Weighting on Wednesday: The US ruins everything

March 30, 2011

As if our cultural ideal of unnatural thinness weren’t destructive enough, apparently we’re now exporting our dangerous cultural aesthetic.

Jezzie reports:

Arizona State University researchers surveyed people in nine different areas around the world and found that in every location, overweight people are increasingly viewed as “ugly, undesirable, lazy, or lacking in self control,” according to EurekAlert. Biological anthropologist Alexandra Brewis, who co-authored the study, said:

previously, a wide range of ethnographic studies have shown that many human societies preferred larger, plumper bodies. Plump bodies represented success, generosity, fertility, wealth, and beauty.”

However, when presented with various statements about body size, people from the U.S., the U.K., Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Tanzania, and American Samoa all seemed to have adopted a stigma against overweight people. Researchers found attitudes are changing quickly, too. Previous researched showed people in American Samoa didn’t have a negative view of large bodies as recently as the 1990s. Co-author Amber Wutich explained:

People from sites that have adopted fat-negative attitudes more recently seem to be more strident. The late adopters were more likely to agree with the most judgmental statements like ‘fat people are lazy.'”

Um, USA FTW?

Sharing is not always caring, people.

For the sake of ending on a brighter note, here’s brilliant author Sara Zarr talking about coming to terms with her own body image. Thank you, Sara!

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