Although we’ve seen the body positivity movement rise in popularity in recent years and slowly start changing our society’s toxic beauty standards, it’s important we start this piece by addressing the elephant in the room. Fat-shaming is very much still around and not a day goes by where people—especially women—aren’t being judged for the way they look. The highly problematic game known as ‘hogging’ is just one of the countless proofs that things have not changed enough just yet.
As many of you would have probably guessed by now, the practice of ‘hogging’ is actually nothing new. In fact, the term has been included in Urban Dictionary for two decades with the description of it being a “competition, usually between a group of men that involves going to a bar/frat/house party. Participants go with the direct intention of hooking up with the fattest girl at the party. The guy who bags the fattest girl wins.” Yep, they call this disgusting practice a “game.”
It is common knowledge that hogging games take place in some of the most prestigious universities around the world, especially—surprise surprise—in the US where fraternities, along with sororities, are often seen as an integral part of a campus’ social life, offering the students privately-owned buildings where it is possible to party (and drink) in relative peace.
Hogging had somehow managed to remain unnoticed all these years. Until now.
It took too long already, but people have finally started speaking up about the toxic frat house ‘sex competition’ played by men. According to Slate, in 2018, the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Cornell University threw a party that they called a “pig roast.” The men who organised it were suspended as punishment, but not before playing the game with members of their frat house, instructing them to sleep with women in attendance who would be considered overweight. Essentially, they were preying on fat women, and as TikToker Megan Mapes (@megsforfun) explained in a video, the men made “bets with their friends about finding the fattest and most unattractive woman and having sex with her.”
She went on to say that “sometimes, they will, in the completion of having sex with her, have the entire group of men come barging in the room, and they’ll start oinking and harassing the woman until she leaves that space.” The content creator added that in some cases, hogging is used to describe times “when men are in a sexual slump [so] they’ll fuck fat women to get out of it.”
Speaking to BuzzFeed, Maps described the pathetic game as a man’s way of achieving masculinity, “In their eyes, [they can achieve masculinity] by sleeping with the greatest number of people possible. They see fat women as easy targets.”
Since Mapes’ video, which was posted in 2021, went viral, many other women have started to speak up about their experiences with hogging in university, which is exactly what she had hoped to happen. In her extensive interview with BuzzFeed, she mentioned that her hope is that by “having a conversation about hogging, more people will become aware of it and respond negatively to it happening. And so, hopefully, it happens less frequently. But more importantly, if and when it happens, I hope that people see, and become aware, and we can check each other.”
Men are also starting to comment on the exposure of the hideous game, with most of them being completely unaware that it even takes place. This highlights one of the many toxic aspects of frat house culture—the fact that members can often get away with most than others. But Mapes looked on the bright side of the recent appearance of hogging on TikTok, saying that “when it comes to any form of violence surrounding sex and sexuality, one of the most important parts is men holding each other accountable. In order to get them to do that, they need to hear what it even is in the first place, and know that it exists and happens.”
For some people, seeing the creator’s video on their FYP was the first time they realised that they had been even involved in a hogging-related incident. A student at the University of Missouri, Adrieanna (@urgirladrie) responded to Mapes with her own video and said that she had matched with a man who was pledging a specific fraternity house, “He invites me over… We get to the room and it’s just a bed on the floor and a laptop pointing… I knew I was being watched.”
Like Mapes explained, for issues that stem from harassment of any kind to be addressed, people have to know that it exists. When it comes to hogging in particular, it was a term that people did already know about before it ended up resurfacing on TikTok. In 2006, Jeannine A. Gailey, a sociology associate professor at Texas Christian University, interviewed male college students about the practice for Inside Higher Ed.
Her research ended up being published as a study in the journal Deviant Behaviour. In it, Gailey stated that “none of the men we interviewed admitted to engaging in the practice, but all but two knew what hogging was.” She even explained that “we never even used the term. We simply asked them whether they had ever heard of a practice where men try to pick up women they deem fat or unattractive as part of a bet or for sex, and they responded, ‘Yeah, hogging.”
Hopefully, as more and more online users hear about the awful game, and therefore as more men become educated on why such practice is deeply immoral, discriminatory and predatory, the less we’ll see it take place—even in some of the most problematic fraternity houses out there.