highly physical. And it was the females and the makes who thought it. 8—]

LuckyGuy's avatar

@spittingblaze My BMI is 21. Right in the middle of the band so Yes I am in good shape.
I needed surgery last year (prostate) and was faced with a couple of options. The surgeon’s job was easier and my recovery quicker because I was in such good shape. The guys carrying lots of extra pounds do not recover as quickly.
I do not go to the gym. I get exercise by watching what I eat and living my life actively.

Kardamom's avatar

If a person (usually female) is constantly bombarded with images of “perfect women” with “perfect bodies” (usually emaciated an/or airbrushed) from the time that she can see them on TV, hear them on the radio and read about them in magazines and hear it on the news and see it on billboards and hear it from the mouths of men who call normal to overweight women “heifers” and “fatties” and “pigs” and “cows” and read bumperstickers on trucks that say “no fat chicks” and see a barrage of weight loss commercials and products and see people giving testimonials about how great it is to lose tons of weight and see that most of the fat girls at school don’t have boyfriends or dates to the prom and are constantly told that they shouldn’t eat such and such because it will make her fat. Then that person will probably have issues with weight.

rangerr's avatar

And dwarfs in fantasy games like Dragon Age often prefer fatter people to elves.

Is nobody going to point out how fantastically amazing this sentence is?

spittingblaze's avatar

Lol. Why rangerr is that fantastically amazing?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Carrying around even 20–30 lbs over your ideal weight can be very hazardous to your health in the long run. This is one of the major reasons the US is heading for a diabetes epimedic of legendary proportions ( the others being soft drinks and high sugar content in far too many foods ). However, it’s best to have a physician or nurse or PA, take both your weight and your body fat index, so that the measurements fit you more personally.

By the way… I know… I’m a diabetic.

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