Why Fat Jokes Aren't Funny
I never thought I'd see something that veered towards fat positive in USA Today but, well, here it is. Barbara D'Souza's editorial goes after those who make fat jokes - including fat people.
I'll start with what I thought was bad, then flip over to the good.
First, the language. I'm not sure if it was the author's choosing, but "morbidly obese" and a reference to fat as a disability didn't sit well with me.
Second, there's a vibe here of "Well, fat people have tried to lose weight and given up, so deal with it" in a negative way. You know? It's not "Hey, diets didn't work - they don't - so hey! We're here!" Check out this passage. The author's talking about a time she was at a dinner party.
One man said the overweight people he knows "don't know when to leave the table" and so have diabetes and heart conditions; he also described how the women are very skinny as young women but then balloon to astronomical proportions after getting married.
Though I'd normally ignore these comments, this time I ranted that losing weight is not an easy thing to do. Unfortunately, my argument was inelegant, and I suppose I might have made a fool out of myself.
To me, that has a feeling of... resignation. And that's a bit of a leap, I think, but not wholly unreasonable from my perspective, what with the "morbidly obese" and the like in the article.
Now, the good!
This is basically railing against fat jokes and discrimination. It's not going to be terribly in-depth - it's USA Today - but it's going to be well-read and will reach people. D'Souza astutely points out that fat people are "willing to degrade themselves" to go on TV - that's generally true, particularly with reality shows - and positive images of fat people are hard to find in the mainstream media. [Thank you, Diana!]