I saw a post on Facebook about this, but just didn’t have the heart to read it.  To say the least, I have very mixed feelings on the subject.

First there are “fat jokes” – pretty much uniformly not funny in my book.  They are almost always hurtful and mean spirited.

So what do I do when a personality or a show that I enjoy indulges in fat jokes?  Do I voice my objection?  Do I boycott the person or the show?  Do I put up with the jokes because there is content that I really enjoy?  What’s a fatty to do?

Right now I usually bitch about it (at home, to myself and Whaliam), and then “let it go”.  Only, I don’t let it go.  More and more, it continues to bother me.

I have been heartened in comedy shows with an audience, where, more often, fat jokes get a negative reaction.  But you (and the performer(s)) don’t get that feedback in entertainment that is not done in front of a live audience.

And then there are fat people who make fun of themselves.  Sometimes funny, sometimes not.  To me it depends on the “intent” – if it is meant to be shaming (to oneself or others), again, pretty much not funny.  If it is about real life situations fat people encounter, it can be pretty hilarious.

I use fat humor a lot in my own life.  Usually to point out the foibles of well-meaning friends.  If someone says that I am not fat, I may shake my belly at them and say, “Really?  What do you call this?”  I want them to know I am fat, I know it, and I’m okay with it.  Or I use to it to make others more comfortable with me as a fat person and (more importantly) comfortable with me as a self-accepting fat person.  I know this is not my job, and I don’t always have the energy for it; but I believe it is hard to support fat stereotypes if you know fat people who defy those stereotypes.

A really good book I read once said that in dealing with a problem, you should

(i) identify the problem; AND

(ii) figure out if there is anything you can do about the problem.

If not, let it go because there is nothing you can do about it so stop wasting your time and energy over something you can’t change.  OR

(iii) if there is something that can be done about it, figure out if you are willing to do that thing.

If not, let it go, because it obviously does not bother you enough to do something about it and stop wasting time and energy over something you’re not willing to change. OR

(iv) Do something about the problem.

So I “know” the answer; I’m just stuck at step three.

What would you do?


3 thoughts on “FAT “HUMOR”

  1. This is kind of a conflict I have had with myself for a while. Although for me, it’s not about fat humor, but humor for other things and generally just things that people say and do that offends me. Do I try to do something about it or let it go? And if I did do something about it, am I demanding censorship and inflicting on the rights of others to speak freely? It’s tough for me to just figure out if I should do something, or at least bitch about it…or just let it go.

  2. Hm, yeah, that is an excellent question. I know it doesn’t really work to boycott, because if we were to boycott every TV show/artist/comdian etc. that used fat “humor”, there would almost be no options with fat people left.
    Usually I point it out when I have people around me, at least my family and friends learn to recognize fat hate in the form of humor.

  3. Ashley, I don’t think that free speech means people have the right to say whatever they want and not be called out or criticized for it. That doesn’t mean you’re at all obligated to speak up when you don’t have the energy for it, but unless you’re trying to prevent someone from speaking in a public space, you have a right to.

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