Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Dennis the Menace Becomes Dennis the Fatphobe

Bethany Snyder of Big Fit Deal let me know about this bullshit Dennis the Menace Comic:

Dennis the Fatphobe
One panel cartoon with a fat person lying on a blanket at the beach, two boys and an adult are walking behind him, one of the boys is talking. Caption “Why do I hafta be quiet? All i said was ‘beached whale.” I coulda been talkin’ about anybody” Source:

There is so much bullshit here. It’s a single panel comic strip created for a family audience in mainstream media that is literally nothing but a cheap fat joke. Think of all the people in the chain of creation and approval of this who agreed that this was something that should be published. 

Imagine if you had one panel to put a message out into the world and you decided that your best option was to add to the stigmatization of fat people by creating a cartoon that rests entirely on the idea that it’s funny to shame a fat person for simply existing in the world (in the same way that the thinner people in the comic are doing.)

And skip me with the “can’t you take a joke?” bullshit. I know that fat-shaming is the problem and I am not.  That doesn’t make it ok to stigmatize me or people who look like me. I think it’s a bigger problem that we as a society are comfortable

When we suggest that some fat shaming is ok because some people think it’s funny, then we set ourselves up to constantly have to argue about where the line is between fat shaming that’s “hilarious” and fat shaming that is hurtful. The fact that something is not the most egregious type of fat-shaming doesn’t mean that it doesn’t support a culture where fat-shaming (including the most egregious kind) is ok. I think it’s far better to say that fat shaming is not ok in any guise and that people who want to be funny should have to do better than relying on cheap stereotypes, shaming, and bigotry

Fat people’s bodies are not punchlines, and we deserve to exist in the world – including at the beach – without shame, stigma, or bullying. That King Features would make that simple thing more difficult by perpetuating fatphobia under the guise of humor in a family cartoon is shameful.

Activism Opportunity:

You can let them know how you feel about the 7/23/20 Dennis the Menace Comic using their feedback form or e-mailing them directly:

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