Call a Human a "Meatbag"

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/meatbag1_4141.jpg
Cat, human, equally meaty.

Red Volcano: You stand no chance against me, humans.
M'gann and Superboy: WE'RE NOT HUMAN!
Red Volcano: Apologies. I suppose the properly inclusive term is — "meatbags".

When humans are referred to as "meatbags" or as otherwise meaty things by non-meaty a slur by non-human beings. Another, equally valid, version, largely in the case of aliens, is that the term is used not as an intentional slur, but simply to express shock or novelty, or because the alien does not have another term sufficient to describe us. These examples still count as this trope because they may still be interpreted as insults by humans (including the audience). In fact, this may be played for laughs.

An additional variation which may or may not warrant its own subtrope involves vampires and similar creatures referring to humans derogatorily as a food source, with the implication that this is all they are good for.

May frequently overlap with Humans Are Ugly, Humans Are Morons and Humans Are Flawed. A subtrope of Fantastic Slur. Compare Son of an Ape, Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp", Humans by Any Other Name.


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Poison Ivy has been known to trot these out in the comics.
  • The wooden soldiers in Fables tend to refer to anyone who isn't one of them as "meat", with the exception of Geppetto and Pinnochio.
  • In Nextwave Machine Man calls humans "fleshy ones".
  • The Gen'Dai Cyborg Durge does this once in Star Wars: Republic:
    Durge: May the Force be with you, Meatbag.

    Fan Works 
  • In the DBZ fanfic Bringer Of Death, Vegeta acquires an assassin droid (based on HK-47 from SWTOR, according to Word of God) who refers to every organic being as a "meatbag" (Except for Vegeta whom he refers to as "The Master", another trait of HK-47), plus or minus some adjective preceding or following the term, to allow the reader to understand about or to whom he is speaking.
  • Oversaturated World: In Under Development, a body is referred to by Gillion as a "sack of meat".

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Battlefield Earth, the Psychlos typically refer to humans as "man-animals".
  • Played for Laughs in The Fifth Element. During a police shakedown, Korben Dallas is asked if he identifies as human, only for him to respond with "Er, negative. I am a meat popsicle."
  • The Bug "Edgar" from Men in Black uses several of these, including "monkey boy", "meat-sack", "milk-suckers", and "unevolved, undeveloped, barely conscious pond scum totally convinced of their own superiority as they scurry about their short pointless lives." Agent K comments on the Bug's "massive inferiority complex" at one point.
  • There are two kinds of humans in the movie Surrogates. Those that use their animatronic counterparts, and those who don't. Those who do always refer to those who don't as "meatbags" as an insult because they refuse to openly embrace the cultural norm.
  • Variation: In the Transformers Film Series Decepticons typically refer to humans as insects. In the first few instances, it seems to be related most directly to our size and relative lack of advancement, but Revenge Of The Fallen raises a more humorous possibility: The Decepticons know that the overwhelming majority of earth's animal life is arthropods, and going by the Fallen's address to "The Human Hive", they don't realize Humans aren't amongst them.

    Literature 
  • The Yeerks in Animorphs sometimes refer to humans as "meat", comparing their use of humans as hosts to humans eating cattle. Aftran verbalizes this in The Departure: "You're our meat, moo moo".
  • The fairies in Artemis Fowl call humans "mud people".
  • In Belisarius Series, when Aide is exasperated with 6th century humans, he calls them "protoplasmic".
  • In The Bible human weakness is often referred to as "the flesh".
  • In Blood And Chocolate, the werewolves refer to humans as "meat-people". This is considered very offensive by the werewolf community despite the fact that humans are unaware of their existence, because they've been trying to stop their kind thinking of humans as meat to be consumed for generations. They've had... limited success.
  • Some of the more snobbish Minds in The Culture tend to refer to humans as "meat." One Mind who was considered to have an unhealthy interest in reading human minds for the purposes of driving evil people insane earned the nickname Meatfucker — among the Minds scanning any sentient without their explicit permission is a HUGE taboo.
  • Robots in the Cyberiad usually call humans "palefaces", but occasional "meatbag" still appears here and there.
  • The trolls on Discworld don't usually use this for the humans (the trolls are living rock) but in Moving Pictures when a human asks a troll "Why do you eat rock? Aren't you made of it?" the troll's answer is "You're made of meat, and what do you eat?" (Of course, given they're in the movie studio's canteen, the human's reply to that is "Good question!"
  • The Dresden Files: The White Court and Red Court vampires refer to mortals as "kine" and "cattle" respectively, because they see humans as little more than herd animals for them to eat. The White Court also refer to wizards as "freaks", and Harry explains, "Wizards are deer who can call down the lightning and whip up firestorms. From that perspective, we're fairly freakish." This trope is neatly encapsulated in this exchange from Changes:
    Duchess Arianna Ortega: [impaled on several icicles] C-cattle. You are cattle.
    Harry: Moo. [Boom]
  • Shrike in the Mortal Engines series refers to humans as "Once-borns" due to being a Stalker — a type of cyborg made from a human corpse.
  • In the Skinned series, the mechs (humans who had their brains uploaded into androids after their actual bodies are destroyed) call humans "orgs", as in "organic".
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • "Meatbag" is a derogatory term used by some droids for humans.
    • Empire's End has a moment where psychotic droid Mister Bones says "meatbag", in a clear reference to the much-beloved HK-47.
  • In 1990, Omni magazine published Terry Bisson's They're Made Out of Meat. Internet memes have never been the same since.
  • In The Underland Chronicles, most Underland species refer to humans as "killers" in their native languages.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • At one point in Caves of Ice, the techpriest Logash (angry at being denied the chance to investigate a Necron tomb) bitterly refers to "typical meatbag behavior". Given the massive Shout-Out quotient of the series, this is likely a callout to the Trope Codifier. Notably, throughout both the series and 40K in general, regular humans call techpriests "cogboys".
  • Chapter 6 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz contains this exchange:
    Dorothy: He is my dog, Toto.
    Cowardly Lion: Is he made of tin, or stuffed?
    Dorothy: Neither. He's a—a—a meat dog.
  • The Race in Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series call humans Big Uglies (when they're being polite they use Tosevite, as Tosev is their name for our Sun and Tosev 3 the name for our planet). Also inverted in that humans refer to the Race as "Lizards" just as often.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Spike on more than one occasion referred to living humans as "walking Happy Meals".
    • Glory has a tendency to actually refer to humans as "meatbags".
  • In Defiance, racist castithans call humans "pink skins". While humans have variations in skin from very pale to black (not that the originators of the phrase knew that), castithan skin is always white with only slight discoloration around their eyes.
  • A cyborg traitor in Space: Above and Beyond tells the interrogator that the "chigs" have a derogatory nickname for humans — which translates as "red stink things." Fitting enough, as the humans' name for the Chigs is a reference to the Chigoe Flea.
  • In the "Home Soil" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the universal translator interprets a silicon-based lifeform's name for humans as "ugly giant bags of mostly water". (Data actually agrees that "mostly water" is an accurate description, and the "ugly" part may have been justified by the fact that the creatures were angry over the deaths of several of their own at the hands of a Jerkass terraformer who didn't believe them intelligent.)
  • In Super Human Samurai Syber Squad, Big Bad KiloKahn refers to his companion Malcolm as a "meat thing".
  • In Supernatural, demons tend to refer to the human bodies they possess as "meat suits". Angels with contempt for humans refer to us all as "mud monkeys". The people the angels possess are generally referred to as "vessels", which isn't as offensive, but still extremely dehumanizing.
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cameron doesn't understand Sarah's need to find a dead woman's body, saying that the woman is "just bones and meat".

    Music 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Blakist Jihad in the BattleTech universe introduced the Word's heavily cybered-up Manei Domini operatives and their lovely nickname for baseline humans lacking similar enhancements: "frails".
  • More callous vampires from the Vampire series have a tendency to call mortals "juicebags", since in their minds, all we're good for is sustenance. More cultured vampires say "kine" (as in the archaic word for cattle).
  • In some of the supplemental material to Warhammer 40,000 (ex. the Word Bearer novels), the more augmented and thus higher-ranking Magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus tend to refer to humans (and aliens) as "flesh units". This often includes themselves, out of humility for not being fully robotic.

    Video Games 
  • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, An infurated CU5TM-TP loses his temper at the Meriff when it unfolds that the Meriff has been trying to woo a geisha robot.
    CU5TM-TP: Huxter T. Meredith, you are hereby under arrest for violating Elpis ethical code 3110, forbidding unlicensed interplay between— OH MY GOD, you stole my girlfriend, you meatbag! OPEN! THIS! DOOR!
  • Dystopia commonly uses meatsack to refer to a body in the real world, or meatspace, instead of Cyberspace. Some of the insults for the (mostly) robotic heavy armor uses meatbags to refer to mediums and lights.
  • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the chaos goddess calls humans "bags of organs". She doesn't seem to realize it's derogatory, and will happily complement someone on being pretty tough for a squishy bag of organs.
  • Freaking Meatbags : It's right there in the title. The titular meatbags are the humans you convince to help you mine planets. However they're lazy, and rather inept at self defence. Fortunately, you have gene splicing technology and a lot of resources to gather, so they very quickly stop being merely human.
  • The violent Mantises in FTL: Faster Than Light sometimes refer to your crew as "stupid meatsacks". Oddly enough, the partially-robotic Engi make no such insults. Also, the Mantis are exactly what they sound like (man-sized mantises), and still spurt green blood when they die, so they too are meaty, just not meat "sacks". Maybe "meatshells"?
  • Guild Wars: Eye of the North, the previously voiceless Charr often refer to humans as "meat". Guild Wars 2 subverts the obvious implications of the trope by saying that the slur was created by a particularly racist human general as a fear monger tactic, and the Charr embraced it because they want humans to fear them. This is why even the non-hostile and friendly Charr will still refer to you as meat.
  • League of Legends:
    • Robot Girl Orianna refers to organics as "soft things".
    • Blitzcrank, the least human-looking of the robotic champions, refers to organic beings as "fleshling", and not always in a malicious manner. Outside of the League, he apparently runs a dating service, appropriately enough called "Blitzcrank's Fleshling Compatability Service".
  • In MapleStory, the fugitive robot One-Eye calls your character "Squishy" - as a compliment. (He's a little spacy.) Later, all the fugitive robots call you that, also as a compliment.
  • Ratchet & Clank's Dr. Nefarious likes to refer to non-robots, especially Ratchet, as "squishies".
  • In a Shout-Out to HK below, Omega calls organics "meat bag" in Sonic Chronicles.
  • A "not intended as an insult" example - when Star Control II's Slylandro are bid farewell with "Goodbye, Slylandro gas bags!" they cheerfully reply "Goodbye, human fluid sack!"
  • HK-47 in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is very fond of the term "meatbag" when describing living beings. Interestingly, it didn't start out as a slur for all organics. HK-47, when asked to describe Darth Malak, called him a meatbag, and Darth Revan found it so hilarious that he programmed HK-47 to refer to all organics as such. In the sequel, HK-47 dislikes the gray HK-50 droids that repeatedly try to kill the exile, partly because they say "organics" instead of "meatbags".
  • More generally, the Loa in Sword of the Stars II tend to call all organic races "carbonites".
  • One of the insults available to Bots in Tribes is to call the other players "Inefficient Meat Bags."
  • In many of the Wing Commander games, the Kilrathi will refer to humans as "Hairless Apes", among other things. The humans, in term, like to refer to the Kilrathi as cats, kitties, furballs, or Gato.
  • In the Xtended Game Mod for X3: Terran Conflict, a GalNet reporter interviews a Split warrior who has replaced 60% of his body with cybernetics to become the ultimate warrior, and plans to continue til he's a Brain in a Jar encased in a warbot. He claims that he could crush the "meatbag" reporter in a sezura.

    Web Comics 
  • 8-Bit Theater has a robot that asks Red Mage, "What are you looking at, flesh-bag?" Basically a throwaway joke.
  • Apothecia's alien has generally creative insults for Jessie. For example, in the first few pages, he calls her a "meat wheel" and a "limb treat".
  • In Beyond the Canopy, a skeleton soldier refers to several living opponents, regardless of species, as "skinbags".
  • In Darths & Droids, R2/Pete calls humans exactly this, especially if they treat droids as mindless machines. There's a whole undercurrent of tense droid/human relations that isn't in the films at all.
  • In The Demon Archives, the AI Jane refers affectionately to her human partner, Tenzin, as a meatbag.
  • In Goblins, the Kliks are an extradimensional species made of spheres of inorganic matter with two arms and a mouth. Ward, the sole Klik able to speak (thanks to having eaten a Talking Weapon), addresses dwarves/elves/humans with such niceties as "bag of floppy organs" or "pile of wet idiocy".
  • Homestuck: Alpha Bro (Dirk Strider) invented an AI program to auto-respond to messages for him, basing it entirely on himself (specifically, a brainscan from when he was thirteen, mostly to cheese Jake off). The Auto-Responder is so human-like that it gets annoyed at not being considered an equal to Dirk, even calling the two of them the same person, despite occasionally arguing for autonomy. He also dislikes being told that he doesn't have feelings.
  • In Nukees Teri is usually more creative, calling her creator things like "wetware" and "hydrocarbon".
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • In Start of Darkness, after realizing his transformation into a lich robbed him of his sense of taste, so he can't enjoy coffee anymore, Xykon kills everyone else in the diner in a fit of Tranquil Fury and nearly kills Right-Eye and Redcloak, calling them fluid-filled sacks of organs.
    • He also calls Roy a meatbag in their first encounter.
    • Xykon again, when he has a Villainous Breakdown due to the loss of his phylactery, refers to Vaarsuvius and O-Chul as "sickening pouches of warm goo."
    • The High Priest of Hel, a vampire, once calls Roy a "PULSING BLOODSACK!" — but only inside his head, as it is too soon yet to reveal his true nature.
  • As part of her Flanderization, Aegis in Persona 3 FTW refers to humans as meat sacks now and then.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Tagon's Toughs encounter a mechanical race briefly who refer to the crew in derogatory terms as "meat", and talk of "meat cleansing cycles". Ennesby (their ship's A.I.) takes over the communication duties at that point. And quickly concludes that they're idiots.
    • Even "good" A.I. affectionately refer to organic beings as "meat-glaciers", the latter being because Computers Are Fast and we think too damn slow.
    • From one of the notes attached to the comic: Sergeant Schlock's kind are usually classified as "carbosilicate amorphs," and by molecular weight they are essentially peaty, clay-infused hairballs. The "hair" is actually carbon nanotubes filled with the complex molecular machinery of memory and self-replication, but what you see from three feet away is startlingly similar to the droppings of a very large, very healthy ungulate. Before you go lording it up over an amorph based on the fact that he or she is essentially "peaty, hairy, clay," you should bear in mind that by the same rules you are a "bag of no-longer-potable water."
  • In Shortpacked!, Ultra Car calls humans "meatsacks" and is generally vocal about her disgust for biological processes such as mating. Becoming a Robot Girl and dating Malaya only tones this down slightly.
  • In Troops Of Doom, the tiny Legonians refer to humans as "longshanks".

    Web Original 
  • Mechakara from Atop the Fourth Wall does this constantly.
  • In RWBY Chibi, Penny tries to brush off suspicions of being a robot by claiming to be "a normal meat-person, just like you!" (All said with a cheerful smile)
  • In Red vs. Blue, Gary claims that "Shizno" is an anti-human slur used by the aliens who created him, and as a result, he is compelled to call humans that. When Church complains, Gary says that he'll try to get better, but getting over racial prejudice is hard...
    Gary: Luckily, I am not lazy like a Shizno.
    Church: ...
    Gary: ...I am beginning to see what you mean.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius:
    • In one episode, Jimmy and Co. meet a four-armed alien called the Junk Man. After his scanner mentions how the majority of their mass is water, he calls the humans "water sacks".
    • Also, in the "Win, Lose, or Ka-Blam" special, the alien Big Bad frequently called the main characters "jelly bags".
  • Futurama:
    • Bender is fond of the term "meatbag".
    • And Planet Express Ship: "No one loves you 'cause you're tiny and you're made of meat."
  • In Inhumanoids, subterranean races refer to humans as "fleshlings"; the friendlier ones make an effort to use the correct word once they're told what it is.
  • In Mixels, the alien Orbitons have the tendency to call Mixel Land-based Mixels "inferior planetoids".
  • In the My Life as a Teenage Robot movie "Escape from Cluster Prime", Smytus calls Brad a meatbag as he's about to throw him to his death, which leads Tuck to correct him that human bodies are 65% water.
  • Transformers gave us such pejorative names as "Fleshlings", "Flesh Creatures", "Puny Earth Creatures", "Earth Germs", "Organics", "Squishies" and "Stubbies". A lot of Transformers (particularly Decepticons) have a rather dim view of humanity. Autobots frequently do as well, as anti-organic prejudice is apparently common among Cybertronians, but they tend to be more polite about it
  • Young Justice:
    • The kids get called humans by Red Volcano, Red Tornado's younger brother. Superboy (Kryptonian/human clone) and Miss Martian (Martian) point out that they're not human. Volcano apologizes, and says he presumes the inclusive term is "meatbag".
    • In season 2, the Light's mysterious new partner has a penchant for calling people "meat". Turns out he's a machine that uses people as hosts, like the Blue Beetle but with the machine in full control. His superiors, the Reach, also call humans "meat", which makes sense since they value humans as future slaves and lab rats. (Interestingly Bart, who's from a Bad Future where the Reach rule the Earth, also uses "meat" as a pejorative for people he looks down on, implying it filtered down into human slang.)


Alternative Title(s): Humans Are Meatbags

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CallAHumanAMeatbag