Fat Women as “Easy Targets”
Achieving Masculinity Through Hogging
Ariane Prohaska and Jeannine Gailey
“Hogging” is a practice in which men prey on women they deem fat or unattractive to satisfy sexual desires or compete with their peers. Hoggers, a self-imposed label, are groups of men who hang out at bars or parties and try to pick up fat women for sex or make bets with their friends about who can pick up the fattest or most unattractive woman (Gailey & Prohaska, 2006). The bets range from simply getting a phone number or dance to receiving some form of sexual gratification from the woman.
Hogging, as a scholarly topic, has largely been ignored until recently (Gailey & Prohaska, 2006), but has gained some attention in the news media. Self-proclaimed hoggers were interviewed for Scene Magazine, a local entertainment magazine in Cleveland, Ohio (Fenske, 2003). The men interviewed for the Scene Magazine article refer to women they pick up as “hogs” or “slump-busters” (Fenske 2003, p. 15), a phrase used by baseball player Mark Grace on the Jim Rome Show and by baseball player Jose Canseco in his 2005 autobiography, Juiced (Dowd, 2005). When one is looking for a slumpbuster, a hog, or “road beef” (as Canseco puts it), he seeks out, as Grace mentioned, the “fattest gnarliest chick you can uncover” in order to try to break out of a slump (Dowd, 2005, p. 99). The implication of Grace's quote is that fat women are sexually easy and can help men out of a losing streak, either on the field or in the bedroom.
The present chapter focuses on how hogging is used as a tool whereby men create and maintain masculinity. The sociology of masculinities is a burgeoning field in the sociology of gender (see, e.g., Brannon, 1976; Connell, 1987; Kaufmann, 1994; Kimmel, 1998; 2006). Kimmel (2006) argues that there are multiple masculinities, with the dominant, hegemonic masculinity being the most rewarded in contemporary society. Men reward one another with power and prestige if they adhere to the hegemonic masculine ideal.
Robert Brannon (1976) discussed four aspects of the male gender role: (1) “No Sissy Stuff” (antifemininity); (2) “Be a Sturdy Oak” (inexpressiveness and independence); (3) “Give 'em Hell” (adventurousness and aggression); and (4) “Be a Big Wheel” (status and achievement). Men adhere to the masculine ideal in different ways: participating in sports, drinking heavily, or pursuing women for sexual purposes. One extreme way that men may attempt to adhere to normative masculinity is