Yuck. Not funny.
Maybe it’s because I’m a psychotherapist. I know that painful stories are hiding behind the attempt at humor. So when I hear jokes that poke fun at serious health and mental health issues, I cringe.
Our culture is so inundated with this stuff—think how many shame-inducing memes appear in your Facebook feed—that we’re desensitized to how harmful it really is. I want you to see how demeaning jokes undermine your weight-release journey, how you unwittingly join in, and how practicing radical self-respect protects you from their harmful effects.
Take Another Look at What’s Funny
My client Karen struggled with her weight since childhood and regularly joked about it. She would say things like, “Oh, I just look at food and gain weight” and “Chocolate calls out my name!” (Do you say things like that, too?)
Karen kept a cartoon on her refrigerator. The caption said, “Pie Calling.” It was a picture of an overweight women clasping her hands over her ears to stop hearing the pie across the room yelling, “Eat me…eat me!”
That cartoon belittled the struggle Karen was going through, so I discussed it with her. I told her she was being unkind to herself. She got it and said, “I never joke with my daughters about things that bother them like my mother did with me. It’s not right to do this to myself, especially about my body and weight.”
Karen threw away the cartoon. She said it felt liberating to no longer see her weight-loss struggle glaring at her face every day. By getting rid of the cartoon, Karen also healed a part of herself that was still hurting from childhood trauma. (more…)