Fatphobia: The ultimate money making scheme
Updated: Jun 27
Fatphobia is the most successful money making scheme of all time.
Fear, and hatred of fat bodies has become so deeply ingrained into our society as a whole, that many are blind to the over abundance of examples that are hammered into us on a regular basis, and will fight tooth and nail against anyone (especially a person of size) who dares to defy it.
Where it’s roots lie in racism, and sexism, it has over the years spread to classism, and ableism as well. However, that I will discuss at a separate time, as today I’m talking about how it is used to bleed the wallets of over 70% of the populous.
The U.S diet industry has an annual revenue of $20 billion dollars, from sales of diet/weight loss books, videos, apps, supplements, and surgeries. Given that the majority of diets fail, (estimated between 80-95%) the industry stays afloat by the sheer number of repeat customers.
Beds. Almost everyone has one, and yet... If you weigh over 200 lbs, (or share in activities 👉🏼👌🏼with a partner where your combined weight exceeds 200 lbs on any side of the bed) then SURPRISE!!! You’re not getting your moneys worth. Your mattress life expectancy drops, which means replacing your bed sooner. Last I checked, beds weren’t cheap. These companies know that 70% of the population is fat, but that they can get more money by creating beds that benefit the 30% only. You can always buy beds that have a higher weight limit, but that’s a much higher cost.
The average dining room chair, or office chair has a weight limit of 250 lbs. Once again, 70% of the population being fat, means that these chairs will break, or fall apart sooner, if you can even fit them at all.
Sofas, and loveseats. While they often boast a 500 lb weight limit, that limit is meant to be dispersed evenly across its entirety. The weight limit more closely breaks down to approx 225 lbs per seat, with some weight expected to be placed on the arms (which makes up for the 25lb discrepancy on each side).
Airlines: Fat passengers often have to buy a second seat, which the airlines can choose to sell to another passenger regardless. Having to pay twice as much, for the chance you might not even be allowed to fly (if they sell the second seat you purchase, and say that you’re too squished into the seat they didn’t sell, they can refuse to let you fly) is ridiculous. Airlines are continuously shrinking their seat sizes to increase revenue, despite, (as I keep repeating) the majority of the population being bigger. As of now, those who suffer from these regulations are 300+ lbs, with the rare that seat sizes continue to drop, smaller fats will inevitably be effected as well.
Cars. Cheaper cars aren’t made for those whom are fat. The price tag on a larger car that can comfortably seat us is several thousands more. Not to mention those cars tend have worse mileage. An extra cost on top of the other extra cost. Oooooh. Fun.
Clothing. One study by McKinsey & Co. published in 2010 found that plus sized people spent $30 billion more per year on clothing than straight sized people. Given that most plus shopping is limited to “speciality brands” where prices are often inflated, this is only going to increase. When you’re fat, you can’t just buy a $2 pair of panties, or a $7 bikini. You buy $16 panties, and $123 bikinis. The belief that the cost is from extra fabric is asinin
The material used in plus size clothing is also of lower quality. Eg. We pay more, for clothes that fall apart.
The average woman wears a 16-18. Plus size isn’t speciality. Plus size is average. Plus size is mainstream. Plus size isn’t “plus”. We’re told this fallacy so that we shut up about the unfairness in price. Blame the victims. Praise the oppressors. Continue the scheme
trigger warning: mentioning of the “o” word. *
Economists at George Washington University state: “While a man racks up $2,646 annually in extra expenses if he is obese, a woman’s obesity costs her $4,879, almost twice as much. Much of the gender gap is due to lower wages for obese women, who earn less relative to similar working women who are not obese”
No, I’m not talking about fat people being so unhealthy cuz all their fat is making them sick cuz oh no fat bad.
I’m talking about fat people going to the dr, and rather than having their symptoms looked at, and problems treated, are told they just need to lose weight. I’m talking about a fat woman was told she needed diet and exercise when she really had lung cancer. I’m talking about a dr telling a fat woman she had obesity pains (wtf is that even?) when she really had scoliosis (genetic condition having nothing to do with weight). Im talking about all the fat People, especially fat women, who have to pay for multiple visits to finally get something fixed that would have been taken care of immediately had they been thin. The unnecessary testing to try and prove they must have an “obesity related illness” even when tests continue to show good health. The belief that fat people can’t feel as much pain, so we’re treated more roughly, or that were all liars about what we eat, and how we exercise, so then we begin to avoid going to the dr in the first place. The fact that so many of us are dying from this, but rather than accept it as it is, it’s glossed over as being another “obesity death”.
The commercials for the business of fatphobia far exceed ads placed on television, magazines, billboards, etc. The commercials are the fat jokes made in movies, television, and memes. It’s the the propping up of thin bodies as the norm (which they aren’t) and the misbelief that thin = healthy. It’s the fat characters in books, cartoons, television, etc. being portrayed as the “bad guy”, brutish, clumsy, aggressive, stupid, lazy, gluttonous, weak, undesired, sneaky, an object of pity, or an object of disdain. It’s in the “concern for your health” that comes hand in hand with critique of our existence. It’s our clothing being restricted to online, or speciality stores. It’s plus size companies that only use the smallest of plus size models. It’s shows like the biggest loser that make the contestants stuff themselves with unhealthy foods in before vids to pretend that’s why they’re so fat, and then force disordered eating, and excessive exercise, that leave lifelong health problems in the attempt to promote thinness as the ultimate goal. Odds are, you have been an advertisement for this business. This business where you, and most of the population do not benefit from.
Fatphobia and diet culture not only cost us money, but they also contribute to earning less money as well. In the US it is legal to discriminate against fat People in 49/50 states. We can literally be refused work on the basis of size.
Some might see this as all the more reason why we should just stop being fat, (As if it’s that easy) rather than that this legal loophole can be exploited to target otherwise protected groups such as LGBTQA+, Black people, Hispanics, disabled, Jewish, or Muslims. Since “fat” is objective, a thin person with a little extra on the butt, can be called fat and not hired, if the employer doesn’t want to hire anyone in the legally protected groups. This effects so many of us, and yet we’re we’re fighting amongst ourselves instead of against this weaponised hatred of bodies?
The concept of what size is deemed acceptable changes dramatically through the generations as well. As a small child my big sister was seen as having the perfect body, and she was a size 7-8. Around age 10 I remember reading about actress Teri Hatcher having a hard time maintaining her size 6 body, and then by my teen years with the show Ally McBeal making waves, size 6 was replaced by size 2 as the ideal. It wasn’t till Jenifer Lopez was her ass, that having at least SOME curves (while staying otherwise thin) was acceptable.
That is why this is so insidious, yet impressively successful as a money making scheme. Because we are all inadvertently part of it. If you’re lucky enough to be part of the 30% that benefits from fatphobia, it’s only a matter of time before your metabolism slows, or someone you love is effected negatively. When we make excuses to justify any type of bigotry, it’s opening the floodgates for more. There’s enough hate in this world. Why contribute to more?