Fatphobia and Fat Positivity: The Roundup


Fat, Black, and Desirable: Fat Positivity and Black Women by Chantell Monique If these women aren’t seeing any positive images of themselves on screen, how are they able to construct an identity of truth? Even though they can rely on their community for positivity, if it’s not reinforced through media representation then it renders that […]

What Your Doctors Really Think About You: Fatphobia on Medical TV

Jessica is an overweight 10 year old, treated cruelly by her doctor

Fat bodies have a curious position in medical drama, reflecting the fatphobia existing within the medical profession. Doctors tend to assume weight always a cause rather than a symptom and overweight patients are either lazy, uneducated or poor. The wealthier we are, the more opportunity we have to strive for thinness. As a class, doctors are incredibly privileged, both highly educated and wealthy, they have the privilege of deciding to be thin that many of their patients do not.

The Fat Stardom of James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini and his formidable body

What’s clear is that, in our contemporary society and culture, the male body is not invisible. Although the female body continues to be more heavily regulated and controlled, particularly in terms of weight and appearance, the male body is no longer removed from similar considerations. As we continue to look more intensely and critically at the male body, we can anticipate a time when new images of masculinity become not only realized but embodied.

Invisible Fat Women on ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’

The casts of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory

Several sitcoms, however, rely not on the on-screen presence of a so-called “unruly body,” but rather on the imagined image on an off-screen one.

Fatphobia: What ‘Daria’ Got Wrong


She tells the girls she isn’t supposed to eat chocolate, but she’d like to buy some anyway. Then, she faints as a result of hypoglycemia and possibly exhaustion, the results of her being so large. Daria and Jane stand still for a moment, startled and clueless, and then Jane takes a picture.

‘Parks and Recreation’: How Fatphobia Is Invisible


I don’t think it would be quite the same barrel of laughs if the motto of Pawnee were “First in Friendship, Fourth in Poverty.” Fat shaming and fat jokes like the People of Walmart photos are often a socially acceptable stand-in for the classist shaming of poor people. Poor people are more likely to be fat, after all. We get paid less and we’re more likely to be fired. Oh, the comedy!

‘Shallow Hal’: The Unexpected Virtue of Mockery

"Only a man this shallow could fall in love this deep."

Its challenge to fatphobia is covered in fat jokes and gross-out humor, tailored to trigger our prejudices. We can laugh, if prepared to question why. We can sympathize, if braced against an awkwardly half-choked, giggling snort. Humor strikes faster than self-censorship.

Call for Writers: Fatphobia/Fat Positivity


Negative depictions of fat people are the norm throughout all of pop culture. Though fatphobia crosses racial, gender, and class lines, audiences judge women the most harshly. Fat characters are frequently shown as disgusting, sad, or unlovable. In the horror genre, fatness is frequently represented as terrifying and unnatural. In comedies, fat bodies are often the source of humor. Though few and far between, there are a growing number of fat positive representations popping up throughout TV and film.