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May 22, 2007 3:56 PM   Subscribe

Do MeFites really look askance at fat people?
posted by nevercalm to MetaFilter-Related at 3:56 PM (124 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

No, seriously....I kinda always thought a good proportion of us are probably pleasingly plump. This isn't a callout, just a "wha??"
posted by nevercalm at 3:57 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of people on MeFi. Some are fat. Some look askance at fat people. Sometimes those two groups overlap even. There has been a history of some LOLFATTY posts to the blue and some unkind remarks and stereotyping that seemed to come from noplace but just weird reaction-to-button-pushing. It's mostly calmed down lately, to my mind, but it springs up from time to time.

But don't take my word for it, ask your friendly admins: meatbeard, sugartits and, um, me.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:11 PM on May 22, 2007 [11 favorites]


This isn't a callout, just a "wha??"

Did you remember to factor in the MeFi feeling of smug superiority?
posted by cillit bang at 4:21 PM on May 22, 2007


so you guys do get out of those bouncy circles now and then...
posted by niles at 4:22 PM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


bouncy circles

That's 'sugartits' to you.

posted by chrismear at 4:23 PM on May 22, 2007


butter eater.
posted by dersins at 4:23 PM on May 22, 2007


Occasionally fat people are unattractive to look at, yes.
posted by xmutex at 4:26 PM on May 22, 2007


If we can't look askance at fat people, what good are they? (There's got to be someone who can be the target of askance looking at, doesn't there?)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:29 PM on May 22, 2007


Occasionally fat people are unattractive to look at, yes.

Speak for yourself.
posted by jonmc at 4:37 PM on May 22, 2007


What jabba said.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:39 PM on May 22, 2007


Speak for yourself.

Are you saying that is necessarily the case that fat people are attractive? I hope this is not what you are saying.
posted by xmutex at 4:42 PM on May 22, 2007


I don't look askance at fat people, but I do ask them to wear a bag over their head when I fuck them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:45 PM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Are you saying that is necessarily the case that fat people are attractive? I hope this is not what you are saying.

I'm saying that there are plenty of attractive people who many might describe as 'fat.' No group that large is de facto attractive except to fetishists, but there's plenty of women who are on the heavy side who are sexy, and yes, I prefer them that way. YMMV.
posted by jonmc at 4:46 PM on May 22, 2007


Yes, many people here are jerks about overweight people. I think that here, it's less "EWW FATTIES" and more the reverence with which many posters here hold rationality and personal responsibility, both of which obesity seems to violate. The mind boggles at how fat people continually refuse to take the simple steps necessarily to heal themselves - eat less, exercise more, hello! - and instead chose to be lazy, gluttonous, and ugly (to some), and to seep over into my airline seat.

Personally, this view disgusts me, and I'd hope that anyone who's ever struggled with their weight can tell you that losing it is far from "simple." But the party line has been towed for so long that almost everyone (even the victims) has internalized it. And people generally like to have some subgroup to pick on, anyway. If that group appears to have brought their problems upon themselves, all the better - even less reason to feel guilty about being an asshole.
posted by granted at 4:46 PM on May 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm saying that there are plenty of attractive people who many might describe as 'fat.'

I refer you to the use of the word 'occasionally' in my original comment.
posted by xmutex at 4:47 PM on May 22, 2007


You know who else has a "wha??"

Me! Wha the hell are you talking about?
posted by grouse at 4:48 PM on May 22, 2007


I am now going to post here what I thought when I saw that fresh, virginal Askme:

"This cannot possibly wendell".
Also, HI SUGARTITS

posted by coriolisdave at 4:49 PM on May 22, 2007


*Wraps party line around toe*
*Tows party line*
Hellloooo Central!!!
posted by Floydd at 4:50 PM on May 22, 2007


In case you missed it, here's a fairly recent post to give you an idea of how these discussions tend to play out. (Pay special attention to this gem). You get a heaping helping of classism too. Woo hoo!
posted by Otis at 4:53 PM on May 22, 2007


Can I have a HURF DURF, BUTTEREATERS?
posted by pieoverdone at 4:55 PM on May 22, 2007


I don't look askance at fat people, but I do ask them to wear a bag over their head when I fuck them.

Frankly, that seems like a rather ineffective way to address the issue.
posted by ibmcginty at 4:56 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's some gems in the AskMe thread, too. I don't think it represents MetaFilter very well.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:59 PM on May 22, 2007


Actually, EB, I think it represents MetaFilter perfectly.
posted by coriolisdave at 5:01 PM on May 22, 2007


And people generally like to have some subgroup to pick on, anyway. If that group appears to have brought their problems upon themselves, all the better - even less reason to feel guilty about being an asshole.

I choose smokers. I mean, their issue has a higher degree of brought-it-on-themselves and affects other people more. Who's with me?!
posted by Many bubbles at 5:03 PM on May 22, 2007


Jonmc: If someone says "occasionally X", and you disagree, that means you are saying either "always X" or "never X". So if xmutex says "fat people are occasionally unattractive", and you disagree, you're either saying that fat people are always unattractive, or never unattractive. If you believe it's somewhere in the middle, then you're agreeing with xmutex, not disagreeing.
posted by Bugbread at 5:04 PM on May 22, 2007


Frankly, that seems like a rather ineffective way to address the issue.

Who are you to questions my fat baghead fetish?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:04 PM on May 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


My doctor told me I had to lose 35 pounds.
I went to England & bet on the horses.
Thank you! Thank you!
Tip the veal!
Try your waitress!
posted by Floydd at 5:12 PM on May 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Unlike many MeFites, I don't see being overweight as a personal failing, but rather something which 90% of overweight people have little long-term control over.

I look askance at statements like this. 90% of 30% of the American population has little long-term control over being fat? Riiight.
posted by Krrrlson at 5:16 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Krrrlson— Because brains are far less than 10% of an overweight person, right?
posted by klangklangston at 5:25 PM on May 22, 2007


I could be thin if only beer weren't so magically delicious.
posted by klangklangston at 5:27 PM on May 22, 2007


(There's got to be someone who can be the target of askance looking at, doesn't there?)

I always thought Germans worked just fine for that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:30 PM on May 22, 2007


"I always thought Germans worked just fine for that."

See, and my first thought was "How about the Jews?"

But then, I am German.

(My second thought was "Too easy. And Brian B.'s got that schtick wrapped.")
posted by klangklangston at 5:38 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Speak for yourself.
posted by jonmc at 7:37 PM on May 22

Who doesn't?
posted by juiceCake at 5:40 PM on May 22, 2007


Which weighs more, MetaFilter's collective disgust about fat people or MetaFilter's collective loathing of monotheists?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:40 PM on May 22, 2007


Whoa, whoa? Polytheism is just fine, then?
posted by Krrrlson at 5:44 PM on May 22, 2007


Well, we can't look directly at them, not all at once.

I kid.
posted by boo_radley at 5:44 PM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


bugbread: you're a good guy, but don't be pedantic. xmutex made his point and I made mine.
posted by jonmc at 6:15 PM on May 22, 2007


Jonmc: If someone says "occasionally X", and you disagree, that means you are saying either "always X" or "never X".

Or "rarely" X. These are human dialogs, not syllogisms 101.
posted by vacapinta at 6:28 PM on May 22, 2007


Seems like most people who have lost weight don't have any sympathy for those who haven't. Which is understandable.
posted by smackfu at 6:31 PM on May 22, 2007


Actually, I usually look askance at Canadians. But they tend to blend in; it isn't always easy to figure out which ones should be the target of askance looking at.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:42 PM on May 22, 2007


I like fat people. Usually baked, but sometimes fried
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:49 PM on May 22, 2007


*pastes my edited-for-whitespace version of EB's rather good comment from this thread:

I won't deny that I fall in line with the people who defend being fat. That's probably wouldn't be the case if there weren't such a pervasive, unapologetic and often deliberately hurtful moralizing tone among the anti-fat contingent.

I mean, I agree that the public health concerns are important. On the other hand, I think there's a whole bunch of other things that people do that have negative public health ramifications and yet most of the anti-fat folks support people's rights to decide what to do with their own bodies and what activities they enjoy.

In short, I strongly believe that, among the left especially, anti-fat sentiment has become the social and psychological repository of the puritanical ethos that is so firmly embedded into the American psyche. The same folks who today firmly (and rightly) support the healthiness of lust, even unrestrained lust, blithely accept the traditional sinful, moralizing view about "gluttony".

Additionally, I think there's a similar dynamic going on with regard to the contemporary American ethos of "being healthy", especially with regard to eating healthily. There's big, honking moralizing components to the rhetoric that proponents of this point-of-view. In fact, it's a "value" and most people who hold it are unapologetic (if they are self-aware of it) about it being a "value".

As a result, there's a social condemnatory aspect of it, as well. And I honestly believe, after many years of thought and observation about it, that this is a social phenomena relating to the shaming instinct and conformity.

While the stated rationales behind being against obesity and being against "unhealthy" eating and lifestyles certainly have merit, I think that as a social phenomena, they aren't what they claim to be. And, what I think they actually are, as social phenomena, are bad things coming from some of the uglier places of human and social psychology.

posted by UbuRoivas at 6:55 PM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


One of the things that always surprises me when fat comes on on metafilter or AskMe is that so many really smart, knowledgeable people seem to have just unthinkingly accepted the mainstream media's take on this issue: it's unhealthy to be even a little bit overweight! Anybody could lose weight if they wanted to! Fat people are lazy, lazy, lazy!

It's worth spending one day to read a book like The Obesity Myth or Fat Politics to complicate the issue a bit.
posted by not that girl at 7:09 PM on May 22, 2007


jessamyn will delete a fat post milliseconds after it posts.

Unless it is pro-fat. Then, the buffet's wide open!
posted by four panels at 7:09 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Then, the buffet's wide open!

You do what you gotta do to keep that buffet open. Hey look, those little mini sandwiches!
posted by supercrayon at 7:20 PM on May 22, 2007


My feelings about fat people can't really be summed up in anything less than an anecdote.

I was sitting on a bench at the front of my local grocery store, waiting for my ride to finish her shopping, when this hellishly obese elderly lady came in, leaning heavily over an empty shopping cart. As she approached the bench her steps became more labored, and I silently moved over to the far edge to give her room when she arrived.

About a minute after she sat down, a much younger, similarly proportioned woman entered the store, followed by a ten-year-old boy who'd left the state of 'pudgy' several exits back, and looked to be well on his way to following in the footsteps of his forebears.

The matriarch sat and the child stood next to her as the younger of the women brought a motorized cart over. I watched as the old woman climbed to her feet, watched as she wedged herself into the oversize seat, watched as she piloted the cart away, with the other two waddling after... and I felt like screaming.

Did those women (in my mind, I used the 'b' word - a measure of my anger) know what they were doing to the child? Subjecting him to early joint degradation and replacement? Type II Diabetes, with all of its attendant complications? A dramatically shortened lifespan? Did they even care?

I have compassion for obese people. We all have our own foibles, our own addictions; mine may yet prove just as injurious to my own health as their addiction to food will be to theirs.

My compassion ends, however, when I see it perpetuated from mother to daughter, and from daughter to son like a hereditary disease. You can use lack of willpower to try to excuse your own bulk, but there is no sufficient excuse for bequeathing your own hell on your progeny.
posted by The Confessor at 7:21 PM on May 22, 2007


jessamyn will delete a fat post milliseconds after it posts.

Excuse me? Do you mean "jessamyn took three hours to delete a post of mine once which had a gratuitous link to a photo of an incredibly obese person and I've been holding a grudge ever since?" because that would be slightly more accurate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:30 PM on May 22, 2007 [13 favorites]


The more cupcakes I make for you the thinner I get.
posted by Dizzy at 7:33 PM on May 22, 2007


Seems like most people who have lost weight don't have any sympathy for those who haven't. Which is understandable.

Though it's very possibly a fallacy. Those who have lost weight are, necessarily, those who are able to lose weight. It doesn't prove that everyone who hasn't lost weight is able to lose weight.

It's the case, though, that people make this sort of fallacy all the time. I'm sure I do so, too. (An example occurs to me, I'll mention it after the following two paragraphs.)

Another example of this fallacy in a completely different context might bring home to some folks how this fallacy can be very hurtful. I knew a black woman who came from a very, very bad socio-economic background. She had done well for herself, working hard against all the forces arrayed against her, and she was proud of what she had done. She was also, unfortunately, very unsympathetic to and judgmental of everyone like her who hadn't done what she had done. In her mind, they were lazy and whiners. It didn't seem to occur to her that while other people might be like her in some ways, in other ways she may be very different. Or, perhaps, she had just been lucky.

To me it's a sad comment on human nature that for many people it's natural to overcome hardship and then become judgmental, even virulently so, about those who haven't overcome such hardship. In most cases, my instinct in that situation is to be more sympathetic rather than less.

On the other hand, here's my own counter-example: my father was emotionally abusive all my life and it's partly the result, I think, of a component of major depression in his personality that manifests as extreme irritability. Now, I also have chronic major depression and, off meds, I also am often extremely irritable. When I marred 17 years ago, to my horror I found that I was beginning to treat my wife the way my father treated me and my mother. This was before I was on meds.

I had to work really, really hard to change my behavior and to do that I first had to work really, really hard for an insight into what I was experiencing and what I did as a result of it. Yet I was quite aware, at least in retrospect, that the way I was treating my spouse was wrong. So, eventually, I worked it out and changed my behavior. Since then, even when I'm not on meds, I don't act that way. I'm not even minimally abusive. It was hard, but I changed that behavior.

Now, my father never has. For me, somehow I figured this out and took responsibility for my actions and then changed them when I was in my mid-twenties. He's in his mid-sixties and hasn't changed much at all. And I find I can't forgive him for this. I hold him to my own standard and find him wanting—that in addition to everything else. Is that fair of me?

Well, in light of this comment, I suppose it isn't. How do I know that what he experiences is what I experience? How do I know that I wasn't simply lucky for the breakthrough in awareness I had one day when I was extremely irritable and acting out on it? How do I know that my emotions and inner-life actually compare to his and can be used to judge him? I never even considered this line of reasoning until one time a friend—a long-time mefite, actually—said to me that maybe my father isn't like me as much as I think he is. Maybe he simply can't change. She didn't say this to encourage forgiveness and empathy, I don't think. But that's not the point. The point is that it's a fallacy to judge other people simply and exclusively by one's own experience. It's not fair. It's also egocentric.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:36 PM on May 22, 2007 [29 favorites]


I'd like to favorite EB's post so hard it gets Type 2 diabetes.

Also, unless there has been some pruning going on from meatbeard, sugartits, and Puffy McWrinkleface, I think the AskMe called out here has been pretty well handled, no? I mean, there is some disagreement and a fair amount of not answering the question, but I don't see the vitriol that has been common to hurfy-durfy threads in the past. Or perhaps I just haven't given it enough time?
posted by Rock Steady at 7:46 PM on May 22, 2007


SCDB: Actually, I usually look askance at Canadians. But they tend to blend in; it isn't always easy to figure out which ones should be the target of askance looking at.

The French, of course. And the Mounties. I always look askance at anyone in red serge...
posted by Urban Hermit at 7:48 PM on May 22, 2007


The Confessor, if that kid is that predisposed to obesity, and is that large by age 10, I doubt there's much that his family could do to stop him even if they wanted to.

This is an excellent memoir about growing up overweight. The author's mother was obsessed with getting her daughter thin, but despite this - and despite the author's own determination - the weight stayed on.
posted by granted at 7:48 PM on May 22, 2007


My compassion ends, however, when I see it perpetuated from mother to daughter, and from daughter to son like a hereditary disease.

For fuck's sake, how do you know that in that case it wasn't a hereditary disease? Furthermore, a tendency to obesity is a hereditary disease.

If there's one thing about which I get judgmental and about which I have no inclination to be tolerant, it's negligent/abusive parenting (in light of previous comment, I suppose my inner-psyche is showing). And so if I knew that a mother is feeding cupcakes all day to her child and not taking care of the child's health, then I'm with you on the lack of sympathy and even condemnation. But while I might suspect such a thing when I saw the family you saw, I wouldn't wallow in my indignation and use the incident as an anecdote to explain why I have a limited tolerance for fat people.

In short, I think your anecdote is at least as much an excuse for holding to your bias as it is a rational argument that some judgmentalism is warranted.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:48 PM on May 22, 2007


That AskMe is a troll, no matter what the asker says. I know it's been through the admin approval process and all, but there are so many incindiary comments in there that it's a surprise the whole thread didn't become a train-wreck.

Also I miss my star...
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:48 PM on May 22, 2007


EB: very well said. "I did it; therefore everyone can do it."
posted by granted at 7:52 PM on May 22, 2007


I like fat people, except the mean, angry ones.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:58 PM on May 22, 2007


I don't get the whole unconditionally accept fat people thing.

That's a bit hyperbolic so let me modify it a bit. Don't worry it'll still be plenty offensive.

First off, I don't comment about people's weight in public or private. There's not much point in being rude. No one changes their behavior that way. And I don't make hints either. Nor snide remarks.

But what I will not accept is the kind of nonsense I see here, as in this thread. Where's the "wha??" coming from? Is it a surprise that someone might not want to be married to an obese woman who is liable to pack on a few more dozen pounds after childbirth? The pretense that fat isn't supposed to matter is ridiculous. So when someone intentionally (yes - intentionally) disrespects their health while violating conventional standards of beauty it's something to overlook? Perhaps something one should feel ashamed of mentioning as a concern?

Goddamn, of course it's something to give a good long think over.

Within the last year there was a post on AskMe from a guy whose wife, after their marriage gained a lot of weight, didn't exercise and had unhealthy eating habits. Shockingly enough he noticed his physical desire for her start to fade. Many of the respondents acted like this was some kind of unutterable, like YHWH. What the hell? Of course the guy has an issue, wifey turned into a fatass. Different AskMe question, again from last year. Guy wants to go from being an attorney to being a cop. The common response was that it was unfair to the wife who married an attorney not a cop. How is wifey's weight gain not a bait and switch? He married (say) a 120lber a couple of years later she's 180?!. Sure, it's expected that people age, tits droop, fitness levels change, OK. But huffing white flour?

Of course people are going to respond according to their preferences and many find fat repulsive. This notion that we shouldn't, that it's not cool to mention or whatever, does not hold up. How could it? There are real criticisms to be made of the obese and no amount of guilt tripping is going to silence them.

To the OP: thank you. For years I have longed to participate in one of the Metafilter shitfights on fatties. I appreciate the opportunity.
posted by BigSky at 8:01 PM on May 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


BigSky: yeah I agree to some extent about the 'omg wau?!' responses, but I think your/my/the askme-questioner's POV is well represented in the thread so we needn't fight some cankterous rear-guard action in its favour.
posted by Firas at 8:10 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Treating fat people like disgusting freaks will not help them.
Treating fat people like delicate flowers will not help them.

Treating them like people may help, but shit, if you can't exercise your personal biases, where's the fun in that?

There's got to be someone who can be the target of askance looking at, doesn't there?

Anime fans, no?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:13 PM on May 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Meatbeard is my new favorite word.
posted by trip and a half at 8:19 PM on May 22, 2007


So much about these types of threads would change if everyone were required to show their photos. People lie. Online, people lie a lot.

There's also a level of anger/hate/disgust focused on women and their weight that's quite interesting. I guess that six-pack dad's putting away every night in front his kids isn't considered child abuse.

What, Kevin James, John Goodman, John Lithgow, Jackie Gleason, etc get a pass?
posted by who squared at 8:20 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was sitting on a bench at the front of my local grocery store, waiting for my ride to finish her shopping ...

The Confessor, for shame! That's the nastiest euphemism for "spouse" that I've ever read.
posted by rob511 at 8:42 PM on May 22, 2007


(Well, his spouse *is* the town bike, after all...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:48 PM on May 22, 2007


"I did it, therefore everyone can do it" possibly contains equal elements of "I enjoy or benefit from it, so everybody should enjoy or benefit from it", and "I restrict myself & suffer for it, so everybody should restrict themselves & suffer for it".
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:50 PM on May 22, 2007


My favourite fat story entails me and my grandfather at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Four guys sat down at the neighbouring table and started to chow down on truly Dionysian plates. The funny thing was that they could be ranked very clearly in size -- largest, smaller, smaller yet, and smallest (this last one weighing in at what I guessed was about 3-4 times my weight). My grandfather immediately christened the largest one "The General," gave decreasing ranks to his "troops," and commented on what a bloody battle it was turning out to be.

I thought it was hilarious. I guess you had to be there. And not be PC.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:58 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


rob511

:-o

I was actually using the word in a more literal sense, as in the seventy-something-year-old female friend of the family who graciously let me accompany her to the grocery store.

Thank you, however, for triggering one of the more enduringly painful mental images I've ever been subjected to.

I have many kinks, but it turns out that geriaphilia ain't one of them.
posted by The Confessor at 9:04 PM on May 22, 2007


10:1 you are all fat bastards
posted by edgeways at 9:21 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, it's easy to find my photo online if you want to check.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:26 PM on May 22, 2007


EB, where's the ponderous gloominess? I see literally no rainclouds circling your visage, no sheafs of writing messily tucked up your sleeve. Please obtain a robe.
posted by Firas at 9:33 PM on May 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I usually only look askance at people who are picking their nose, or doing some other "personal" thing in public... The weight of the nose-picker matters not.
posted by amyms at 9:34 PM on May 22, 2007


Hey, what do have against slobs? Maybe they can't help themselves.
posted by smackfu at 9:48 PM on May 22, 2007


I had to look up the meaning of askance in an online dictionary.

It seems I am both fat and stupid, still rather be both than prejudiced any day...
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:35 PM on May 22, 2007


Anime fans, no?

We need someone to look askance at, too. (I suppose there's always furries...)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:55 PM on May 22, 2007


...and Canadians, too, of course...
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:56 PM on May 22, 2007


I wouldn't care much if they would just keep their goddamn fat off of me.

Please, for the love of god, don't put your precious fat on me! I don't want it touching me!
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:17 AM on May 23, 2007



Our neighbors growing up had three kids, all skinny, then ten years later another. She grew up heavy. Her two sisters and mother and grandmother were feeding her all the time. Man she was big. Stayed that way too.

Leaving the US and spending a little time eating food not dipped in corn syrup before being packaged and sold, one begins to appreciate that there is a substantial challenge facing all Americans to _not_ put on a couple extra pounds.

The real question is - "Why does our government want us all fat?"
posted by From Bklyn at 1:20 AM on May 23, 2007


There were a few great answers in that thread, and not much in the way of terrible ones (cleanup?). Someone is being honest with themselves and asking tough questions. It's more than a lot of people do.

kudos to those who could factor in "if X is important to you" without sounding like condescending twats.

on preview:

I strongly believe that, among the left especially, anti-fat sentiment has become the social and psychological repository of the puritanical ethos that is so firmly embedded into the American psyche.

In its original context, fine. Cut-and-pasted? I call flaming bullshit.

This thread was not about treatment of people in general, but about a personal relationship and what he is to make of his ideas about weight and attractiveness in the coming years. Unless you want to argue that we shouldn't have other preferences when it comes to our partners, too, (age? race? education?) then you've done EB a great disservice by throwing that in here.
posted by dreamsign at 1:21 AM on May 23, 2007


Meatbeard is my new favorite word.
I know this was a character in one of the Tolkien books, but I can't remember which one. One of the Ents of Gastro-eritis?
posted by Abiezer at 2:30 AM on May 23, 2007


10:1 you are all fat bastards

I was born in wedlock.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:34 AM on May 23, 2007


Food for thought, although this may not be right thread for it but I'll give it a go nevertheless: it's true that the US has the fattest fat people.

There must be something in the water, foodchain, society, government susidies of sugarcane farmers, whatever, but that's just how it is: the United States is also ahead in terms of average body weight.

[anecdotal evidence] I visited the US for the first time as a European 7 year-old and I can still remember being completely dumfounded by the size and number of overweight people I encountered in supermarkets, on the streets, amusement parks, but not just anonymous passers-by but relatives and their friends and neighbours as well. I had never before seen people that obese, ever.

Fast-forward 30-odd years, I now live in Australia and rarely do I see people the same size I saw then (or when I visited the US as a teen and during my early twenties), although that number is increasing, YMMV.
posted by l'esprit d'escalier at 4:35 AM on May 23, 2007


[sarcasm]
Once upon a time, Wal*Fart was the best place for me to enjoy my peculiar hobby (LOLFATTY), but living overseas has seriously dampened my fatty-watching opportunities. Asda just isn't the same.

Thankfully, Britons are getting fatter by the second. Greasy take-away food, McDonald's/KFC/Burger King, cheap beer and 500+ television channels are slowly turning the British into an obese mirror image of their American cousins.

Granted, I've still haven't seen anyone in the UK riding a scooter around just because they were too fat to walk under their own steam any longer, but I live in hope.
[/sarcasm]

Is fatism the new racism?
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:42 AM on May 23, 2007


I see that l'esprit d'escalier and I were on the same OT wavelength. Spooky.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:44 AM on May 23, 2007


These fat people will totally kick your skinny ass.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 AM on May 23, 2007


These fat people will totally kick your skinny ass.

Sure, if I agree to stand in a tiny ring with them, and the ass-kicking is limited to that ring, and they don't have to chase me, and the ass-kicking is limited to them shoving me a couple feet and maybe slapping my naked ass, and they manage to make it back to the gym for nap-time afterwards.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:33 AM on May 23, 2007


Yeah, I bet I can run faster than any of those fat bastards. Which would continue my perfect score of winning all my fights by at least 20 metres.
posted by dg at 6:00 AM on May 23, 2007


After you've seen Konishiki in the flesh everyone else seems inadequate.
posted by gomichild at 6:11 AM on May 23, 2007


I agree, flapjax... a champion sumo wrestler would probably break my neck. Because they're athletes.

These dudes are not athletes.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:45 AM on May 23, 2007


The real question is - "Why does our government want us all fat?"

Your government doesn't *want* you to be fat. It simply doesn't care. That is the consequence of a prevailing ideology that says the public sphere is irrelevant, government regulation is bad, an individuals always make the best choices.

You (not you personally, obviously) have elected successive governments since the 1950s that have steadily eroded the role of the state in the public sphere in general, but notably for this issue in the areas of transport, education, and health. The consequences are not that surprising.
posted by modernnomad at 7:30 AM on May 23, 2007


modernnomad, there's a some truth to that (ie. left to their own devices people eat yummier things), but it's not true that food prices in the USA are simple reflections of the free market.
posted by Firas at 7:36 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


it's not true that food prices in the USA are simple reflections of the free market.

In fact it's quite the opposite. Government sponsored corn, meat, soybean and dairy subsidies of various sorts are what keeps those particular food products glutting the low-cost food markets, especially school lunches and snack foods. A commitment to healthier living would be not promoting meat and dairy as integral to every single meal, encouraging people to eat more local and less-processed foods and educating people about nutrition in a way that wasn't heavily biased by meat and dairy lobbying interests.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:45 AM on May 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Firas, I agree. What I was trying to get at was a broader picture -- obesity in the US is the result of a complex series of factors, many of which I think can be tied back to the declining role that the state plays as compared to other nations, ie:

No strong labelling laws until recently, generally low levels of nutrition knowledge, esp. amongst the working poor, a low minimum wage that can make healthy food out of the poor's reach, no urban planning that means people drive everywhere, cuts in funding to public transport, millions without even basic healthcare or a family doctor to tell them how to feed their kids, a general unwillingness to stand up to agri-business and/or corn lobbyists, etc... all of these things contribute to the problem of American obesity. And in my view, all of these things stem from the shrinking of the role of government, and of the "public community" in general.
posted by modernnomad at 7:51 AM on May 23, 2007


Also, pizza tastes good. Especially with pepperoni and sausage.
posted by smackfu at 7:57 AM on May 23, 2007


It's not that people are fat, it's just that they're undertall.
posted by NationalKato at 8:04 AM on May 23, 2007


Do MeFites really look askance at fat people?

How can you look askance at someone when they're taking up my whole damn field of vision?
posted by Stynxno at 8:08 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


jessamyn wrote: Government sponsored corn, meat, soybean and dairy subsidies of various sorts are what keeps those particular food products glutting the low-cost food markets, especially school lunches and snack foods. A commitment to healthier living would be not promoting meat and dairy as integral to every single meal, encouraging people to eat more local and less-processed foods and educating people about nutrition in a way that wasn't heavily biased by meat and dairy lobbying interests.

I still can't believe that the school lunch problem hasn't been addressed in the US. Maybe we need to send Jamie Oliver over for a couple of years.

The apathy problem in the US is still shocking to me. Given the vast size / capacity for food production in the US, the fact that you're all buying cheap imported food is (to my mind) ridiculous and completely unsustainable. Of course, it's not a lot better here these days (cue frowny emoticon). I still buy local, organic food and cook from scratch as much as possible. Maybe that's why I'm skinny... Food for thought, eh?

Farmer's Markets rule. UKers: check out the one in Deddington.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:17 AM on May 23, 2007


PLEASE GOD MAKE IT STOP!
posted by shmegegge at 9:00 AM on May 23, 2007


Darwin was right and so is the pleasure principle: in order to drive human to do the things necessary for the survival of the species, nature made the important stuff pleasurable. Which brings us to bacon, the sine qua non of ultimate pleasure. Nature must want us to eat a lot of bacon. So hating on fatties is like hating on bacon which is like hating on nature which is like hating on science. Science is always right, so its wrong and antiscientific to hate on fatties. Unless they are eating all the bacon and leaving you none.
posted by dios at 9:20 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Food for thought, although this may not be right thread for it but I'll give it a go nevertheless: it's true that the US has the fattest fat people.

Here I thought it was Samoa. Or is that "Samoas" Girl Scout Cookies?
posted by Robert Angelo at 9:26 AM on May 23, 2007


If we have the fattest fat people and the skinniest skinny people (go anorexia!), does it even out
posted by smackfu at 9:56 AM on May 23, 2007


Obesity Inforgraphics

There was some article about an Indian tribe whose members straddled the U.S./Mexico border. I wish I could find it. The gist was that the Mexican side of the tribe had developed bodies optimized for storing fat as a result of their near-starvation subsistence. They were still skinny, though. Their American tribe-members however were all enormous.
posted by vacapinta at 10:13 AM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


As a person who seems to blunder headfirst into Mefi community norms, I'm happy to say I have no specific problem with fat people, or general problem with lipids of any sort, although I'm not sure how I could convince anyone, given the relative rustiness of my rhetorical skills.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2007


liable to pack on a few more dozen pounds after childbirth?

Is anybody else unnerved by this assumption?

I may be missing something: are overweight women somehow extremely likely to gain a lot more, and keep a lot more, during each pregnancy?

I'm seven months pregnant, and keep noticing weird hints that being and staying lardy is all but approved of. Last week I got "You don't LOOK pregnant!" from a woman on the other side of a counter; "Me, I look pregnant!" she said; she was 'pleasingly plump.' I am not. Odd. Pregnancy chit-chat boards are full of women who think it's reasonable to retain 20lbs with each kid, which...

Well, anyway. Unnerving. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm only abdominally larger and not living off cookies; odds are good that I won't end up one of those women complaining on-line that her husband has told her, 60lbs later, that he doesn't want to fuck her, and "Why doesn't my DH understand? LOL of course I am curvy I am a mommy!"

Those sad sacks are, it seems, invariably the ones feeding their kids garbage. I don't dispute that obesity has a strong hereditary component; I'm just not sure it's a genetic one as often as claimed.
posted by kmennie at 10:32 AM on May 23, 2007


kmennie, if every overweight person who blames their 'genes,' 'metabolism' or 'glands' for their weight were correct, then the Third World would also boast a large number of overweight people.

(hint: it doesn't)
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:42 AM on May 23, 2007


No strong labelling laws until recently, generally low levels of nutrition knowledge, esp. amongst the working poor, a low minimum wage that can make healthy food out of the poor's reach, no urban planning that means people drive everywhere, cuts in funding to public transport,

Actually, I think it's more likely the case that we do in fact have urban planning that forces people to drive everywhere by design. At the very least, we did until probably the 80's, and we're now trying to recover.
posted by LionIndex at 10:48 AM on May 23, 2007


kmennie,

I certainly don't think it's inevitable. As I admit in the above post it's over written partially because this is such a touchy subject here. I have seen some comments that strike me as a little self righteous in refusing to recognize that maintaining attractiveness, of which weight might well be the key component, is an appealing way of showing love to a partner.

Anyway that phrase is not a devout belief of mine. The thread linked to by the OP has some comments suggesting that she is likely to get heavier after childbirth.

It wouldn't surprise me if there was a bit of tacit agreement between new and expectant mothers. 'If you don't hold me to a standard, I won't hold you to it either.'
posted by BigSky at 10:54 AM on May 23, 2007


FAT bastard
posted by languagehat at 10:59 AM on May 23, 2007


Speaking as someone who was 275-280 some time last year, and down to 205 just yesterday I can confidently say that I've finally discovered the secret to losing weight.

While I usually charge well over a thousand dollars for the coursework and materials involved in teaching this secret, I'm very glad to share it with my fellow meatbearded Mefites.

This is a very complicated two-part process, so please take the time to read the following very carefully.

Part 1: STOP EATING SO FUCKING MUCH.

Part 2: GET OFF YOUR FAT ASS AND GO FOR A FUCKING WALK ALREADY.
posted by loquacious at 11:48 AM on May 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sounds like somebody needs to be declawed.
posted by languagehat at 12:27 PM on May 23, 2007


I'm betting he's circumcised, that would explain the loss of sensitivity.
posted by vacapinta at 12:35 PM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


zing!!11
posted by Firas at 12:40 PM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


loquacious deserves neither praise nor blame for his weight loss nor his, uh, extremely complicated weight-loss regimen.
posted by everichon at 1:23 PM on May 23, 2007


Relevant link to an NPR story on Rethinking Thin, the new book by NYT science writer Gina Kolata.
posted by granted at 5:04 PM on May 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Regarding that linked story, I've sort of taken it for granted that mefites were aware of the recent science on weight loss and are being judgmental anyway. But maybe the usually scientifically-aware crowd has a blind spot here.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:35 PM on May 23, 2007


Or maybe they've grown jaded of the ephemeral nature of nutritional science.
posted by smackfu at 10:09 PM on May 23, 2007


Well, the most important thing—the metabolism's "thermostat"—has been known for years now and is well-established. It's easy to put on fat but hard to take it off—once the regulator is set upwards to fat retention, a person who is overweight can eat as little and exercise as much as someone with less fat, and it doesn't make a difference. It's not simply a matter of how many calories you eat and how much exercise you get. And that's disregarding genetic differences.

Someone mentioned up-thread that if these things were all true, then there'd be just as much obesity in poor countries as in the US and elsewhere. But that's conflating two separate matters: putting the weight on, and taking the weight off. And while this leaves room to berate people for putting the weight on in the first place (though that brings up issues of conventional diet that's been discussed often), most of the LOLFATTIES comments are about people not taking the fat off, and calling them lazy, gluttonous slobs.

The percentage of overweight people who manage to lose the fat and stay that way are amazingly small. The LOLFATTIES assumption is, I suppose, that this just demonstrates how weak-willed all those fat people are. And, certainly, in many cases (or perhaps to some degree in all cases) this is involved. But the whole reason scientists started looking for this regulatory mechanism was because, looking at all the available evidence, people's weakness to relapse couldn't explain this very, very strong resistance to going back down to and staying at a lean weight.

What really made the point hit home to me, years ago, was discovering that many obviously obese people were eating just as many, and no more, calories a day as I was and getting about as much exercise, even though I'm not obese and they are.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:23 PM on May 23, 2007


What really made the point hit home to me, years ago, was discovering that many obviously obese people were eating just as many, and no more, calories a day as I was and getting about as much exercise, even though I'm not obese and they are.

That's the line I use sometimes when having this conversation. If you have a roomful of people and can only ask them one question about their habits or weight or whatever to try to figure out whether they are overweight or obese, one of the best indicators is how many calories they eat. Generally speaking overweight people will have smaller calorie intakes. Now I have to go scare up a cite for that.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:29 PM on May 23, 2007


EB and jessamyn - there was a show on here recently (not that tv shows are a viable alternative to actual research) wherein a group of overweight people were forced to live in isolation for a month, eating only raw fruit and veg. Each of them lost about 30-40 lbs.

I don't buy this crap about weight 'refusing to come off'. It's what you're eating (and how much).
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:13 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, well, if it was on a reality show, then I must be wrong. Sorry for the mistake.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:15 AM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


It only takes an extra 100 calories a day to gain 10 lbs a year. Ten years later, you're 100 lbs overweight, and you're screwed.
posted by smackfu at 5:50 AM on May 24, 2007


Chuckdarwin, so people who refuse to live their lives eating nothing but raw fruits and vegetables are morally blameworthy? EB and Jess weren't saying that fat people can't lose weight under any circumstances. They were saying that many, many fat people will stay fat or even gain weight if they eat the same diets that thin people eat. I think it's quite bizarre if we live in a society where we think there's something wrong or bad about people who don't want to live for the rest of their lives eating essentially starvation diets (which is what eating nothing but a single food group, uncooked, would be). Not to mention, dying of a protein deficiency is a pretty unpleasant way to go.
posted by decathecting at 9:54 AM on May 24, 2007


vacapinta: you're probably thinking of the Pima Indians, a classic case study of culture:gene interaction. See here, for example.
posted by Rumple at 10:25 PM on May 25, 2007


Ooh thanks Rumple! Fascinating to read about it again. It would make a good mefi post I think...
posted by vacapinta at 11:45 PM on May 25, 2007


The real question is - "Why does our government want us all fat?"

So they can sell us to the aliens, duh!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:24 AM on June 3, 2007


Many of the respondents acted like this was some kind of unutterable, like ––––.

Don't say that!
posted by oaf at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2007


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