The Real Reason Why Fat People Get Flak

It seems like we're always obsessed with figuring out why we get fat. From tabloids to TV, everyone wants to know what's really making them put on the pounds, and how to get rid of that pesky fat problem once and for all.

But that's not what this article is about. This article is about why people get flak for having fat on their bodies in the first place! Why do we care? What's the problem? Well, it's because by hating fat people we get to hate poor people without accountability! What? How? Let's take it one step at a time.

Step #1: Obesity Is A Symptom Of Being Tired

This might seem like a weird place to start. Everyone hates fat people because they're tired? Do we hate sleepy people too? Is this related to those people who can just lay down in bed and fall asleep without any effort and wake up happy the next morning? Because I do hate those people.

Smiling sleeping man


Let's back up then. Life is exhausting. You work all day. You make small-talk with your obnoxious co-workers. You do chores. Maybe take take care of a family. Really, in the world we live in, who isn't tired?

Cheerful skinny white heterosexual couple in bathing suits on luxury boat

Oh, right, that's who

Who has the time to exerize, buy all organic produce, prepare nutritious meals, and end the day smiling and relaxed? Rich people. The whiter, the richer, the more privileged, the more likely they're pretty gosh darn skinny.

And who doesn't have the time? Who works multiple jobs, has to take care of their own kids, has trouble affording rent let alone organic produce, and gets blamed and shamed for every choice they make? The working class. And the blacker, the poorer, the less privileged, the more shit society gives them in general, especially about their bodies.

So when you get home from another day of your sixty hour work week at crappy jobs and your kids need dinner, do you have time to exercise and prepare a nutritious meal of modest portions? No!

Dr. Lauren Berlant theorizes that eating itself is a respite from the stresses of life. It's exhausting being working class and eating to your heart's content when you can, enjoying food that's a pleasure to eat, is sometimes one of the best things you have in life that can keep you going. So it's understandable that the people with the hardest, most exhausting lives tend to end up packing on a few pounds.

Working Class People Are More Likely To Be Obese Because It's Exhausting Being Working Class

Step #2: Obesity is Moralized

The writer Kathleen Lebesco argues that we are in a moral panic about fat. The media is constantly running terrifying stories about the dangers of fat. Having fat is seen as a sign of sloth and gluttony. Fat people are blamed for everything from rising insurance costs to declining fertility rates. Some workplaces are even starting to enforce weight loss and thinness upon employees.

Cartoon of obese man being used as see-saw by two children

They also make terrible see-saws

But what's wrong with fat? What's the point in fat being immoral? Remember though, that fat comes to those who are exhausted. It takes time to be thin. This moralization of fat creates an expectation to put the time into being thin. An expectation that a lot of working-class people can't make.

When they fail at meeting that expectation, then we all get to openly hate on them under the guise of concern for obesity.

That's it? That's all the steps?

Yup! It's really not that complicated. But here's something to think about: What else do we demonize for mysterious reasons? What else could be hated because of its association with another group? Pay attention to that as you go about your life and you might find more than you expected.

Sources and Image Credits

Risky Bigness by Berlant

Fat Panic by LeBesco

Sleeping man from

Rich couple on boat from shutterstock images

See-saw man from


Feminiscience takes concepts and information from Feminist Science Studies and makes them accessible and digestible, so you can learn about ways that you can take back and define your own body. Feminiscience is about feeling empowered to argue on behalf of your body. You know your body, you are your body. The shroud of academia sometimes convinces us that others can tell us we are wrong about ourselves. Feminist Sciences say that we actually can and should engage with scientific literature and Feminiscience is an entryway.

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