21.5.09

Mindlessly Funny

Just recently this photo was sent around in an E-Mail with the accompanying words of: "You know it is summer when girls start showing their belly buttons".

When I read the text and then saw the photo I laughed. It was funny. Of course it was funny. Mindlessly funny!

Then it hit me and it has bothered me now for about a week. IT IS NOT FUNNY!

Inside this grossly obese body lives a human being, just like you and me. She has family and friends who love her. She has family and friends that she loves. She laughs, cries, and feels... just like us. She has needs, dreams, emotions and desires... just like us. She reasons, experiences and perceives... just like us. So why do we thinks she is funny?

I wonder how difficult it must be for her to face other people. Does she notice the odd looks and the sniggers behind her back... and if she does, how badly does it hurt? Can she perform any physical work, like cleaning the house or working in the garden, and if she can, how big an effort will it require? I wonder how badly her feet hurt when she walks? How awkward it must be to bath or even shower? When she is in bed, is she comfortable and how does she get out of bed? How does she get into a car, or onto a bus or train? Does she ever get hugged? I have been picturing myself in a body like that this past week, and these are just a few of the hurdles I imagine that she must overcome everyday.


Nobody gets that overweight in a few weeks, months or even years. This is something that has developed over many years. What in her life caused her to gain all this weight. What psychological reasons exist for her condition? I am sure she never planned to be this obese. It happened! Bit by bit, but it happened. It can happen to me... and to you. If the right genes are present and the right circumstances arise, we can end up just like her.

I know there is a lot of debate on whether obesity is a disease or not. I believe it is not a disease in its own right, but it is a symptom of our modern lifestyle. A lifestyle that we all subscribe to and contribute to.

Instead of being entertaining, this E-Mail was disgusting; not because of the obesity of the lady in the photo, but because of the callousness of the photographer and of the many people (and I include myself) who laughed at her.

I have decided that in future I will not laugh at, neither will I make, or tolerate disgraceful remarks about obese people. I will treat them with respect for the person living inside that obese body, for..."But for the Grace of God, there goes I".

PS: I have deliberately replaced her face with a question mark. I just think she has been exposed enough.

7 comments:

leilani said...

I once had the previlege of seeing a very wounded dolphin being guarded by other dolphins. At no time was that wounded dolphin left alone. Recently we had some pygmy whales come in from the deep waters they live in to near shore. One of their own was sick and dying and about to beach itself. They traveled with it to say goodbye. Compassion and empathy are free, but yet we as humans continue to value only what we can buy. If this woman were part of the animal world im sure she would probably be guarded and escorted until she were well. This is a great post!! Thank you for grabbing the gift of compassion and sharing it with us !

A human kind of human said...

See why I prefer animals to humans?

DUTA said...

Congratulations for the new Blog Layout. I like it, I like it. It makes bright in the eyes with its white background and makes reading easy with its big size fonts. And the flowers are a charming addiion.

As for the woman in the e-mail photo,You're absolutely right. It's not funny.

Argent said...

Thanks you for the timely nudge in the ribs. I get lots of these kinds of emails and it's sooo easy to become hardened to the plight of the people depicted.

Love the new layout BTW.

Viewtiful_Justin said...

I am right there with you. It's sad and wrong and shameful. If we all treated people like they were PEOPLE and not roadside attractions, the world would certainly be a nicer place.

Forgotten Katalyst said...

Bravo! Thank you for pointing out something in our culture that IS disgusting. The way human beings treat one another is often heartbreaking and disgusting.

I too would like to give her a hug.

JD said...

I agree wholeheartedly!