January 10, 2013

"Is Your Jury Biased Against Fat People?"

A study shows bias mostly coming from male jurors against fat women.

55 comments:

ndspinelli said...

I guess the voir dire has to include some chubby chaser questions.

bpm4532 said...

Well, I've never been attracted to fat women, particularly those with attitudes.

traditionalguy said...

Hmmm. I have noticed that The History Channel and many Nova and Frontline programs have become a gleeful exposes that the straw man they set up for us as a reality is now totally different since some one finally got a grant to look into the dumb crap they fed us for years as a known fact. They were surprisingly all wrong.

Clue: We never believed it anyway.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

More bad news for Garage and Inga.

For shame Althouse, for shame.

traditionalguy said...
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traditionalguy said...

Fat women in the south are the norm. The slinky ones are suspected of being gold diggers.

It is not a great discovery that the jury gives a verdict to the people they like and to the lawyer they like.

But juries are still all that we have if we want to live in a safe community. Judges are horrible.

So get the best trial lawyer and win it from the jury. Abraham Lincoln was one of those masters at jury manipulation.

Fat or skinny the jury just wants the best story told.

Mitchell the Bat said...

LIONEL HUTZ: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do these sound like the actions of a man who's had ALL he could eat?

FAT JUROR: [distressed] That could have been me!

BarrySanders20 said...

If it's a personal injury case, jurors tend to discount the argument that the fat girl's slip and fall led to all of her medical problems. It's basic causation. Most obese people have already strained their bodies in ways that result in pain and lower functionality.

If it is a check fraud case, then that suggests true bias against the fat girl. Mean men.

Heard this Larry the Cable Guy joke recently:

Cop pulls Larry over and asks: "Have you been drinking?"

Larry, turning to look behind him: "Why? Is there a fat girl in the back seat?"

edutcher said...

First, let's define fat.

Bob Ellison said...

edutcher, that's a good point. I'll start with: fat is in the eye of the beholder. You're up.

edutcher said...

OK, I can dig it, but then you're going to have an interesting time calibrating which verdicts were based on someone if they were obese, buxom, plump, roly-poly, or just a little chubby.

Curious George said...

"edutcher said...
OK, I can dig it, but then you're going to have an interesting time calibrating which verdicts were based on someone if they were obese, buxom, plump, roly-poly, or just a little chubby."

Or in other words, fat, fat, fat, fat, or fat.

bagoh20 said...

Even though women obsess about their weight, it's probably the biggest failure they have in making themselves attractive to most men. There are chubby chasers, but they are pretty rare. You need to face it that it's probably the single most important physical attribute to men: is she in decent shape? Not ripped, not skinny, just not fat, less than maybe 15 lbs overweight is all good.

I often see large women who have obviously spent a fortune on clothes makeup and hair to look attractive, but have really accomplished little since they would be much hotter if they were just smaller with little money spent on the rest at all.

I woman at a healthy weight is almost automatically sexy, because she is so rare, and it does not take much else to get men thinking delicious things about you. And this goes for all ages. I assume most men feel this way, but maybe I just have a normal-size fetish.

sydney said...

That doesn't surprise me. There is a definite prejudice against fat people, and especially women, in medicine. It's as if doctors throw all compassion out the door when the confront an overweight person. As if that person doesn't already know they are fat. I have heard horror stories from patients about the beratings they've gotten from other doctors. Alcoholics and drug abusers are treated better than overeaters.

edutcher said...

Curious George said...

OK, I can dig it, but then you're going to have an interesting time calibrating which verdicts were based on someone if they were obese, buxom, plump, roly-poly, or just a little chubby.

Or in other words, fat, fat, fat, fat, or fat.


No, I'm talking women you see everyday. Apparently, a lot of guys here are into fashion models with so little flesh on their bones, they need implants everywhere not to look like boys.

Or are most of the guys here from WI?

Ann Althouse said...

"Apparently, a lot of guys here are into fashion models with so little flesh on their bones, they need implants everywhere not to look like boys."

Don't be so sure they aren't boys. Look closely. Caveat emptor.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, there are different ways of being fat. We need more granular studies.

There's a curvaceous, amplitudinous kind of fat that is exuberant and life-affirming.

There's a lethargic, negligent, sloppy kind of fat that seems like trouble.

I think we have fine sensors about health and illness that take fat into account. But it's not just fat per se.

Jurors are looking at the defendant and deciding if he/she is guilty, and part of that is going to be whether he/she looks guilty. Does fat make you look guilty? I'd like to know what crime is charged and the particular sort of fat they'll be looking at.

There's a kind of fat that makes you look childish and cherubic. Go for that look if you can, criminal defendants.

Jason Greaves said...

ndspinelli said...
I guess the voir dire has to include some chubby chaser questions

You joke, but one of the better trial lawyers I know, who is a large man, likes to start off his voir dire with something like this (in a thick Alabama accent): "Ladies and gentlemen, I realize that I am a very large man. Is there anyone here who might hold that against my client?"

He is so affable, that right away he has the jury eating out of his hands.

Ann Althouse said...

I like the way some of you commenters immediately went off the track of criminal guilt and into the issue of whether you'd want to have sex with a fat woman.

Do you think jurors equate criminal guilt with nonfuckability? Seems it would be just as likely the other way around.

Jay said...

Ann Althouse said...


Do you think jurors equate criminal guilt with nonfuckability?


Ann,
you really, really don't want to know what a lot of men think.

ambienisevil said...
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bagoh20 said...

"I like the way some of you commenters immediately went off the track of criminal guilt and into the issue of whether you'd want to have sex with a fat woman."

The men's track always goes through a the tunnel, so we are ALWAYS concerned about the structural integrity. Any litigator who does not understand that is making a huge mistake.

It's like in politics if you expect women to choose a President based on qualifications, you are missing a lot.

ambienisevil said...
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bagoh20 said...

How many votes do think it would cost Obama if he looked like Chris Christie?

Shana said...

Bagoh20 for the zing.

Shana said...

Referring to your structural integrity/women voters omment, of course.

Carol said...

commenters immediately went off the track of criminal guilt and into the issue of whether you'd want to have sex with a fat woman.

That's exactly the irrationality of the whole thing. My husband's the same way, has a visceral dislike of all fat women. No matter what the context.

It's as if the man's first reaction is "would I hit it or not"? when the woman is not hitting on him, and it has nothing to do with the matter at hand.

Kinda funny, really.

Tank said...

It's as if the man's first reaction is "would I hit it or not"?

What's your point?

This is why Jay was right.

bagoh20 said...

I doubt that a fat woman would be discriminated against enough to convict if the evidence was anything but very close, but I definitely think a young attractive woman could get off solely on her looks if the the evidence gave the men another excuse.

You can't hope to score with her if she's in jail, and we don't want any good ones taken out of the herd. This would not apply if she used her looks to commit the crime. Ironically we would punish her for that.

Carol said...

his is why Jay was right.

Because deep down, you guys are baaad, right?

No shit.

ambienisevil said...
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dreams said...

Lock em up, I don't want to have to look at them. Just kidding, life is so unfair and what about all those short people, they ain't got no reason to live. I mean haven't any reason to live.

Tank said...

Carol said...
his is why Jay was right.

Because deep down, you guys are baaad, right?

No shit.


It's not a good vs. baaad thing.

It's a hard-wired genetic thing.

ambienisevil said...
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Anglelyne said...

Jay: Ann,
you really, really don't want to know what a lot of men think.


She already knows, Jay. We all do.

(The only puzzlement here is why some men seem to think that what men never shut up about is supposed to be some kind of big scary revelation to women.)

ndspinelli said...

Althouse, Up the the vitamin D and prozac..stat!

ndspinelli said...

Jason Greaves, Good anecdote and wise southern gent barrister.

EMD said...

I like my political figures non-charismatic.

Christie is 600 lbs. of charisma.

EMD said...

Cue Titus.

EMD said...

Chances are, in this country, the men on the jury are fat too.

Nichevo said...

Fuckability, studies, granular...you owe me a tag or sumthin, Althouse.

Anglelyne said...

ambienisevil: It's hardwired to be rude/unfair (on the low end of the scale, violent on the upper end) to a lot of people we dislike for various reasons. We override that all the time in the interests of civilization.

But ambien, this isn't like those deplorable silly women voting with their ladyparts. They're just stupid and irrational. This is ugly women we're talking about here. You heard the man - it's hardwired. Now we know males have a superior sense of objectivity, fairness, and justice, but show some empathy and sense of proportion! Ugly women, ambien. Ugly, unfuckable women! Some perspective, please. Next thing you know you're going to be questioning our revulsion toward kiddie diddlers or something.

McTriumph said...

When I visited my sister in federal prison 99% of the women were thin, convicted of drug crimes. The few that were "fat", the 1%, were convicted of white collar crimes. During the visits I never saw any women I'd do.

Baron Zemo said...

Sigh.

Smilin' Jack said...

It's hardwired to be rude/unfair (on the low end of the scale, violent on the upper end) to a lot of people we dislike for various reasons. We override that all the time in the interests of civilization.

Yeah, and look what we get for it: fatties everywhere and govt telling us what kind of light bulbs we can buy. What this country needs is more hot chicks and less "civilization."

dbp said...

From a purely rational standpoint, isn't it more likely that a fat woman is actually guilty?

A slim attractive woman can get what she wants via feminine whiles, therefore why bother breaking the law?

I would like to see a study which looks at women that are the same in terms of healthy weight, but vary a lot in attractiveness.

Carol said...

From a purely rational standpoint, isn't it more likely that a fat woman is actually guilty?

Yeah there's that, too. LOL. I tend to see obesity as a moral failing, which is bad bad bad and I hate myself for thinking that. But there clearly is some connection between letting oneself go, and letting other things go, too.

Lucien said...

The study did not involve actual jurors who had taken an oath, sat through a trial and actually held someone's liberty, or its deprivation, in their hands. I know it sounds romantic, but there is at least anecdotal evidence that real jurors take their jobs very seriously, perhaps more than test subject do.

I know, I know, the researchers did the best they could because they could not have access to real juries and cases.

Still, a little skepticism rarely hurts.

Shana said...

So, Carol, is there no area of your moral life that could use some work? Obesity just happens to be harder to hide. Some people actually DO have medical conditions (steroid use, PCOS).

dbp said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Don't be so sure they aren't boys. Look closely. Caveat emptor."

Were you thinking of this 72 year old man who models Chinese teen fashion?

dbp said...

Girl teen fashion.

Basta! said...

It seems to me that the visceral and disproportionate hatred some men express toward fat women might be predicated on the belief that all women should want at all times to be thought "do-able" by any and every man into whose field of vision they might pass, men whom they'll never see again, men whom they themselves might not even have noticed. To which end women are supposed to direct their thoughts, time and efforts daily. And one of the things the fatness of fat women rather blatantly says to those men who expect women to crave being considered sexually desirable at all times is: I don't care that you can't fantasize about fucking me, I don't care what you expect or what you want. So that it's not just the aesthetically unappealing nature of fat, but this attitude that can be taken to underlie it that provokes such a strong reaction.

McTriumph said...

Is Led Zeppelin ever wrong?

"I don't know but I been told, a big-legged woman ain't got no soul."

"Back dog"

Paco Wové said...

BLack Dog, you racist philistine!

Joe said...

Women preserve their fury and bias against beautiful women.