“Fat Betty Draper” tips Internet’s scales

The Mad Men character's sudden weight gain became a trending topic and punch line on Twitter and across the Web on Sunday night. 


Fruzsina Eördögh


Published Apr 2, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 7:11 pm CDT

Betty Francis, one of the female leads in the 1960s ad agency TV drama Mad Men and ex-wife of Don Draper, briefly “paralyzed” the Internet on Sunday night. As the character so aptly put it, she got fat.

Over-the-top reactions were so common, in fact, it became a thing, with reactions spilling over onto Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit. Betty was called a cow, likened to a pig, and dubbed the queen of “first world problems.” Her weight gain was so disgusting to some, she inspired folks to go on diet and hit the gym.  

One of the most popular jokes about Betty’s weight gain came from design blogger Grace Bonney, who asked, “How long until we start seeing bands called “Fat Betty Draper?

Jokes about Betty eating placentas showed up in a popular image macro on Reddit and were widely shared on Twitter. (In a prior season, Betty ate her placenta after giving birth.) As one redditor pointed out, Betty Draper was a worldwide top trending topic on Twitter.

In other words, Fat Betty Draper was memeified and GIF-ified.  

Dubbed by many as the perfect 1960s ice queen with the nickname “Bitchy Betty,” the character progression was applauded by many who deemed her more likeable due to her perceived decrease in attractiveness.  

One blog asserted that that sudden change of heart by fans to the character was indicative of misogynistic attitudes prevalent in modern society. Both men and women, though, opined equally on Betty’s body.  

“I seriously cannot wait to read all of the feminist blog posts about fans’ reactions to Betty’s weight gain,” tweeted blogger Chrissy Wilmes.

“[N]ewsflash to the Mad Men fandom, you can be fat you know and be super pretty” wrote The Savage Salad, a feminist and LGBT blog.

“You’re just participating in perpetuating the age old belief that that there can be only one true type of pretty … and all the other types of pretties are like some whack job piece of nature.”

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*First Published: Apr 2, 2012, 11:47 am CDT