Are comics in a crucial state because not enough fat heroes are saving the day? Well according to The Mary Sue contributor Samantha Puc it is.
This is an utter ridiculous claim. We do not need more fat heroes in comics.
Why Aren’t There More Fat Superheroes?
Puc begins her argument stating there aren’t many fat superheroes and she can count them on one hand. However, it’s not just that they’re fat she takes issue with. She also points out they are white and blonde as well. She also claims fat superheroes are made thin if they are adapted into live-action roles.
“I can count on one hand how many fat superheroes I’ve encountered in comics, and these characters are still mostly white, mostly blonde, and almost always played by thin people if they ever make it to TV or film adaptations, which is honestly just infuriating. Our limited positive representation in comics is stripped away as soon as audiences have to look at those characters on-screen.”
The reason you don’t normally see overweight heroes in comics is like any sort of mythos our species has developed. Even before writing down our tales, heroes in most cases were depicted at an almost demigod level in physical appearance. In other words, we try to put the best into our stories of heroes and superheroes. Whether the author likes it or not, that’s why you see marble statues of ancient Greeks and Romans portray people in what that society felt to be the ideal body and shape.
And before someone says it, yes they weren’t size zeros, but at the same time, they didn’t look like something out of Tumblr either. The figures and peoples displayed always were a reflection of that time’s values. Look at a Statue of Zeus, Hercules, Artemis (my personal favorite) or any other figure.
Is it because We Hate Fat People?
Puc then claims there aren’t more fat superheroes because supposedly people view them as “disgusting.”
“We’re just that disgusting, right? At least, that’s what we’re told. “Fat” is just an adjective, but it’s one often used as an insult. Fat people are assumed to be lazy, unintelligent, selfish, greedy, and poor—”
Maybe the author feels that she is “disgusting,” but the truth is, like any business, comics are there to sell issues of their comics. So to just artificially try and add it some fat people into a story for a few ultra sensitive people makes no real business sense. Comics create characters we want to be, heroes we try to emulate. We want to be super strong, save the day, etc. I have never come into contact with anyone who wanted to be fat. Instead, I see people actively working against it, for the better.
The last part of this point is more depressing than anything else, and its the excuses. Yes, I know life happens. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of experiences. But here you have someone making excuses for something that honestly is a lifestyle choice. You can choose to be fat, and you can choose not to be. The difficulty isn’t being denied here. But you cannot force how you feel about it onto others.
Being Overweight isn’t a Victim Status, It’s a Life Choice
She then goes on to say that fat people are forced into poverty. Their fatness somehow makes them innately poor and forces them into a lifestyle of getting fatter.
“…and because it’s harder for fat folks to find work, especially fat women, we’re forced into positions where poverty rules over our ability to do anything about the weight everyone finds so offensive. Gyms cost money, fresh food is more expensive than preserved, and clothing that fits and makes us look even semi-professional costs far more than it does for smaller people.”
This part right here: “Gyms cost money, fresh food is more expensive than preserved, and clothing that fits and makes us look even semi-professional costs far more than it does for smaller people.” Like anything in life, stuff does cost money, go figure. But to act as if your own life choice somehow is a hand unfairly dealt with you is laughable. I mean, yes if something is going to take more material to make, of course, it’s going to cost more. It’s like getting mad because the larger automobile is more expensive.
What if you don’t have money for a gym membership? Well, do stuff at home. There is this wonderful platform called YouTube that has plenty of channels dedicated to helping people lose weight. Don’t want to buy equipment? No problem because people like The Fitness Marshall have you covered.
As for fresh foods and other points related to diet, that’s your own value base judgment. Some people will pay more for better quality foods that are healthier. Heck, if you know how to shop you can save money buying healthier foods. At the end of it, it is about caloric intake and activity. If you can manage the two, then you can make progress.
So to act as if being healthy is out of reach is very dishonest. In that in itself is the truly most damaging message anyone could put out there.
In fact, if you’ve seen Disney’s The Incredibles, you can see how lifestyle choices affect superheroes. When Bob Parr aka Mr. Incredible is at the top of his game, he’s fit and strong. But when the supers have to go into hiding and he’s working at an insurance company, he’s put on quite a few pounds. He’s not living as active a lifestyle and it shows. It’s not until he begins his super activities that he begins changing his lifestyle and getting back in shape.
The amount of activity most of the modern day superheroes perform would keep them in top shape. They just simply couldn’t be fat.
No, We Want Healthy People
Her next point is to call for more fat characters in order to remove her belief that fatness is synonymous with evilness, laziness, or cruelty.
“Cultural attitudes toward fatness seem to be, in some ways, shifting. However, to keep that momentum going, it’s important that popular media confront its biases and push to be more inclusive. Give me fat mutants, fat time travelers, fat gods, and fat wonder women. Let readers acknowledge that fatness is not synonymous with evilness, laziness, or cruelty.”
No, it is synonymous with an unhealthy lifestyle, one of which drives up the medical costs for the rest of society. And it sends a terrible message to a society that right now is struggling with the burden of an obesity crisis. One that has a large percentage of the population contending with medical issues that are completely avoidable with simple changes in how you behave.
We live in a time where poor people are dying from complications of taking in too many calories, the first time in human history. Obesity doesn’t need to be hugged and pampered, it needs to be addressed so that people can enjoy the highest quality of life with dignity. No matter if you like it or not, it’s not a healthy way to live.
Let Heroes Be Heroes, Not Tokens
She then reiterates the call for more fat characters and more fat superheroes.
“We need more fat characters. We need more fat superheroes…Let fat characters be fat, but let them be more than that, too.”
Why don’t we let people be people? There isn’t’ this secret entertainment police trying to exclude fat characters. If anything the comic book industry has been working overtime throwing fans under the bus to cater to the whims of the activist fringe left. So why can’t we just have good comics, with some amazing art, and kick ass stories?
What we are sick of as fans are tokens who are there to check off a box of “diversity.” Not only is that disrespectful towards the fans, but the group of people you’re trying to include. People aren’t single noted pawns. People are more than that.
But just to reiterate how inane this argument is, she points to She-Hulk as a terrible example of the type of character she is looking for.
“She Hulk is also drawn as plus size in many instances, but her bulk comes from muscle more than fat.” So she doesn’t actually want big-boned characters who are muscular. She wants unhealthy fat people.
When has this become a controversial issue for us? We don’t need more fat superheroes. Now if you excuse me I got a date with my heavy bag.