Weightism is a bias or discrimination against people who are overweight. It is based on a set of stereotypes about the abilities of overweight individuals and includes prejudices that they are self-indulgent, socially inept, and mentally slow. Obesity was judged to be incompatible with intelligence and acuity.
The weight stigma is a relatively modern one. Fat shaming started in the 1950s. In March 1954, Life magazine featured an article entitled “The Plague of Overweight” in which obesity was described as the most serious health problem of the day. Without any further consideration the condition was linked to gluttony. At the time, only around three percent of Americans were considered overweight.
From the Renaissance onward, obesity had suggested wealth and power. It pointed at the means to supply and enjoy the luxury of food. Plumpness equaled prosperity. If one’s body was a temple, then being the size of a cathedral signaled status. Physical proportion was a badge of economic and physical well-being, both in individual and national terms. [Read more…] about The Joy of Eating: Billy Possum, Fat Men Clubs & Obesity History