Wednesday, September 28, 2016


At worse Trump portrays and projects the attitudes and beliefs of a large number of Americans; many of them women who are Democrats supporting Hillary.


The fact that the U.S. government regularly posts guidelines for a healthy body mass index (BMI) based on the principle that chronic diseases associated with being overweight contribute to high health care costs The government conspires in perpetuating the idea that weight-related illnesses could be prevented if only the obese would just stop eating so much and become more active. The element of choice, then, is a significant factor to some, in the perception that overweight people deserve whatever negative treatment they get.

However, becoming overweight is a state that people do not necessarily choose or even want to change, and like age, people may become the targets of their own discrimination. When they do, they’re in the same predicament as are older adults except that now it’s because of something others believe they did rather than because they simply existed on the planet for more years than others.

Negative attitudes toward people whose BMI runs on the high side becomes a matter of concern for the people who fit this description as well as the people who fit the very opposite characterization. Preoccupation with having an ideal body type, which in our society is thin for women and muscular for men, can in extreme cases lead people to develop an eating disorder or to become “exercise-aholics” who can’t stop working out.

It’s interesting to ponder the question of why our body’s shape and size carry so much social meaning, but it seems to be an inevitable feature of the human condition. If it weren’t there would be no explanation for why we spend so much and work so hard tomaintain our appearance. Whatever the cause, the fact that external appearance becomes so important in swaying our self-esteem makes us highly vulnerable to treatment that belittles the way we look.

That they “choose” to weigh more than they “should” is one element of the discrimination against the overweight. Whey they eat too much becomes another crucial element. Their lack of control over the eating habits that produce their large shape ties in to the social belief that they are morally deficient, prey to the deadly sin of gluttony.

“Fat” jokes may still be around, then, because their targets seem to be fair game. Yet, not everyone either tells those jokes or finds them funny. According to the disposition theory of humor (Zillmann & Cantor, 1972), people find are more likely to laugh at jokes about a group toward which they discriminate. On top of this, the theory of downward social comparison suggests that we can make ourselves feel better by comparing ourselves to someone of lower status. In our weight-obsessed society, this causes us to look down on the overweight.

Social psychologists Jacob Burmeister and Robert Carels, of Bowling Green State University (2015) believe that the influences of anti-fat attitudes on seeing fat jokes as funny are similar to the sexist influences on jokes about women. When you put gendertogether with weight status, the jokes can become even more vicious because they combine these two potent sources of discrimination.

TV and movies disproportionately target overweight adults, according to the review of studies by Burmeister and Carels. Even YouTube videos, they note, commonly target the overweight, as do the comments made by viewers to these videos. To determine what factors influence the perceptions of weight-related jokes, the Bowling Green psychologists measured whether people with anti-fat attitudes would find such humor funnier. They also tested the opposite reaction of being disgusted at or offended by such jokes.
Why Do We Think it's Okay to Make Fun of Overweight People? | Psychology Today