The 10 Most Offensive Fat People Jokes
We’ve been discussing weight, humour and offensiveness on our Facebook and Twitter pages and we concluded that there’s some interesting points to learn from even the most offensive fat jokes. Let’s be very clear at the top of this post that we’re discussing a difficult issue here and while we don’t condone these jokes, we also don’t think it’s right to hide away from the topic – anything that impacts men and weight is what we’re all about. In summary though, if you’re likely to be offended by bad language and humour directed at fat people then please don’t read on…
If you are easily offended by weight-related, sexist and sometimes just bad humour then don’t read on…
The depressing conclusion from the conversation seems to be that overweight men are extremely likely to be on the receiving end of fat people jokes, perhaps because male culture is so much more likely to revert to humour than female culture – laughing and being rude is often just how we handle things. There’s an intrinsic and unbreakable link between fat and funny, and you’ll be pleased to know that it goes beyond the fact that both words begin with an F.
It stems in part from the role of the larger-than-life clown, a role which has been passed through the generations from the likes of Oliver Hardy (136kg) to John Candy (124kgs). This has opened up the idea that overweight and obese men are both figures of fun (an object to laugh at) and also agents of fun (a person to make you laugh).
For many men who struggle with their weight, this can lead to the uncomfortable situation where they are thrust into the spotlight from an expectation of humour, when it’s often the case that they would rather be anywhere else. It creates a situation where their bodies are considered open for comment or judgement in a way that society is gradually learning not to do with skin colour or disabilities. One Twitter comment explained the situation as simply:
Any comment on the appearance of another person is an attempt to control that person.
But fat jokes come in all different forms and so we’ve plundered the all-time best jokes from the obesity category at Sickipedia, a site that revels in collecting all of the sickest jokes they can (it’s not a place for the faint of heart, you’ve been warned!) and we’ve pulled together four categories from these jokes.
Fat people eat anything (and everyone) all the time
This category imposes the idea of overweight and obese men as all-consuming monsters who are unable to control their instincts to eat. As is often the case with humour, this may be the case for some men who struggle with disordered eating behaviours, but more often is the simple fact that we live in an obesogenic environment and lead increasingly sedentary lives. But that’s quite hard to get into a joke.
Fat and culturally offensive
These often focused on Americans, this is in part because there has been a cultural stereotype of the “fat American”. This trope pervades films, sitcoms and stand-up comedy routines. In actual fact there is very little difference between the top fifty countries when you look at mean BMI for men. The top nations are overwhelmingly Oceanic nations – e.g. Nauru, Tonga and Samoa. But the deviation only runs from 32.1 to 26.4, with American men lying 11th with 28.5
Fat and sexist
This seems to echo the Twitter suggestion that commenting on another person’s body is a means of controlling them. Here the jokes “work” because they use fat as a characteristic to put women down.
Fat people are more likely to die earlier
As with the idea of fat and America, or fat and being omnivorous, the truth of mortality statistics and being overweight or obese is not quite that straight-forward. It isn’t a simple case of the bigger you are the sooner you die. In actual fact, the highest risk of mortality for men comes from being underweight, as this research from the British Medical Journal shows. Surprisingly, overweight men actually have a higher life expectancy.
In men, multiadjusted life expectancy was greatest for overweight, that is, 44.34 years (95% CI 43.11 to 45.54, p=0.0264), followed by normal weight (43.03 years, 42.22 to 43.73) and obesity (41.36 years, 38.28 to 44.70, p=0.3184) and was shortest for underweight (37.40 years, 35.80 to 38.87, p<0.0001)
Fat and fitness
Again, this stereotype – that overweight men can’t be fit – is one that’s under attack in recent years and not just because MAN v FAT Footballers are showing the world that the beautiful game can still be played at a very high level, even if you’re carrying a few pounds. Increasingly, gyms and sports are showcasing that being overweight or obese shouldn’t exclude you from playing sport and being fit.
It’s certainly an interesting topic and provoked plenty of discussion from both sides in the debate. What are your thoughts on this one, is this a touchy subject for humour? Did any of them make you laugh? If you’re joking does it make any topic up for grabs? Let us know over on Facebook or Twitter.