Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is Fat Funny?

I went to the gay capital of Ft. Lauderdale last night for their Halloween extravaganza. It was great fun sitting on a bench watching the people strolling by decked out in all sorts of wild and crazy costumes. Amazing looking women, slinky and sexy, dressed in their highest of heels and full makeup turned out to be men. Sailors, policemen, Mad Hatters, a penis, masters and their slaves and lots of people dressed in fat costumes. Men and women alike in padded suits, overabudant fake breasts, rolls of simulated fat, fake double chins - all in the name of Halloween and a good time. But is it in good taste?

Is it OK for us to single out a group and make fun of them? Is it alright to pretend to be someone else, such as a homeless person, a fat person, an old person, all in the name of fun? Here's an excerpt from Kataphatic. In her blog Katie says:
"My body is sold as a costume. People can dress up like me, pretending. Playing. Trying out what it’s like to be fat; getting a laugh out of it. How crazy and disgusting their body would be if they really looked like me. And then at the end of the evening they can take it off. Shed that extra weight of the costume with a sigh, and a “thank God I’m not really that fat.” Or, maybe not even think about it, the way I think about how my life would be different if I weren’t fat, every day. My body is treated as a costume by thin people.
My body isn’t the only body that’s objectified as a costume for privileged people. The bodies and cultures of many people of color are used as costumes by white people. The bodies of "illegal" immigrants are used as costumes by American (particularly white) citizens. The bodies of the mentally ill are used as costumes by the neurotypical. The bodies of the old are used as costumes by the young. The bodies of the poor and homeless are used as costumes by the wealthy.
The privileged use the bodies of the oppressed as costumes, but they don’t stop there. The costumes are not usually realistic at all. They don’t communicate any sense that the wearer (the appropriator, the rapist, the conqueror, the colonizer) has any sense of the humanity of the person whose body they are exploiting. These costumes are caricatures of us, designed to be shocking, ugly, “exotic” to highlight the “other-ness” and even the “not-human-ness” of our bodies. Not only are we othered by the fact that our bodies are used as a costume, we are dehumanized by them."
When you see that thin person decked out in some semblance of a fat person's body, how do you feel? Do you find it amusing? Or is it just pathetic that they think it is OK to make fun of overweight people?

12 comments:

Linda Pressman said...

Ellen, you, and Kataphatic, are right on the money here. I can't stand when the premise of any movie or show is to laugh at the fat actor. Like "Mall Cop" or that Eddie Murphy movie where he wore that fat suit. It's just not funny. And, even though I appreciate Kataphatic's even-handedness, really it's considered very politically incorrect to insult just about any other group - gay people, different races, etc., but it's always a holiday when making fun of fat people.

Although I haven't been heavy for a long time, I remember it well. That woman - the fat Linda - walks inside of me. I'm very sensitive to those issues and, like you, I speak up to those around me.

Anne H said...

Interesting - I have noticed that, as well....
Always the villain ..... the greedy self-defeating evil monster

Bringing Pretty Back said...

I do NOT find it funny at all. Not one bit.
Have a pretty day!
Kristin

Katie J said...

Hi Ellen - just checking in with you. Hope things are going okay.

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This one is SO FUNNY,

This woman is trying to lose weight while she is trying to fix the rest of her life along with getting her daughter through her senior year!

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Sarah said...

I don't think it's funny at all. I think it's hateful and rather sad and pathetic.
-Sarah
fitango.com

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