Fatsronauts 101 is a series in which I address assumptions and stereotypes about fat people that treat us as a monolith and are used to dehumanize and marginalize us. If there is a stereotype you'd like me to address, email me.
[Content Note: Fat bias; discussion of disordered eating.]
#13: Fat people looooooooooove Twinkies!
This is closely related to Parts One and Four, but, beyond the notions that all fat people consistently "overeat" to get fat and all fat people routinely binge on massive amounts of food, there lies another myth that all fat people love and consume copious amounts of junk food specifically.
[NB: Although I'm using the commonly understood phrase "junk food" here to refer to foods with little nutritional value, it is not an untroubled term, as, within our current food system, cheap high-calorie foods are of value, i.e. not "junk," to poor children in particular.]
Because Hostess has been in the news lately, there has been a lot of anti-fat humor either suggesting that fat people are devastated by the news, or that fat people are responsible because they weren't eating enough Twinkies—long the iconic emblem of fat-making junk foods.
In either case, the implications are that only fat people consume junk food, and that all fat people consume junk food.
These assertions really ought to be self-evidently false, but nope! Even thin people who talk about loving Twinkies in one breath will make a joke in the next about how only fatties eat Twinkies.
So, let me just say flatly: Not only fat people consume junk food. Not all fat people consume junk food. The end.
But of course that's not really the end, because the real issue hidden behind this particular flavor of anti-fat humor (bullying) is some acknowledgment that "everyone" loves Twinkies, but it's different when fat people love them.
This is one of the most ubiquitous, insidious, casual ways that fat people are Othered: The tacit recognition that, sure, thin people eat junk food, too, but fat people looooooooooove it.
That when thin people eat a Twinkie, it's just a Twinkie, but when fat people eat a Twinkie, it's a symbol of our gluttony, our lack of self-control, our grotesque moral turpitude.
That when thin people eat a Twinkie, it's "naughty," but when fat people eat a Twinkie, it's gross. We're gross.
In both cases, eating junk food is absurdly assigned a moral component (which is itself a whole other post), but when a thin person eats a Twinkie, it's bad behavior, and when a fat person eats a Twinkie, it's being a bad person.
How could you? Don't you know that putting that stuff in your face is what's making you fat? And the rest of us have to LOOK AT YOU.
Because if we had any decency, we wouldn't be all fat in thin people's faces.
The ardent passion for junk food that fat people are alleged to have is shorthand for that repulsive indifference to polluting the world with our hideous bodies. We don't eat Twinkies. We devour them. Inhale them. Gobble them. Shove them in our fat faces.
Because we looooooooooove them. We can't get enough of them.
Remember that the next time someone tells you they food police fat people, or make "innocent jokes" about fat people loving Twinkies, because they're concerned about fatties' health. Remember what it means to imply that only fat people eat junk food, that all fat people eat junk food. Remember what's the real intent behind erasing the existence of fat people who don't eat junk food, and the thin people who do.
Remember it all the next time some thin jokester with hir great jokes and concern trolling about fatties' food choices insists it isn't about aesthetics.
Sure it isn't.
#12: Fat people don't like/want to see media representations of themselves.
#11: No one wants to be fat.
#10: Fat people need you to intervene in their lives.
#9: Fat people don't know how they look.
#8: Fat people don't deserve anything nice.
#7: Fat people are permission slips for thin people to eat what they want.
#6: Any fat person eating a salad or exercising is trying to lose weight.
#5: Fat is axiomatically ugly.
#4: Fat people eat enormous amounts of food.
#3: Fat people are jolly/mean, and fat people are shy/loud.
#2: I can tell how someone eats all the time, because of how they eat around me.
#1: Everyone who is fat is fat for the same reason.