For those that don’t know, the DUFF is the “Designated Ugly Fat Friend” of a group or squad. When we talk about DUFFs, we’re talking about people that don’t fit in to the standard of their friend group. More specifically, this is when the friend is seen as uglier and, as the title includes, “fatter” than their other friends. Maybe they’re a little less polished, or they don’t fit the “celebrity look” that the rest of their squad has. This doesn’t make them any less of a human being, but it does mean that they aren’t on the same level as their squad. Which, when it comes to the media, means that they must look like an old hobbit on a bad day instead of a regular human being who can’t walk around the world with all their flaws airbrushed away. The designation is problematic for a lot of reasons. Let’s talk about why this exists, and who people think of as “DUFFs”. And maybe, just maybe, we can stop equating value with looks.
15. Ed Sheeran
This adorable man is the default DUFF of his group. A term normally applied to women, we’ve decided to include men in this article to discuss some of the double standards put in place, especially regarding weight and body image. We also feel that if the movie The DUFF has used this term to describe men, it’s only appropriate to include men on the list; clearly, while it’s a huge issue for women, there are also men out there being affected by it. To break down the concept, we need to break down all of the concepts… Not just how it applies to one gender or another. Ed, because he’s shorter and goofier than the others in his group, gets the designation of DUFF. While he’s a wildly successful artist in his own right, because he doesn’t look like a typical celebrity (tall, chiseled abs, and a jawline) unfortunately he’s stuck.
14. Lena Dunham
Let’s talk about how a wildly successful woman like Lena Dunham has to put up with the designation of “DUFF” by the media’s standards. She has been a writer and creator for many years, and is outspoken about the issues she is passionate about: feminism being a big one. A DUFF is a beauty standard. It is a comparative decision made by turning women (and men) against each other, even within friends. Lena, because she is not as conventionally beautiful as others in her squad (like T-Swift and Lorde), gets dubbed the DUFF. So what? She is more famous than most of us, and she owns her style and her beauty. Lena has ideas, drive, and articulation well beyond her years; we hope she addresses the issue of DUFFs in society, as her commentary on it would no doubt be useful in breaking down the prevalence of this concept.
13. Chris Martin
Part of a squad dubbed “The Elite”, Chris Martin is in with the likes of Beyonce, Jay Z, and Kim Kardashian. With names like that surrounding you, it’s obvious that you’ll get defined as the DUFF. There’s nothing wrong with Chris Martin. It’s not that he’s ugly, or fat, or untalented. Because this is a term grounded in comparisons, he’s being treated by comparison. When you’re compared to stars like Beyonce, you’re obviously going to be judged against them. Jay Z has had a huge career and is even more the household name than Chris Martin. Beyonce is a goddess, with a brilliant mind for marketing and one of the most beautiful hearts on the planet. Chris Martin has also had a long career, and no doubt he puts in his hours of charity work. It’s just that by comparison… He doesn’t quite make the cut. If someone has to be a DUFF, it might have to be him.
12. Harmony Korine
Let’s discuss presentation. For a lot of celebrities, how you present yourself to the public defines who you are. If you dress like you don’t care, the world assumes you don’t and they’ll judge you for it. Personal choices are no longer personal when they’re in the eyes of the public. When Harmony Korine is out and about, he opts for casual and comfy. Something that many stars don’t permit for themselves. His squad consists of big names like Tobey McGuire and Leonardo DiCaprio. These are folks who dress well and know they dress well. You’ll seldom catch them in plaids or T-Shirts, which is why Harmony seems to get caught in most of the time. Why judge someone for dressing the way they feel the most comfortable and confident in? We don’t know. All we know is that Korine counts as a DUFF, because of these silly standards of dressing. Sorry, Korine.
11. Jason Segel
We continue to fall in love with Jason Segel movie after movie. This big, lovable sweetheart is a comedy goldmine. With good timing and a solid presence, he’s talented and tall but again falls into the DUFF definition. His weight is a big factor in the decision to dub him as such, as he’s larger than the rest of his squad companions. It’s unfortunate that these gentlemen are being compared to one another, but it’s part of the process of deciding what a DUFF is. The process is one of the weak and unjust comparisons, and Segel is caught out by them. He doesn’t have the same jawline or body structure as some of his other friends, which means he has to be the DUFF, according to the comparative standards put in place. It’s unfortunate, because he’s really not a bad looking guy. And he makes us laugh! Absolutely a total package.
10. Judd Nelson
Remember the Brat Pack? These were the kids who starred in movies like The Breakfast Club; coming of age teen movies from the 80s that got a lot of attention and love from teens of the time. These movies were so popular and relatable that we still watch them today. They are played almost all the time on TV and during slumber parties, though the kids in them are no longer kids. Judd Nelson is the DUFF of the Brat Pack since he has aged “the worst”. What does that mean? Conventionally, it means he has wrinkles and grey hair, and some sagging skin. He has put on some weight and is no longer the bad boy we knew and loved. By all standard definitions of the term DUFF, he counts! There is no slack cut for the natural aging process, which is why we have to say sorry, Judd.
9. Rande Gerber
Rande Gerber is a former model, current business man, and loving dad. He also spends time running around with George Clooney, one of his best friends and business connections. Gerber, no matter how handsome he is, counts as the DUFF in this relationship because he’s not quite as famous as Clooney. Clooney is often regarded as the ideal for how men should age gracefully. He’s kept in shape, has his hair holding just the right amount of silver, and his age lines look more like stories than wrinkles. Everyone and their grandmother loves Clooney. That’s why this DUFF rating is so skewed! It doesn’t matter if you’re a former men’s model and successful entertainment business man. Because you’re in a squad with Clooney, you’ll always be the loser. Let’s stop making these comparisons and instead value people for their individual worth; not how well they can fit into a standard.
8. Rick Ross
If we judged men the same way we judge women, Rick Ross would be considered the DUFF of any and all his friend groups. It does not matter if he is one of the most successful rappers out there, of if he carries himself with confidence and power. Because he is an incredibly large man, he falls into the category of “DUFF”. A woman would easily get this designation if she was carrying so much extra weight, but for some reason, it is fine for Rick Ross. He is called “imposing”, “powerful”, and “goliath”. Words of biblical proportions. It is almost admired that he is considered a DUFF. We do not think this is fair, and it highlights the toxic standards put in place for women in media. Sorry, Ross, but if Amy Schumer counts as fat, you have to too. One day we will stop the judgments, and then we can all relax.
7. Amy Schumer
This hilarious lady has been open and outspoken about her body and body image. Many people have called her heavy set, chunky, or fat over the years when in reality she is just an example of what the average is. This famous comedian has been pointing out double standards and terrible issues in the world and has been using laughter to combat them. We think she is great and should be an inspiration. Unfortunately, because of this DUFF designation floating around, she is the type that could be considered a DUFF. What a shame that we ignore all the positives this woman has brought to the world, and instead focus on what she looks like. It is not just her, too. Most female stars face this kind of comparison, even if it is unwarranted. It is time to change the dialogue and get people looking at brains… Not beauty.
6. Poppy Delevingne
Poppy is the default DUFF because she is the older sister of Cara Delevingne, who is arguably more famous. Fashion models being compared to fashion models are a dangerous thing, as each of them is so attractive in their own right. Poppy was only chosen as the DUFF because she is the older sister. She is also the sister you probably didn’t know that Cara had which also puts her in this category because she is not as famous as her younger sister. Nothing about her height, weight, or attraction levels. Many people think that being older makes you less attractive, but that is a silly assumption we should break down. Not only is being older not a real disadvantage, but it is also not a great deciding factor for who is the most attractive. Poppy is just as pretty as Cara if we want to compare the two, and outside of their friend group they would easily make anyone else around them look like DUFFs.
5. Mack Maine
The Young Money Cash Money crew has released three albums so far, and they are not stopping. Mack Maine is part of this crew, and he has acted as president of the YMCM album producers as well. All of these people are so talented, it is hard to choose one that is less desirable than the others. The crew is also in a constantly changing rotation, which makes it difficult to say with certainty which squad is the original, permanent squad we should be comparing people to. Mack Maine is an arbitrary choice, though he is carrying more weight than some of the others. This is definitely not enough to make him the Designated Fat and Ugly Friend, though. Most men can get away with carrying some extra weight, though, as it is less looked down upon than when women are carrying extra weight. What is up with that? Maybe 2017 will be different.
4. Camila Cabello
Standing next to stars like Gigi Hadid would give any girl a skewed sense of beauty, especially in this society. They way we decide who is better than whom is through comparisons. While Camila Cabello, the Fifth Harmony star (although recently she announced that she decided to go off on her own) who’s slowly but surely becoming her own pop sensation, would not be considered ugly by even the strictest beauty standards, she still has to be the DUFF of her group. What a shame, because she has got singing talent that will knock your socks off, and a killer smile to boot. She is happy, hardworking, and is a great squad member, supporting her friends with whatever they might need. It is silly to think of her as anything less than she is. We are so happy that she owns her beauty and shares it with the world– Well done, Camila. Keep rocking and rolling over those derogatory terms.
3. Justin Bieber
A household name, an internet sensation, and probably the most loved teenage celebrity since Elvis, Bieber does indeed count as the DUFF of his group. Alongside celebrities like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner, it is no surprise that he would count as “uglier”. This singer can’t match the beauty standards of models and Instagram stars. But he is still managed to garner the love and affection of millions of teenage girls. How is it possible? (In our opinion we absolutely drool over Bieber any day of the week). Maybe this designation of DUFF isn’t all it is cracked up to be– Especially in the realm of celebrities. To choose an “Ugly, Fat Friend” out of a group of celebrities is like asking to choose whether they want ice cream or cake for dessert. There are reasons to dislike one over another, but they are all just as delicious and sugary as the next.
2. Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner broke the internet the other day by walking around wearing her “I’m Somebody’s DUFF” shirt (You aren’t fooling anyone Kylie, it is almost impossible for this statement to be true). Maybe you’re shocked at the idea that someone as famous and as conventionally gorgeous as her could ever count as a DUFF. If you are… Good! Girls and women everywhere are spiraling into lower and lower levels of self-esteem because of this phrase. Many of them self-identify as the DUFF of their friends, which is damaging to them and to their relationships. Kylie Jenner wearing this shirt does great things to point out how, no matter how conventionally beautiful you are, you’re still inevitably going to be perceived as not enough, depending on whom you’re with. It’s a culture of comparisons. While it doesn’t help destroy the concept, it does help to take back the term and point out its ridiculousness.
1. Mae Whitman
The only one whom we can accurately call “The DUFF”. She is the star of the new movie The DUFF, and her character is the DUFF of her friend group. In real life, though, it is clear that she is anything but. Pretty by anyone’s standards, Mae plays a character that seems to wear oversized sweaters and overalls. The character is outspoken, does not take anyone’s crap, and stands up for herself when people make fun of her. We can’t really find anything else that would designate her as such a derogatory term. Maybe it is a sign that this phrase is silly; it’s perpetuating the idea that beauty standards are women’s only worth, and those beauty standards are formed and maintained through comparisons of those around them. We say that it is time to drop this term, reevaluate our standards of standards, and let women own their beauty in whatever way they want.