Who has not seen or heard about fat puns/jokes?
Not just in the neighborhoods, even overweight musicians are targets of these stereotypical notions. Everyone seems to use these jokes freely, forgetting that they are usually insulting, unjust and hurtful.
Musicians are human too and are equally likely to fall into the overweight trap. Similarly, fat jokes can affect the life and career of a musician. Let us see how this can happen and what you can do in the next section.
First, this is how being overweight can affect your career
We cannot ignore the psychological effects of being overweight- anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders and depression. With eating disorders, the problem becomes a vicious cycle.
Being overweight will obviously affect your music career, that is, if you need to be active. Pray to God that you do not enter a cycle whereby your less active lifestyle makes you become even more overweight. Many have gone through this downward spiral never to recover.
Jokes Did Not Start With You
Nowhere else do these puns abide better than in the showbiz arena. For many decades, overweight musicians have had to contend with the jokes. Here are some popular musicians who have gone down that road:
- Christina Aguilera
- Kelly Clarkson
The stereotypes seem to increase with the global obesity percentage. Today, overweight people face discrimination in the workplace, healthcare and higher education and other areas. In short, this is not a new problem.
Are the attacks justified?
Certainly, they are not! However, psychological studies show that the issue is deeply entrenched in the society. For example, an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology claims that such stereotypes are results of group dominance beliefs, or more specifically, the Social Dominance Theory (GDT).
Coping with the Problem
Since this is a social issue, I think any overweight musician facing ridicule has two options: lose weight or learn to cope with the jokes. You do not have to lose weight to impress people, but remember that your career also counts. If you are interested in shedding some of those pounds, there is a simple solution to that. Get a professional trainer and embark on a weight loss plan. Many musicians have used that approach and succeeded in getting back in shape. In the meantime, you will need to stand up for yourself and life your life.
I like the response Demi Lovato gave her critics after her appearance at the MTV VMAs back in 2011. Rephrasing her words, being physically and emotionally in shape from the inside is better than looking in shape.
Educating the society can also help fight against the stigma. However, even as the fight continues, more emphasis may need to be directed at women. Research has shown that there is bias towards women when it comes to fat jokes.
Being overweight in such a hostile society and still be manage to succeed in music can be a huge undertaking. Psychologists and humor theorists have all manner of arguments regarding fat jokes, but some people will still hold these jokes in high esteem no matter what. I hope with concerted efforts, making fun of overweight people, or musicians for this matter, will be unacceptable over time.