Fat jokes and double standards....

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by tzhu07, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. tzhu07, Mar 2, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013

    tzhu07 macrumors regular

    tzhu07

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    #1
    So there was a recent controversy involving Joan Rivers making fat jokes about Adele on Letterman's show. And it got me thinking...

    Making fun of fat people in general = OK
    Targeting a woman who's not that fat = not OK (Adele, Oprah, etc.)
    Targeting a woman who is seriously fat = OK (Kirstie Alley)
    Targeting a fat man regardless of severity of fatness = OK (Chris Christie)

    Now, I realize likeability also factors into the equation. Perhaps part of the reason the Letterman audience gasped at the Adele joke is because in general Adele is perceived as likeable and talented. But what if Adele was just a trashy reality-show contestant?

    Oh you humans, trying to be too politically correct. :D

    Here's Joan Rivers' comments on Adele:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iRpd6wNpbM
     
  2. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #2
    Joan Rivers is the original shock comedian. She says stuff like this all the time. She gets paid to make fun of people. If you are a public person you are fair game.
     
  3. JBazz macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Funny how the people with the least amount of room to talk are usually the first to do so.

    Joan has had so much plastic surgery because she has deep issues with her own body, so she will always be the first to point out other people's appearance. It has little to do with them, and everything to do with her own inner issues.
     
  4. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #4
    That's just fine with me.
     
  5. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #5
    Remember when people were actually civilized and didn't feel the need to belittle and make fun of others all the time just to make their miserable selves feel better?

    People need to grow the **** up and stop acting like bullies on the first grade playground. The fact that you say it's okay just because someone is a "public person" is ridiculous and just shows how low humanity has fallen.

    Sometimes I think we would have been better off if the Mayans were right.
     
  6. bigg13st macrumors newbie

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    #6
    This.
     
  7. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #7
    How far back do we have to go? Comedians going back to the 50's were doing this.
     
  8. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    #8
    As a fluffy bouncy man, I appreciate people bringing humor to slightly embarrassing situations rather than making insulting worthless comments.
     
  9. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #9
    Notice how this type of attitude (not you specifically, I mean people as a whole) really started with the development of radio and then television.

    People used to treat their neighbors much better before the media became so widespread and powerful.
     
  10. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #10
    People used to talk to their neighbors, now they just text. It won't get any better the further we sink into our smart phones and tablets.
     
  11. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #11
    Yup.

    Historians a few centuries from now will point to the internet as the beginning of the downfall of civilization. It's basically turned in to a digital pissing contest with everyone hiding behind their online anonymity.
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #12
    Yes, there is some truth in this.....

    Perhaps.

    Nonetheless, another possible reading is that the new online and other digital media have developed so rapidly and transformed the world so radically that an appropriate etiquette in how to communicate has not alone not managed to keep pace, but has not yet had time to evolve.

    I suspect that the invention and development of the printing press brought similar revolutionary and transformative changes in the western world - especially the urbanised and literate parts of that world.

    And, a few centuries later again, western societies also had to deal with the new revolutionary means of disseminating ideas and information when the first periodicals and newspapers began to appear in the late 17th century.

    How that world - publicly and privately - adapted to these changes and consequences (for good and for ill - whether by encouraging increased literacy, or by legislating for censorship), in turn, transformed western society. And it took time to learn to develop an accepted etiquette for communicating in this way, a development that inevitably, lagged behind the revolutions in the means of communication itself.
     
  13. eric/ Guest

    eric/

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    #13
    The digital world just hasn't quite caught up to the real world. We're still largely anonymous on the web, and that allows people to just say what they want without any sort of social repercussion. But at the same time that's a benefit, because society often puts pressure on people to conform.
     
  14. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #14
    Did they really do so at a far more different rate than today? I'm not sure I see that much of a difference to when I was growing up in the early 70s, but maybe that was already too late.

    B
     
  15. sviato macrumors 68020

    sviato

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  16. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I am not so sure of this -- in the context of making fun of others. Read Shakespeare and Roman texts... I recall a taunt of "Baldhead" in the old testament of the Bible as well...

    Obesity, of course, was far less widespread in the past and, frankly, had different cultural connotations than it does today.
     
  17. tzhu07 thread starter macrumors regular

    tzhu07

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    #17
    I don't know about any of you guys, but I don't make any real attempts to hide myself online. Mainly because I never say anything online that I wouldn't say to a bunch of people in person, including my employers.

    Anyone can easily discover my legal name, email address, resume, and where I live with very little detective work. It's just something that I'm not very concerned about at all.
     
  18. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #18
    I'm a fat guy. As far as I'm concerned, it's like any other pejorative word or name - it's not the word that upsets people, it's how (or why) it's used.

    It's pretty easy to tell the difference between someone making a fat joke to be playful, and someone telling a fat joke to be hateful. Same with jokes about ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc.
     
  19. Moyank24 macrumors 601

    Moyank24

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    #19
    Imagine if the Hatfield and McCoys had the internet? ;)

    I think everything is more pronounced with the ability to find out news just seconds after it happens - it may not mean it's happening more, it just may mean that we are just hearing about it more.
     
  20. AhmedFaisal, Mar 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2013
  21. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #21
    I think it would be better if people stopped making jokes about weight in general. You want to talk double-standards, I find it absurd that the same people who resent jokes about their weight will make jokes about someone else's. Recently I was in a shopping center and paused at a coffee shop deli to see what they had on offer. I didn't like the choices so I walked away. As I did so two overweight women said loudly enough to intend me to hear it: "Looks like that skinny bitch passes up food way too often!" ಠ_ಠ I very nearly spun round and said "Looks like you don't!" but stopped myself. It isn't fair to be judgemental whatever side of the spectrum you are. A lot of people, like Joan Rivers, just can't resist the low hanging fruit, as it were.
     
  22. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #22
    Everything is a great JOKE, until it happens to YOU.:eek:
     
  23. tekboi macrumors 6502a

    tekboi

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    #23
    Says who? I'm not exactly "skinny"... and i'm fine with myself. If anybody has a problem with it then it's their personal problem.


    And I think this is a bigger issue. It's not just about celebrities, but society in general. Logically, most of our standards make absolutely no sense. But we conform to them like sheep.
     
  24. sim667 macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Call me fat, and Ill say fair play.

    Then Ill give you a character assasination you wont forget. :D
     
  25. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #25
    Reading all of this, I'm struck by how - in recent times - it has become acceptable to make comments - and along with that, pass judgement - on people who are overweight, or fat. Sure, it is not healthy, and doubtless, elegant, fit, slim, young people look better to our jaundiced eye than older, poorer, stressed people. But so what? Sometimes, we are far too swift to judge, especially about the poor, and especially about women.

    Historically, with food often in short supply, an amply endowed person would have been viewed with approval (the old, if you can feed yourself, you can probably work out a way to feed the community way of thinking), and seen as possible leadership material as a consequence. Indeed, only the rich could afford to be fat. This was not a luxury allowed most of the population.

    Fat - as in excess fat - has only become damned in a world where food is no longer a scarce resource. It is not considered distasteful (although it might be infuriating) in a world where food shortages occur. Indeed, looking at pictures of the female ideal in the late Middle Ages, or in Renaissance times, as depicted in portraits, suggests that our current obsession with size zero was not always the case.

    However, it does have other dimensions. Some of these are to do with (subjective and intolerant) aesthetics: slim is better, and to be uncomfortably slim, as in a permanent state of dissatisfaction with yourself and your body is a state of mind much desired by the wider fashion industry as it makes it easier for them to sell clothes, and 'lifestyle choices' to us, especially to women.

    Yet other dimensions of any serious discussion of this topic are to do with social class and poverty. Simply put, it costs more, in both time and money to eat well. If we are serious about inculcating knowledge and awareness of good food, and educating people about eating properly and about basic but good cooking, rather than simply condemning the feckless poor yet again, why not educate them, and show them what needs to be done. (Hint: closing down school canteens, reducing Government regulation on what may be served there, and withdrawing Government subsidies is not the answer).

    And, of course, yet other aspects of this question are to do with gender politics: (look at that woman, how dare she 'let herself go' and lack the discipline and self-denial to try to be slim, and ape what is deemed attractive, because that is how she will be judged).

    Until recently, burly men, (unless they were poor, in which case they were simply seen as slobs, and losers), were seen as men 'with a belly', men of power, men to be deferred to, whereas stocky women were simply deemed unattractive and fat, a word which was no longer used as a simple adjective, but as a profound - and contemptuous - insult instead. Only in gay circles did male appearance assume the judgemental importance more traditionally associated with discussions pertaining to women.

    In her recently published, quite terrific book, 'How To Be A Woman', the splendid writer Caitlin Moran writes about fat as a feminist (and class) issue. In essence, her argument is that over-eating is the drug of choice of the poor, and, above all, of carers, because, and this is a key point, carers must remain competent, in a way that you cannot be if you are totally wasted on narcotics or alcohol. She has a wonderful line, where she asks rhetorically what the reaction would be to someone staggering into an office, on a Monday morning, saying, 'oh man, I really got wasted on the Shepherd's Pie on Saturday night, I really overdid it, like'.....would it be envy at the glittering lifestyle? Hardly. Sympathy? Not likely. Even tolerance? No.

    Over-eating, as comfort, allows you to still function, as you must, if you are the person whose job it is to prop up children, elderly relatives, and juggle endless bills on minimal resources and it is a cheap, easy shot, to sneer at the 'losers' for whom this is described as a lifestyle choice, rather than a consequence of inescapable stress and unendurable conditions because you are at the bottom of life's pile.
     

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