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Why is Donald Trump So Obsessed with Weight?

If you've been following any of the presidential election, you know by now that the Republican nominee Donald Trump is preoccupied with looks, particularly women's looks.

During Monday night's debate, weight was brought up by Trump during his talking points: The mysterious 400-pound hacker, Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado, Rosie O’Donnell. The Atlantic turned to Amy Farrell, author of the 2011 book Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture to shed some light on Trump and weight.

The reporter for The Atlantic asked the professor of American studies and women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Dickinson College about the role of weight in politics. It's nothing new, but Trump is certainly making his mark:

Kornhaber: What role has weight played in presidential politics before?

Farrell: Grover Cleveland was really mocked for his weight, Howard Taft was mocked for his weight. I’ve written about the fact that I find it unsurprising that the Obamas have been very concerned about weight because weight is a way to signal being civilized, being the most professional. When Bill Clinton started to gain weight, he was made fun of—that was like, “See, he’s out of control with his weight and his sexuality.”

So weight has certainly played a part before. What’s new is that I don’t have any records of any presidential candidates going around just mocking fat people. Or calling women fat, at least publicly.

When Trump said, “Hillary Clinton doesn’t look presidential”—he denied it then last night—that was actually a really interesting phase, because she doesn’t. We’ve only had male presidents, so when we think of presidents we think of male. She doesn’t look like a man, she looks like a woman. So he was getting to that whole issue of body politics there. Obviously I’m not saying she doesn’t look presidential, but I’m saying body, body weight, body size, skin color, sexuality are all things that have been attributes about whether or not someone is “looking presidential” or not.

The article is a fascinating read. Take the time to read it in its entirety here.


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