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Deborah Schurman-Kauflin, Ph.D.

Deborah Schurman-Kauflin Ph.D.

Making fun of fat people

Why taunting overweight people is not funny

We’ve all heard the jokes and wise cracks. There is no place that is safe from the cruel words and taunting. If you happen to be one of those who carry extra weight, then you know how horrible people can be.

Recently three women went out for a night of fun at a restaurant. After enjoying their meal, they were shocked by the words on their receipt. The receipt read ‘fat girls.’ The women complained because it was insulting, and the incident became public.

Sadly, chat boards came alive with predators ready to pounce on one of their favorite targets. A large number of people thought it was funny and just fine to insult the women. They used words like ‘cows’ to describe them. Other predators posted ‘don’t sugarcoat it about their weight-they’d just eat that too.’ But simply making fun of their weight was not enough. People then resorted to calling the women ugly too. Poster after poster took delight in ripping the women apart. They saw nothing wrong with their predatory, bullying behavior.

Torturing overweight people is one of the last acceptable forms of bigotry.

What’s the harm, you ask? If the women are fat, why object to being called that? Well what if the receipt had read group of cripples or three ugly guys? If it is the truth, then what is the harm… right? What if all of your receipts highlighted your appearance shortcomings? Would it be so funny then?

The reasons for being overweight are complex. More people than you know have illnesses which make them gain weight. Others are on life saving medications that also make them put on pounds. Some are disabled and ill and cannot exercise. Then some use food for comfort because people like the posters listed above are so cruel and make their lives miserable. I’ve known more than a few individuals who have suffered from terrible tragedies only to put on weight as a result. Is it really so funny to make fat jokes about a woman who witnessed her two children being killed in front of her? You never know why someone has put on weight.

Beyond that, being fat is hard. Clothes are difficult to fit, and depression is common. Those who struggle with weight know how difficult it is to lose the pounds. For those who are addicted to food, the fight to lose weight is beyond frustrating. Let’s compare food addiction to crack or alcohol addiction. You don’t have to have crack or alcohol to survive, but you do have to eat every day in order to live. Imagine an addiction specialist telling an alcoholic: you have to have liquor every day, but just don’t overdo it.

The lack of empathy and compassion for those dealing with a weight problem has become frightening. Yes, it is frightening that people feel it is fine to harass, insult, and bully an overweight person. This is the type of behavior you would expect from bratty out of control children.

Those who attack fat people are bullies and predators, pure and simple.

The fact is that you won’t make your light shine any brighter by blowing out someone else’s light. Pay attention to your own plate. There is not a doubt in my mind that those vicious bullies who pick on fat people are miserable and have lives filled with a history of rocky relationships. Those who are happy and content don’t feel the need to victimize others. That is profiling 101.

Just because a person is overweight does not mean that individual is lazy or ugly. I’d much rather have a group of friends who are fat and have beautiful spirits than thin people who are ugly inside. True beauty is on the inside and focuses on what is in your heart. Being kind and thoughtful with others has much more meaning than looking a certain way.

If you are overweight and encounter these thugs, remember that you are dealing with nasty predators who are striking out to make you feel bad so that they can feel good. Don’t let these bullies make you feel any less special and beautiful. To do so gives them power which is what they seek. Give yourself the power and always follow your heart. Only you know what is going on inside you, and only you should determine how you feel about yourself.