In a world where being very skinny is the ideal
and being overweight
has Unfortunate Implications
, many people are self-conscious about their weight
These (usually female) characters are obsessed with dieting in order to reach the ideal; commenting on their figure is often a sensitive point
for them. However, not all characters with Weight Woe
are overweight; many are just Hollywood Pudgy
, and some are even told in-verse that they don't need to diet at all.
Sometimes this is a one-episode affair, usually because someone brings their weight up or they want to impress their Love Interest
; but just as often it is a character quirk. In the latter case, the character is usually a yoyo-dieter, or has too little will-power to keep it up so nothing about their figure changes
When Played for Laughs
, the dieter is a Big Eater
or has a huge Sweet Tooth
that constantly foils their dieting plans
; when Played for Drama
, the dieter is suffering from an eating disorder. The latter in particular may be used for a Very Special Episode
In real life, eating disorders of any kind are never funny
, and sufferers should seek immediate help. On top of the media dictating that one has to be Hollywood Thin
in order to be attractive, eating disorders are commonly caused by the sufferer feeling like they have no control in their life, so obsessively controlling their eating habits and body shape becomes the solution. This is dangerous and can become fatal if left untreated.
In fiction, however, Very Special Episodes
notwithstanding, Weight Woe
is usually Played for Laughs
, most likely because of its sensitive nature and prevailance in real life. The control aspect is often ignored, and the cause of Weight Woe
is almost always solely to do with a character's physical appearance, whether the issue is genuine or percieved.
On the other side of Weight Woe
, there are those who are naturally very thin and can't put on weight. They are often accused of having eating disorders and discriminated against by others, usually out of jealousy. This often leads them to become just as insecure as those who want to lose
weight. However, this side of Weight Woe
is rarely, if ever, presented in fiction.
Sometimes being over- or underweight is caused by a gland issue or some other medical condition. Sometimes people falsely claim to have such a problem to avoid bullying or teasing, and quite often those who do
have something wrong are thought to be lying as well. In fiction, claiming that a medical condition caused a character to be overweight is almost always
just an excuse, akin to I Am Big Boned
A Sister Trope
of Muscle Angst
Compare Huge School Girl
, a girl who is much taller and more developed
than her peers and is insecure about it. Contrast Fat and Proud Big Beautiful Women
/ Big Beautiful Men
, who are comfortable with their size and are usually portrayed as ideal because
they are overweight.
Anime and Manga
- There was an ad for Weight Watchers (or some other diet system) that invoked/exploited this trope. A black & white shot of a pudgy woman staring at the camera, with moist eyes, as her Inner Monologue says "do you think I don't hear what you're saying behind my back?" etc.
- Cathy defines this trope. (Ack!)
- Maureen "Puddin'" in Robert A. Heinlein's short story Cliff and the Calories. She thinks her boyfriend would like her better if she were thinner, so she tries desperately to lose weight.
- Bridget Jones, who obsesses in her diary about her weight. Her weakness is her love of alcohol.
- Patti Mayonnaise in an episode of Doug when she overhears Doug commenting on her weight (he was actually referring to a homemade vehicle he was making).
- In one episode of Hey Arnold!, Harold becomes insecure about his size and strives to lose weight when he overhears Sid and Stinky mocking him. He goes on a cruise with the purpose of helping kids lose weight, but is even bigger when he returns. He manages to lose the extra weight with some help from Arnold, though.
- Drawn Together has one episode where Toot Braunstein attempts to lose weight, both through bulemia and anorexia.
- Lisa Simpson had an episode of this when some kids at school made fun of her weight.
- Homer bounces around this. Sometimes he wants to be thinner, but at least once he had woe because he wanted to gain weight in order to qualify for a disability so he could worm from home.
- Theodore and Eleanor from Alvin and the Chipmunks sometimes become self-conscious about their weight.