A Whole New Kind of Headless Fatty

Y’all, this is unbelievable. Yesterday, I got an e-mail from Shapeling Damanique about an ad she saw in a train station in the Netherlands. Writes Damanique (who also goes by Danielle around here): “The idea behind this ad: the fat lady gets distracted by a bag of candy, ‘loses her head’, and people could see her PIN number because she wasn’t paying attention.”

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Really, I don’t know where to begin with how awful this is.

This goes the basic “Fatties are obsessed with food” theme one better, adding the message that fatties are infantile (which is a fairly common theme, too, come to think of it). See, all you have to do is dangle a gross-looking bag of candy in front of a fat woman, and she’ll completely forget she’s an adult performing banking functions! (Hey, maybe that explains the correlation between fat and poverty.) Since we all know fatties have no impulse control, adore cheap junk food, and can’t take responsibility for themselves — just like small children! — it makes all the sense in the world!

And then we have the decapitation. Now, I’m assuming this is part of a series of ads in which other stereotypes also “lose their heads” over seeing something people like them ostensibly enjoy. (I’d bet a whole lot of money there’s one of a young dude losing his head over a hot, barely dressed woman.) So I don’t think they just thought it would be hilarious to cut a fat woman’s head off — though I’m kind of disturbed that they thought the whole “losing your head” premise, expressed this way, was funny at all. But still, for all its cartoonishness, this is a picture of a woman’s goddamned head separated from her body; it’s a violent image. And we’re supposed to laugh at this violent image, because, dude, IT’S SO TRUE! FAT WOMEN CAN’T CONTROL THEMSELVES AROUND CANDY! And also, of course, because fat people are intrinsically funny. Did you see her double chin? SITTING ON THE GROUND? Har har!

I am so fucking sick of this shit. (And quite honestly, half the reason I haven’t blogged much lately is that these days, I can rarely come up with anything more to say than, “I am so fucking sick of this shit.”) I’m sick of being dehumanized and ridiculed, of course, but also, as we’ve said many times before, I’m sick of hearing the same stale jokes, again and again and again. Fat chicks love candy! It’s why they’re fat! Geddit?

It just feels like one of these days, advertising professionals and comedians and sitcom writers, regardless of their personal feelings about fat people, will have to wake up and go, “You know, fat jokes are so fucking played. They’re not funny anymore, because everyone on earth has already heard every one of them. We need something fresh.” And yet, it never happens. Somehow, “fat person is fat” remains an endlessly humorous concept to the makers of our pop culture. “Fat person is fat because fat person really likes food” is even better. And “Fat person is fat because fat person really likes food and also, fat person has no head?” Hey, that’s fresh! That’s all-new! Nice work!

95 thoughts on “A Whole New Kind of Headless Fatty

  1. Considering that the majority of people in the entertainment and advertising industries are white guys with the mental capacities of 12 year-olds, who still think armpit fart noises are hilarious, we’ll probably continue to see these kind of sickening, disgusting “jokes” for a long time to come.
    It’s disheartening, to say the very least.

  2. Not to mention the fact that it’s so obscure that it doesn’t really make a good ad. What are they trying to sell? Is this about identity theft or obesity? Are you trying to tell me to pay attention at the ATM so no one sees my PIN or to keep myself under control when I see food so I don’t eat myself into oblivion?

    Maybe the receipt explains all that, but ads should be clear enough that you can get it even if you don’t read the language the text is in.

  3. One sign of hope: The writer of a comic strip I really enjoy made a fat joke in a strip a few weeks ago. My heart fell when I read it, because I usually really enjoy this guy’s writing, and a fat joke just seemed so beneath him. I made a comment on his blog, calling him on it, in just that tone: Dude, that kind of joke isn’t worthy of you. And he apologized, quickly and sincerely.

    I’m sure that a lot of the joke-writing douchehounds aren’t worthy of our attention, but some will understand our point when we challenge them. Some. Not all.

  4. (I’d bet a whole lot of money there’s one of a young dude losing his head over a hot, barely dressed woman.)

    Yep, I actually saw the add with the young guy a few days ago here in Amsterdam.

  5. “It just feels like one of these days, advertising professionals and comedians and sitcom writers, regardless of their personal feelings about fat people, will have to wake up and go, “You know, fat jokes are so fucking played. They’re not funny anymore, because everyone on earth has already heard every one of them.”

    I think the fact that this hasn’t happened yet is a testament to the barren wasteland that is modern comedy and pop culture. Honestly, it’s nearly impossible to find shows that don’t poke fun at the fatty. Movies? Still hard… advertising, forget about it.

  6. Liza, I agree with you completely. Before having read the explanation, I could only stare blankly at the ad. At first, I even wondered if it was an ad for the candy, which on first glance looks like rumpled cloth. This ad is absolutely ridiculous, demeaning, senseless and useless. It plays on a sick stereotype and uses this woman as a toy to make a point, the point itself not being the least bit clear. What a waste of colour.

  7. Whenever I see an ad campaign or character that showcases fat people in a negative light, the first thought in my mind is, “Why would that man/woman sign up to make an ass of themselves?”

  8. What’s funny is that ads and jokes like this come about because of laziness. You know, another thing that is associated with chub.

    The Irony!

  9. This ad is absolutely ridiculous and I am really sick of this overplayed idea that fat people eat all day long, no matter what or where. I was watching Friends last night and “fat” Monica was wearing her prom dress eating a sandwich. There are so many more instances of that joke on the show and it makes me really upset. I hate that stereotype – I am overweight and I certainly don’t dance around while eating a messy sandwich!

  10. Honestly, it’s nearly impossible to find shows that don’t poke fun at the fatty. Movies? Still hard… advertising, forget about it.

    This is why I often leave the TV room after Jeopardy. It’s not just that I don’t have the Sanity Watchers points to waste, it’s that I’d rather read or play Tropico or Puzzle Pirates.

  11. That last paragraph is right on, and this is coming from a woman who made a “dese nuts!” joke this morning and LOLed about it for a good five minutes.

    I heard an interview with a retired comic this weekend and he was bemoaning our “PC” culture because it has made us less funny. And I thought, “No, it just makes YOU have to work harder to come up with a joke.” If you can’t compete, you’re forced out of the market. Comedic Capitalism.

  12. @ Cute_Bruiser:
    Because they have bills to pay, just like the rest of the world, perhaps? Possibly also due to internalizing their own fat-phobia. And not unlikely, because no one told them what would be done with their image after they stood there, quietly, in front of a cash machine.

  13. I second you on the “I am so fucking sick of this shit.”

    Also: why the fuck does she look all creepy and evil and bugeyed? I don’t wear that face when my head detaches to chase after some little kid’s candy!

  14. I cannot stomach decapitation even in violent movies where it might reasonably happen, and Blades of Glory only made it through because I’d been forewarned and it was from a distance — still, not funny.

    What kind of sick bastards think decapitation is funny and appropriate for a general audience ad campaign? Why subject people just trying to go to work to violent imagery? I hope that enough passengers complain to the station manager to get it removed.

  15. Ugh! I cannot stomach decapitation even in violent movies where I might expect it. The scene in Blades of Glory was only marginally tolerable because (a) I’d been forewarned and (b) it was from a distance — still not funny.

    Why subject people just trying to get to work or whatever to violent imagery? I hope enough passengers complain to station management to get it removed, and that the same happens wherever the ad airs.

  16. Sigh. Yet another tired variation on the comment which must now be required by law, I think, to be appended by some idiot to every ‘obesity crisis’ story: ‘Fatties will do anything for food, so hey! Let’s just dangle donuts behind a moving bus and they’ll run along behind and actually get some exercise!’ Which was a stock visual ‘joke’ in certain comics back when I was a kid (except being British comics, the dangled product was invariably the patisserie item known over here as a cream bun) . Wasn’t funny then either.

  17. My sister was reading this over my shoulder and said that she thought the position of the woman’s head in relation to the bag looked vaguely sexual, especially with the end of the bag beginning to curl up. It added a whole extra layer of wtf to the ad once I thought about it. Disgusting.

  18. Why does that tiny kid have all that candy, anyway? Won’t he be bouncing off the walls after eating all that?

    I know that whenever I see a little kid with candy, I immediately forget what I’m doing and follow the candy greedily with my disembodied head. That’s because I’m fat.

    The funny thing is, this only works if we are denying ourselves. If I want candy, I can buy some freaking candy, since I am an adult with my own money. If I’m denying myself, I might be obssessed with eating candy.

  19. The first second I saw this ad I thought, “What the hell is happening here? Why is there a head on the floor? This is fucking creepy.” Then I saw the context, and it just went more wrong from there.

    Yeah, there are other stereotypes, like a young man looking at a woman’s legs, or a guy looking at a shiny motorcycle.

    After some research I ended up at the website running this campaign (which, oddly enough, is not the URL printed on the ad): http://www.pin.nl/PIN.nl/pinnen-hou-je-hoofd-erbij.html
    “The people in this advertisement are preoccupied with lots of things, but not their PIN transaction.”
    Sigh. Yes. Because fat ladies are always soooo preoccupied by candy.

    This ad pisses me off so much and frankly, the other ones are totally creepy as well. (Personally, if I was cashing money in the pouring rain, I’d be focusing on getting the cash and getting the hell out of that bad weather – not some poor doggie on the street. Apparently the marketing team was smoking pot when they came up with this campaign or had a complete lapse of rational thinking and common sense otherwise.)

    Thanks for posting about this! I personally sent in a complaint on the website stating, amongst other things, that I found the ad in extremely poor taste.

    (Messed up HTML in previous comment, sorry!)

  20. How come the kid isn’t fat? He has all the damn candy. Is he just trolling for fat headless chicks? They start ‘em young over there.

  21. That’s just…ick. And the worst of it is, I can’t imagine anyone who isn’t actively starving to death wanting that nasty-ass looking candy. I wanted lunch before I saw this picture, and the decapitated woman was not the only thing churning my stomach.

    And Kate, when you wrote that about ‘ fat person is fat’ all I could hear in my head was Homer Simpson saying ‘Football In the Groin has a football in the groin.’

  22. I got the real-life version of this on Saturday. Attended a make-up math class that was open to all students (not just those who had missed the first one). I was teasing one of my classmates about having shown up without RSVPing and included the phrases: breathing our air, drinking our water, eating our snacks. He was offended. Didn’t realize I was joking. Thought I was well and truly pissed that he grabbed a candy bar from the break room. Because the laughing and “breathing our air” thing weren’t obvious enough. Of course the fatty is mad someone ate her beloved candy.

  23. The kid isn’t fat because if he was, he couldn’t have the candy. If you’re not fat, you can eat anything you want to (in public even!) and as much as you want to. But if you’re fat, you can’t eat anything at all. That’s the way the illogic works.

    I didn’t realize that plastic cone was full of candy at first. It looked like some kind of weird carrot to me, so the whole thing didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Still doesn’t, actually.

  24. Considering that the majority of people in the entertainment and advertising industries are white guys with the mental capacities of 12 year-olds, who still think armpit fart noises are hilarious

    Exactly. You would think after a certain number of years, bathroom humor and fat jokes would get tiresome, but nope, it’s still what they resort to because they think it’s the funniest stuff out there.

    I sometimes wonder if the reason so many fat people are portrayed as always chasing after any type of food, no matter what it is, is because in real life, most of us are just not like that, and deep down, the advertising and entertainment industry knows that, but showing fat people with restraint doesn’t sell or catch the public’s attention, so they have to resort to the old stereotypes. Of course, that just proves there’s no originality anymore.

  25. Whenever I see an ad campaign or character that showcases fat people in a negative light, the first thought in my mind is, “Why would that man/woman sign up to make an ass of themselves?”

    As Hattie McDaniel said in a similar context, she could either PLAY a maid or she could BE a maid.

  26. Somehow, “fat person is fat” remains an endlessly humorous concept to the makers of our pop culture.

    So true. I have ranted many times about how on Friends, “Fat Monica” didn’t have to do anything other than hang around on screen, and maybe dance, to spark a raucous laugh track. Oh, sometimes she made a joke about her health (“it’s good that I lost weight because now my heart doesn’t hurt all the time”… that awkward wording doesn’t even make sense, much less constitute a joke), which is a bonus for writers of fat jokes because thin people love them even more when they come with a side dish of self-righteousness. Honestly I think writers must enjoy having fat characters around because so often this lets them off the hook from actually having to DO anything.

    I love OTM’s “Comedy Capitalism.” Seriously! If you want me to laugh, put some effort into it.

  27. clearly i am not politicized enough, because glancing at the picture, my first thought was, “oh nice dress! where is it from?”

  28. My jaw actually dropped, y’all, and I just don’t do that. WTF??

    On days like today, when I am just so overloaded emotionally and overwhelmed in general (hey brand-new ADD diagnosis, where have you BEEN all my life???) it’s pretty much all I can do not to be reduced to a sputtering incoherent bouncy ball of chubby pixie rage.

    So that’s where that leaves me – sputtering incoherently, scaring the cats.

    Word on the tired “humor” thing. How are fat jokes, women jokes, jokes about non-white people and cultures considered edgy? They are the most over-used, tired, useless sources of comedic material out there, and yet people (mostly guy comics, whom I have largely come to avoid, with certain notable exceptions of course. Help help! I’m covered in beeees!) cling to these false precepts like they invented them themselves. MEANWHILE, utterly brilliant self-deprecating and sharp-witted wonders go underpaid and underutilized ’cause they hath not the requisite comedy penis.

    I’m mad. And this advertisement is really, really stupid.

  29. “a sputtering incoherent bouncy ball of chubby pixie rage”

    I am having the best mental image right now of an awesome firey pixie of rage! Thanks for that lucizoe since that is about how I feel right now about headless fatties bouncing around after questionable candy trying to portray a message of “Uh…watch your pin number, yeah that’s totally where we were going with this ad…riiiight”

  30. I actually laughed really hard when I first looked at this ad. Not because it’s funny, or because I thought it was clever, in fact quite the opposite.

    What kind of asshat ad agency are you to think this was good or clever?

  31. “…on Friends, “Fat Monica” didn’t have to do anything other than hang around on screen, and maybe dance, to spark a raucous laugh track. Oh, sometimes she made a joke about her health (”it’s good that I lost weight because now my heart doesn’t hurt all the time”… that awkward wording doesn’t even make sense, much less constitute a joke)…”

    And the irony is that Courtney Cox got so skinny at one point in this show, I had to stop watching because seeing bones under skin is surprisingly unfunny. I went to college so I’ve had enough “fun” with self-righteousness anorexics in denial to last me a lifetime.

    And if I’m going to lose my pin number over food it better be a lot tastier than the crap that kid is holding. At least try to lure a fatty with some pizza or some chocolate or some birthday cake or some cheese stix or some french fries….Seriously there’s no way that marketing team could have had a fat person among them.

  32. Heh, April D, that was spawned by a convo with the mister last night. I was having a bout of insecurity and demanding he give me a laundry list of reasons why he loves my body so much (I know, I know) and he told me because I’m such a short pixie like critter loaded with tiny fury. I countered that I was a short, chubby pixie, and that if, oh, say Disney were to portray me as said pixie I would likely be comical, with an ill-fitting pixie outfit with wings barely-large-enough to lift me off the ground, and I would move like I had a trolling motor, just barely off the ground and in a straight line, and my magic wand would probably be uglier than the wands of the smaller pixies, like it would be made out of a walnut piano leg instead of willow branch. Conversation then went into a weird area.

    I was amused by it, though. I am not amused by this ad.

  33. But don’t you see? The fat woman is on a DIET! And if you’re on a DIET, you’ll want to eat anything. Even disgusting-looking candy in a phallic wrapper.

    Boy, I’m glad that ad’s not in Portland. I’d have to be doing some serious defacing, there.

  34. I have thought about it all afternoon, and I cannot come up with anything clever to say about this ad. It sucks. Whoever made it sucks. It is as though they just turned on the Advertising shop aac and sprayed it all over a wall. It is a giant sucking vortex. I would like one for my house to suck up all the dog hair.

  35. Wow….maybe it’s just the day I’ve been having (beyond weird), but I can’t come up with anything other than “damn, I want some of what they’re smoking”. Because seriously? That’s the ONLY way this could even make some sense. And even then it’s iffy.

  36. Oh yeah, and I don’t think it’s physically possible for that head and body to attach to each other. Either her neck ran somewhere else, or they’re from two different people.

  37. Ladykuri, DUH FAT PEOPLE DON’T HAVE NECKS. Just chins, that cascade into their fat shoulders.

    Um.

    Yeah.

    Every time I see advertising like this, I wonder how far we are from actual, real life broadcasts of “ow my balls”.

  38. As much as I want to add my own 2 cents into this torrent of commentary, I can’t. Only because so many other thoughtful and/or rageful comments have taken my exact thoughts and put them on the page already.

    completely and utterly tasteless ad.

  39. The kid isn’t fat because if he was, he couldn’t have the candy. If you’re not fat, you can eat anything you want to (in public even!) and as much as you want to. But if you’re fat, you can’t eat anything at all. That’s the way the illogic works.

    Yes! That’s exactly how it works. Thanks for putting that into words (I was still grasping at it myself). And if you’re fat, anything you are seen eating incriminates you. But also, I think kids (at least non-fat kids) have some leeway when it comes to wanting candy, being seen with candy, et cetera, because of this idea that sugary, chemical-laden, fluorescent candy is what children like best, and once you grow up you’re supposed to outgrow that. This lady obviously hasn’t and that is disturbing in itself – the “fatties are infantile” thing that Kate addressed in the post.

    I didn’t realize that plastic cone was full of candy at first. It looked like some kind of weird carrot to me, so the whole thing didn’t make any sense whatsoever. Still doesn’t, actually.

    The candies in the bag look like “spekkies” to me, which are similar to marshmallows. The plastic cone is actually a plastic bag, and because of the shape it’s a little like a party pack or a gift bag.

    Also, um, my first comment is still awaiting moderation… any chance of it appearing some time? ;)

  40. I wish I’d known that my head spontaneously disconnected from my body in the presence of candy before, I would have used it as a party trick to impress all my thin friends! Another benefit of being fat – Awesome!

  41. In Australia, we had an almost attempt at analysing the advertising industry in a show called The Gruen Transfer. It just didn’t make it, mostly because of time constraints. I’d love to see it grow to maturity and tackle this kind of bullshit. One of the best quotes from it was one of the panelists saying “If every woman woke up one morning and said “You know what, I’m fine just as I am” whole economies would collapse.” Amen.

  42. lucizoe I totally want to draw a chubby awesome spit-fire fairy now, without the awful “Duuur look at the FAT fairy. She stoopid and can’t fly” stereotypes! :D

  43. Well. this is horrible, dehumanizing, insensitive and cruel.
    And I am sick of it and have been sick of it since, like 1978 when people used to chase me around the playground with plates full of fries with ketchup and mustard to rub them on my pants.
    Now… it’s not a question of just being sick of it and talking about it.
    It’s a question of DOING something about it and not just among the sympathetic ears of the fatosphere where everyone agrees with our POV.
    It’s time to REALLY do something about it where it counts.
    A while back I posted on my fashion page about protesting and boycotting a medical conference on obesity.
    If anyone knows people that work in advertising or the media, media we should come up with press releases and put out our POV to the public.
    How about boycotting and protesting companies that promote negative or dehumanizing stereotypes about fat people?
    And pharmas and diet programs that promote those negative stereotypes in order to continue to make money out of the same insecurities they create and the false ( and often dangerous) information they disseminate among the general public and health care professionals?
    Talking about it among us is good for letting off steam.
    But if we want real change to occur we need to make noise where it will get us heard.
    Just my 2 cents with all the love, admiration and respect in the world and y’all know that I mean that.

  44. I… I really like her dress. Like, I know it’s probably meant to be representative of the horrible muumuus (as opposed to some of the kick ass muumuus that exist) we’re all supposed to be wearing because we can’t fit into anything stylish but, damn, it’s obnoxious and wonderful.

  45. Meowser is right, she is most likely on a diet if she is that distracted by food. The caption should be:

    Dieting causes identity theft! Please eat a satisfying meal before using the ATM.

  46. I know I can’t control myself around candy, but not to this extreme O.o. I’m not going to chase after it like a chicken with my head cut off lol.

  47. Taking a closer look at this ad, it makes less and less sense.

    First of all. Can anyone actually see that she’s standing at an ATM? If she is, in fact, standing at an ATM, it appears that her size and loud dress are doing a good job of covering the machine and her PIN anyway! (Perhaps the ad should be to gain weight to protect your identity!)

    Now if the ad showed her entire body leaning away and stretching towards the food like Elastigirl or Stretch Armstrong and leaving the machine untended and uncovered, I could see their point.

    Not that it would be any less sexist or sizest but at least it would make SENSE!

  48. Because god forbid fat women should be losing their heads over the hot, barely dressed man

    What do you mean there’s no ad with a hot, barely dressed man in it?

    …I see….

  49. I sometimes wonder if the reason so many fat people are portrayed as always chasing after any type of food, no matter what it is, is because in real life, most of us are just not like that [...]

    Here’s what I think. People in advertising, in Hollywood, wherever, are obsessed with thin. They starve themselves to maintain it, but when you deny yourself food, food is all you can think about. They don’t realize that fat people don’t necessarily obsess over food, because in their minds, it’s a universal obsession. They think the only difference between themselves and fat people is that fat people give in to their (bad naughty evil) food desires.

    We’re painted as food-obsessed because they are.

  50. Juliebean Said: First of all. Can anyone actually see that she’s standing at an ATM? If she is, in fact, standing at an ATM, it appears that her size and loud dress are doing a good job of covering the machine and her PIN anyway!

    ———————
    What she is standing at is the automatic ticket machine. Most of these require you to pay by chip and pin (i.e. card and pin number) or by something the dutch called chipknip (I think) which is is a chip card that you charge up with cash to pay for things like the telephone, parking metres.

    And honestly, this attitude from the dutch doesn’t surprise me. I lived there for a year and a half, and while there were some older people a lot fatter than me (talking 50+), 99% of people my age seemed to be petite, asian/mediterranian of origin and straight sized, or between 5’8″ and 6’2″, and built like a model. Or maybe it was just where I was living, but I’ve never seen so many modelesque (as in tall and willowy) people before in one place.

    Everyone cycles everywhere, and despite the beers, teh chocolates, the cakes, eating healthily seems to be an obsession.

  51. And just to mention I was a UK size 18/20 when I went there, and I had a huge knock to my confidence. They don’t seem to have any plus sized stores there. I felt, for the first time, short at 5’8″ and like an absolute freak.

    The UK has a much larger range of physiques.

  52. The first second I saw this ad I thought, “What the hell is happening here? Why is there a head on the floor? This is fucking creepy.” Then I saw the context, and it just went more wrong from there.

    Yeah, there are other stereotypes, like a young man looking at a woman’s legs, or a guy looking at a shiny motorcycle.

    After some research I ended up at the website running this campaign.
    “The people in this advertisement are preoccupied with lots of things, but not their PIN transaction.”
    Sigh. Yes. Because fat ladies are always soooo preoccupied by candy.

    This ad pisses me off so much and frankly, the other ones are totally creepy as well. (Personally, if I was cashing money in the pouring rain, I’d be focusing on getting the cash and getting the hell out of that bad weather – not some poor doggie on the street. Apparently the marketing team was smoking pot when they came up with this campaign or had a complete lapse of rational thinking and common sense otherwise.)

    Thanks for posting about this! I personally sent in a complaint on the website stating, amongst other things, that I found the ad in extremely poor taste.

    (Kind of got stuck in the mod queue, sorry for the reposts)

  53. Boobsihazdem:

    You’re totally right – I hear you about all the willowy tall people, especially in the bigger cities. I live in a more rural area where it’s less, but when I’m at college in the city all the girls my age look frail and skinny (and sadly, they usually still feel like they’re too fat. :\) There really is an obsession with healthy eating (just look at the insane amount of pro-biotic, low-cat, low-fat dairy – milks, shakes, yoghurt, breakfast drinks…). Compared to the US, I believe the population of the Netherlands is a lot taller and thinner, and the anti-fat sentiment is really strong. I’m trying to tell my friends about fat acceptance but I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall: “Eat less, exercise more, then you’ll lose weight!” The idea that fat = unhealthy and everyone should be constantly worried about their weight is well ingrained into Dutch society.

    Next time you’re in the Netherlands, shop at Miss Etam – they have a decent plus-size department. They should carry up to around size 24. I’m 230lbs, 5’5″ and I buy all my clothes there.

  54. @ Boobsihazdem, I’m 4’10” and have always known I was short. But it wasn’t until I was at the Amsterdam train station that I felt like I was child-sized in a public place. I was traveling with a group and my job was to phone our lodging for directions. When I arrived at the pay phone I was shocked to discover that I could not reach the numbers to dial, it was that high off the ground. It was embarrassing to go back to my travel mates and admit I couldn’t fulfill my simple assignment.

    From this and casual observation I concluded that the Dutch do seem to be much taller on average.

    Thirteen years later, I also think of those using wheelchairs and how out of reach it would be for them, too. I wonder if they’ve relocated the pay phones. Well, probably — they’re probably gone altogether!

  55. boobsihazdem (love that name, by the way) – thanks for the explanation on the machine. But it still seems as though her body is still doing a very efficient job of keeping people from seeing her PIN. The logic of the ad is flawed, even beyond the inhumane depiction of the woman.

  56. (Trying to repost what I wrote yesterday, hope it won’t get stuck in the mod queue this time)

    Holy shit. I live in the Netherlands as well, and I haven’t seen this yet (or any other ad from this campaign), but … ugh. It’s fucking awful. There’s a lot of this shit going on around here at the moment, or perhaps I’ve just started noticing it more since I’ve started reading up on FA.

    I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I’ve seen a couple of pretty offensive ads in the last couple of months, that ridiculed or stereotyped fat people (my “favorite”: a supposedly hot young man is seen sitting in swelteringly hot sauna, wearing nothing but a towel to cover his loins. A bunch of fat women wearing bathing suits come in and gather around him seductively. The eco-friendly lightbulb goes out. OH NO, THE HORROR. See the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7CfHjP1jfU), or that are just plain crazy (an ad showing two really young girls – about 10 years old – smiling, with a caption saying that they’re smiling because they just found out that type X ice cream is low in calories). And then, of course, there’s the charming game for children called “Holle Bolle Big” (image: http://www.lupux.nl/images/Kids/hollebollebig2.jpg), which involves feeding a piglet hamburgers until it bursts. This is supposed to teach children to avoid eating too much so that they don’t become fat.

    Anyway, I think that with regard to certain trends, Dutch society tends to lag behind the US a couple of years. I don’t think the whole obesity epidemic rhetoric really caught on until 2005 or 2006, but it’s everywhere now and people are parroting it left and right. A couple of months ago, I quit a Dutch message board because the fat hatred became too much for me to handle (and I can tell the disapproving voices I internalized from there are becoming more and more quiet). I’m afraid things will continue to get worse for some time. At the same time, too, I haven’t really heard any dissenting voices yet. On the aforementioned message board, I used to post in a thread for fat women, and pretty much everyone there was trying to lose weight. So… yeah, long way to go. I find it hard to explain fat acceptance to Dutch people, both because the “audience” is so unreceptive and because I’m not always sure how to voice FA ideas in Dutch.

    (Also, Kate, I’ve been meaning to say how sorry I am for your impending loss of Lucille. The death of a beloved dog is a terribly sad thing :()

  57. Hi, I’m new to your comments, but not the blog itself. I live in Poland and here the size acceptance is a nonexistent thing. Everywhere I go, everything I read, people are bashing the “fatties”, using the worst names possible, or are dwelling in self-loathing, talking all the time about having to lose weight and swapping new diet ideas.
    Even my friends, who I’ve been friends with all my life long, started to treat me like some kind of freak, when I finally said that I didn’t want to diet anymore and try to feel perfectly fine in my body, which is fatter than any of them ever experienced, even in their families. So, when I was dieting and anemic, with dizziness, almost anorexic at one point, very bulimic… that was fine. But now, that I feel fine, but am not trying to keep my weight low, as in starve myself to death… suddenly I’m a freak. An experience shared by many I think.

    Anyway, to the subject, I wanted to say that I find this ad terrible… but unfortunately it is, as you stated, a common thing. In our country we had this ad for bank loans – it showed a yooung handsome man waiting in front of the altar for his fat and ugly bride, at the sight of whom all the guests gasped in disbelief… and the poor groom had the most miserable face expression possible. The conclusion was: Once, a young man lacking money had to sell himself, now he can come to our bank…. How disgusting is that?
    Tha saddest thing is, the whole ad was made by two actors, father and son, both of whom I have always respected, as they represented the clever, intelectual type… So let’s talk about selling out…

  58. Boobsihazdem, you’re right – I don’t think there are many stores that carry plus sizes exclusively. Imagine my delight when I came to the United States and discovered Torrid! I was ecstatic. But in the Netherlands, no such thing exists – H&M has a really, really crappy plus size line (that’s been cut down in recent years, too, both in terms of sizes they carry and in terms of space the section takes up in storese) and I’m not too fond of Miss Etam either. I mostly shop at Promiss, which carries sizes up to 22 and is nice enough, although I do pick up the occasional not-too-bad-item from H&M, mostly because they’re cheap. I order some clothes online, too (mostly from all-purpose online shops like Otto and Wehkamp). Especially since I’ve come back from the US (I spent a semester there) I’ve put more of an effort into finding clothes that I really like instead of stuff that fits and doesn’t look too bad, which unfortunately means I have fewer options – but I look all the better for it :)

    Danielle, there is an abundance of thin girls in the bigger cities and the colleges, isn’t there? I’m the fattest girl in just about every class. I may be tall, but I’m not willowy (5’10”, 240 lbs) :D I haven’t really started talking to my friends about fat acceptance, mostly because I’m afraid of how they might respond…

  59. because the woman has lost her head, the man behind her can peer directly over her shoulders to view her pin. the ad fails on all sorts of levels, but that’s one area where it actually sort of makes sense.

  60. They don’t realize that fat people don’t necessarily obsess over food, because in their minds, it’s a universal obsession. They think the only difference between themselves and fat people is that fat people give in to their (bad naughty evil) food desires.

    We’re painted as food-obsessed because they are.

    Cereselle, I think you’re totally right.

  61. Here, y’all, let’s fix the ad for them:

    Hot fat woman spies someone on the street who makes her makes her tingle in all the right places. This makes her lose her vagina. That is to say, the rest of her goes about her business, but her vadge cannot be restrained and goes chasing the sexy stranger in the opposite direction down the street… stopping just long enough to gobble down some phallic candy and spit it in the eyes of people who are looking at sexist advertisements: “P-tew! P-tew!”

    Meanwhile, the hot fat woman with the errant vagina still has a day full of appointments, which she looks forward to with her usual sober confidence and efficiency. Since she is a woman in public space, though, there is of course a Scary Threatening Man nearby who wishes her harm. In this case, the Scary Threatening Man is a dude who thinks it’s really kicky to use his camera phone to take pictures up ladies’ skirts.

    What Scary Threatening Man doesn’t realize, of course, is that her vagina has gone off without her in pursuit of a fun encounter. So when he snaps his illicit picture, he is shocked to discover that his camera phone doesn’t get a picture of her undies, but instead has an unobstructed view straight through her trunk to her brain!

    OMG SURPRISE!

    So he sez to her he sez, “Hey, did you know that I could see your brain once your vagina was out of the way?” Whereupon she says with a coy smile, “But my vagina isn’t out of the way,” and gives a strange whistle.

    “What do you mean…?” he starts to ask. But her vagina, hearing the whistle, returns from its adventures and eats him up in one bite.

    And then there would be a tagline and a logo advertising small, dainty, wholesome camera phones for men. Men who want to seem nonthreatening in public, so as not to risk getting eaten by hungry fat errant vaginas.

    What do you think?

  62. The Dutch are the tallest country in the world; men have an average height of 6′, women 5’6″ (compared to 5’9″ and 5’3″-5’4″ in the US). Those of you who felt short there were justified.

  63. bigmovesbabe, alas, I have never smoked anything other than tobacco. :( I bought all of the “marijuana will kill you!” stuff until I realized that it was hogwash, but now I’m too old (31) to even begin to learn how to buy pot for the first time. There should be an online tutorial for these things.

    Kate, for sure I’ll marry you! Then I’ll buy one of the “I Am Kate Harding” t-shirts and put a little editing carrot after the “Am” and insert a “Mrs.” (Oh, er, well, it would make sense visually.)

  64. I couldn’t find a post about it, but I think it needs some serious K.H. time: I HATE Twilight. I’ve never read anything from the series, but goddamn. Goddamn. Do I hate it.

    Prepubescent teenage girls writing out their deepest barely pre-sexual fantasies about their perfect man with a self-insertion character, fine. OK. I’m not going to read any of it, but I am resigned to the idea that it’s a part of the Internet-era coming-of-age process to write bad Mary Sue fiction.

    I have a serious problem, however, with a 30-something doing it FOR them. Firstly, because having someone else write your fantasies for you encourages laziness, secondly, because at least Harry Potter doesn’t feature an about-to-be-born child breaking its mother’s ribs and spine, or a C-section done with teeth, thirdly, because Twilight & co. are horribly written, and lastly, because they contain the most pathetically misogynistic tripe I have ever seen.

    The main character is rescued no fewer than three times by her perfect man in the first novel alone. She has fainting fits everywhere. Her HEART. Stops BEATING. Because he KISSES her. Literally stops.

    Please make a post about this nastiness, Shapely Prose! I’ve been lurking for a while without the gumption to post a comment, but I had to speak up!

  65. Forgot to mention: all of the Twilight I’ve read has been excerpts from the books, quoted by frothing-at-the-mouth reviewers.

  66. “Here’s what I think. People in advertising, in Hollywood, wherever, are obsessed with thin. They starve themselves to maintain it, but when you deny yourself food, food is all you can think about. They don’t realize that fat people don’t necessarily obsess over food, because in their minds, it’s a universal obsession. They think the only difference between themselves and fat people is that fat people give in to their (bad naughty evil) food desires. We’re painted as food-obsessed because they are.”

    Oh my god, that’s it.

  67. No one would ever diminish the accomplishments of Babe Ruth because he happened to be fat. Humor has devolved. Comedians don’t seem to have the capacity or the desire to look beyond the outside, the surface, the physical to get laughs. ANYONE, and I do mean ANYONE, can make a joke about someone’s appearance based on stereotypes. You have to work at finding the true humor. Seeing beyond just how someone looks. I love comedy, but I sneer when it’s all about a certain group of people’s physique. Boring. Next player please. Laurel and Hardy were funny because of their slapschtick, their ineptness. They wouldn’t have been funny if one of them was in a wheelchair. True comics find the funny in the subtle nuances that capture a character’s personality. Chevy Chase fallling down everywhere as he played Gerald Ford. George Carlin pointing out hypocrisy in society. Jerry Seinfeld (yawn) focusing on insignicant facts. I guess advertisers believe we are too stupid to get those subtleties…the implied. That’s where they lose me…and my money.

  68. Things are worse in other countries. A study reported in today’s Independent:
    “Fat-related jibes are “endemic” among Britons with nine out of 10 overweight people experiencing name-calling because of their excess pounds, researchers said today. The old adage that bullies are often bullied themselves applied, with many of those hurling insults emerging as overweight or obese. “

  69. I have noticed that often the people who hate their own bodies and have weight/food issues, are the first to use hate speech about other’s bodies and police what people are eating..

  70. libbyblue, who said “because the woman has lost her head, the man behind her can peer directly over her shoulders to view her pin. the ad fails on all sorts of levels, but that’s one area where it actually sort of makes sense.” — Thank you! I can’t go to that page here so the picture is sort of cut off and I couldn’t see a person standing behind her. I have now seen the entire picture and you’re right – it does make more sense. But seeing the screen isn’t the same as her putting in the pin unless the screen shows the PIN, in which case the system is flawed and not the fault of the ZOMG CANDEEEE woman! :)

  71. Linda: As someone who has been anorexic, who knew conceptually speaking that not everyone was obsessed with food but found it hard to believe, I can confirm that.

    Even then, I didn’t assume that fat people were fat because they obsess over food, but I think that the vast majority of people who are thin by obsession wouldn’t hesitate to make that small jump, especially with regards to fat people.

    The tendency gets more marked when the thin person is surrounded by thin people almost exclusively, viz. Hollywood, my secondary school (I knew a lot of girls who thought in exactly that way).

    So, ladies and gentlemen! Those of you who are of a larger size, expose your lovely selves to those who might be saved! Let me tell you, with the kind of thin person who is a good person in all other regards except their asshole-y assumption about your lifestyle, you can make a big difference. What douche-y-ness I had in my character with regards to fat people melted away with exposure to Shapely Prose and Joy Nash.

    Meme is beyond help, I assume.

  72. Even if you accept the premise of the ad, (which of course no one should), the focus is all wrong. The guy peering over the body should be in the foreground, the head receeding into the background as it “runs” away. I have been looking at this all week and unable to comment because I get so immediately revulsed by the head front and center. The ad isn’t even carried out properly with their own approach. (and why does the kid have a bag of candy that’s half as large as himself???)

  73. twilight could sort-of be a fat issue, though. while i don’t remember any fat characters off the top of my head, meyer’s writing demonstrates an insane obsession with prettiness justifying all. her descriptions of the vampire-making process pretty much say straight-out that when you become a vampire, you become heart-stoppingly beautiful to make you irresistible to your prey (see twilight for the predator bit — around the time edward dazzles bella with his sparkly vampire-in-sunlight skin, and breaking dawn for an explicit mention of the newly-turned bella being a knockout supermodelesque figure on top of all the other subtler references). BUT! the evil vampires? the vampire who tries to kill her in twilight? the eeevil volturi who precipitates the fretfulness leading to the non-climax of breaking dawn? they’re ugly! they aren’t hot at all! seriously! unattractiveness = evil, attractiveness = good in her world. and since edward and bella don’t freaking know each other before bella is “irrevocably” in love with him and they pledge their undying love, their relationship is also based on appearances: edward loves her (and thus breaks into her home to watch her sleep???) because she smells good and he’s intrigued that he is unable to read her mind and her mind alone, and bella loves him because he’s teh hawtness with an air of bad-boy mystery. arrrrgh. just arrrrgh.

    for anyone here who is unfamiliar with the twilight series, a good, not-overlong sporking of all four books can be found at tamathy.com (click “my” website link above to go straight to the right page). i disagree with her caricature of feminism, but her analysis of the books themselves is fantastic. normally i can just walk away from a bad book, but the twihards and twilight moms freak me out, with their death threats to anyone who dares criticize meyer and their desperate desire to get into “ooh, the perfect man!” edward’s pants, respectively. *sigh*

  74. Oh, Twilight is such a feminist failure on every level. I started wanting to throw the book across the room when I got to Edward secretly following Bella around to “keep her safe.” Hello, that’s not romance, it’s STALKING.

  75. @LilahMorgan: Couldn’t agree with you more. That’s why I’m on Team Jacob. *ahem*kidding*ahem*

    @libbyblue: And your points are very well taken which is why the last scene in the whole quadrilogy really bugged the living shit out of me. I mean–no overt spoilers here–she works so hard for the community and it serves to give him the only thing that he didn’t have before?

  76. “Oh, Twilight is such a feminist failure on every level. I started wanting to throw the book across the room when I got to Edward secretly following Bella around to “keep her safe.” Hello, that’s not romance, it’s STALKING.”
    Thnaks for this — I couldn’r make it halfway through the first book. I couldn’t get through the part where is acting rotten to her, so naturally she is infatuated. Ugh, no.

  77. An advertisement like this just validates that the whole “oh, in Europe they LOVE big women, like LOVE them, and FOOD CONNECTS PEOPLE!” myth is just that- A MYTH.

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