American society has made a great deal of progress when it comes to accepting bodies of all shapes and sizes. The impossible size-zero standard of beauty is increasingly viewed as antiquated and dangerous, and most people now know what a real body looks like. We’ve come a long way in our views on body image, so I think that it’s probably okay to laugh once or twice a month at a fat person breaking furniture.
The fact is, mainstream society has made tremendous leaps forward in accepting that bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes. More progressive brands have started to feature plus-size models in their ads, and there are significantly more larger-bodied characters on TV and in movies whose weight isn’t used as a punchline. We’ve come a long way in the past 10 years. At least, far enough to enjoy laughing at a fat guy smashing right through a wicker chair once every couple of weeks or so and have it be fine.
Maybe one day, it will be okay to laugh every single time a fat person collapses into their rolling office chair or a fat couple destroys an antique love seat.
Of course, the media is still full of unattainable ideals. But body positivity is certainly widespread enough for us to snicker three or four times a year at the sight of an overweight woman gradually sinking into a hammock, causing the two trees holding it to pull from their roots.
Beauty standards are entirely subjective. Hundreds of years ago, a surplus of body fat was viewed as beautiful and luxurious. Ultimately, what we need to do is educate people to stop holding someone’s appearance to a standard and realize that everyone is beautiful. Only after they learn that will it be acceptable to laugh on a regular basis when their heavyset coworker leans on a conference room table and a piece snaps off.
There’s still a lot of work to do, but it seems inevitable that one day, our culture will move beyond notions of “thin” and “fat,” and celebrate people of all sizes. Maybe one day, it will be okay to laugh every single time a fat person collapses into their rolling office chair or a fat couple destroys an antique love seat. We aren’t there yet, but we can only hope that day is very close.