Typing “Fat People Are” into Google

I understand if anyone doesn’t want to read this.  But it says something about our society.

When typing “fit people are” into Google,* it helpfully tries to finish the thought for me, providing “more successful”, “happier”, “harder to kill”, and “smarter”.  The search results are similar.

Google for "fit people are"

Google for “fit people are”

Typing in “thin people are” shows options like “better”, “beautiful”, and “more successful”.  The top piece discusses the latest “moderately fat people live longer” study.**

Results for "thin people are"

Results for “thin people are”

Finally is the “fat people are” results: “gross”,” lazy”, and “stupid”.

Typing "fat people are" into Google

Typing “fat people are” into Google

Google doesn’t just index the web.  It also aggregates what other sites are linking to and what people are searching for — and what they navigate to.   The effort Google puts into making their search results find what people are looking for makes it also a somewhat accurate reflection of our society.

*Google does, over time, reflect what an individual has searched for in the past.  As I frequently search for fat-positive items, these screenshots were generated using a browser I rarely use, where I wasn’t logged into Google. I’d also cleared the browser cache.

**If Google is using IP addresses to adjust results this may be due to my usual fat-positive bias. Might be helpful to know if anyone else sees this.

UPDATE: Several other folks get the same or similar results.

11 thoughts on “Typing “Fat People Are” into Google

  1. Yeah, I get those results too. The last one on my short list of suggestions was “fat people are gross tubmlr” Good to know there’s a whole tumblr for how gross I am! Time to party!

  2. I got that thin people are “scared of”, “passionate about”, “good at” and “allergic to”. Some of these results are freakin’ weird! So *all* thin people are scared of, passionate about and good at the same things. WTH?

  3. I got ‘skinny people are dull and crunchy like carrots’ which whut? In my browser I got ten results for each; the ‘fat people are’ ones were without exception negative, while the ‘skinny people are’ were half negative, half positive (or just plain weird). Also, I had no idea that we fat people were ‘harder to kidnap’. Eh?

    But yeah. Disheartening to say the least.

    • Re: “harder to kidnap”, At one software release party back in the 90s (working at a local software company whose name started with “M”) managers were being ceremoniously dropped into a (large) water fountain.

      Most of them, at least.

      Some of the guys came over to where I was sitting with a friend and told me it was my turn. I said “Sure” and didn’t move. They looked at me for a moment and looked at each other … and walked away.

      I think they had expected me to get up and walk over the fountain instead of expecting I would be carried the whole way. I’m not sure if they were more intimidated by the fact that I’m fat or that they might accidentally end up touching my breasts, but I didn’t exactly mind. ;)

  4. Is this prompted by the recent efforts of autistic bloggers to get Google to do something about the autocomplete for ‘autistic people should’? Which, before the protest, was things like ‘should be killed’, btw.

    Autocomplete may be an accurate reflection of our society. As a fat person, I’m upset. As an autistic person,I’m terrified.

    http://autisticpeopleshould.blogspot.com.au/

    • Have you seen these two posts about Google Autocomplete and fat people?

      It seems like “___ people should” tends to get you worse results than “___ people” or “___ people are”. For “fat people should”, I get “die”, “[should]n’t cosplay”, “pay more taxes”, and “[should]n’t make music”. Results for just “fat people” are slightly better, I guess: “falling”, “jokes”, “dancing”, and “pictures”. “Fat people are” gets “gross”, “lazy”, and “gross tumblr”. (I’m using my home computer and regular browser, so these are the results with my fat acceptance viewing history taken into account.)

      I guess the campaign is affecting autocomplete results for autistic people [due to intervention by Google, or just from the volume of queries?], because when I type “autistic people”, I get “should”, “are smart” and “are”. If I type “autistic people are”, I get “are smart”, “are rude”, and “are flash blog”. If I type “autistic people should”, I get “be loved”, “be heard” and “flash blog”.

      If I type “muslims”, I get, “In america”, “in france”, “in india”, and “in spain”. If I type “muslims are”, I get “clustered in”, “coming”, “not terrorist”, and “bad”. If I type “muslims should”, I get “leave america”, “be exterminated”, “be killed”, and “not be allowed in america”.

      If I type “atheists”, I get “.org”, “in foxholes” and “in congress”. If I type “atheists are”, I get “are smarter”, “are retarded”, “are wrong”, and “are ignorant”. if I type “atheists should”, I get “be registered”, “[should]n’t be citizens”, and “go to church”.

      If I type “catholics” I get “come home”, “for choice”, “united”, and “vs cousins”. If I type “catholics are”, I get “christians”, “wrong”, “christians too”, and “weird”. If I type “catholics should”, I get “never use contraception”, “not vote for Obama”, “[should]nt work in emergency rooms”, and “not fear death”.

      Results are pretty depressing for both “black people should” and “white people should”. Both feature “die”/”be killed” and “go back to Africa/Europe”. White people also get “be slaves”, and black people get “shouldn’t vote” and “shouldn’t cosplay”.

      If I type in “americans”, results are more or less neutral except for “americans are”, which gets me “rude”, “weird”, “getting dumber”, and “spoiled”. (I remember doing this test a while back and getting “shouldn’t cosplay” prominently in the results (which seemed mostly the caused by one particular blog post with that title). Who should and should not cosplay seems to be a surprisingly popular topic.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s