(Content Warning: Talk of fat shaming, fatphobia, diet, eating disorders, and exercise)
While perusing the app store one day, I came across an app called Fat Pusher. Initially, I was intrigued by the title of the app, and confused about what it could possibly be. I was then shocked to see what it was, and disappointed that a developer I loved had put out such a horrendous game. Fatphobia is sneaky that way.
Voodoo games is popular in the app store for the somewhat “mindless” games they put out. These games can be very helpful for people with anxiety, because they provide simple goals and tasks that can help to ease the mind. However, Voodoo really missed the mark with Fat Pusher. Or maybe they hit a bullseye by taking aim at an easy target- the fat community.
In Fat Pusher, you play as a plus size person and your goal is to push huge blocks to lose weight, and “eating all the food for the fattest pushes ever!” Let’s unpack that for a second. By playing Fat Pusher, Voodoo reinforces the idea that food equals getting fatter implying it’s something bad, and that being fat is inherently wrong. In order to “fix yourself” you have to push yourself to the brink of exhaustion and binge eat. In what world is that healthy? The game itself can be severely triggering to those of us with ED’s or that are in recovery, and it reinforces the myth that fat bodies can (and should) be fixed with grueling exercise and avoidance of food.
The blatant fatphobia and disregard for plus size humans is evident throughout Fat Pusher. The game itself on the Apple App store has 600+ reviews and a 4.4 star rating, which means that many players are also contributing to the fat shaming app. This indicates that many consumers are unfazed by the fatshaming and insensitive goal of the game itself. It seems that Voodoo made the game without really considering who it would impact, and many players are doing the same. That being said, why is no one talking about this?
Voodoo makes the kind of games that, while relaxing, are filled with ads and can be considered quite spammy. Perhaps that’s why no one is really exploring the impact of the game’s premise. The fatphobic nature of Fat Pusher is being disregarded, put to the side, with the usual, “It’s just a game” defense. This type of complacency is dangerous and encourages mistreatment of fat individuals. It minimizes fat shaming and reduces it to a literal game.
Fat advocates are often criticized for pointing out mistreatment of fat bodies and size-based bigotry, particularly in popular media (movies, ads, songs, television shows). But these are the places where fatphobia thrives. In order to make progress, we must keep speaking up when fatphobia creeps into any forum.
There is no place for Fat Pusher in 2021. So, to Voodoo, as they say: “Do better.” Let others heal. Respect all bodies. Confront your bigotry. Fatphobia isn’t a game or a joke- and fat people are tired of being your punchline.