Today in Fat Hatred

[Trigger warning for fat hatred and discussion of disordered eating.]

Apple is offering a great new app for the iPhone charmingly called FatBooth. The app allows users to turn headshots of thin people into fat people! Because fat people are hilarious, amiright?!

Naturally, the app doesn't say it only turns thin people into fatties, because the description assumes it's speaking only to thin people—or, as we monstrous non-human fatties are meant to think of them, just "people."
Tired of diets?! Get fat instantly with FatBooth (by the creators of AgingBooth, #1 Top Paid App in more than 25 countries). What would you look like with a "few" extra pounds? And what about your friends? Find out with FatBooth, a fun way to instantly supersize faces on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Use FatBooth on family, friends or colleagues photos and share them via email, MMS, FaceBook, Twitter.
Won't it just be hilarious to harass your family and friends (and colleagues?!) by showing pictures of them all fat and shit?! That's comedy gold, baby.

Apart from the evident fat hatred implicit in treating fat people as objects of ridicule, inherently laughable simply by virtue of their appearance, the exhortation to "fatten" other people and publicly post pictures of them is wildly irresponsible. There are millions of people in the US alone with eating disorders, most of which aren't self-evident and many of which could be triggered by the unexpected receipt of a "fattened" picture of oneself. What uproarious fun to trigger a slim person who battles every day against binge eating; what a riotous jest to trigger a slim person who battles every day against a body dysmorphic disorder that causes hir to see hirself as fat when zie isn't.

The app description also includes the "Warning" that "FatBooth is a funny application made for entertainment purposes only and does not guarantee resemblance to the real fattening process." Leaving aside the idea that the mockery of fat people is "entertainment," I'd like to note that there's actually no such thing as "the real fattening process," or no one process.

Naturally, the makers of FatBooth only intend to make fun of those fatties whose "fattening process" happened via stuffing their fat faces full of fatty foods all fat day—never mind that making fun of fat people who got fat by stuffing their fat faces full of fatty foods all fat day is an indefensible position anyway, if one has even a rudimentary belief in free will, autonomy, and individual agency—and that they don't intend to make fun of those fatties whose "fattening process" was a result of disease, or disability, or treatment of one of the above.

But such distinctions cannot be made. Some of us are fat because we are lazy overeaters. Some of us are fat because we are disabled and cannot get enough exercise. Some of us are fat because we are ill. Some of us are fat because we ruined our metabolisms yo-yo dieting at a much lesser weight. Some of us are fat because we are on medication that causes weight gain. Some of us are fat because we self-medicate with food. Some of us are fat because we are trauma survivors who subconsciously (or consciously) use fat as a self-defense mechanism. Some of us are fat because we like the way it looks. Some of us are fat because of genetics. Some of us are fat because we just had a baby. Some of us are fat because we are poor. Some of us are fat for reasons we haven't even identified ourselves.

And FatBooth makes fun of all of us.

And further to the dehumanization and derision of fat people, it treats us all as one giant blobby monolith, who all get fat in the same way. FatBooth happens to "fatten" people in a way that looks like me, but not every fat person gets a double-chin and widened nose. Of the many things wrong with FatBooth, its failure to "fatten" well may seem a minor complaint—but it's indicative of how the makers of the app regard fatties not like individual people, but as a collection of silly attributes worthy of scorn and contempt.

Shaker Dr. Jan Itor emailed me about the app, noting: "I actually discovered it through Facebook, where one of my friends uploaded an album. … The 'friend' on Facebook included comments on each picture she uploaded about the person 'letting hirself go' and it being the result of 'eating too much cake!' Hardy har har."

I'm sure her fat friends find that just hilarious.

For the pleasure of "fattening" your family, friends, and colleagues, and turning fat people into a punchline yet again, FatBooth will cost you ninety-nine cents.

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