Today in the U.S., millions of people who are larger than average will encounter significant discrimination, suffer unfair treatment and humiliation, and be denied equal opportunities in all areas of life.
Weight discrimination, sometimes called “fatism”, is a serious problem with devastating consequences both for the individuals who are discriminated against and for society as a whole. In America, 33% of the adult population is considered morbidly obese (Kristen, 2000: 60). That is 58 million people.
“A survey of college students found that they would prefer to marry an embezzler, drug user, shoplifter, or a blind person than someone who is fat” (Maine 2000:21).
In America, overweight women suffer the preponderance of weight-based discrimination. They are not viewed as “normal human being[s] with normal needs, desires, virtues and vices” (Goodman 1995: 2) but as failures, examples of what not to be—or become. They are continuously scrutinized, criticized, ostracized, and subjected to a constant stream of social prejudice, stereotypes, and double standards.