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Health Research
Agnus Alexander | agnusalexander122

Female Obesity: Curse, Blessing or Something Else?

Jan 2nd 2014 at 9:55 PM

It Still Comes Down to the Eye of the Beholder

“It makes sense that we have a dumb Miss America, right? We’re kind of dumb as a country. And we’re also overweight. So, if we really want a Miss America to represent us, she should be fat, too.” -Jimmy Kimmel, January 2012.

If I were a significantly overweight young adult female, and especially if I were single, I think a question that would nag me almost daily would be, “What the hell is the deal with men and heavy women? What in God’s name do they want us to be? Skinnier? Fatter? What?” I offer this speculation based on two news items that popped up in the past few days.

Item #1. Jordan Ramos, a student at the University of Iowa, raised a considerable stink on the subject of weight discrimination when, she claimed, she went to a college watering hole called the Union Bar and was repeatedly barred by a bouncer from joining her friends on a raised platform where they were dancing, presumably to amuse and entertain the male customers or themselves or both.

The bouncer said the platform was filled to capacity, so she waited until some girls stepped down and tried again, but was refused access again, and, she says, was told she would never be allowed onto the dance platform. The bouncer refused to give a reason, and the manager essentially told her party to get lost. A few weeks later she returned with her friends and again was not allowed to join them on the platform, because, the bouncer told her, she was “not pretty enough” and appeared to be pregnant, which she interpreted as “calling me fat without having to actually say it.”

Ramos took her beef to the local Human Rights Commission, which told her that size discrimination is perfectly legal in Iowa, even though she had paid the same cover charge as everyone else. So she went public with her story, which was picked up by the media, and the next thing you knew, a bunch of Iowa students were planning a protest in front of the bar, and the next thing after that, the bar’s owner, who was neither the bouncer nor manager, issued a public apology and delivered the obligatory “it has never been our policy” disclaimer.

Presumably, Ms. Ramos is now a regular on the platform, to the satisfaction of all. Then again, she noted that most of the reaction to her complaint has been negative, and it’s quite likely that if she were to ascend the platform, drunken frat guys would greet her with variations on “Look out! Wide load!” and “Stick to light beer, Shamu!” and “Careful you don’t break the stage, chubby!” Because all the bouncer was doing was reflecting a very real and very widespread cultural stereotype that fat on women is unattractive, and a turnoff, and not nearly as likely as slenderness to keep young male adults interested and on the premises ordering more rounds.

The theme that men don’t find overweight women appealing is thoroughly woven into our culture, from the Miss America pageant to “No Fat Chicks” bumper stickers. The lesson: Thinness is what men like, and want, and find sexy. Okay, but then how do you square that with the following?

Item #2. Donna Simpson has announced her retirement from the FFF community, within which she was heretofore a major attraction. The FFF stands for Fantasy Fetish Feederism, or the derivation of pleasure and excitement from watching extremely obese women eat and grow even more obese. The FFF community is a lot larger (no pun intended) than you might think. It’s extensive enough that while sexual psychology experts classify FFF as a form of male masochism, to Donna it was a career, and a fairly lucrative one.

Men paid her $19 a month to watch her eating on her website, and did so in sufficient numbers that she was taking in more than $1,000 a month. On top of that, they eagerly bought her groceries. One California guy kicked in $200 a week alone, and would call her each week for a recounting of which food items she’d bought with it. Another guy just sent her his credit card, but with the qualification that she use it on Chinese, Italian and other takeout.

Her clientele could afford these gestures. We’re not talking weirdos in coldwater flats, here, but attorneys and tax accountants, guys with corner offices and even college students, who would probably find the lissom ladies on the Union Bar platform to be nauseatingly gaunt and hideously skeletal. Some of them were furious when Simpson announced that she was hanging up the feedbag, but the very quality that made her website such a hot draw was the one that doomed her career. She stood 5 feet, 4 inches and weighed 600 pounds, and finally decided to take to heart doctors’ assurances that this was going to kill her. She has two kids and would like to be around when they in turn have kids. She has lost 85 pounds already, and good luck to her.

Other than the fact that there was no beer or loud music involved, the men in the FFF community are doing essentially what the young dudes in the Union are doing: paying to watch women they regard as hot doing things they enjoy watching hot women doing. In the first example, that doesn’t include much of anybody over 200 pounds. In the second example, don’t even bother us if you’re not packing at least 400.

Leaving us with our opening query: “What the hell is the deal with men and heavy women? What in God’s name do they want us to be?” Ladies, I haven’t got an answer for you, and I’m one of them. All I know is that whatever you’ve got, and however much you may have of it, there’s somebody out there who wants it.

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