"Fat people aren't insecure; insecure people are insecure."
Humor on TV has evolved over the years. Jokes that wouldn't be considered too offensive on popular shows ten years ago would make today's viewers squirm. It's been a gradual change you might not even pick up on until you're watching an old rerun of Friends that could be titled The One Where Chandler Makes 15 Homophobic Jokes. Call it political correctness or basic decency, writers seem to be including fewer jokes aimed at offending groups of people.
An exception, though, is 'fat jokes.' Even in recent years, they're still popping up in popular sitcoms.
That's why body positive advocate Lexie Manion took to Instagram to point out that fat jokes are still very much a thing and it's about time they're not. In a recent post, she wrote about watching Baby Daddy (a show that premiered in 2012), which is filled with jokes about the main character once being fat.
"I'd love to see more comedies in the future that are actually funny because they simply are, and not just because they take overused jokes to shame others," she wrote. "There is life beyond the narrative that fat people are just insecure, ugly, stupid, gross, lazy, etc. Fat people aren't insecure; insecure people are insecure—no matter their current or previous weight."
I was watching a sitcom last night - Baby Daddy - and the amount of jokes centered around a main character once being fat and then losing all the weight is so boring. It's not even that I'm offended by fat jokes; it's just that it's simply exhausting. That show premiered in 2012, and along with many other sitcoms, it puts emphasis on one character's weight and makes that one aspect the running joke of the show. It's e x h a u s t i n g. And you know it's a problem that still happens because an older show I adore - Parks and Rec - portrays a fat woman, who is actually quite the opposite of what the media portrays many fat people. Donna from Parks and Rec is witty, funny and confident and is portrayed doing the rejecting rather than being rejected. While there are still fat jokes every now and then in Parks and Rec, they didn't constantly bring it up or portray a main character as insecure about their size. And I think that's important because you get to see beyond the surface, and you learn that assumptions based off of looks are just that - assumptions. Making fun of fat people, or skinny people for once being fat, isn't just exhausting; it's overkill. We get it: some people hate others based off of their appearance. Who cares? I'd love to see more comedies in the future that are actually funny because they simply are, and not just because they take overused jokes to shame others. There is life beyond the narrative that fat people are just insecure, ugly, stupid, gross, lazy, etc. Fat people aren't insecure; insecure people are insecure - no matter their current or previous weight. Ironically, I think it's lazy that people constantly write in fat jokes to their work. It shows that there were empty spaces that needed to be filled with comedic relief, and many, many shows and movies go the route of shaming others for their weight. It's exhausting, boring, and I'm over it. 'Fat' isn't inherently bad. And being fat doesn't make you a bad person, or any less of a human being. There is so much more to a person than just their appearance.
It's 2017, and it's time to stop making fat jokes (and telling girls not to wear leggings, and trolling people for cellulite, etc.) And Manion brings up a good point: Fat jokes body-shame people and perpetuate negative stereotypes. And even if they didn't? They'd still be played out and cheap.