The Reddit website has a section called Fat People Stories, which features a special vocabulary. An obese person is a “hambeast” or “hamplanet,” and the obesity itself is referred to as a “condishun.” A state of mind known as the “hamentality” can include a skewed rationale called “fatlogic,” a fallacious sense of entitlement, downright rudeness, and other less-than-desirable characteristics. Many entries are mean-spirited anecdotes about how people have behaved badly in ways that may or may not be directly related to their excessive size.
But overweight and obese posters also tell deeply moving stories, making the Reddit section reminiscent of group therapy. These storytellers deserve praise for using Internet anonymity for a purpose other than trolling. Even when nobody knows your name, it takes a certain courage to be so vulnerable and so fearlessly self-assessing. The recounting of personal experience is sometimes the best gift a person can offer the world, and when it is delivered with a few good-natured laughs, so much the better.
More Harm than Good?
The subculture of casual and often crude sharing attracts criticism, and not everyone is a fan of self-deprecating humor. One blogger speaks of Reddit’s “sad network of fat-shaming.” Another blogger, Shiloh Marie, takes a more nuanced view:
In sum, Reddit says a hamplanet is a fat person who uses fat logic to justify not taking care of themselves, as well as not taking responsibility for their unhealthy body size and the impact it has on others, and therefore has no business sticking up for themselves against the ridicule and persecution because they brought it on themselves.
My definition of “hamplanet”? A derogatory term used to describe a fat person who refuses to accept discrimination and derision as part of their daily existence, who strives for positive self-image amidst a mine field of prejudice and thin privilege, and who insists that no matter what someone looks like, they deserve be treated with kindness and consideration.
Reddit contributors as Queefing_Peanuts, gonz4dieg, and CarolineJohnson provide examples of the strange mental landscape in the world of Fat People Stories. Their comments on the sometimes cruel memes on the website often expose commonly held but irrational notions, often in a joking manner.
When you think about them, these notions really don’t make sense. For example, neither free food nor liquid food contains calories. Swearing to start a good habit tomorrow is exactly as valid as actually starting a good habit today. Furthermore, the intention to set foot on a new path tomorrow gives a person license to eat like a lumberjack today. Any amount of exercise deserves the reward of an eating binge, and the damage done by that festival of overindulgence will be cancelled out by washing it down with diet soda.
Scorn for Healthy Weight
The “hamentality” ridicules those who strive to keep their weight in the normal range. They are fools for being satisfied with “rabbit food.” According to this worldview, women who fret about their figures should realize that “only dogs want bones – real men want meat.” There is nothing wrong with being overweight in a world designed for anorexics. Anyone who tries to lose weight by depriving herself or himself of the good things in life is a self-hating masochist. Suspicion even extends to the formerly fat. Science has established the impossibility of sustainable long-term weight loss, so anyone who claims to have lost a large amount must be lying.
Sometimes, these strange beliefs stretch beyond Earth into the metaphysical. If all else fails, blame God. If someone is too big to hold a job or find a mate, how can a mere mortal argue with the divine plan?
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Reddit’s sad network of fat-shaming,” DailyDot.com, November 22, 2013
Source: “Adventures on Reddit: How I discovered Hamplanets and lost part of my soul,” TheFatWord.com, March 19, 2014
Source: “The Twenty-Two Towering Tenets of Fatlogic,” Reddit.com, 2013
Source: “You Might Be a Hamplanet If,” Reddit.com, March 10, 2014
Image by FunkBrothers