When Do People Make Fat Hating Comments?

I just ran across this post over at BoingBoing: Terrifying Huge Breakfast is Free if You Eat it in 20 Minutes.  As of a full day after its posting and not a SINGLE comment mentions how fat you’ll get or have to be in order to eat such a “disgusting” amount of food as is offered with this meal.  Want to know my theory of why?  Take a look at the photo offered with the post:

Can anyone take a guess what the comments might have been like (aside from the seemingly obligatory “Oh my goodness it doesn’t have (___Fill in blank with preferred breakfast eats___)!!!” and “Ugg, food diversity scares me – this is so GROSS because it isn’t food I’m used to!” memes) if the person pictured eating that breakfast had been, say, a Fat Woman instead of a Skinny Man??

Hear the sizzle of deliciousness

Hear the sizzle of deliciousness

Just a supposition of my own but I think if people had seen instead my own round face staring into such a plate of meaty food stuffs then the comments would have quickly leaned a LOT more towards “Well no wonder she’s so fat; put down the fork you heifer!”  Maybe I’m being “too sensitive” or “drawing at straws” here; but how many of you think I might be hitting the nail on the head, so to speak?

So here’s my own version of the huge breakfast, cooked up while the others in our cabin were slowly awaking to the scent of cooking bacon and eggs just a few weeks ago.  Bacon is delicious, and even better when shared with loved friends!  But the simple fact I sometimes cook and eat said salty, crispy, delicious and oft-maligned; sometimes eerily worshiped; pork product still isn’t why I’m fat.  Though you can certainly go on believing it IS and leave your feared and avoided bacon to me!

Im wearing the shirt Ironically

I'm wearing the shirt "Ironically"


29 thoughts on “When Do People Make Fat Hating Comments?

  1. April, I totally agree with your thoughts here. One of the rituals in my family is a big brunch buffet for birthdays. My thin stepbrothers out eat me often ( I out eat them too sometimes) however, the comments and glances about my eating or my additional trips to the buffet are never matched with comments about my stepbrothers…. As far as the fat hatred oozing out of the fat hating public, it is just a fact that we are living with, I think your observation here is spot on and it tells a lot about the our culture. Glad to have you as an fellow Fat appreciator of bacon!!!!!



    • Bacon-cheers right with you Ivan! And I hadn’t added my own similar anecdotes but I have plenty similar to yours. Many summers growing up we would have a family pig-roast and it was only my “chubby eating” that was noticed; not the habits of thinner folks eating far more than myself. It was infuriating!

  2. Well, I didn’t go to the original post; but I suspect that you are correct about the comment varying with the size of the eater.

    Bacon is tasty!


    It could kick my ass seven ways from Sunday.

    And I agree with your analysis that the size of the person pictured probably totally set the tone for that particular thread.

    Funny how bias works.

  4. Wow. That’s some breakfast. And, yes, I suspect the size of the guy has a lot to do with the comments. To be honest, if that were a fat guy he could probably be eating a salad and there’d still be nasty comments about it; it’s the idea of a fat person eating at all that sets some people off.

    I don’t think there’s any way I could pack that lot away, but my husband might; he’s in the ‘normal’ BMI range and a total bacon freak. I’m unusual for a Brit in that our usual way of cooking bacon, as pictured there, tastes undercooked to me, so I don’t often order a fry-up this side of the pond. American-style crispy bacon, though? Mm mm.

  5. Nail+Hammer=BANG!

    Image is everything in, this har, country dontchaknow. In fact, it’s got me wondering why they DIDN’T brand the article with the prerequisite fatty. Good catch though. I’d have to say that the only thing you might have on missed was the eaters gender.

    According to the Secret Handbook of Media Editors Guidelines for ‘eat the patter and it’s free’ type human interest pieces is; Meat / grease / heart-attack special = Male Fatty Pic. Pastry / sugar / Diabetic Coma Inducing = Female Fatty Pic (with headless option for both). But then this is part of a ‘secret handbook’ and we’re not supposed to notice these things. I mean, most of the commenters didn’t notice the guy wasn’t fat or realize how it might influence their commentary so who could blame you. ; )

    • Bilt4Cmfrt you’re very right! I did completely skip the whole Meat=Male connection here; thanks for pointing it out! Indeed there is some tendency to associate that drive to indulge in protein overload more with men than women. For me I’ve always been a meat and potatos (or bread/pasta) person and really get more squicked out by pastries and the sugar for which women are supposedly all gaga. Which, while acknowledging that anecdata is certainly no replacement for actual numbers, might indicate why I imagined myself in the picture (or another woman) instead of a man right away. Interesting!

  6. I am a member of the bacon-lover’s club in good standing & also another fatty who could not, under any circumstances, eat the plate of food pictured. I am also part of the ‘my thin relatives can eat three times as much as I do & it is fine, but what I eat is always too much” school of experience. I don’t have a LOT of thin relatives, but my one thin brother, the only one of us to be built like my father, has always been able to eat two or three times as much as I did while lecturing me about the evils of being fat & ‘letting yourself go.’

    And frequently on the great Travel Channel food shows (“Diner Paradise”, etc.) someone will eat something while making comments such as ‘heart attack on a plate’, because they seem to be obligatory in this culture. Either you don’t eat the stuff, or you moan about how ‘bad’ it is (& how ‘bad’ you are for eating it.) I am from a family which has always run to diets featuring pork fat, bacon, real butter, etc., & most of us have lived to ages between late 80’s & mid-90’s, with one aunt making it to 101, & not a heart attack in the bunch. And over the years, as family members went their separate ways, there has been a lot of diversifying of eating & exercise habits, but most of us are fat.

    BTW, I have a bacon cheeseburger meatloaf in the oven as I post this, & it smells heavenly.

  7. Hi April! I just had to post and tell you that I love your attitude! 🙂 While I don’t necessarily agree with everything you say, I love HOW you say it, your zest for living and love for who you are. It’s something to be greatly admired!

    Btw…I agree, bacon is soooooo yummy! 🙂

    Tina Klinesmith

    • Tina I certainly appreciate the support for my zest! 🙂 And no, not everyone agrees with everything said on other blogs (I notice yours is much about weight loss similar to another wonderful woman who comments here). The importance I think is that we never close the dialog between folks willing to talk and listen and analyze what’s out there! 🙂

  8. True…Actually,Seeing that picture would have made me comment quicker than seeing a fat lady eating it.mostly because his hair cut is UGLY 😐 whats with that hair anyways? Not tryin’ to be offense to anyone 😉

  9. I just read an article called “7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat.” They were preaching to the choir, as I make it a point to do so anyway. Among the benefits: improved cardiovascular risk factors, healthy brain and nervous system, and strengthened immune function. Pass the bacon.

    • Janemarie just like with any call to eat more or less of something I’d love to see the data behind the saturated fats thing. So far what I’ve seen with that article title leads to work done by two different gentlemen “generations ago” and done as a means to reduce abdominal fat. I’m curious where their research has taken them (or been taken by others) of late – was this what backed the brief surge in the Atkins (and similar) diets? I find it intriguing though. Here is the place I found that article in case maybe it was not the one you were speaking of.

  10. You know, i’m not even a big fan of bacon… it just doesn’t taste good to me… but instead of bacon i have MACARONI AND CHEESE!!!!!!! YUM!
    anyway i see the point and i agree! 🙂

  11. Bacon. Bacon is truly the only food I have ever eaten that really does go with every other food I can think of.

    I eat SLLOOOOWWW. Really slow, I have problems swallowing. I eat slow, so sometimes I avoid eating in public because it is embarrassing. In the time it takes for me to eat a single piece of bacon, my husband wolfs down half the plate.

    Yeah, pretty much any fat person eating anything in public may at the very least get eyerolls. I’ve never had anyone say anything rude to my face, but I have seen the looks.

  12. Very good point! I hadn’t thought of that. I suppose it also calls in the whole “headless fatty” thing. If they had articles about, say, health care costs rising, and had a picture of some skinny people walking around, the response would be different.

    Wow. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this before.

    Also, DEAR GOD that is so much food. I don’t think I could even finish a quarter of that without needing a lie down.

  13. Also, you have inspired me to take up bellydancing! It’s on right after my martial arts, which will be an interesting jump, but I’m exvited about it.

  14. You are absolutely right about what you’ve said. If it had been a ‘fat’ person, it would have been a huge stereotype. It’s like when you go to a buffet and even if all you ate is salad, you still get those ‘looks’.

  15. Great blog April! I agree with what you said…there WOULD have been a lot more uglier comments had the picture not contained a thin man. Unfortunately.

    That’s why I love your blog though. I love how passionate you are about changing the idea of beauty to fit EVERYONE! It is so important. You are an inspiration to fighting back.


    • Rita depending on how close you are to major cities there are sometimes good listings; especially now as bellydance is getting/has been getting more main stream 🙂 I just had class today up in New Hampshire and it was awesome!

  16. any human in any shape will idealize himself. the easiest way to solve a problem is to interpret it as not-a-problem. Being fat is a challenge for your body, especially for your heart.

    on the other hand, live your life as you want, who cares, that’s why freedom is so awesome.

    I never had problems with weight, so I can’t judge you 🙂

    Good luck)

    • I struggled with whether or not tok approve your comment Laz because your line about fat being challenging for the body, especially the heart, runs directly contrary to much of the current science that actually exists (even if it gets swept under the carpet in the face of insurance companies who would much rather we all believe we are a hairsbreadth from death’s door at all moments). But since my own blog is not as heavy on the break down of science I could suggest JunkFood Science as a blog with a much better take down of that aspect; though I do address it myself often in more general terms.

      But what made me approve this was that you are right: freedom is amazing. If only everyone would realize that “freedom” does not just go to those perceived by the mass culture as currently fitting the visual cues for healthy, normal, beautiful, “following the rules”; etc. Because the problem I’m addressing is that no one ACTS like they aren’t able to judge others for their weight: problems or not. Fat is treated as yet another of those things that people should just suck up and “Fix” about themselves and stop whining about being treated unfairly. We should ALL be able to live life as we want, indeed. It is just taking time to convince everyone that this concept applies to ALL; not just the privileged few.

      • I like your position. We all live in a world of predefined standarts, why don’t we make these standarts by ourself? why not redefine the notion of beauty if we really want to?

        to try be “normal” or to be happy as you are is your choice 🙂

  17. wow! that food looks very tasty i must admit. but it is not very useful for your body to eat such amount of food for such a short period of time. and it is not just about becoming FAT. you can get serious problems with your stomach! poor stomach will not be able to overdo all that food at once!

    • psychologist1 I’d have to agree that unless you’re used to such a quantity of food then you’d likely get a stomach ache at the very least! But then many people do that at Thanksgiving so on the flip side it is not entirely unfeasible that feasts of such a nature occur once in a while for most people?

  18. I would also like to comment on the lady who said she eats very slowly, because that touches on one of the HUGE stereotypes about fat people & one of the many wonderful, “so-scientific” theories have about WHY people are fat…that we eat so fast & gobble our food without really chewing or tasting that we don’t realize when we are full & we eat too much. This is such total BS for so many reasons, since study after study has shown that fat people eat no more or differently than thin people & there are indeed people of ALL sizes & shapes who eat fast or slowly.

    I myself am a fairly slow eater, just because that is how I am, also because I have acid reflux & gobbling is not good for that &, as one of the side effects of my cerebral palsy, I also often have some trouble coordinating the timing on the breathing & swallowing, so I choke easily. I eat frequently with my son & he usually eats two to three times as much as I do & he is usually finished before I am or at about the same time. My mother was the same way; she didn’t eat huge amounts (though of course the culture convinced her she MUST be a glutton because she was fat), but she was usually the last one at the table, or we were the last two, still finishing a meal after the others had finished.

    You cannot tell anything about how much a person eats, how fast, what a person eats, his health, lifestyle, life expectancy, or anything else by seeing the size of his body. You also cannot tell anything meaningful about someone’s overall eating habits…& particularly about character or worth as a human being…by seeing what someone eats in public at one meal on one occasion, though a great many people feel they have the right to form a picture of the entire person by seeing him eat one meal or by peeking inside someone’s shopping basket. There is an awful lot of moral outrage & judgment in this culture just based on food/weight/eating/shopping habits, etc., & we are certainly a culture where not only is the government trying to mind our business/control our lives to an ever-increasing extent, but where we are encouraged to pass judgment on & sometimes try to change each other’s behavior. Not only is eating a little bacon not a sin or bad for your health, it is no one else’s business if you eat the whole damn pig!

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