You can’t dip a toe into popular culture without cutting it on a razor-sharp fat joke.
Sitcom schtick, mean memes, and water cooler banter: The themes are all the same. Fat is a personality flaw, an irrevocable crime against your god-given body, a sure sign of laziness and lack of willpower. No pride, no self worth, no respect.
I notice it everywhere, fat people are consistently the (big) butt of the joke, where humanity went horribly, hilariously, wrong. Popping up in my Instagram feed, seamlessly threaded into a sitcom script, overheard at a cocktail party, fat jokes are universally accepted.
Historically, fat people are not the only group to be cut down for the sake of funny. However, in 2020, it’s in poor taste to tell racist, sexist, or other prejudiced jokes out loud in mixed company. It’s a sure sure sign of some sort of “ism.” But fat people… we are one of the last marginalized groups socially acceptable to lambast openly with mean-spirited humor.
Culturally, this is a sign of sickness.
It means that too many people are spending too much time battling self-hatred reinforced by failing full-figured fashion, ‘thinspiration’, and oppressive one-liners.
This means that the 40%+ of people in the US who could be considered fat are suffering under misdirected and stigmatized attitudes about bigger bodies. (Let’s remember, anyone one can “feel” fat, falling victim to the same negative self-talk, so the true impact is immeasurable.)
Don’t believe me? Put the word “fat” into a thesaurus; the laundry list of alternatives are fraught with painfully negative synonyms. How could one NOT feel bad about themselves when this is our everyday language?
Recovering self-loathing Fattie, heal thyself.
Heck, even I do it. “Don’t you need a coat?” concerned friends ask when I venture out in colder months. “Naw, I got all this extra insulation,” I say.
Just jokes — but at the expense of myself. I’ve been doing it so long that I barely notice.
Must muster enough acceptance and self-love not to “go there.”
Let’s all agree to stop assuming it’s ok to laugh at fat people — or at the very least quit praying for our deliverance.*
I’ll start. From this day forward, I’m going to stop eating their words… and my own.