Monthly Archives: December 2011

*Fat People – Why Do You Make Fun of Them?

No, really, I want to know.

I think I was born without the gene that gives you satisfaction from making fun of others’ appearances.  I’m not saying I’m holier than thou – because I’m not – there are some other choice slang words I could benefit from losing from my vocabulary.  But I’ve never made fun of someone’s weight after a few choice observations I made as a child.  I just haven’t.  And actually, I can’t credit myself; I credit my mother.  Anyone who knows Donna Bruce knows that she is a kind woman who cares about how others feel.  Once, after seeing a particularly overweight person and commenting on it as children do, my mother said, “Amanda, that’s just not a nice thing to say.  That could hurt their feelings.”

It seemed simple enough to me.  So I stopped.

I also never did again because I was an overweight child before struggling with an eating disorder.  I was berated by my numerous classmates and strangers for the way I looked, and I couldn’t see causing harm to others the way they did me.  Plus, I just assumed I would feel fucking shitty (note: slang words to lose) if I did make fun of someone based on their weight.  So, I am honestly, seriously curious – if you do it, what do you get out of it?  Is it a way to feel better than, temporarily superior for a moment?  Is it because you feel uncomfortable with something that has nothing to do with you?  I am not looking for an opportunity to engage in a fight with someone over this – I just want to know.

Again, I am not pro-fat or pro-out-of-shape-ness.  I just don’t see how making fun of a problem that is reportedly a serious national problem, helps.  When I see a seriously overweight or obese person who might be disabled as a result of it, I first think, “oh, that’s sad.”  And then I think, “Wait a minute, is that even accurate for me to be sad?  Because they could be happier than I am!”  I also tend think of a lack of balance when I see an overweight person.  Just as anorexia indicates a lack of balance.  I assume that some make fun of overweight people because they attribute certain qualities to them, like sloth or lack of control.  Which I understand some people despise in others.

It just seems as arbitrary as saying, “Look at that brown-haired woman.  People who are brown-haired are so disgusting.”  I know someone might say to that, “Well, it’s not the same Amanda, one is a health problem while the other isn’t.”  Well, sure, I agree – but how does making fun of it help?

I just don’t get it.  Again, I’m not trying to be self-righteous; I just don’t understand.  So please, if you do, enlighten me, because I find it mystifying.  And in the meantime, I’ll stick to Mama Bruce’s philosophy: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

* I don’t tend to use the word fat; I prefer overweight or obese, which is usually more accurate/detailed.  Thought it might grab your attention though.

(Image provided by metro.co.uk)