Depressing Study of the Day

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

A number of women would rather be severely depressed or blind, than fat.

It\’s a new study out of the University of Arizona….

[Women] were asked to choose whether they would rather be obese or have one of 12 socially stigmatized conditions, such as alcoholism or herpes. In many cases, the women would rather have more of the other conditions, with 25.4 percent preferring severe depression and 14.5 percent preferring total blindness over obesity.

Of course what “fat” means is subjective, especially if you compare a Hollywood starlet to say, your average mom of 2 living in a suburb….but we can’t deny that attitudes these days are completely skewed about women’s health, and that there is immense pressure put on women to fit an ideal you may see in magazines or on billboards.

Then again, we have an obesity epidemic in this country, so talking about our weight is important….as long as it promotes healthy eating habits and exercise rather than bulimia and diet pills.

But long story short, preferring to be blind rather than fat says a lot….it means we’re fucked up.


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29 Responses to “Depressing Study of the Day”

  1. #1 |  Brad | 

    “the ASU team interviewed 101 women from the Phoenix area”

    Might be some bias in that set.

  2. #2 |  pegr | 

    Especially when you consider that “not being fat” is easy.


  3. #3 |  MassHole | 

    Hot AND Blind you say? There is hope for me yet!

  4. #4 |  Alyona Minkovski | 

    “101 women from the Phoenix area and 812 of their closest friends and family members”

    The study mainly looks at how attitudes towards obesity are created by those your surround yourself with…and why obesity is contagious.

    And I think there’s always bias in any study, but coming from California, I can tell you that there are many women I know that would probably answer the same way.

  5. #5 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    So being fat is most despised in the country with the most fat people?

    PS Who else got aroused hearing Alyona drop the F-bomb?

  6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 

    The first problem with the Obesity Epidemic is that they are using the BMI, which is a total bullshit and arbitrary matrix.

    Problem two, this is just another fear mongering technique to give the busy-bodies moral justification to fuck with our personal lives some more.

  7. #7 |  Sean L. | 

    “…preferring to be blind rather than fat says a lot….it means we’re fucked up.”

    Actually, I’d guess it’s because these women have never been blind or clinically depressed. Ask a blind woman if she’d take 50 pounds (that couldn’t be lost) to get her sight back.

    The grass is always greener, as they say.

  8. #8 |  BamBam | 

    @3, if you’re blind then how do you know if you or others are Hot or Not? :) You can only go by feel, which means being in shape is even more important when you’re blind!

  9. #9 |  Kevin | 

    I’m not a woman, but I am legally blind. I’ll take being overweight over being blind. My weight is something I can control (lost 53 lbs so far), but I’m stuck being (mostly) blind for the rest of my life, and it’s no picnic. The responses fall under the same category as the absurd responses regarding speaking in public. Apparently, the survey subjects were more frightened of speaking in public than they were of death. Statistical noise.

  10. #10 |  William | 

    I think Sir Mix-a-lot said it best… My anaconda don’t want none
    Unless you’ve got buns, hun.

  11. #11 |  ClubMedSux | 

    What I really don’t get is preferring depression over obesity. To me the main reason you wouldn’t want to be obese is because the baggage that comes along with it would make you depressed. That being said, there are obviously plenty of overweight people out there who are still able to lead happy, fulfilled lives. But if you’re depressed, does it even matter whether you’re skinny or fat?

  12. #12 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    We are not having an Obesity Epidemic. We are having a Panic Over Obesity Epidemic. The sad thing is that it could be prevented so easily, if we would just tell buttinskis like Michael Bloom(in’ Idiot)burgh and The Center For (Pseudo-) Science in the (Pestering the) Public Interest to p*ss up a rope and stand umnder it while it dries.

    My Lady has an eating disorder. It manifests as Obesity rather than Anorexia or any of its variants, but the underlying psychology is similar enough that she has done group therapy with Anorexics more than once. I have spent entirely too much time in rooms full of women in their 20’s and 30’s who looked like they were 12. I have NO patience with the “we all should be in perfect (thin) shape” swine.

  13. #13 |  Rhayader | 

    They’re just scared because they haven’t met the right men yet.

  14. #14 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I have NO patience with the “we all should be in perfect (thin) shape” swine.

    I find it instructive to compare your average supermodel (a caricature of the average woman’s concept of feminine beauty) to the average porn star (a caricature of the average man’s concept of feminine beauty). While the most popular porn stars are by no means obese, they have far more meat on their bones than your typical runway model.

  15. #15 |  Corkscrew | 

    But long story short, preferring to be blind rather than fat says a lot….it means we’re fucked up.

    It means we’re human. Most humans have a fundamental urge to look attractive to the opposite sex (I speak as someone who has just come back from torturing himself at the gym).

    If being fat was seen as beautiful (as in some parts of Samoa, iirc), we really would have an obesity epidemic.

    While the most popular porn stars are by no means obese, they have far more meat on their bones than your typical runway model.

    I was actually talking to a fashion student about this the other day. She said that the point of catwalk models isn’t to look beautiful, it’s to get out the way so the clothes can look beautiful. Curves stop the fabric hanging as intended. Nothing really to do with the models’ attractiveness or otherwise – but obviously it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

  16. #16 |  Curt | 

    I’m pretty amused that as I view this article, there’s an ad for Jillian Michaels appearing (I’m sure that’s no coincidence). She’s kinda scary.

    @ #12, I’ve also got no patience for the “we all should be in perfect (thin) shape” crap. What I really hate is when people think “perfect” and “thin” are the same thing. Can I get a amen for “healthy”! Skin-and-bones is at least as bad as obese… and neither are healthy.

  17. #17 |  Mike T | 

    While the most popular porn stars are by no means obese, they have far more meat on their bones than your typical runway model.

    That’s because porn stars are meant to appeal to straight men, while runway models are meant to appeal to gay men.

  18. #18 |  Brian | 

    I wonder whether they would change their answers if they found out that a lot of the medications used to treat severe depression list weight gain as a side-effect.

  19. #19 |  Depressing Story of the Day – Redux | The Agitator | 

    […] today, Alyona posted the story from ASU that shows 1 in 6 women would rather be blind than fat, concluding that we as a […]

  20. #20 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    While the most popular porn stars are by no means obese, they have far more meat on their bones than your typical runway model.

    Off to fact check!

  21. #21 |  Athena | 

    The fashion industry is ruled by women and gay men. They do not represent what heterosexual males want to see. In fact, as we speak, one of Yahoo!s front page stories is “Eight looks women love, but men hate”. In it, the author outlines several fads that the fashion industry is pushing, but men don’t find particularly attractive.

    I call it “The Cosmo Effect”. We’ve all seen those articles advertised on the front of Cosmo while standing in line at the grocery store. “75 Sex Moves Men Crave!” I’ve always wondered what kind of woman counts on a woman’s magazine to tell her what a man wants. But that’s precisely the problem, here! For decades, now, we’ve allowed other women (and gay men) to establish the standards by which we can consider ourselves sexy or desirable. It’s contrary to both logic and biology… and, yes, it’s all sorts of fucked up.

  22. #22 |  B | 

    Speaking as a proud graduate of the University of Arizona, please don’t confuse it with ASU… :)

    I think this says a lot about our values re body image and all of that, but I actually think it says more about the complete lack of empathy on the part of an awful lot of people. If you had people go about their daily lives actually blinded for a week, and then in a (convincing) fat suit for a week, I’d bet their answers would be very, very different.

  23. #23 |  Peter | 

    @ #17 and #20: Going to concur on this one. My wife always tells me the same thing. Basically you (women) are dressing up / make up / etc not for the men (who will sleep with anything) but to compete against the other women. It’s why women are always checking other women out and nitpicking them about minor flaws. “You see her shoes (no), you see how her lipstick doesnt’ match her shoes (no), You see xyz little things (no)” .. never a “you see her ass? (yes)” :)

  24. #24 |  Howlin' Hobbit | 

    epidemic is a term like “war on…” that is being pushed on us by the folks who crave control and don’t care how they achieve it.

    we’re not having an “epidemic” that can be “cured.” people are being intentionally misled by conflating the second definition of epidemic with the first:

    ep·i·dem·ic /ˌɛpɪˈdɛmɪk/

    1. Also, ep·i·dem·i·cal. (of a disease) affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.
    2. extremely prevalent; widespread.

    (emphasis mine. and frankly, I haven’t delved deeply into it, but I’d bet a good ‘murican dollar *cough* that the second definition is more recent than the first.)

    you can’t “catch” obesity from someone. it may be widespread, but that depends on your definition of “obese” and what is being passed off as obese is a ludicrous concept.

    others in this thread have already pointed out who controls the fashion industry. personally, I have no trouble with a person being gay. (on the other paw, I have no problem with someone being hetero. nor metro- nor a-sexual.) the upshot being, if I wanted an ass that looked like a guy’s, I’d be gay and probably hideously flagrant about it (because better blatant than latent, baby!). but as it happens, I like women who are woman shaped (silly me) and that means some curves, damn it!

    /end rant

  25. #25 |  Buc | 

    I wonder if people would feel that way if they actually experienced serious depression or were blind.

    I suspect that the blind group would change their minds pretty quick. Being blind is typically permanent while being fat doesn’t have to be.

  26. #26 |  Windy | 

    @12 Your wife is in good company, Ann Wilson of Heart (the rock group) has the same disorder.

    At the age of 66, I feel that I am 40# overweight, not based on society’s attitudes about weight and build, but rather based on how I was built and how much I weighed from when I was 12 (after which I never physically grew anymore) up until I was about 53 (I was 5’6″ and weighed 100#), when I began to put on weight even tho my diet and exercise habits did not change. My doctor says I’m not fat, but when I look in the mirror I see an image that does not any longer conform to the image I saw in the mirror for most of my adult life.

  27. #27 |  Windy | 

    PS no one EVER said I was too skinny when I weighed 100#, I had nicely shaped limbs and my bones didn’t stick out all over (except my hip bones, I had a sunken, rather than flat belly). I also ate lots of stuff that is considered “fattening” and as a browser, I did, and still do, eat all day long, not a lot at one time but little bits every couple hours for (on average) 18 hours a day (never needed more than 6 hours sleep), tho these days I try to make those foods more healthful, fewer chips and chocolate and more fruit.

  28. #28 |  Windy | 

    @ 22 I’m always pointing out beautiful women to my husband, I never nitpick their bodies or their manner of dress. I also appreciate beautiful, sexy men — David Bowie, Brad Pitt, Steven Tyler, etc.

  29. #29 |  James D | 

    To echo ‘B’, University of Arizona != Arizona State University …. but I wanted to set the record straight for the opposite reason … I hate the U of A. :)