Why Don't Studies Find Discrimination Against Fat Men?

Samhita on Feministing recently wrote about a study which found that fat women, but not fat men, are discriminated against:

The researcher found that body mass does not effect men in work or in marriage and divorce. Of course not, it is a woman that is judged not by her ability to do a job, but by her height to weight ratio.

This is hardly a new result; many studies of fat discrimination have found minimal, or nonexistent, evidence of discrimination against fat men, although nearly all of them find evidence of discrimination against fat women.

I’m not convinced these findings are accurate. I don’t deny, of course, that fat women are discriminated against more than fat men are; it’s obvious that women are judged more often and more harshly for carrying “extra” weight. But it’s also evident, in my day to day life, that discrimination against fat men does exist and sometimes matters. All fat people – including men – are more likely to be seen as weak-willed, disgusting, and slobby than their otherwise-similar thin counterparts. Why would employment be an exception?

Consider these quotes from hiring managers at various companies (via Big Fat Blog):

Says Scott, a vice president at a sports marketing firm. “If you’re fat – and I don’t mean you need to lose a few pounds like most of us – if you’re huge, you aren’t getting the job. Period.”

“I think fat people are weak people,” says Tom who works for a major bank. “…I don’t want real fat people around me. Whether it’s fair or not, and I know it’s not, I can’t get past that… So, I go with another candidate.”

“So many of the people I work with are fat,” says Anne who works for city government in the northeast. “…The fat people just don’t work as hard or produce as much. I’ll never hire a fat person, and I’ll never say that for attribution. Whether true or not for the overweight population as a whole, I can’t say, but it sure is my experience, and I hire based on my experience.”

None of these folks are saying “I’d hire a fat man, but never a fat women.” Big Fat Blog also quoted an online poll which found that “25% of human resource execs admitted weight had a role in their hiring decisions. Another 35% suggested it might, on a subconscious level.”

With so many hiring managers willing to admit that they discriminate against fat people (and probably more still who discriminate, but who aren’t willing to fess up to it), it seems strange that study after study finds no discrimination against fat men.

So why can’t the studies see discrimination against fat men? Our society’s sexist double-standard, which judges women much more harshly than men for being just a little bit fat, also has the effect of masking discrimination against fat men in these studies.

The study Samhita linked to used BMI as their measurement of who is fat; a BMI of 25 or above makes a person “overweight.” But, as has often been noted, even some ultra-fit but bulky men – Brad Pitt is the usual example – have BMIs that qualify them as being “overweight” or even “obese,” by government standards. But not even the most bigoted anti-fat employer is going to practice anti-fat discrimination against someone who looks like Brad Pitt.

Ultra-fit actors aside, it’s simply more socially acceptable for men to be a little chubby than women. A man with a small “spare tire” – Jay Leno, say – is considered “normal” and not discriminated against; a woman who is objectively carrying around the same amount of “extra” weight around her hips or tummy is considered fat, and will be discriminated against.

Of course, this double-standard benefits men – men are given far more latitude to be “fat” without experiencing anti-fat discrimination. But for those men who do qualify as “fat,” even by the more relaxed standards men are held to, anti-fat discrimination is real. It would be nice if studies of discrimination reflected this reality.

Studies show that “overweight” women – even those who are only slightly “overweight” – are discriminated against for their weight. On the other hand, men who are (by the government’s BMI standards) slightly “overweight” probably don’t experience anti-fat discrimination at all. So when all men with BMIs of 25 or above are averaged together – the Brad Pitts and the Jay Lenos treated as if they’re in the same category as men who look like John Goodman – the discrimination experienced by the genuinely fat men is averaged out with the more numerous experiences of “overweight” men who aren’t considered fat at all. The result is the probably incorrect finding that fat men experience no discrimination at all.

To compound the problem, many studies “excluded extreme values” from their samples. For example, the study Feministing discussed simply dropped all people who weigh over 400 pounds – most of whom were probably men – from consideration. But that seems dubious; is there any reason to suppose that a man (or woman) who weighs 405 pounds is less likely to experience fat discrimination?

My guess is that a study of men who weigh 300 pounds or more – or that used a much higher BMI cutoff (say 35 or above) – would find quite a lot of anti-fat discrimination against men that current studies are ignoring.

This entry posted in Fat, fat and more fat. Bookmark the permalink. 

66 Responses to Why Don't Studies Find Discrimination Against Fat Men?

  1. Pingback: Step Inside Me

  2. Pingback: Sassy Red Head

  3. Pingback: we can see you

  4. Pingback: RudeBarbie

  5. Pingback: Mad Melancholic Feminista

  6. 6
    Barbara says:

    I have only one thing to say: to what extent did these researchers overlook — or not overlook — the “hidden” variable of race? Women of color are far more likely to be obese than Caucasian women and men of color. They are also much less likely to have gone to college, inherited wealth, and so on. I kept reading accounts of that study looking for an explanation of how they took racial disparities into account in order to reliably conclude that differences were really based on weight. (And since men of color are not disproportionately obese, but less well educated and so on, racial factors could also have skewed results for men . . . ). Just wondering.

  7. 7
    John Howard says:

    Fat women are not “jolly”, but are much more likely to be annoying and bitter and cynical. No one wants to be around them. Fat men, because they have less discrimination, aren’t bitter, and often are truly jolly and fun to be around. I don’t see why people study this stuff anyway.

  8. 8
    Dave says:

    “It would be nice if studies of discrimination reflected this reality.”

    I also frequently wish the results of an experiment lined up with my preconceptions. Stupid data ruins so many theories! ;)

  9. 9
    j-ha says:

    Also I think class plays a big role in whether or not a man is likely to be discriminated against b/c of his size. A poor fat man is more likely to be seen as a slob with no self-control where a middle -> upper middle class fat man is seen as having a “big appetite” or a big presence. I think fat discrimination against women tends to be fairly even across class lines.

  10. 10
    j-ha says:

    John howard,
    I’m flipping you the bird and I’m doing it harder than I’ve ever done it before.

  11. 11
    NancyP says:

    Class has everything to do with how fat is perceived. Fat men above a certain inherited income or education level simply don’t get seen as fat, they are seen as “lawyers” or “executives”. I don’t think that people perceive downward mobility as something happening to men. The mythology says men can rise in class through talent; the same mythology tends to imply women rise primarily by “marrying up”.

  12. 12
    Barbara says:

    Another issue re fat (especially fat men) is to what extent the person started their career being overweight. Since weight tends to come with age, it is possible that differences between the sexes can be explained in part by differences in treatment that predated weight gain, even if they were exacerbated by weight over time. A guy who is obese by age 45 may have already ascended the ladder high enough to be in more control and more appreciated for his contributions. I’m only speculating, I just wonder how easy it is to study this, or how paranoid a person should be.

  13. 13
    Ampersand says:

    I also frequently wish the results of an experiment lined up with my preconceptions. Stupid data ruins so many theories! ;)

    Yeah, I knew I was letting myself in for this criticism. However, I think you’re ignoring the statements of hiring managers saying that they do discriminate against the fat – that’s a sort of data too, and it contradicts what other studies have found.

    And although you obviously disagree, my criticisms of how the data is gathered and measured has more substance to it that “it doesn’t line up with my preconceptions.”

  14. Pingback: Pandagon

  15. 14
    curly says:

    i am apalled by those quotes from managers. look what happens if you replace the word “fat” with something else:

    Says Scott, a vice president at a sports marketing firm. “If you’re black – and I don’t mean you have a bit of color like most of us – if you’re black, you aren’t getting the job. Period.”

    “I think black people are weak people,” says Tom who works for a major bank. “…I don’t want real black people around me. Whether it’s fair or not, and I know it’s not, I can’t get past that… So, I go with another candidate.”

    “So many of the people I work with are black,” says Anne who works for city government in the northeast. “…The black people just don’t work as hard or produce as much. I’ll never hire a black person, and I’ll never say that for attribution. Whether true or not for the african-america population as a whole, I can’t say, but it sure is my experience, and I hire based on my experience.”

    now, if a manager said those things, we’d call it flat-out discrimination, and that’d be the end of the story. there wouldn’t even be much of a margin of people that thought such bigotry was acceptable.

  16. 15
    Morgaine Swann says:

    I’ve been on a couple of sides of this situation, as an employee who was discriminated against, and as a union rep who handled a couple of cases that were clearly weight discrimination. I wish they’d break out the stats in the study as to whether the discrimination is coming from a man or a woman. I think men are much more tolerant of fat men, more intolerant of fat women. Women bosses who have fat prejudice hate them all equally, in my experience, but will take it farther. With a man, you won’t get the job. With the woman, she’ll have you fired if she can.

  17. 16
    alsis39 says:

    My current job is my third in a row in which I was hired by a woman who was much larger than Ally McBeal. I’m much larger than Ally McBeal, too. Either I’m exceptionally lucky or there’s something a bit strange about Morgaine’s comments.

    One of the reasons that I left my previous job was because of tensions between myself and a male co-worker, and our female manager’s failure to deal with this guy’s shit attitude on the job. Since we’re all on the large side, I’m not sure what to make of this thread in relation to my own experiences.

    Is it possible that larger women in managerial jobs would actually be less inclined to discriminate against other larger women ? Maybe this is directly linked to the fact that all my jobs are low-tier clerical, and it would be different if I was looking for a job at a fancy spa or something.

  18. 17
    Lee says:

    In my experience, appearance weighs much more heavily in hiring for service-sector jobs, where the employees deal face-to-face with the public on a daily basis. In technical jobs, especially computer programming, appearance can be a factor in entry-level positions but not so much in higher-level positions, where a person’s track record is more important.

  19. 18
    BStu says:

    Dave, Amp’s criticisms are detailed and justified. He’s not saying that he wishes the study said something he expected it to. He’s saying that is methodology is flawed by considering a wide group of individuals collectively and as such draws conclusions not actually justified by the data collected.

    Personally, I tend to be hesitant to push the cause of fat men because often I see some within the sadly incompetant fat acceptance movement who demand that fat men’s issues be treated with equal importance as the issues of fat women. The problem is, there is an undeniable difference in how fat men and fat women are treated. Our culture is much more aggressively discriminatory and hostile towards fat women. The results of this anti-fat aggression are significant, sometimes even physically harmful or fatal. The fact that women are effected disproportionately is a vital issue to keep in mind.

    What this shouldn’t do, however, is deny that there are genuine issues and discrimination that face fat men. And I would generally agree with Amp that while the level of acceptability for fat men is higher, once exhausted they face the same manner of hatred of discrimination as fat women. So a study like this which seems deliberately designed to minimize discrimination of fat men is of concern. The double-standard that faces moderately fat men compared to moderately fat women is an important issue that bares discussion. But it should not be at the expense of acknowledging the real issues facing fatter men. To be honest, I would expect to find that fatter men still have advantages compared to women of comprable size but that the difference would be radically altered from a comparison of moderately fat men and women. The point is, thats something that needs to be considered.

    I’m tempted to suggest a nefarious intent with the study’s decision to simply not consider evidence of how “extreme” cases are treated. I think many who wish to illuminate the concerns of moderately fat people (specifically women), simply don’t want to think about larger fat people. Either because they think the results are “obvious” and thus don’t merit confirmation and study, or more worrying that they may agree with them. It seems many who are upset by the way some fat people are treated retain the same prejudices when the focus shifts to larger fat people.

  20. 19
    parodie says:

    How ’bout some more annecdotal data? :-)
    (This has been bugging me) On the commercials for “So you think you can dance?” the oh-so-wonderful new talent show, there’s a part at the end where the voiceover is saying something about “…and those who can’t [dance]” and they show a very overweight guy doing some (admittedly weird) dancing – with a nice shot of just his gut sticking out over his pants. The point seems to be “he’s so fat, how can he even think he can dance?” or something of the sort. So obnoxious.
    (Since if the point was only how poor a dancer he was, we wouldn’t need the guy-only shot)

  21. 20
    Ampersand says:


    On the other hand, at least at the current stage in the competition (which is three or four rounds in), there are two fat guys who have been doing well, and that’s cool to see. The head judge is definitely enthusiastic about seeing good fat dancers.

  22. 21
    FormerlyLarry says:

    Other than at the extreme of the obese scale I think part of the reason why its more socially acceptable for men to be over weight is that “bigness” is generally thought to be masculine where as “smallness” is more feminine.

    Who is more manly, John Candy or Pee wee Herman?

  23. 22
    piny says:

    Harvey Fierstein or Ben Kingsley?

  24. 23
    Mikko says:

    The researcher found that body mass does not effect men in work or in marriage

    Discrimination in marriage? Honestly, wtf?^^

    Omg, omg, I’ve found that short men of low wealth and low status are discriminated more in marriage than their female counterparts.

    Omg, omg, I’ve found that women of obesity, age and relatively less beauty are discriminated more in marriage than their male counterparts.

    Omg, omg, I’ve found that cynics with no sense of humor are discriminated more in marriage than their unisex counterparts with a positive look in life.

    I understand anti-discrimination movements for employement, but imho there’s really no sense in trying to tackle people’s Mating Preferences. It’s like trying to turn gay people straight in the name of various ideologies.

  25. 24
    BStu says:

    I think there are two ways to look at the “So You Think You Can Dance?” commercial. Now, first off, I want to make it clear that I’m not suggesting the commercial is anything but mean-spirited and exploitative in its depiction of a fat man. I don’t recall having seen it, but from your description it sounds like things we’ve all seen numerous times in popular culture. A fat man’s belly is an image very frequently used for comedic effect.

    But there is something worth noting here. When is a fat woman’s unclothed body seen in such a manner? Is it because fat women are more respected than fat men? Clearly the study being discussed offers evidence that this simply isn’t so. I think the reason is because a woman being fat is treated as much graver condition that a man being fat. Our society doesn’t think there is anything funny there because it sees the sin as something much more serious. I think this is a result of the way women are valued by their appearance and bodies at a much higher degree than men. This is what allows moderately fat men a pass on oppression up to a certain point. We aren’t required to be thin, but for a woman it’s an unforgivable sin.

    Concerning romantic issues, I do think its inappropriate to mix that with discrimination issues precisely because it’s a personal issue that doesn’t have an easy societal response. I think oppression and discrimination leads some men (and women) who wouldn’t mind a fat partner to look elsewhere. Further, I think it leads some who’d actively prefer a fat partner to look elsewhere. Ultimately, however, everyone has a right to their own physical preferences. If a fat woman doesn’t want to date me because she’s not attracted to fat men, that’s her right. More power to her. I wouldn’t want anyone telling me I was required to date thin women. The issue of people being pressured into cultural expectations of what they find attractive isn’t clearly responded to. Unlike employment, housing, and educational discrimination, we can’t just say, “that’s wrong”. We do need to open up possibilities for people to defy expectations of what they will find attractive. I cannot go through life without people being rapidly aware that I am physically attracted to fat women. Which oddly makes some people feel justified in judging me for it. As if thin women have it so hard, how dare I deny them me. The thing is, guys who just like thin girls? They can go through life without anyone even noticing, because what they are doing is “normal”. It seems like a lot of men are weak-willed in such circumstances. I hate to seem like I’m excuse them, because frankly they are being selfish and foolish, but we still need to make it safer for men (and women) to express attractions that go beyond cultural norms. Just as we need to eliminate morality based on weight, we should also do away with similar moral judgments based on the weight of who you’re with. We cannot demand that people date fat people, but we should work to encourage more openness for those who care to.

  26. Pingback: The Vision Thing

  27. 25
    Dave says:

    Yeah, I knew I was letting myself in for this criticism. However, I think you’re ignoring the statements of hiring managers saying that they do discriminate against the fat – that’s a sort of data too, and it contradicts what other studies have found.

    And although you obviously disagree, my criticisms of how the data is gathered and measured has more substance to it that “it doesn’t line up with my preconceptions.”

    No, I really don’t disagree. I just found that one sentence kind of amusing, and thought I’d post a little jokey. I even included a winky face. I was just kidding. Sorry that wasn’t clear.

  28. 26
    Ampersand says:

    Sorry I misunderstood, Dave. I saw the winky smiley, but smilies may be less clear than you think – they can mean “I don’t mean this at all,” which is how you meant it, but they can also mean “I mean this in a friendly, joshing way, not in an I-dislike-you way” which is how I took it.

    Anyhow, thanks for clarifying. :-)

  29. 27
    the amazing kim says:

    Here’s a situation: underweight.

    Underweight men and boys have a hell of a lot more pressure to be “butch” and have a larger presence than girls do. Girls are encouraged to be thin, but to be male and thin is actively discouraged. I agree with FormerlyLarry that it is a power game and with BStu that “this is a result of the way women are valued by their appearance and bodies at a much higher degree than men.”

  30. 28
    Robert Goldstein says:

    I am researching obesity and stigma, while focusing on similarities and differences with respect to men, women, and age.

  31. 29
    crella says:

    ‘ “I think black people are weak people,”’

    Doesn’t wash…you’re born black, or not. No one is born fat, people make themselves fat through lack of self discipline.Only 3% of obesity is caused by a thyroid problem.

    No bias against fat men? Read the personals…they’re filled with phrases like ‘6’1” or over, athletic build,works out, no man boobs’ Women don’t want to date fat guys, either.

  32. 30
    BStu says:

    All people who are black have a lack of self-discipline. Maybe 3% have a condition which makes the lack of self-discipline unavoidable.

    How is that different from what you just said? Oh, that’s right. Because the bigotry you believe is “right” so you get to be as much of a bigot as you please. I’m sure there are plenty of racists who’ll completely endorse your logic.

  33. 31
    William says:


    I would feel better about this thread if more Fat Men were here agreeing with BStu that Fat Men are like “honorary” Fat People or something.

    BSTU says:

    …….Personally, I tend to be hesitant to push the cause of fat men because often I see some within the sadly incompetant fat acceptance movement who demand that fat men’s issues be treated with equal importance as the issues of fat women……….

    Well thanks for being no help!


  34. 32
    VK says:

    No one is born fat

    I don’t know about you, but most full-term babies look pretty well-rounded to me…

  35. 33
    BStu says:

    Were you wondering if I was talking about you William? Because I was. I have seen you repeatedly hijack every attempt to discuss the issues facing fat men and use it to promote your view that the issues of fat men should be championed at the direct expense of the issues facing fat women. You have repeatedly expressed a sense of thinly vailed male entitlement that makes it very difficult to stand up for fat men in a genuine and legitimate manner. Because I don’t agree with your whining that fat women should date more fat men. You seem to think fat women owe it to fat men, but you’re wrong. You also seem to think that a true fat acceptance movement, one born out of radical feminism and still today almost exclusively championed by women activists, owes to men to not talk about women’s issues so much for fear of hurting your feelings. Instead of taking it upon yourself to genuinely champion issues facing fat men, you just whine that others are doing enough for you. If you spent less time complaining about how fat men are persecuted by fat activists and more time working towards the real issues, you could have achieved something. But instead, you prefer your brand of Men’s Rights Activism where you openly lie and distort to slander fat activists while loudly proclaiming the virtues of a fat hate site whose founder is one of the most notoriously violent and aggressive anti-fat bigot on the internet. Male entitlement and fat hate are issues I have little patience for, so yeah. You’re the reason I hesitate to promote the issues of fat men. Because anytime they come up, you’re bound to jump in to push your reactionary agenda.

  36. 34
    William says:

    Hi Bstu

    I have never said anything about Fat Women’s place in Fat Acceptance!

    I have said that people that are not Fat Men should not be so involved in dictating what Fat Men have experienced. If you think that is Male entitlement then I can not help you.

    Fat Acceptance does not have to be a either/or in regards to Fat Men and Women, but I think that Fat Men need to have the chance to speak for themselves and not have the history already written them.

    I do not think that I have ever posted about the dating habits of Fat Men or Women. I have never said anything about to much female issues in Fat Acceptance either, you must be mixing me up with someone else.

    From you posts here you seem to have a large problem with the subject of Fat Men and would be one of the worse choices to talk about the subject.

    In closing all I can say is that Fat Men are not your enemy.



  37. 35
    BStu says:

    Oh, William, I am well aware that I am not my own enemy. A charleton who creates straw men to push his anti-woman agenda is, which is why I called you out.

    I’ve seen precisely what you mean when you accuse female fat activists of “dictating what Fat Men experience” and I know it to be a great big lie. You say that we are never allowed to discuss differences in how fat men and fat women are treated. You think that discussing those differences means that people are “dictating your experience”. That is profoundly unfair and only serves to silence discussion of unique issues facing fat women. I have repeatedly said to you that there are serious issues to discuss facing fat men but that they shouldn’t be used to diminish or downplay what women face. Your response has repeatedly refused such an approach, insisting that the discussion not take place. Your behavior is no different from the Men’s Right Activists who insist on equal time in discussions of domestic abuse or other issues that plainly impact women at a greater degree. Acknowledging proportionality doesn’t deny that fat men do face problems. Denying proportionality, however, explicitly denies the issues fat women face. Indeed, you are the only one who is trying to dictate other people’s experiences by demanding your complaints always stand on equal ground whether it is warrented or not.

    The best proof was when you took an article the did address the prejudice facing fat men and distorted into proof of the attack on men who see in the feminist fat acceptance movement. So desperate to prove your accusations of anti-men sentiments, you blatantly misrepresented the article and those who cited it. You accuse them of endorsing prejudice for merely defining it. They discuss the negative way fat people are viewed and you have repeatedly and dishonestly used this article to “prove” that fat acceptance endorses these attitudes. You lied to further your crusade against anti-men feminist boogeymen. Plain and simple.

    And there is still the nasty business of your promoting a fat hate site. I have absolute no patience for all the cowards and frauds who tried to lend credibility to a hate site founded for the most extreme hate mongering. Least of all an active participant and promoter like you.

  38. 36
    William says:

    Hi Bstu

    Your statement

    …….Personally, I tend to be hesitant to push the cause of fat men because often I see some within the sadly incompetant fat acceptance movement who demand that fat men’s issues be treated with equal importance as the issues of fat women……….

    Is just too over the top and absolute. Looking at this one person at a time each Fat Person’s issue is equal to the next person. Taken as a whole the larger number of Fat Women with problems will determine the focus.

    The problem is that statements from some people like you would not even grant Fat Men a proportionate focus on their issues. In much of the material in Fat Acceptance the only information about Fat Males is a statement on how little their issues are.

    Talking about the differences of Fat Men and Women is fine, but at least let there be some input from Fat Men. I have read too many discussions where conclusions were reached and there was no Fat Male input.

    Most of the time when I read about Fat Women in Fat Acceptance I am hearing the thoughts of a Fat Woman.

    Most of the time when I read about Fat Men in Fat Acceptance I am not hearing the thoughts of a Fat Man.

    OK, Concerning the rest of your post, what are you talking about?

    I. I know nothing about any Hate site that you are talking about????????? Please stop these lies at once!!!!

    2. The article you were talking about is split, either people think that it is good or it is bad. I still think that it weird.

    But none of this has anything to do with the fact that most of the History of Fat Men accepted by Fat Acceptance has been done with little input from Fat Men.



  39. 37
    BStu says:

    Want to know why men haven’t had much input in the history of fat acceptance? Because we didn’t step up to the plate. Your complaint is that a feminist movement didn’t spend most of its time worrying about men’s issues? The movement never degraded fat men. It never put them down or diminished the importance of the issues facing them. Fat men have held leadership positions within the movement for many years now. There is no basis for your complaint that they ignored men or attacked men. The only thing you could be on about is that they did discuss issues that women faced and you think that this somehow oppresses and marginalizes men. Give me a break.

    You know full well what hate site you supported. Oh, I know that you don’t think they are a hate site. You think they are “True Size Acceptance” as they call fat activists murderers, liars, and thieves who are delusional, insane, and money-hungry just to mention a few greatest hits. Yeah, I know you’re supportive of the kind of “fat acceptance” that doesn’t get all hung up on the whole fat accepting thing but rather promotes mutilation while indulging in violent fantasies. I’ve really got nothing more to say to someone who is going to play dumb. You’ve got your agenda and nothing has ever stopped you from relentless persuing it and attacking anyone who gets your way of putting those mean women in their place. You just keep repeating the same thing over and over and over. I saw the same act when you lied about that article that you said insulted fat men. I saw dozens of people offer you more patience than you deserved and responded to your issues. You never once replied to any of them. You just kept repeating your lies. I’ve said all I’m going to say to you. You weren’t even worth this much time, you certainly aren’t worth any more.

  40. 38
    William says:

    Hi BStu

    Again I have no idea what you are talking about, I do not think that I have used the word feminist in any sentence about anything in Fat Acceptance????

    Oh that was not a hate site (thought you meant something like that party hate site)

    I do not believe in WLS and stuff like that, but I also do not believe in the absolute thinking in some parts of Fat Acceptance.

    BStu you sound like the maniac right now and I am going to stick to the point I made here. There is too much in Fat Acceptance that is accepted as fact about the experiences of Fat Men that had zero input from Fat Men.

    If you have a problem with me you can waste space on my Blog




  41. 39
    Mena says:

    I have lamented for years about how men and women are portrayed in commercials: the woman is young, thin, pretty. Her “husband” is balding, middle aged or older, overweight. One ad that ran years ago had a jingle to go along with images of the “King Sized Papa” who was a “real Big Daddy” coming home to his thin, young wife and thin little kids. The idea that he was a large man equalled a great ability to provide for his family.

    I see ads sometimes where the man looks like he could be the woman’s father or sometimes grandfather yet we’re supposed to believe they’re married. It is rare that I ever see (and I’m not sure I HAVE seen) an ad where a “father” is skinny or fit looking. He’s usually shown as a guy who has some pudge, a bit of an extra chin, something along those lines. You DON’T see a Brad Pitt type of guy portrayed as a dad. But you’re supposed to believe that every woman in these ads decided to get married at 18 and she had 2 or 3 kids and still looks like she’s a prom queen. It’s really skewered.

    These ads just tell me that it’s acceptable to be a heavier male. It’s not the end of the world for these men — they’ve got jobs, loving families, they can provide for them and so on. It’s a positive image for men. The ones who want families, anyway. But then I guess it also tells us that younger men who are more toned and have less wieght WON’T want to be fathers or husbands. Or that those guys really let themselves go once they are married and it’s OK! LOL

    I see this constantly and have been noting it since at least 2001. Time Warner Cable tends to be a big offender in this area.

  42. 40
    William says:

    Hi Mean

    Well I am not surprised about Television when major Catalogs for Fat People will not even use Fat Models.


  43. 41
    Leslie says:

    This is wrong.

    Says Scott, a vice president at a sports marketing firm. “If you’re fat – and I don’t mean you need to lose a few pounds like most of us – if you’re huge, you aren’t getting the job. Period.”

    “I think fat people are weak people,” says Tom who works for a major bank. “…I don’t want real fat people around me. Whether it’s fair or not, and I know it’s not, I can’t get past that… So, I go with another candidate.”


    Pray I may I never hear that agian. Prejudice. Please Let The narrow-minded people of the world be happy for another acomplishment of great work.
    . – I come from a “fat” familyand I have never seen my family member’s slack off in work, ever.
    Yet, they won’t go swimming, or biking because, “the idiots” around us use their eyes, not their hearts. It’s beacuse people have this false allusion of beauty, that fat people can’t be normal, they can’t, it’s unheard of. Fat people are not accepted physcially. Because theyhave this outer appearence, which is thought of being “lazy”, They can’t get jobs, can’t provide for themselves because they are “slackers”. But wait, it’s because they can’t control their eating that they are “wrong” and “slackers”.. They can’t eat like normal people, so, wh should they get jobs like normal people, is that it? Sound’s like yall have it figured out, eh. fat people are fat becuase they are slackers that can’t manage their weight, so why should they be able to try managing a company.
    – The truth is, It would be easier to be thin, not beautiful really, just thin.

    -And I know people snicker mean things about my family behind their backs in public places, like, “Did you see how fat she was?” or when we’re in the small girl sizes in a mall”Why are they here, lol”.. No one like that should be able to see, Everytime I hear that I want make it where they can’t talk.

    No one likes to be picked on, but something you can’t change, that’s discourteous , and boorish. You know, that is what I think this world is coming to borish remarks made by idiot people who need not be able to see, because they can’t feel.

  44. 42
    wayne says:

    A fat person can always choose to stop eating so much if they are concerned about being discriminated against. But i guess its easier to change the world than to change yourself. Discrimination is natural,everyone does it. Its called FREEDOM of choice.

  45. 43
    BStu says:

    And if you wanted me to listen to you, Wayne, you could always choose not to be a hateful bigot who promotes the unfounded notion that fat people are all gluttonous pigs. Until then, I’ll just have to use my FREEDOM of choice and regard you as just another bigot spouting the party line.

  46. 44
    Mendy says:


    I agree that wayne’s statement is bigoted and hateful. And I do see that there is discrimination of obese people. However, I wonder if I would be seen as playing to the stereotype when I attempt to lose weight to improve my health?

    I am 5’2″ tall, female and weigh about 175. I gained the weight due to a back injury and since then I have developed hypertension and knee pain. I didn’t have either of these medical problems when I weighed 143 (which is still above my normal weight range).

    I don’t advocate WLS unless the patient is choosing between surgery and certain death. Is advocating a healthy lifestyle bigoted? If not, how do you broach the subject of health without sounding as though you are bigoted against obeseity?

  47. 45
    BStu says:

    When I was thin, I had a great deal of back pain. Now that I’m fat, it is rare, fleeting, and considerably less severe. Where once I would be incapacitated at least once a year due to back pain (and this was as a high schooler), I have not had a single incidence of that since gaining about 80-90lbs.

    Does this mean getting fat made my back pain go away? No, of course not. But what makes your identical logic so much more flawless? The health issues of fat people absolutely should be discussed. But not in a manner which only seeks to blame us and shame us when there is no good proof that being fat, in and of itself, is a controllable factor and very good reason to believe that its not a significant health factor irregardless.

    You say you gained weight due to a back injury. I’m presuming that means your physical activity levels were compramised. So, what value is it to mockingly tell you to put down the fork? I think its very fair to suggest that adopting a moderate and reasonable lifestyle will result in your weight finding a proper balance. In your instance that might mean losing some weight. Might now. But that doesn’t mean it won’t improve your health in real and achievable ways. Something which there is absolutely no reason stigmatizing your body weight would achieve.

    Before any honest conversation about weight and health can begin, people need to lose the need to regard fat as a personal and moral failing. There is utterly no value to that attitude and no reason to think anything positive will come of it.

  48. 46
    Mendy says:

    I never implied a moral or personal failure in anyone who is larger than me. I can’t speak for everyone else’s experience.

    However, I gained weight not only because I injured my back wich limited my former activity level, but I also had to take several rounds of cortico-steroids. I gained weight. Now, I know that as a result of the inactivity and my weight gain I developed hypertension which is now medicated.

    I don’t personally judge anyone for anything. That is just me.

  49. 47
    Mendy says:


    Okay, so I just continue to go about doing exactly what I am doing which is treating everyone exactly the same. That is to say I treat everyone as a “person” regardless of whatever means society uses to judge people.

    However, I do have loved ones that are not living a healthy lifestyle, and how do I broach that subject without sounding like I’m saying that their weight is their fault?

    That was what I was asking. I’m with ya’ll on this particular issue. Maybe I shouldn’t have used myself as an example, but it is the only experience that have any direct and intimate knowledge of.

  50. 48
    Mendy says:


    Thanks bean.

  51. 49
    B says:

    The way I see it, and please bear in mind that I don’t really know the American context, there are actually two aspects to this issue of fat discrimination. The first one is appearance and the second is health.

    If I were looking to hiring someone for a job I wouldn’t hire the one who looked pale, weak and sickly and had trouble breathing. Neither would I hire an extremely fat person, if the job had physical aspects that would reasonably trouble this person. The heavier you are the more it pains you to be on your feet for an entire day.

    It seems unreasonable to ask companies to not look at health and strength as qualifications for jobs that require it. Deskjobs is of course another matter.

    The second factor is appearance. And it is here that the true discrimination starts in my eyes. Our society’s ideas of how men and women should look does not only put up ridiculus ideals to live up to but also unfairly affect peoples perception of eachother.

    Ads, TV-shows, magazines and other media promotes these sick patterns and I believe that this is where we have to start if we want a better society.

  52. 50
    B says:

    Yes but they were trying to fire someone that they had allready hired. Naturally they lost. Still, this man had some trouble doing the job due to his wheight. Reading through the article I noticed first, that he couldn’t drive the new type of van that the company wanted him to drive and second, that he after two years hurt his back and had to go on sick leave for several months. Granted that could be due to all the stress the company put him through. Still a fit man or woman propably would have done a better job.

    I cannot help wondering what it is in our culture that makes the population get heavier and heavier for each year. It happens here in Scandinavia as well allthough I have never seen people who are as extremely fat as in the US.

    Maybe it has to do with a damaged metabolism due to all the refined sugar and sitting in front of computers to work all day only to drive home instead of walking or taking the bike. Regardless, it is not right to punish individuals. If they are heavy enough they ought to be given help at the hospital (for free). Extreme overwheight is a health hazard and should be treated as such. But just as you wouldn’t look down on someone having cancer people oughtn’t disrespect fat people for being fat. It is a physical handicap (I’m talking about severe overwheight) , not a mental or moral one.

    Sorry if I ramble on – it is three o’clock at night here.

  53. 51
    RonF says:

    If they are heavy enough they ought to be given help at the hospital (for free).

    Hey, B, help at the hospital isn’t free. Not here, and not wherever you live. Someone has to pay for it. If you are proposing that the American government should pay for it in this case, you are actually proposing that I pay for it. Why should I pay for it?

  54. 52
    B says:

    Well where I live the state pays for it. It benefits everyone to have a fit population who are then able to work and pay taxes. If the individual is given early retirement due to illness the cost is much higher for society.

  55. Pingback: Official Shrub.com Blog » Blog Archive » Think women have achieved equality? Think again.

  56. Pingback: grep|grrl » La checklist des privilèges masculins

  57. 53
    Glamour Diva says:

    Ha, Ha! I love this! As a very (Ultra?) fat woman I have, of course, experienced discrimination due to my size. Nothing too overt (Not since grade school) but it is discrimination just the same. The worst thing I’ve ever heard in my adult life came from a female doctor who, after spending quite a long time telling me how stunning I am, lowered the boom by saying that I’d be even more delectable if I wasn’t so fat! Needless to say I never went back there again but I’ve often wondered if she was telling the truth. Would I really want a lot of attention based on my looks? Would I want to be involved with someone who valued me primarily because of my looks? Maybe I should do a movie a la Super Size Me and find out? I could chart my weight loss and see if my desirability really is linked to size.

    Anyway, now I’ve noticed that more attention is paid to how I dress. Skirts that are at or above the knee are verboten as well as anything sleeveless or low cut. No matter the temperature I am expected to stay covered at all times for fear of making innocent, law abiding and thinner folks uncomfortable. I wonder if anyone has tried doing a study on fat ethnic women and how they are perceived? I’ve noticed a hierarchy here too – white fat is better than person of color fat and white woman fat is better than woman of color fat. Also fat people, it appears, should keep to their own kind! Fat women dating/marrying thinner men are seen as extraordinary whereas the opposite is seen as normal.

    My best friend and I always laugh about the looks we get when we speak about or physical preferences in partners. She is thin and prefers her men with a little more around the waste; she says she finds it comforting. While I am fat and prefer my men with abs of steel! We both get teased but I am singled out as reaching beyond my grasp. Never mind that all the men (and most of the women) I’ve dated have been average to extremely fit.

  58. Pingback: Bread and Buttah » Archivio Blog » Male Privilege

  59. 54
    JMR says:

    I was laid off from my job of 7 yrs, 8 months ago; along with 6 other obese women (ALL over the age of 40 I might add) I accidently found out a few months before I was laid off, that our former HR Mgr asked the Sr VP of the Company a question about me, when I was applying for a promotion 2 yrs earlier. The Sr VP HATED fat people and made several disparaging remarks about them. The HR Mgr asked him, “What is your beef with (My name) is it her weight?” He replied, “Well yes, she doesn’t represent the image we want to show to our customers”.

    Number 1- We worked in a Sourcing company where we NEVER came face to face with any customers who would be offended by fat people. ALL work was done electronically and over the phone.

    Number 2- I used to be a plus size model, have extraordinary good grooming habits- hair, makeup, dress up much more than my office counterparts, never wore jeans on “Dress down Friday”, etc. I knew I had to have a higher standard than my thinner counterparts.

    Number 3- During the 7 yrs I was employed there, most recently as an Asst Mgr of Purchasing, I generated more revenue than all the other people COMBINED in my dept!!! I ALWAYS stayed late if needed to get my work done EVERYDAY. I NEVER received a bad annual evaluation, and was NEVER written up in 7 yrs of being employed there.

    Number 4- The customer account I procured products for LOVED me and the service I gave; they emailed many accolades.

    As I suspected, I am having a hard time finding a job after looking aggressively for 8 months now; I am over 45 yrs old, and am a size 28-30 (Over 350 lbs). I even state to prospective employers during interviews that I do not need health insurance because my husband carries our whole family on his work policy. (If any health insurance costs are feared due to weight/health issues) I was offered one job, but it was $10K less than my former salary and a 30 mile commute one way. My husband and I recently adopted 2 children from Ukraine and I need to make no less than $2K less than my former salary to be able to pay childcare costs in the summer.

    I contacted the nearest Human Relations Commission office in Philadelphia and the Rep stated he believed I would DEFINITELY have a case, BUT because I had to sign a statement that I would forego any lawsuits, I would not be able to receive the 7 weeks severance to provide for our 2 newly adopted children, and those B*STARDS know that I needed the $$$. I hope they go out of business and I hope this Sr VP suffers huge personal financial losses.

    I can only hope that “What comes around goes around” is true. It may take some time, but it WILL happen.

  60. Pingback: Wallpaper :: The Male Privilege Checklist :: April :: 2008

  61. 55
    JPK says:

    Because the studies you seen were horse crap, here is a study that states fat men are 50% less likely than non-fat men to get married by the age of 30: http://www.news24.com/Content/SciTech/News/1132/ff6045188e9c4375b32c61ae6304c6f4/08-05-2009-10-48/No_wedding_bells_for_fat_men

    Also BMI does not rate true obesity. BMI treats muscle the same as fat. So any research that uses BMI to rate fatness is quite flawed in its procedure.

    (And when with high BMIs would either be muscular or fat and neither is socially accepted)

  62. 56
    Ampersand says:

    So any research that uses BMI to rate fatness is quite flawed in its procedure.

    Including, I can’t resist noting, the study you just cited.

  63. Pingback: Male Privilege vs. Female Privilege | AlekNovy

  64. 57
    JH says:


    Time Warner’s ad agency are evidently telling them they need to relate their services to “normal” people, because for years their ads have been engaging in elaborate symbologic arguments in the language of American consumerism (“regular slob family man” a ubiquitous symbol in that lexicon, one whose coherence as a symbol and effectiveness at generating sympathy depends partly on the guy being none-too-appealing in objective terms), mostly with a really desperate undertone. The latest, which hinge on an affectionate joke about school-sanctioned bullying, I can only explain as an appeal to people so backward that broadband internet and sports make up an irreconcilable dialectic, impossible to synthesize without extraordinary claims.

  65. Pingback: Gátlisti forréttindakarlmannsins | *knùz*

  66. Pingback: Obesity in Men More Acceptable Than Their Chubby Counterparts?