Fat Thor/Bro Thor, whichever you choose to use, has caused controversy since Avengers: Endgame came out in April 2019.
First of all let me clarify one thing- I’m a fat bloke.
Whatever term or insult you choose to use to describe people like me, trust me we’ve heard them all. Even from strangers in the street who feel its OK to yell nasty things at you for fun.
There are many reasons for people being overweight. The most common one you hear from people of lesser weight is “oh, they are fat which means they are lazy and eat too much!” Now whilst that may be true for a small percentage of people, for the majority its not. It could be a disease of some sort. It could also be related to medication they are on. Or it could be down to a mental health issue.
I’ve battled with my weight all my life. It all seemed to go wrong around age 11 and its been up and down ever since. At the moment I think I’m probably at the heaviest I’ve ever been.
My weight has always been governed by my mental health. I don’t want to go into detail here but that has always been the main cause.
So why do I appreciate Fat Thor?
It’s all about representation. I finally get what people of colour, those with disabilities and the LGBTQA+ folks have been campaigning for. I don’t mean to draw comparisons with what its like to be a fat person with the kind of things that people in those other groups have to deal with, I’m just saying I get it.
In the media, whether its TV, Film, Comics, Music etc. fat people are quite often portrayed the same way- Lazy, stupid, of no or little value, useless and are treated as comic relief and spoken down to.
Unfortunately, that is often how it is in real life. Most people see the fat and don’t go past it to find out about the person. They just assume. A common one is to have someone yell at you “lose weight you fat f**k”, like yeah, I’ll just go in here and remove a bit instantly. It’s happened to me a few times.
When ‘Fat Thor’ first appeared in Endgame I was concerned. I didn’t want him to be just the comic relief. I wanted more. I wanted realism not only from the point of view of how fat people are treated by others, but from the point of the fat person as well.
I got what I wanted.
There were enough digs and jibes at Thor. Mostly friendly, but sometimes even that hurts- I must admit I did laugh at the “What do you think is running through my veins?” line when Rhodey replied “cheese whizz?”
One thing we all face as fat people is being told we can’t do something because of our size. That is one thing that upsets us. We know we are big, we know what we can and cannot do- being told by someone who really has no experience of being big just hurts us more. We already find it hard enough to socialise and make friends as well as simple things like going out to eat or go to the pub because of negative attitudes.
Thor experienced a fair bit of that over the course of the film. Mostly from Tony and yes, before anyone complains I know Tony, in his own way, was looking out for Thor.
Chris Hemsworth did a great job at putting across what was wrong with Thor- what caused his sudden plummet into obesity- depression. His mother died. He split up from Jane. His dad died. Then his crazy-ass sister turned up and he had to kill her. Then Loki and half of the Asgardian people, including his BFF Heimdall, died at the hands of Thanos. The thing that tipped him over the edge was that he failed to kill Thanos before ‘the snap”.
All of that would affect anyone-god or not!
Chris portrayed him well. The emotional breakdowns, not taking care of himself, over-eating and drinking and more.
One scene in particular rang true. Thor and the Trash-Panda went back in time to Asgard to get an infinity stone. Thor had an emotional breakdown and was told by Rocket to snap out of it and pull himself together. If only it was that simple!
But he really did fat people proud during the final battle. There was no sudden loss of weight. No sitting behind a gun and shooting aliens or stuck back in a shelter with other non-combatants.
He was out there. In the field. Fighting with the thinner folk.
He proved to himself and others he was more than just the fat. He was valuable. He was useful.
We need more positive representation of big folk in popular media. They don’t have to be a superhero (even though that would be cool), the don’t need to be the comic relief or the stupid one and so on.
We all know that being overweight is unhealthy. We aren’t stupid and we don’t need reminding.
It needs to be normalised. I’m not saying we go around with the “it’s ok to be fat” attitude even if it is. What I’m saying is we need to see people of size in a positive light.
Come on film makers, give us a fat hero of some sort! Show people that we are more than the excess adipose we carry around!