Your ‘jokes’ about losing weight in time for June 21st are just fatphobic, so stop

Find a new joke because this one was never funny

Ever since Boris Johnson announced his roadmap out of lockdown and mentioned clubs opening on June 21st, my timeline has been swamped with fatphobic memes. Fat people have been the butt of the joke for too long and it’s tiring. The old lines of “I need to get skinny for summer” or “I’m too fat for it to be summer” are exhausted and extremely toxic.

Chances are you’ve probably seen a load of these memes crop up since Monday but you probably haven’t stopped to consider how harmful they are. Let me explain to you why you need to stop making, liking or sharing any jokes about body image.

It makes me so sad to see this is our generation’s immediate response when we’re told we are allowed to go out again. Our brains automatically go to all of the things we ‘need to fix’ before we allow others to see us again.

Eating disorders and fat jokes have never been funny. They’re triggering for people who are living or recovering from disordered eating. Stop using jokes about not eating so nonchalantly, it’s so dangerous.

As much as you might disagree, it doesn’t take someone being ‘woke’ to realise tweets like the one below are romanticising disordered eating. By tweeting a picture of ice on a plate and captioning it: “My breakfast, lunch and dinner until summer” you’re suggesting you plan on starving yourself. That’s not funny.

In the same memes, I’ve seen the words “fat”, “disgusting”, “obese” and “ugly” thrown around together. Fat people aren’t a joke and they do not deserve to be continuously mocked for simply existing in their bodies. Stop equating fatness to something to be ashamed of, disgusted by or shunned. Just because you are insecure in your potential fatness and the way you look, does not mean you can project your insecurities and add to an already incredibly toxic stereotype.

Another example of unnecessary fat-shaming is this meme below. Cheryl Fergison, who played Heather on Eastenders, has involuntarily become the nations ‘fat person meme’. You can try and argue this picture is just a questionable outfit and awkward body language but we all know why it’s really being shared. Be mindful of how you shame yourself and other people for their body shape. It’s terrifying how casual fatphobia has become.

Also, let’s be real, being fat should not be one of your biggest worries in a global pandemic. We’re going through a huge physical and mental health crisis – imagine how these people feel knowing they are living as everyone’s “worst nightmare”? Stop spouting “be kind” all over social media and then go on to retweet a fatphobic joke.

You really don’t need to lose any weight by June 21st in order to get a hot girl summer, you’re friends won’t care. But at the same time, your words matter and there are so many ways you can be funny which aren’t at the detriment of so many people. Body image and weight are subjects that shouldn’t be the first port of call when you want to make a meme. Find a new joke because this one was never funny.

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