Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I took the Implicit Association Test at Harvard's Project Implicit to see if i have any automatic preference for thin people over fat people. It concluded that i don't. What led me to try this was an article on the "fattist" overtones of the Pixar movie Wall-E. If you haven't seen the movie, the humans on the spaceship that left earth 700 years earlier are all obese, supposedly because they do nothing but eat and float around playing video games. Probably a dozen generations of exposure to micro-gravity have not helped, but that's never mentioned. What has upset some people is the implication that these fat humans are literally responsible for the destruction of Earth's environment due to their out of control overconsumption.

Or something like that. I'm a bit conflicted over the issue of "fat pride", because my family history would suggest that weight and appetite control have a significant genetic component. I also deeply understand the use of food as an emotional balm. I don't think there's any simple equation that says attractiveness is directly proportional to thinness -- certainly those coat-hanger fashion models are about as scary as humans get. In my profession there is no correlation between size and professional success. But, yeah, i'd rather be thin than fat.

I don't mean skeletal, more like athletic. It's not so much about appearance as about quality of life. If, like me, you take pleasure in running, jumping, moving in general then fat is an impediment. There are some great athletes who are heavy and there are many people who look good despite having no athletic inclinations. But, jeesh, people of my generation have become so sedentary that they might as well be a brain in a bell jar. So maybe i'm not fattist, but i do have a prejudice against people who have decided, prematurely in my opinion, that being fat is not only inevitable but preferable to getting off the goddamn couch.

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