Fatophiles of the World Unite…Against a Cartoon…Poor WALL-E

Posted: July 17, 2008 in entertainment, fat, health, life, weight
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

[SPOILER ALERT] Well as if it wasn’t bad enough that poor little WALL-E got beat up by the right, now the fatophiles (might one call some of them fat fetishists?) have their collective panties in a bunch.  Why?  Apparently they don’t like how future humans living aboard a spaceship are portrayed.

According to once critic:

“But the metaphor only works if you believe familiar myths about the overweight: They’re weak-willed, indolent, and stupid. Sure enough, that’s how Pixar depicts the future of humanity.” – Daniel Engber, Slate.com

Aside: One would be excused if they laughed so hard that they lost a pound or two reading the following in the above article: “That is to say, it may not matter that much whether you eat salads or drink “cupcakes-in-a-cup,” whether you bike everywhere or fly around in a Barcalounger. If you have a propensity to become obese, there’s only so much that can be done about it.”  Engber’s “only so much” apparently means almost nothing.  Go read his article and see what you think.  Aside ended.

But Mr. Engber isn’t the only critic among the fatophiles.  The UK’s Telegraph published an article entitled, “WALL-E’s ‘fattist’ satire angers fat pride groups.”  Let that soak in for a minute.  Fat acceptance advocates interviewed for the article made the following statements:

“It’s the classic stereotype that fat people are stupid, smelly, lazy, disgusting and out of control.” – TelegraphNote: There is no suggestion in the movie that fat people smell bad.

“Pixar should be out of business for portraying this level of prejudicial bigotry-mongering. These are 19th-century hatreds repackaged in modern animation. It’s amazing.”-Telegraph

Indeed, the movie was a real let down to members of Naafa (The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) who were at the time “holding [their] annual convention in Los Angeles, a celebration of so-called “flabulous figures”, seminars on fat discrimination, a fat fashion show, podgy pool parties and entertainment from weighty singing group The Fatimas.” [2]

So what is the stir all about?  This guy over to your right and others like him are at the center of this weighty brouhaha.   Notice his well rounded stomach, his stubby little fingers, and his seamlessly blended neck, chin, and face.  He is indeed, quite obese.

But why?  Well if you saw the movie WALL-E you would know that he and the rest of human kind have lived on the space ship for over 700 years.  During the overwhelming majority of that time their every whim has been catered to and their every essential (and non-essential) activity performed by robots. Their diets, no doubt consisting of well over 4,000 calories a day, combined with almost no physical activity, since their chairs carry them everywhere, combine to create perhaps the most unhealthy and hedonistic lifestyle known to mankind since Nero.

So you tell me, given these conditions, is it any surprise that the entire population would be obese?  Maybe you say, “Hey, that might have been 2 or 3% of the population that could consume over 4,000 calories a day and perform no physical activity and still avoid obesity.”  Sure, and maybe you should believe those supplement ads in muscle magazines.  The bottom line is this is Pixar’s movie and within the parameters set by Pixar for mankind’s future existence the outcome of equality in obesity isn’t too far off.  While it might make the fatophiles gawk in disbelief that an excess consumption of calories mixed with less activity than the common garden snail lead to obesity, it isn’t too far from what anyone with a dash of common sense would expect.

Moreover, yes I know that the fat acceptance folks (a minority of whom might be labeled fatishists, a combination meant to designate those who have a fetish for their own bodily fat) dislike the depiction of these obese inhabitants of the space (cruise) ships as “weak-willed, indolent, and stupid.” But this confuses connections that are obvious from the movie.  The notably thinner predecessors of the currently obese inhabitants of the ship were themselves weak-willed, indolent, and stupid.  These conditions far predated the switch over from a normal range of body types to the almost exclusively obese population.  Indeed, their weak-willed nature, their indolence, their stupidity, and their obesity are all represented in the movie as caused by an over-reliance on machines to perform some of the most basic of human functions and a tendency toward over consumption.

Racism?  Probably.  Worth complaining about?  Probably not.

Racism? Probably. Worth complaining about? Probably not.

Finally, allow me to make this point.  IT’S JUST A MOVIE!  I guess you could live a life where cartoon movies about distant places and points in time upset you.  I guess you could be deeply bothered every time someone watches an old episode of Dumbo and the semi-racist depiction of African-Americans comes on the screen (you remember those crows don’t you?).  But is it worth it?   Nope.

How about we just enjoy a movie- a cartoon movie at that- as an example of animation that depicts an interesting story about a robot who falls in love and restores humanity.  Whether you are from the right and dislike the movies environmentalists message, or you are from the fat acceptance movement and can’t stand how obese (and I mean morbidly obese) people are depicted I have one question for you.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to simply enjoy the movie?

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Comments
  1. patrick says:

    Wall-E totally looks like the robot from “Short Circuit”… minus the cheesy 80’s style of course

  2. I thought that the first time I saw a promo for the movie. Luckily WALL-E, unlike Short Circuit, is funny, doesn’t feature any white guys dressed up to look like Indians, and has no foul language.

  3. Teresa says:

    TT,

    I answered your famtasy comment on my blog.

  4. It’s funny how when there is something about yourself that you are self conscious people will make fun of you for, you will find it everywhere.

    Because I am not fat, when I went to see this movie, I viewed it as a comment on general human culture, not “aimed at fat people”.

    Like you said, being fat was a side effect of living in space for hundreds of years on a spaceship, and having robots wait on you hand and foot.

    I read an article on CalorieLab where they posted an interview with the director of WALL-E, and included his thoughts on the fat humans in his movie. I’m going to look for it.

  5. When and if you find it McB, please post a link here.

  6. AndrewE says:

    I think the fat acceptance mob are a little too touchy.

  7. Here’s that article I mentioned with the director talking about his future fat humans:

    http://calorielab.com/news/2007/10/31/pixar-wavering-over-wall-es-portrayal-of-our-superobese-descendants/

    The thing that made me pick humans the way they were. It’s funny, I actually tried to avoid obesity. I wanted blobs, I wanted babies. Because in doing research with our, one of the consultants to NASA and his expertise was long term residency in space and the reason we don’t send a man out to Mars right now is because if we do, they’ll come back with almost no bones because disuse atrophy will kick in with very little gravity and osteoporosis will occur and you will lose a large percentage of your bones, and you’ll just be this jello blob.

    And, so I thought oh my gosh, that’s a perfect sort of thing dealing with people, later on in life, who have everything solved for them. We don’t have to farm anymore, we don’t have do all these things that make us get up and survive and what if technology was so advanced that all these things were solved. How to live longer, regenerative food, all that stuff, what would you do with your time?

  8. Teresa says:

    It is frustrating to have people assume that you are stupid and lazy just because of being overweight…and it isn’t people’s imagination that it happens all the time.

    However, complaining about it won’t really help…just add “Whiney” to the sterotyes about fat people.

  9. “It is frustrating to have people assume that you are stupid and lazy just because of being overweight”

    I’m sure it is. But, are you saying that this is what the movie is trying to say? I think that they are saying that most people are stupid and lazy, and becoming fat is just one product of that kind of culture.

    Why read into it more than that unless you are seeking out judgement?

  10. I agree with mcbloggerstein (wow never thought id type that one) i dont think they are making fun of fat people, i think its more of a social commentary on how lazy and inactive we are as a nation. if you are lazy and eat horrible junk food all the time (cough USAcough cough) then you will inevitably get fat. its not the ONLY way to get fat, but it will lead to it.

    howevere, im not sure a childrens movie is the best way to get this across. children dont think about things like that. they think of things as “haha, look at the funny fat person” whichis not what we should be teaching children.

    http://www.groundedfitness.com

  11. crissyspage says:

    Wait.

    What?

    Fat pride groups?

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised…there’s a group for everything.

    There’s probably even one for necrophiliacs too.

  12. “There’s probably even one for necrophiliacs too.”

    I think they keep that underground…um, literally.

  13. lucy says:

    “howevere, im not sure a childrens movie is the best way to get this across. children dont think about things like that. they think of things as “haha, look at the funny fat person” whichis not what we should be teaching children.”

    You do not give children enough credit. The way children treat fat people (or disabled people, or chinese people, etc.) depends on their socialization. More specifically, it depends on how parents/care takers talk to their children about these issues. I think it is great that Pixar is targeting a young audience. I think it is important to have children start thinking about the environment (basically the main idea of the whole movie) and healthy nutrition at an early age.

  14. Good point, lucy.

    Although, you’re assuming that most parents are good enough parents to be able to teach their kids about life.

  15. […] Mike at Four Pillars only dropped by recently, to give me some advice on emigrating. He runs a great Canadian Finance blog, which will come in useful if I move there. His posts include: Guide To The Sleeping Pill Portfolio. Kelly at She Power is a talented Australian blogger. I love reading her blog – especially her weekly short fiction. Some of her brilliant posts include: It’s Official – Australian’s Are Fat and Badly Dressed and Goodbye Spain – Loved Your Easy Charm But……. Lissie only began dropping by recently and she gave me some great advice on emigrating to Australia. Her helpful posts include: A Retro Text Editor. Chris at Wat da Wat is also a fairly new member of the community. He has five children of his own and educates 90 more and has written some brilliant articles including How To Clean Your Arse – A Revelation. John at Total Transformation is a great inspiration to those of us who want to lose weight. He lost 40 pounds, put a little back on and he’s now back on track. You can follow his progress in the following articles: Fatophiles of the World Unite …. Against a Cartoon …Poor Wall-E […]

  16. Teresa says:

    McBloggerstein,

    “But, are you saying that this is what the movie is trying to say?”

    Um. No. If I wanted to say that, I would have said it.
    I’m just saying that about the fifth time a skinny teenager with a bag of chips in her hnad comes up and tells you that she would shoot herself if she ever got as fat as you…

    …it might be understandable why people are oversensitive and read into things and take it personally.

    And might explain why they join support groups where people say it’s OK to not shoot yourself for being fat.

    And why the whole group getting together might make them want to throw their – um-weight around to try to change what they feel is wrong.

    The Catholic league goes after evolutionary Biologists becaus of and off-color comment…people go into fits of apoplexy ’cause Jesse Jackson wants to nuter Barak Obama cause he’s mad that Obama sometimes seems to suggest that some black people aren’t being as constructive as they could be.

    Why should fat people have to be quiet and reasonable? Nobody else is. 🙂

  17. Sorry, it was a misunderstanding.

    We were talking about the movie and how some overweight people reacted toward it.

    I thought you were responding to the people that said the movie protrayed fat people as stupid and lazy.

    That your statement was a general comment wasn’t clear to me.

  18. Teresa says:

    Mcbloggerstein,

    Perfectly understandable. I’m glad we clarified that.

    Sometimes I am writing in the middle of chaos and don’t think wording through as completely as I could.

  19. There are a certain percentage of people who will be overweight, no matter what. (Women with PCOS come to mind, as do people on certain medications.)

    If all of obesity were genetic, however, there would not be an increase in it over the past several years. Would anyone really suggest that we’ve radically increased the genetic pool of fat people over the past three decades?

    I’m a health nut, in many ways. I could care less whether people are skinny or have a BMI that’s too high; what I care about is whether or not people take good care of their bodies. There are certainly skinny people who treat their bodies like crap – not eating enough, not eating right, never exercising, as well as “fat” people who are very healthy – high muscle mass leads to a high BMI, and people with larger frames look really sickly at a “recommended weight.”

    The message from WALL-E was hardly that fat people are lazy, but that most lazy people who don’t care about their bodies will, eventually, get fat. (This is sort of the “all mammals are animals, but not all animals are mammals” thing.)

  20. “Why should fat people have to be quiet and reasonable? Nobody else is.”

    Isn’t the answer obvious? Because they are supposed to be Jolly. They are giving Santa a bad rap. 😉 Uh-oh, that was a stereotype.

  21. “I’m a health nut, in many ways. I could care less whether people are skinny or have a BMI that’s too high; what I care about is whether or not people take good care of their bodies.”

    The only reason I find this so problematic is because there are so many in the fat acceptance movement who preach not only being comfortable with your weight- no matter what it is- BUT ALSO that it is healthy to be just about any weight. They decry statistics about obesity leading to diabetes, heart attacks, etc. as a giant conspiracy by doctors to drum up business and force people to take drugs. And because some of these things are built on a grain of truth (like the near utter uselessness of cholesterol testing) they convince some people- already seeking to rationalize their way out of uncomfortable personal changes- that maybe being 400lbs and 5’2″ isn’t all that dangerous for their health. That is my main problem with the fat acceptance movement.

  22. Teresa says:

    TT,

    Denialism.com has done some really good articles on this.

    Denying the bulk of scientific evidence in favor of anomalous studies and theories to support an ideology is not only irrational, it’s often dangerous.

    It occures to me that I could have come off as supporting “fat denialism” and that’s not it at all. Just my frustration at being large and having people assume that I’m going to keel over at any minute.

    On the other hand, stero-types can be fun! I just had a grandmother show up to observe her grandson in one of my classes. She gave me the old “up down”‘ look like “SHE’S going to teach my grandson martial arts?”

    Halfway into the class, she was just shaking her head in amazement as I managed to wear out an entire classrom of children at four different skill levels (they all get breaks when I am working with someone else on form) and then ended ready to teach yet another class.

    I’d mentioned that Id already taught for four hours that morning, and she was floored.

    🙂

  23. I often find stereotypes funny. And to be honest, the best way to disarm a stereotype is to be able to laugh about it. Perhaps this comes from having lots of friends who also took the stereotypes about their race, gender, religion none too seriously.

    And no, I didn’t think you were supporting fat denialism. And I do think that no one should be cruel toward fat people (or midgets for that matter…I mean little people). But too often speaking the truth about the health risks of obesity is seen as cruel by those who don’t want to be confronted with a drastic change in their current lifestyle.

  24. 1godsgal says:

    “But too often speaking the truth about the health risks of obesity is seen as cruel by those who don’t want to be confronted with a drastic change in their current lifestyle.”

    Yup that was me for way too long, and quite frankly it’s easier NOT to take care of myself…ick! As you can see I’m completely intimidated to come here anymore which means the Lord is working on me. I really do want this this time. I read a comment on your “running” entry… 🙄 yes I DID read it… about how difficult it would be for this body to run and your suggestions afterward. I’ll start slow….REALLY slow..and try to be accountable…I’ve just come to the realization that I can’t do all the Lord has called me to do if I’m not fit. So here I go….blessings on your day!

  25. Godgal, try out Runner’s World magazines Couch to 5k program. You can find it here.

    http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml

    I hope that helps.

  26. Rachel D. says:

    You are so right in that it is just a movie. It is like people have forgotten the difference between fact and fiction. I guess I need to go see this one before I can really comment more.

  27. blueberryhil says:

    Okay, it may be just a movie, but it is also a *kid’s* movie, and I do have a pretty big problem with any movie that could encourage children to make fun of overweight people. Sure, adults should understand the satire, but many eight-year-olds are just going to get the idea that fat people are clumsy and fun to laugh at. Eight-year-olds are brutal enough without encouragement–believe me, I know.

    And while I disagree with many aspects of the fat acceptance movement, the term “fat fetishists” is insulting and inaccurate.

  28. “And while I disagree with many aspects of the fat acceptance movement, the term “fat fetishists” is insulting and inaccurate.”

    The term, as a I described it above, is self-limiting. It obviously doesn’t apply to all of those in the fat acceptance movement. If you don’t trust me that such people exist, just visit this thread and you will see one striking example BBH.

    http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/my-first-real-hate-mail-its-about-time/

    Note: Start at comment 17 and work your way down.

    “the term “fat fetishists” is insulting and inaccurate.”

    While it may be insulting, it is accurate for those it is intended to portray. Also, I guess if you had read enough fat acceptance blogs where they talk about the joy of fat sex (oh the search terms that will bring) you would not so shocked or insulted by it.

    I have edited the post to indicate more clearly that those I label “fatishists” are a minority among the fat acceptance movement. Does that help?

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  29. After watching this movie I knew somebody would complain.

  30. Israel says:

    I LOVE. I love it I love it i love it.

    Where do I begin? I have so much to say (but probably won’t).
    I liked the movie. So did my daughter, she is 3. She often points at really obese people and asks me if they are pregnant (she now knows that only woman can get pregnant). Sometimes she will point and say, “Look daddy, he is big like you.” Thanks for helping me teach my kid about reproduction. I guess being fat has its advantages…

    I’m fat, I hate being fat. For a while I stopped thinking about being fat. I would consider myself to be morbidly obese since at my highest point i was 350 lbs, 6 ft tall. I hold my weight well, and an athletic. Not like those sloppy, soft people you see with no muscle under the fat. Or like the people in the CARTOON movie that fat peeps are bitching about. So for that reason, I was okay with being fat for a few years. Every now and then I would get disgusted with myself and want to do something about it. But I was TOO LAZY and woudlnt. It would usually occur when I was uncomfortable in a situation. Sort of like, damn now I have to take my shirt off at the beach, or I’m 300 lbs and am eating at an all you can eat chinese buffet. Stuff like that.

    I wont be fat for much longer, Im committed to getting in shape. Key word is in shape, not skinny. At 205 lbs I look very sickly. So my ideal weight is in the 220 lbs or so. But I do know that i hate being fat.

    now on to the movie. the movie is saying make fun of fat people. Its saying, dont be lazy and take the earth for granted. If you do, you will turn into a blob. a fat ass blob. a fat lazy blob. i cant stand when blogs and fat asses start bitching about such stupid things. you are what you are right? if you’re fat, you’re fat. so what. if you are gay you’re gay. so what. if you’re short you are short. if you have a big nose thats what you have. change it if you can (and it bothers you) or deal with it. these fat activisits, or w/e they are called, are ridiculous man. seriously. this was a cartoon movie. its one thing to try and get some acceptance of larger people, like airplane seat sizes, or restaurant tables so you can fit in, but c’mon. some of these people are trying to cry holocaust and slavery type racism hatred against fat people. if you are fat and think its cool and okay, then live your life. if someone calls you a fat ass, woudlnt you be cool with that? or are you that uncomfortable in your own skin that any little thing triggers you. man, i dont think i am even getting the point i want to get across out. if you are that comfortable and think its okay to be super obese and eat fried food and crap 24 7, etc. or w/e fat activists preach, then you should be able get past a movie and chill. i have unsubsribed from several blogs because they had become these types of blogs where everything they wrote about was how this new magazine, or this new (enter something about fat people in the media) article depicts societys hatred for fat people. why dont all the fat activists go start a new country or new society somewhere? lol. that would be a hilarious movie.

    okay, enuff of my crap. i could’ve saved this rant for a post on my blog, but i got so tired of hearing about wall e and fat people. has anyone seen the ones about wall e being designed like a short, far person that cant communitcate? yeah, seriously…

    as i watched the movie i left happy because during the end credits, mankind gets back to its roots and starst planting, building, farming, and getting back in shape from doing these things. my wifes impression of the movie was that society shoudlnt get lazy and take things and the earth for granted. not once did she think fat people were being depcited for ruining things.

    anyway. enuff. (notice how i got lazy and started having mad typos). lol

  31. Not a problem Israel. Thanks for stopping by. You may want to reshape that into a post over on your blog.

  32. jennathlete says:

    followed a link here from Every Gym’s Nightmare, and even though I’m a bit late, I’ve still got to chime in.

    I dislike the term ‘acceptance’ to go along with the movement. I think it implies to much. Does the fat acceptance movement want obese people to be accepted as people, and that as such they deserve respect, compassion and understanding? That I can get on board with. But if fat acceptance means fat encouragement, well, that I disagree with.

  33. “even though I’m a bit late, I’ve still got to chime in. ”

    It is never too late Jenn.

    “…if fat acceptance means fat encouragement, well, that I disagree with.”

    Amen sister. From what I’ve seen of their web sites and blogs, much of the fat acceptance movement is a mixing of both decrying discrimination against fat people AND proclaiming the evil motives of the doctors who claim that being fat isn’t healthy. I have rarely seen any kind of fitness advice included.

    I for one wish they would accept my simple formula. Eat healthy foods, live an active lifestyle, and let your body weight change however it may. Sadly, many in the movement think that there is a conspiracy to make it appear that being fat is unhealthy. They even have their own “junk science” debunkers who claim that all the studies linking obesity and a variety of health defects are either flawed or actually argue in their favor.

    Of course, for those who are obese and have long faced the jeers of people as they walk down the street they are intoxicated with this message. It justifies their weight and frees them from the responsibility to move toward a healthy lifestyle (which is often difficult and uncomfortable). It is a sad situation indeed.

  34. I think the fact that people would be hugely overweight and lose the ability to think for themselves after 700 years of serious pampering makes perfect sense (and I speak as an overweight person currently). As we become more and more sedentary because of modern conveniences, we are going to have to get off of our duff and move. We also have to watch how much time we spend watching movies and playing video games. I love both, but if we don’t spend time exercising our brain, it becomes a lump of jell-o.

    Having said that, I still don’t like Wall-e:) BTW, have you seen the movie Idiocracy? Great movie! And great way to portray the way we are moving!

  35. “Having said that, I still don’t like Wall-e”

    Does he looks too much like the Short Circuit robot for your tastes?

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