Many ideas about fatness and people who are fat are engrained in us as children through images, movies/shows, advertisement, symbols, behaviors, and attitudes and very few of them are positive. Here are some tropes that I’ve observed and finally outlined.
The Gentle Giant
A general trope presented as benign in nature and intention. The Gentle Giant is an asexual servant of kindness who just wants to help. They are rejected because of their size and people are afraid of them because they are “too big to be allowed”, but really all they want is friends and to assist you, which no one expects from them or rejects offhand.
Sometimes they might lose control of their emotions and lash out, so people should be afraid, but the Gentle Giant is here to serve and inspires sympathy and pity.
An example of this trope is Hachigen Ushoda from Tite Kubo’s Bleach.
The Sex-Hungry Goliath
Oh.my.gawd— Don’t even get me started on Duece Bigalow: Male Gigolo. I think this trope’s name speaks for itself if you’ve ever seen that movie. The Sex-Hungry Goliath is usually a characters presented as so obese they are usually seen only in bed and need to hire or trick someone into appeasing their rampant, disgusting sexual desires. Disgusting because they are fat, and, what’s more, bold enough to be horny or even have sexual desires at all.
Sometimes this character is able-bodied and is seen harassing or assaulting a thin attractive person.
The best examples of this trope are usually played by men dressed as women, sometimes in body suits, wigs, and makeup.
Fluisa (Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) and just about any Martin Lawrence movie with him in a body suit are examples.
Sex-Hungry Goliath probably doesn’t deserve physical contact with anyone, especially acceptable, good-looking thin people but is too horny and too fat, too hungry, “too big to be allowed” and wants to get into your pants. Ew, who wants to have sex with someone that fat? Why should someone that fat even want to have sex? Can someone that fat even have sex?! Gross.
The Glutton overlaps with many tropes herein. At the core of nearly all stereotypes about fat people is that they just eat too damn much. Fat people gorge themselves for whatever reason. They gorge themselves gluttonously without restraint, bias, regard to their health or fitness, or control.
The Glutton eats whenever food is presented to her. If food is not present or available, she will go in search of it. Once found or secured, the food must be eaten until nothing remains, or only just enough evidence such as bread crumbs, candy wrappers, and chicken bones—to let you know that the Glutton was there.
The Glutton is defined by her rampant eating habits and refusal to exercise or eat normally. She is defined by her capacity to devour.
The Sloth unlike the Glotton is primarily distinguished by his or her stupidity and physical slowness. Big and dumb, in short. They might be strong but the point is they are still big and dumb.
The Big Bitter Bitch
She’s just irrationally angry at all the beautiful thin women who lead normal healthy lives. She wants to be them but doesn’t want to do the work required to lose weight. So she watches them bitterly, cursing them, and complains about how they get all the guys and all the opportunities.
Some guys like big girls, why can’t she just stop focusing her attention on pretty thin girls and stop being so bitter??? She’s just jealous.
The Nice Girl Who Just Needs to Lose Weight
She’s so pretty…but if she lost weight people would look twice at her, for sure, ya? She’s quiet, nice, and sweet. Why won’t she slim down, and people will accept her? She’s be the belle of the ball if she just drops a a few pounds…
The Magical/Preternatural Fatty, the Fat Faerie
Everybody loves Santa Clause, right?He holds all the love and care of a thousand glasses of milk and twice as many cookies beneath his belt.
As long as he can squeeze down chimneys and put those presents under the tree, no one cares that he’s technically breaking and entering…or that’s he’s a great big fat white person.
Magical fat people are either benign or up to no good. If they are benign, people sympathize with them but either shush people who call them fat (because its not polite and this fat one is one of the good guys) or conversely, if they are villains are quick to point out how fat, lazy, ugly and evil they are and how they should just die.
Also overlaps with the Gentle Giant and the Merry Fatty.
The Merry Fatty
The Fat Friar, ghost of Hufflepuff House in Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Heimlich, from A Bug’s Life come to mind as examples of this archetype. Sometimes they are portrayed as cute, loved, and cuddly. However, they exist only to be happy and put food in their faces. They are fat, light-hearted, and merry as Christmas…but beyond that they are nothing else. The Merry Fatty rarely appears with any importance or depth of character.
As for example, Hufflepuff is the most downplayed House in the series, with a ghost distinguished (similar to the Fat Lady) only by his fatness, and Heimlich was obviously so merrily adorably fat that he couldn’t even turn into a proper butterfly after exiting his cocoon.
The Merry Fatty is not a 3-dimensional character, the Merry Fatty is trope, a stereotype.
The Fatty McFatty Spoof
This caricature usually appears in instances of extreme comedy and satire, on late night television and in a fair share of movies, such as Austin Powers: Gold Member, in the character Fat Bastard.
The entire set is centered around the character’s fatness as unpleasant and/or humorous.
The Fatty McFatty Spoof’s only purpose is to disgust people as much as possible with his fatness, particularly his lack of manners and extreme eating habits. If he makes you laugh, then all the better.
The Spoiled Fat Child
This is the fat child who people usually hate. Usually considered too overweight for their age, lazy, and incapable of normal physical activity, the Spoiled Fat Child is mostly seen bullying or annoying the thin main character (using their weight/size to do so), eating way too much of something that is considered unhealthy, blackmailing or manipulating someone into getting them something they want, particularly sweets, toys, or other foods. Dudley Dursley of Rowling’s Harry Potter is a good example of this, along with that “do the roar” kid from Shrek Forever After. If the Spoiled Fat Child doesn’t get what they want, they will promptly throw a tantrum.
The Spoiled Fat Child sometimes becomes a source of pity for those around them.
Usually a Black womyn, the Mammy is, similar to the Gentle Giant, an asexual motherly character who cares for everyone’s kids but probably doesn’t have any of her own. She is metaphorically, lawfully, emotionally, and physical enslaved to her role as a fat, gentle caregiver.
Normally presented as physically unattractive, her only worth and purpose resting in her ability and need to care for others, particularly children.
The Nurturing Fat Mother
The Nurturing Fat Mother may have hectic life running her household but it is the only domain she has any control over. She cooks, she cleans, she changes diapers, runs errands (but never goes too far from home in the event that she is needed there), she dispenses advice that helps husband and sons’ live run most smoothly and prepares her daughters for how to do the same for her own husband someday.
She may not wear makeup or look like a supermodel or the kind of gal you want to take out for a night on the town, but she’s a good housewife and homemaker. She was probably thin once but child-bearing, stress with all her housework, and too many samplings of those homemade cookies put some fat on her. She’s round and dumpy now, everyone sees it, but she’s a mom, so its okay as long as no one expects anything more from her.
The Wasted Jock
He’s a good ol’ boy, likable, star quarterback, pro-golf, basketball star, wrestling or boxing champ, the best of all his baseball friends. But…sports, that’s all he good at. He was injured. He lost his scholarships. And now no one comes to see him anymore, now that that shine is gone. He can’t play, so what’s the point. He drinks and eats, too fat to play now even if he could, and watches others get the fame he wanted so bad…