Why Such Rage at Obesity? Start With 'Self-Loathing'

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2009 5:00 PM CDT
U.S. map shows adult obesity prevalence by state.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – If so many people are fat in this country, why is there so much venom against the overweight? Part of it can be chalked up to "self-loathing," write Kate Dailey and Abby Ellin in Newsweek. We're conditioned to consider extra pounds unattractive, and we get ticked off when we can't shed them. "The same people that tend to get very angry at themselves for not being able to manage their weight are more likely to be biased against the obese," says one researcher.

This anger transfer is mostly due to something psychologists call the "fundamental attribution error." We can excuse ourselves for being overweight—we know all the valid reasons—but everyone else must be lazy. Contributing to the mix is that people like being angry. It gives them a power-boost, and the obese are an easy "target for some soul-clearing, ego-boosting ranting."