Why are fat people funny? It’s something I really don’t understand. We seem to forever be the punch line of people’s (bad) jokes, and even just the thought of us seems to be hilarious to many.
What’s worse is that society deems this acceptable. Because, as we know all too well, the fatter you are, the less human you’re considered.
Growing up my dad and brother regularly ridiculed me. Sometimes it was because of my ‘thunder thighs’ or my ‘wobbly bum’, other times it was because of the way I was moving or for what I was wearing, but mostly it seemed to be just me, simply for existing. And this was considered par for course. I was overweight and therefore deserved to be shamed. And if it hurt my feelings, well then I shouldn’t be so fat, should I.
I remember going to an outdoor swimming pool as a teen and having a group of lads laugh at me the entire time. I was crushed. Even as an adult it’s continued. With one of my ex-partners I overheard some guys saying “what are they doing with THAT?!” ‘That’ referring to me, of course.
Recently an owner of a plus size clothing store witnessed a customer in fits of giggles because she had realised that she’d stumbled into a store that predominantly stocked larger sizes. Between the giggles she blurted out, “Well, I don’t fit in anything here! All you have are big sizes so I guess I’ll just look at the handbags!” It’s as if she was embarrassed to realise she had stepped foot in a shop for ‘those types’. I’m surprised she didn’t try to conceal herself leaving the shop to prevent anyone from seeing her consorting with fatties. To make such a comment in clear earshot of the stop owner, to be heckled in your place of work. Why do people think it’s okay to do that? What, because someone wears a larger dress size than you, that makes them second rate and deserving of being treated with contempt?
I mean really, what is so bad or hilarious about going to a clothing store that stocks clothes in sizes you don’t wear? It’s not any different from walking into any other clothing store.
I’ve relayed just a few examples, but ask any bigger person and we can all reel off countless stories and experiences of being bullied, judged, heckled, criticized, and treated unfairly.
It needs to change. We are not a freak show, nor entertainment, nor less deserving of respect than you.
It seems to be the mentality that people should shame us into becoming thinner. But it’s not anybody’s place to do that. It also reinforces the notion that only one size will do. We need to educate to try and change people’s mindsets. So many things in life seem to be categorised into RIGHT and WRONG, and we need to start teaching that people are simply DIFFERENT and difference is okay, difference is good.
Nobody should be dehumanised or made to feel worthless. We might not fit the socially acceptable mould, but we are human, we have feelings, and we all deserve to be acknowledged and treated as valid, worthy individuals.