Friday, September 6, 2013

Zingers - Love or Hate?

There are things that are politically correct and things that are not. Over the past few decades we have learned the face of bigotry against different races, religions, gender, gender identification, and disabilities. For the most part we agree that we must be kinder in the way we treat people in these areas. The one area that we are still struggling is the way we treat fat people. It seems that it is still open season on us, despite the fact that the bulk of the country is overweight (pun not intended but appreciated).

There is a fine line between telling a joke and making fun of someone. A lot of people don't know where this dividing line lies.

First of all, for all of the idiots out there -- you don't need to point out our fat to us. We have already realized this fact from the sobbing sound the scale makes when we step on it. Also, don't think that humiliating us is what it will take to get us to lose weight. If that actually worked this would be among the skinniest on earth rather than the opposite. You also need to look in the mirror. You could be the pot calling the kettle fat.

There was a recent kerfuffle on line about a guy who took a woman's photo from her blog that showed her holding a sign that said "This is what a feminist looks like." He reposted it with a comment that it was just as he figured -- indicating that only fat women and perhaps women without the perfect airbrushed look would be a feminist. Yeah. Tell it to former Playboy Bunny Gloria Steinem. This kind of crap attitude is a large part of where feminism stems from. But I take this guy with a grain of salt. He is undoubtedly the loser he was accusing this woman of being. Hello! Pot, it's the kettle calling!

Oh, yes, you could be handsome and well-muscled as all get out. But inside you are small, gnarled, and distasteful, possessing the need to make others feel like less so that you can feel like more. Humor should not come at someone else's expense. You delude yourself by mistaking the desire to hurt under the mask of the desire to be funny. Shame on you!

Now, I can take a real joke. I love Gabriel Iglesias's five (and now six) levels of fat -- big, healthy, husky, fluffy, and DAMN!!!! More recently he added Aw, Hell No! to the list. Now I could delude myself into thinking I am any of the first three. I, like Gabriel, am fluffy. I have verged on DAMN!!!! at one point, but have lost a few lbs. to get back. I did not do it for vanity's sake. I did it to improve my health and mobility. Of course I still need to lose weight and want to, but it really is easier said than done.

Just recently I got into a fit of joke telling about my weight with a Facebook friend and fellow writer.  I was having a blast. I love being funny. So I copied my jokes and will share them here with you:

My figure is more like Jabba the Hut's than it is like Princess Leia's. The whole look worked better when I was younger and not so, ummm, spongy. (This was in relation to the fact that I have three Princess Leia costumes hidden away in an old suitcase.)

Last time I tried to wear a halter top in public five guys went blind. And that was with a jacket over it.

I thought of buying myself a tent to wear, but the sporting goods store didn't carry my size.

I didn't wear a costume for Halloween one year and everyone thought I was going as Miss Piggy.

I went as the Flying Nun and people took bets on just how high the wind speed would actually have to be to get me off the ground. An F5 tornado was the final consensus.

I tried to go down to the Mall one Halloween as a skinny person but the police kept trying to break up the crowd.

Last time I went to the beach some guy with a harpoon showed up. I had a whale of a time.

Last time I went to the beach some guy with a harpoon showed up. I had a whale of a time.

I went jogging without a bra once and gave myself a black eye.

People used to try to give me support by telling me to keep my chins up.

If you laughed, good for you. The intention behind these was good-natured fun. It was also done through a bit of self-deprecation. People like Gabriel Iglesias and I can do that  because we understand that we are pointing at ourselves and not others. In like kind, he will make jokes about Hispanics and I won't. Since I am not Hispanic I do not have the background to go there. I could, on the other hand, go to what it is like to date a Hispanic. 

One of the keys to being funny rather than hurtful is to make it accessible to people. Make it key into their experiences or the experiences of the people close to them. The power of intention also comes in here. My jokes are not intended to hurt anyone. I point the finger only at myself and hope that other people, especially the fluffy ones, can identify and maybe feel a little kinder toward themselves.

And to the poster child for feminism -- you go girl! Leave the jerks out there in the dust where they belong. For the guys who get it -- bless you for you are truly men. 

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