General Question

KatawaGrey's avatar

Why is it acceptable to make nasty comments about overweight people?

Asked by KatawaGrey (21446points) May 12th, 2009

I have found that people readily make nasty comments about overweight people, whether they are somewhat overweight, very overweight or morbidly obese. This seems outrageous to me. In our society, people who make racist, sexist or otherwise bigoted remarks are, at best, looked down upon and, at worst, ostracized. However, it is perfectly acceptable for people to make mean comments about someone’s weight. Perhaps fluther can enlighten me about this.

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77 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I can’t really enlighten you. As far as I’m concerned it isn’t acceptable to make nasty comments about someone who is overweight.

FGS's avatar

It really doesn’t matter who you are, would you find it acceptable if someone made derogatory comments about you? For any reason?

wundayatta's avatar

Maybe you hang out around the wrong people? My twelve year old daughter knows that kind of thing ain’t cool. What excuse do older people have?

eponymoushipster's avatar

because being “not fat” is an obsession in many cultures, and it’s viewed as a “fault” not a health issue, which it is.

you wouldn’t dare make fun of someone with cancer, but being obese can kill you the same.

it’s all viewpoint.

tinyfaery's avatar

I always say that as a culture we still find it acceptable to make fun of, and sometimes discriminate, against fat people and the mentally challenged. Ask Obama.

I cannot explain why, but I’m sure it will eventually change.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

It isn’t acceptable to be hurtful to obese people but that doesn’t mean I personally have to encourage their lifestyles or tell myself their bodies are acceptable, normal or healthy.

Knotmyday's avatar

I was watching the movie “Knocked Up” in the theater, and it struck me how readily people accepted the the “You know why you’re gay?” spiel.
“Fatty” comments fall under the same mantle of bigotry. People being mean for no other rationale but the desire to be mean and hurtful… and still being accepted by popular culture. We still have a long evolutionary road ahead.

Palindrome's avatar

it’s not acceptable. it’s perceived to be, but what their doing is wrong. i’m technically overweight for my height, i don’t look like it, but i am. I mean disrespect is disrespect which ever way you look at it. People are so worried about being this “skinny” image, they forget to love their bodies and themselves. With that being said people are still making nasty comments because this image still exists.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence: What makes you think being overweight is a “lifestyle”? Do genetics constitute a lifestyle? Does medication? Does a medical condition?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@KatawaGrey: did genetics suddenly go bezerk in the last 30 years to where I’m supposed to think it’s normal for children under 12yrs old to be obese and their obese parents to be “average”? No way. I remember as a kid when it was odd rather than commonplace to see an obese person, chubby or fat people weren’t that run of the mill either. There are more people unhealthily overweight from their eating habits (mostly from lifestyle) than due to medications or genetics.

lisaj89's avatar

It’s not right but it’s definitely not the same as making fun of a mentally impaired person. They did not do that to themselves. Making fun of someone because of their weight is just superficial and insensitive.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence: Well, maybe you shouldn’t accept the lifestyles of people with asthma either. A number of cases of asthma are linked to children staying inside instead of going outside. This is new, something that’s happened around the same time frame as people getting more overweight. Why do people make nasty comments about overweight people and not asthmatics? Because asthmatics don’t look different. Overweight people look different and that makes them targets.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence
@KatawaGrey

I think one issue being overlooked in this conversation is this. Genetics and medical conditions aside. It is the abundance of processed foods that is causing recent boosts in weight, especially in America where processed food is prevalent. Now many many people can more easily afford processed food vs. healthy foods. And many many people were raised on processed food and don’t even know that is what is causing the problem. It’s about a shift in how we market food, the food we buy, how we think of food. Our culture and the predominant food products in stores is what is causing the weights to go up. It is as much societies’ problem as it is the individuals. Some people don’t have a large choice when it comes to choosing these foods. It is abundant in the markets, there is no nutritional education, and it is much much cheaper than healthy food.

Just to add in another viewpoint on the “lifestyles” issue.

RedPowerLady's avatar

To answer the question, I think it is horrible to make fun of people because they are overweight. Whether self-induced or not it is a very difficult issue to deal with. And it does not help if someone is making fun. It is comparable to making fun of someone with anorexia. Some people could argue it is self-induced, some would argue not. But either way it is not okay to make fun of someone with such a serious issue.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Like RedPowerLady says and I said in my own comments, I’m not talking about people’s medical conditions. My own mother is diabetic and overweight, it’s her weight that caused the diabetes, she gets no breaks for it but she also doesn’t deserve any ridicule. This thread seemed to be asking about making cruel comments and not justifying why obese people are the way they are.

cak's avatar

It’s not okay. Not in my book.

It’s just someone feeling the need to be superior over someone else. Making themselves feel better at the expense of someone else, that’s a petty person that I do not care to be around.

What does whether a person has or doesn’t have a medical issue factor into this? It’s okay to make fun of the person that doesn’t have the medical issue? NO. Absolutely not. It’s ridiculous and childish.

Jayne's avatar

Because weight is something over which a person has some control. Philosophically this is meaningless and pragmatically it is often untrue, but there is nonetheless the assumption that a person’s weight is their own fault, and they are therefore despicable for their lack of willpower. Of course, to make fun of a person even for that is a gross breach of manners, but people are able to mask the meanness of spirit that lurks within them, and perhaps all of us, with the defense that by maintaining social condemnation of obesity, they are helping motivate the overweight to change their lifestyles.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@RedPowerLady: You are exactly right. My aunt is one of those people. She recently lost more than a hundred pounds. She was able to do that because both of her kids moved out of the house so she wasn’t having to look after them 24/7 anymore. She is a full time nurse and when she was raising 2 kids, by herself, she didn’t have time to eat right. She was more concerned with raising two kids who could look after themselves and were healthy and to do her job to her best ability to be able to provide for those children.

@cak: I agree with you, but the argument for making fun of overweight people is always “they do it to themselves” so I tried to offer some valid reasons as to why they do not necessarily “do it to themselves.”

Edit: @Jayne: A harsh truth but a valid one. You’re wise, oh hero of canton!

Dansedescygnes's avatar

My mom says making fun of fat people is the last accepted prejudice. It’s especially worse for women. Fat men are portrayed as mayors of towns, wealthy businessmen, or some jolly person whereas fat women are portrayed as a joke, not to mention the whole “no fat chicks” thing.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Dansedescygnes: That is another harsh truth. Fat women have “let themselves go” whereas fat men tend to have that “jolly old fellow” stereotype. This doesn’t necessarily mean that fat men have got it easy though. I hear a lot of jokes and see a lot of “humor” on TV and online about fat men who can’t find their penises. And I have yet to figure out why that one action is so heavily made fun of.

cak's avatar

@KatawaGrey – You know, and this is not directed at you, the “they did it to themselves” thing is so frustrating to me. That argument has been used over and over again. It really pisses me off!

1. Cirrhosis patients…they must all be alcoholics!
2. Rape victims. Hey, she asked for it, right?
3. Repeat Abuse Victims – if they didn’t like it, they would leave.
4. AIDS patients – It’s what they get, they’re gay, right?
5. Obese people do it to themselves, they’re just fat slobs.

Those are some that I’ve heard in my life and there are many, many more. I’m sure you’ve heard your share, too. It’s just a weak excuse to be mean, in my book.

You are right, they stand out, they look different. It’s much easier to be a target if you look different. People suck.

ubersiren's avatar

A lot of people look at a fat person as someone who is just gluttonous and lazy. They don’t understand that there are usually psychological reasons for the overeating. And sometimes, just sometimes, there is a legitimate medical reason for it. Those who don’t consider these issues are ignorant and judgemental. Yes, obesity is a horrible problem in our country, but I don’t think anyone “chooses” to be fat. I mean, I don’t think it can quite be equated to being a specific ethnicity or gay or a certain gender. Unless it’s honestly a medical issue, I think it’s more like having any other eating disorder or any other addiction. Everyone has their problems, some of us pretty severe- but overweight people are the only ones who must display their biggest problem for all to see.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@KatawaGrey

That reminds me of that Family Guy episode: The Fat Guy Strangler…lol…but FG makes fun of everything and everyone.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@ubersiren @cak

I just wonder why America has such a large obesity problem. pun not intended. In comparison to other countries like Japan, we are far worse. Aren’t about 60% of Americans overweight or something similar to that? Why is that number so high?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@cak love your second answer

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Because people suck. The more I get to know people, the better I like my dog.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Dansedescygnes I believe that Australia has been declared the most recent “Most Obese Nation”. So America is Number Two again.

ru2bz46's avatar

@Dansedescygnes I think @RedPowerLady summed up the reasons pretty well for why we have the larger problem. People eating the crap that is so ubiquitous in our stores.

No, it’s not OK to make fun of anybody, but we don’t have to approve of their life choice (if that’s what it is). The problem with the list of ailments that @cak gave is that those problems are perceived as being generally self-induced. The true medical cases are a minority, so the generalization is pretty fair.

I started to get heavy a couple years ago, and I realized I was doing something wrong, so I talked to my doctor, lost weight and started exercising regularly to keep my aging body as fit as I can. If I had not turned myself around, I’d have kept getting heavier, and people would have started ridiculing me. It would be wrong, but their assumption (that I did it to myself) would be true.

Instead of eating all the crap that is offered to me on TV, radio, and my grocery shelves, I now eat whole foods as often as I can, I kill and process my own meat when I can, and I drink water, instead of sodas, juices, and beer. That is my life choice.

ubersiren's avatar

@Dansedescygnes : I think it’s diet and lifestyle. Some smart person could probably tell you better, but that’s the most obvious difference to me. We work way too much, eat fast meals that don’t perish, and we make food as cheaply as we can. I know a girl from Russia who tells me that our strawberries “are so huge! but they taste like piss.” We want the best value, so we sacrifice quality. That means putting fake sweeteners, artificial flavors, preservatives, etc. in food. That Twinkie will always be there for me. It, and its 11 friends that I bought for a dollar. :) Also, in regards to lifestyle, I think people in other countries grow up learning how to survive and thrive, whereas we grow up learning how to hold a job, which leads to buying more possessions. This is a generalization, of course. But just look at night clubs- it isn’t “acceptable” to let loose and do a crazy uncoordinated dance in most American clubs. But go to New Castle in England and you can be who you are and nobody cares. And it’s this way for everything- if you don’t finish high school and complete a 4 year college education, you’re a reject. I guess what I’m getting at is that we are sort of “trained” to take comfort in instant gratification. Have you seen the movie Wall-E? It’s sort of like that. When we’re not given certain free range, when we are all directed in the same way, we start to devolve into boneless jellyfish. I’m starting to not make sense, so I’m going to bed.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@ru2bz46

But see, then it is a choice for the most part. This is why I never buy the whole “McDonalds made me fat” thing. It just doesn’t work that way. The individual was the one who ultimately made the choice to eat the food that made them fat in the first place.

cak's avatar

@ru2bz46 am I missing something? I might be misunderstanding you. Did you say that the generalizations in my example are fair?

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ru2bz46 I just want to add a little note in. Not in argument but just an addition. Some people do not have the option to see a doctor and get help so they won’t have support or even know how to change their lifestyle in a way to lose weight. There are many reasons that the life choice is taken from people. So even though people do put food into their mouths that isn’t so great there are many many reasons they may be doing so that is out of their control. Not to say that there isn’t choice involved. It is just another dimension to the discussion.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@ubersiren

Are you implying that it’s not acceptable to get retarded in an American nightclub? I might stand to disagree a bit with that one…

Yes, making food cheaply and having all this crap available is not good, but a person can still choose to eat better. I mean, not everyone is fat. Those that aren’t have obviously found food to eat that doesn’t make them fat and have found enough time for exercise. I think that everyone can at least choose the right foods if not find the time for proper exercise. No one can place the blame entirely on either thing. Obviously, some people are going to want to say “it’s the individual’s fault 100%” or “it’s society’s fault 100%” but I think both are at fault. However, the individual problem is one that can be addressed more easily. Individuals can make their own choices.

ubersiren's avatar

@Dansedescygnes : I don’t buy that either. Just as I don’t believe a heroin addict can sue his supplier for making him an addict. But that doesn’t mean we should be cruel to that person for having a problem. The actions are choices, but the addiction is not. Especially if it’s the only lifestyle they’ve ever known. Bed now.

ru2bz46's avatar

@cak Ooh, my bad. I just skimmed them and only caught #1 and #5. I think those are a bit fair to think that they did it to themselves, but still never fair to ridicule.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Dansedescygnes
@ubersiren

I might argue that it is not always a choice what goes into your body. And that having that choice is a privilege that many of us take for granted.

I also might argue that there are other overwhelming factors that influence that choice. But that is quite a bit more complicated.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@RedPowerLady

Aside from young overweight children eating what their irresponsible parents give them, when would it not be a choice what you eat?

ru2bz46's avatar

@Dansedescygnes Yes, we are the ones who eat the food. McDonald’s does not make us fat, we do. Many of us still do not know that eating crap isn’t good for us (I don’t know how), so the plethora of bad choices available offers them more oportunities to make bad choices than those in other countries might.

cak's avatar

@ru2bz46 – I’d have to argue with you on that point – for the illnesses. My father had bacterial cirrhosis of the liver meaning there were other underlying causes There are many patients that fall into that category and it’s then not caused by alcohol or pills. When it comes to AIDS, heterosexual females were recently deemed one of the fastest growing groups with HIV/AIDS. Then, if you read another study, it’s heterosexual males. The studies go on and on.

I just think it’s not fair to assume anything about a diagnosis.

One of the cancers I dealt with is very common for HIV patients. I am not HIV positive. I can’t tell you how many medical professionals assumed I was, until they read my history. It’s very frustrating for me to deal with this – the assumption that people make, I guess because I’ve dealt with it.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Dansedescygnes For example I work in low-income housing. Many of the people rely on government issued food boxes and food I provide from our local food donation center.

Many of these people are low-income because of circumstances outside of their control. One example is a contributing member of society who worked her whole life. Went to the doctor one day for a check in. The next day she was classified as “disabled” and not allowed to go back to work.

Another member is a nun and has been for over 50 years. She has been honored by the pope.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@ru2bz46

And the fact that people don’t know that is part of the societal problem that contributes to obesity. That could easily be fixed.

@RedPowerLady

But are they given food that is unhealthy or can easily make someone overweight?

Also, that doesn’t account for all 60% of Americans who are overweight. Most people do have a choice. Yes, things like fast food are cheap, but there are many other types of healthier food that are cheap too.

ru2bz46's avatar

@RedPowerLady I saw my doctor to let him know what I was going to do so he could offer some advice if he though I was about to do something really bad. He was not a necessary part of my plan. The information is freely available, and comon sense should tell anyone that eating an apple is much better than eating a bowl of Apple Jacks®. Also, the theory that good food is so much more expensive than shit is not so true either. I just stocked up on real fruits and vegetables at my local 99 cent store.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Dansedescygnes Yes government issued food is notoriously unhealthy and many many people obtain diabetes (for example) from being on gov. food ‘diets’.

About 10% of people in America fall below the poverty line. Most of these people do not have access to healthy foods.

About 18% of the population in America is without health insurance. They do not have a doctor to help monitor their weight, help them make healthy life choices, etc…

About 20% of the population in America has no high school education. It is likely they do not have any health education.

There are many people out there who have their “choice” taken from them for many reasons. I’m not arguing that this is true for all people but it is true for many people.
Now that is not even counting the people who respond to marketing and advertising. In fact most Americans do. And thus are sucked into eating bad foods just by ads on television alone. And that is not including the people who eat because of emotional abuse or other mental health reasons, a huge reason for emotional eating which is a major factor in weight gain. And of course that is not including people who are medically overweight.

All I am saying is we should look at the bigger picture. Many people do not have the choices that are being discussed here. And if they do they aren’t aware of it. Obesity is a complex issue and is not as simple as choosing the right foods to eat and eating them.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@RedPowerLady

I just find it hard to believe that even a person without a high school education doesn’t know that certain foods are notoriously fatty and certain foods are notoriously healthy. Isn’t it pretty obvious that fruits and vegetables aren’t going to make you overweight? You don’t need a high school education to understand that. Also, becoming overweight or obese is not something that happens overnight; it happens gradually. If someone is noticing that they are getting fat, shouldn’t they try and do something to stop it? Shouldn’t they realize that what they are eating is making them fat and thus need to change something about what they are eating?

ru2bz46's avatar

@cak I rescinded my initial errant assertion that #2 – #4 were fair game for assuming self-induction. As for #1, I am well aware that it is not always caused by alcohol abuse. My wife’s grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother all died from cirrhosis and never drank at all. I also watched a friend die from the disease, which was self-induced.

Again, it’s never OK to ridicule, but I do think it’s fair to make an initial assumption that fat people eat like pigs, and liver patients drink like fish. As long as you’re not acting on that assumption (by ridiculing them), there’s no harm done. Heck, a lot of people think I’m gay until they get to know me at all. They’ll let me know of their initial assumption later, and I understand that I don’t fit the stereotypical male mold. No harm done.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ru2bz46 Our local .99 store does not have veggies. And .99 for veggies is actually a high price considering most veggies and fruits cost less than that. Now canned foods and processed foods are cheaper than fresh foods. And canned/processed foods are huge contributors of obesity. There are complex reasons it is cheaper to eat processed foods. Produce goes bad very quickly and you will find that most low-income individuals shop per-month. They cannot afford for their food to go bad. They shop per month because shopping in bulk reduces costs dramatically. That is just one example. Now I agree that eating healthy doesn’t have to be more expensive. But for many people who were raised in low-income families it would take some nutritional and/or budgeting education so that they could learn how to make eating healthy economically practical.

Also I disagree that nutritional information is freely available. How do you obtain your nutritional information?

Again I’m not saying this is true for all people. I am saying it is a complex issue and is not as simple as just choosing the right foods.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Dansedescygnes
I understand that what seems like common sense to you would be hard to obtain by others. I know so many people (quite literally all ages) that don’t know the difference between fatty foods and healthy foods. For example I was having a conversation today at my work. We are having nutritional education classes for the residents. One of them was telling me their idea of a healthy meal: pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn. Pork chops are fried and typically breaded. Gravy is notoriously bad. Potatoes and corn are horribly starchy. When I mentioned that there are other ways to cook those foods that would make them healthier and that there are healthier vegetable choices (example: grilled meat, roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli) this person seemed astounded. He really thought they were the “same thing”.

We also have to consider that many people (especially those without higher education) simply don’t know how to prepare healthy foods. I see this at my work as well. I bring in produce. I bring in spinach, collard greens, radishes, parsnips etc.. along with traditional veggies. The “odd ones” are always overlooked because people do not know how to prepare them.

Also like I said most of these people do not have access to fruits and vegetables.

Now to this point: ‘weight gain happens gradually, if you notice it shouldn’t you stop it’. In many cases this is not true either. Some people have always been overweight because they come from unhealthy nutritional backgrounds. They may see it as normal or believe they are simply “big-boned”. Also some weight gain happens all at once. Think of being pregnant for example. A woman can have a very healthy pregnancy but still after the baby is birthed then she is likely to be a bit overweight. Some lose it easily. Some do not. And some people simply are too preoccupied with survival that they do not notice the weight gain until it is horribly noticeable. For example college students. Many people gain weight in college because they simply start paying more attention to their studies than their bodies. At the time that seems like a reasonable choice.

To the second part. Many people don’t know how to stop it when they notice it. They don’t know why they are gaining weight. They may think that they need to excercise more when really their consumption of fatty foods is just overwhelming. They may not even know that you have to raise your heartbeat to have “real excercise”. Some people are too occupied with survival to stop it. Others simply have no access to healthy foods and just see it as inevitable. And yet others may have emotional illnesses that cause them to be able to stop the weight gain no matter what they want to do.

I would love to see people be able to control their weight. What I am offering is the idea that this is a complex issue. And that for many people weight loss and gain is quite complicated.

ru2bz46's avatar

@RedPowerLady I don’t generally read the nutritional information on packages (mainly because I don’t buy packaged foods). I just know that the meat from a dead animal is natural, and a McDonald’s chicken nugget should not be the same shape as any other nugget in the box, yet it is. Also, the nugget is covered in grease. It’s easy to see that the dead animal is a normal thing to eat. A potato vs greasy french fries. Broccoli vs Vegetable Thins®. I just assume anything that is not in its natural form is unnatural and therefore, less healthy. I don’t need to read a label to figure that out.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

@RedPowerLady

I would love to see people do it too. And that goes back to my original comment about how people in other countries like Japan, South Korea, and Norway can do it, but we just can’t seem to do it here. Obviously, the differences between those three countries and America are the reason America is one of the fattest countries in the world. I’m also beginning to get the impression that more people are educated in South Korea, Japan, and Norway. Because saying that they’re skinny because they’re poor doesn’t seem to work. (Poverty seems to make people both fatter or skinnier depending on where you live). Maybe for India the poverty can explain the thinness (India is the skinniest country in the world), but not for Norway or the others; those are fairly wealthy countries.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ru2bz46 I agree, personally I think the same way.

Of course in my predominant example these people don’t even have the money to go to McDonalds. But yes many people don’t understand the difference. They may think that corn from the can is the same nutritionally as corn fresh or even popcorn. You have good common sense but some people really need to be told these things. I know it is hard to believe but i see it everyday.

For example I was having a conversation today at my work. We are having nutritional education classes for the residents. One of them was telling me their idea of a healthy meal: pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn. Pork chops are fried and typically breaded. Gravy is notoriously bad. Potatoes and corn are horribly starchy. When I mentioned that there are other ways to cook those foods that would make them healthier and that there are healthier vegetable choices (example: grilled meat, roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli) this person seemed astounded. He really thought they were the “same thing”.

That is not about reading nutritional labels. It is about common food knowledge. Many people do not have that common food knowledge. And still many people do have that knowledge and have other barriers to eating healthy such as financial capability and lack of obstruction from emotional illness.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Dansedescygnes I agree with that. I definitely think there is something we can learn there. And something we should learn.

ru2bz46's avatar

@RedPowerLady That’s pretty sad that people just don’t get it, but I tend to forget that roughly half the people out there have below average IQ.

knitfroggy's avatar

I’m fat. I’m also really healthy. I have good blood pressure, low cholesterol and walk miles and miles a week. I’m not just a little chubby either, I’m pretty good sized-not record breaking by any means, but I carry some weight with me. I look good, take good care of myself and am very happy. My husband loves me and thinks I’m beautiful.

I’ve never really had anyone say anything nasty to me. High School wasn’t hard, I had no trouble getting dates, etc. It doesn’t bother me that people say bad stuff to fat people, really. It just shows their ignorance. Why do they do it? Because it’s an easy “fault” to find in someone. I’ve just always thought it showed someone’s ignorance.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ru2bz46 I think it is sad too. But I don’t think it has anything to do with IQ. In my opinion it is just what our society places value on. Obviously not nutritional education.

ru2bz46's avatar

@knitfroggy With an attitude like that, I think you’re beautiful, too. :-)

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@ru2bz46: the gay question is still about? wow, you are legendary by now!

ubersiren's avatar

Of course people know that certain foods are bad for them. People also know that cigarettes and large quantities of booze are bad for them. But the fact is that most of us don’t care how bad our vices are for our bodies- they make us feel good immediately, which is what my point was about Americans needing instant gratification.

I.E. People would be more apt to make fun of an obese person sitting at an all-you-can-eat buffet than they would an alcoholic walking into a bar. One is funny, and the other is sad. Again, I’m generalizing.

I also generalized about the American night club scenario. They’re not all uptight like that. But I think you missed the point anyway. In America, we’re more likely to be judged for dancing “weird” than in other countries. I don’t just mean “letting loose” I mean, if someone really can’t dance, but tries- do you know how many people will be whispering to their friends that “they should just get off the dance floor!” In New Castle (and other fun European places of which my experiences are few) it doesn’t matter how bad you are. It feels more comfortable to be yourself. There’s not pressure to measure up to a certain standard. Maybe this wasn’t such a good point in my argument…

In summary, it is your own fault for being fat. BUT, people should probably lay the fuck off the insults because they probably have just as big of a problem (smoking, drinking, drug use, crime, driving 20 mph over the limit, etc)- Obesity is just the most obvious one. I think people who make fun of an overweight person are just projecting their own problems onto that person. They probably need just as much therapy as the over-eater.

And I never said a person doesn’t have a choice what they eat- I dont’ know where you get that. Again, I’m not blaming anyone but the individual for the choices they make. I’m simply pointing out that our culture embraces the “quick meal” which often means junk. It’s hard for some to escape this lifestyle, especially if it’s how they grew up. I have a friend who grew up eating in fast food joints and convenience stores. This food is now the standard by which all other food is judged by him. When we were roomies I would make all these awesome meals to try to change his mind, but he would decline and go to Taco Bell. Then again, maybe that says something about my cooking. :)

ru2bz46's avatar

My wife has a roommate who eats 2–3 frozen pizzas in a sitting. She offered to cook for him if he would pitch in a little for the grocery bill. His answer? “Thanks, but I like the way I eat.” Yes, he is over 300 pounds. :-(

ubersiren's avatar

@ru2bz46 : Your wife has a roommate? How do you feel about that? :P

Facade's avatar

Most overweight people could lose weight if they tried hard enough. I don’t find obesity to be comparable to race, sex, etc.

ubersiren's avatar

@Facade : That’s a very narrow view. I think most overweight people have tried losing weight at some point. Nobody wants to be fat. And it wasn’t compared to race/ sex/ etc. that I read.

Facade's avatar

Unless they have some medical issue, they should be able to lose weight. Not easily of course, but it’s possible.

“In our society, people who make racist, sexist or otherwise bigoted remarks are, at best, looked down upon and, at worst, ostracized. However, it is perfectly acceptable for people to make mean comments about someone’s weight.”
Was the OP not comparing them here?

ubersiren's avatar

Of course it’s possible. It’s also possible for bulimic people to just eat a cheeseburger and not throw it up.

Facade's avatar

ok then.

ru2bz46's avatar

@ubersiren We’re separated, and the roommate is married. His wife lives there too.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ubersiren That’s a very narrow view. “I think most overweight people have tried losing weight at some point. Nobody wants to be fat. And it wasn’t compared to race/ sex/ etc. that I read.”

I agree

ubersiren's avatar

@ru2bz46 : Sorry, dude… I didn’t mean to make fun. My apologies. I really thought it was a typo or something.

ru2bz46's avatar

@ubersiren Don’t worry about it; it’s a natural question. I don’t really know how to call her. “My estranged” sounds a little, well, strange since we get along really well, and I don’t want to use any derogatory terms, either.

casheroo's avatar

People are obsessed with their body hence making them obsess over others. It’s crazy.
I am always in awe of how a celebrity might have just eaten, and may have a little belly from it, they automatically are pregnant or “gained 10 pounds!” it’s like, really?
There’s so much pressure on girls to be thin. I know I’ve felt it numerous times during my life. I now just try to be healthy.
I don’t think making fun of fat people should be acceptable.

ubersiren's avatar

Oooh! @casheroo with something new to add! Great point!

Nimis's avatar

I agree with casheroo. I think it has to do with our culture and how people are so obsessed
with weight in general. People seem to be constantly judging themselves against this
seemingly impossible standard, that judging others doesn’t seem too far of a stretch.

Cancer and alcoholism aren’t issues that people readily project themselves onto.
Whereas weight is a common issue that many people struggle with.
I’d guess that much of the disdain/condemnation for overweight people
is actually rooted in a lot of their own weight/body issues.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Nimis _I’d guess that much of the disdain/condemnation for overweight people
is actually rooted in a lot of their own weight/body issues._

I’d agree.

twinklestars's avatar

It is not ok to say mean things to some one who is over wieght it’s not what you think it is. Being over wieght isnt some thing that some one just decides to be it’s just something they are and for you to say it is ok is very sad on your behave, you know how people say words cant hurt and all that well they do, saying mean things is a form of abuse, yeah not physically BUT mental/emotionally. i just learned that in class and i know better not to be mean to people over weight and i’m in 10th grade, so have you lost your moral or something sence you were in 10th grade, it is VERY much NOT ok to be mean to some one for something they cant help, yes some people are over weight because of food, BUT not most of them, most of them are because of genetics and they cant help that one bit, they can try their whole life to be that “perfect” person that jerks like you seem to think is good. Why in the hell should they care what people say…but they do cause words stick in peoples mind and being overweight, most people who are, are already insecure enough and for a jerk face like you to being saying mean things or saying it is ok is just NOT RIGHT! if your not over weight and your not the one dealing with it then you have no reason what so EVER to being sayin anything about them, its not right, people are who they are, LOOKS DON’T MATTER! and if the person is happy they why should others care what they look like. Looks really dont matter budd! if you judge some one for being overweight that is just not ok cause personality is the main thing…peopel change on the out side, they get bigger or they get smaller or they lose body oarts, looks don’t matter cause they could change…so don’t be an ass and think of people, personality wise. its very much NOT ok and jerks like you really piss me off!

KatawaGrey's avatar

@twinklestars: Did you bother to read the details to the question or any responses that followed? I don’t think that it is acceptable to make nasty comments about someone’s weight. It is, however, considered much more acceptable in our society to make fun of an overweight person than many other people. I do not like this. Please read the details a little more carefully before you make accusations.

carebare's avatar

Who gives a damn what people think of you!!!! Just love yourself!!!!

gemiwing's avatar

Interesting discussion.

I think the answer is multi-faceted.

Most people are terrified of being out of the norm of their given society. We’re tribal animals and as such we tend to fear being ostracized from our groups. When people are afraid of something they mock it- and anyone who happens to be in the ‘bad’ group. When most people make fun of larger people, they’re trying to say ‘I’m still in the Good Group”.

There is also a huge Protestant ethos in America that if something bad happens to you- you did something to bring it on yourself. We really enjoy blaming the victim in our society.

Another issue is how the general topic of obesity is handled in the media. Whether we admit it or not, we’re influenced by our popular media culture. The media says we’re (taxpayers) paying for those ‘obese slobs who are walking cupcake destroying machines”. This is true in some cases- but not true in most. Some of the numbers are not gathered from reliable studies (most people never check that far into a story), other ideas are presented as fact when they are simply conjecture.

Media is also responsible for the purveying ideas of what ‘fat people’ are and how they live. They are lazy, they all eat horrible foods constantly, they hate exercise, they don’t bathe, they are mentally slow, they don’t care about themselves, they cannot think of anything but their next meal and they are lonely virgins who live in their parents’ house.

The saddest part is that we could change this cultural norm of acceptable verbal abuse, yet we chose not to. It’s more important to show headless larger people during the news and use it to ‘shame’ them into ‘behaving’. For their own good of course.

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