I Get Mocked for Being Fat, But It’s What Guys Do

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  1. Like most groups of people there is a sort of in group seal of approval. Guys ragging on each other’s bodies isn’t much different from groups of black people that toss around the word nigga and it’s derivatives, women that call each other b’s, and so forth.

    I think what happens is people use those insults as some around about way of telling each other “we’re in this together, bound by pain”.

    The deepest secret about this manly back and forth is that I think no one really likes to be mocked. I don’t, but being a manly man means never admitting it bothers you (I am breaking so many unspoken rules by writing this). If you were to take a stand against such talk or perhaps try to tell someone that it “hurts your feelings,” you would only look like a pussy and/or loser. I don’t make these sometimes difficult rules, but I live with them. There are worse indignities in the world.
    What makes being a man interesting (in a way that almost no other group of people with their own insults deals with) in this regard is that actually speaking up about being harmed in this way is an actual antithesis of being a man. To speak up about being harmed as a man can actually incite others to attempt to take your manhood away.

    (Think about it women speaking up about being called b’s will get them attacked but do those attacks include attempts to have their very womanhood taken from them? Same with black people, racists can silence them all they want but do those racists actually say that speaking about about being offended by racism is a sign that they are no longer black? Gays can call out homophobia and be attacked for it, but they are still acknowledged as gay. Non-Christians can call out anti-religious sentiments and be attacked for it, but their attackers still acknowledge their religion.)

  2. Oh, this breaks my heart because I know it’s true. I spent my career in a male-dominated profession and I heard this all too often. I’m so sorry, Edwin.

  3. “If you were to take a stand against such talk or perhaps try to tell someone that it “hurts your feelings,” you would only look like a pussy and/or loser. I don’t make these sometimes difficult rules, but I live with them. There are worse indignities in the world.”

    Rather than confrontation I tend to respond with humor, but in a pointed way. Occasionally I’ll give someone a grin and “good effort, if you did a little more reading/thinking perhaps you could make an actually funny joke.” That seems to get the point across that their joke is hurtful and stupid, without raising the stakes too much.

    But yeah. Awesome dudes that I know, they don’t make jokes about someone’s physical appearance. It’s boring and dumb. Also, there are much smarter, funnier things to make fun of anyway.

  4. I’m with you, Joe; pointed humor does it best. I’ve worked in male-dominated and female-dominated workplaces and I’ll take male-dominated any day; I was respected and paid well. That said, I’m glad you wrote this, Edwin, it’s so good to hear men talking about their experiences.

  5. When women insult each other they do it differently – childish namecalling would just make the speaker look stupid – but “are you sure you need all that dressing on your salad?” means exactly the same as “fat fuck”, still hurts, and could still not really be answered with “you hurt my feeeelings!”, without risking more mockery.

  6. I often work in a male-dominated setting and it’s weird when they forget that you’re not “one of the guys” (oh yeah, this is a woman typing) and they talk to you in the same they speak to other men. It’s a totally different style of communication! It’s very jarring (both the myself and the men around) when they start ragging on me and I come back with “Yeeeeaaah, please don’t talk to me that way.”

    But its good to know that all those comments I find rude are also considered rude or hurtful by men too.

  7. Todd Mauldin says:

    Edwin, I’m really glad I stumbled across this article and am really excited to find another Reno contributor here on GMP. I could swear we’ve met somewhere before around town. I hopped over to your blog and found lots of other great essays there too.


  8. Bob Broili says:

    Hey Ed:
    Good article it is nice that Reno writers like you and Todd get published once in a while.
    I too have worked in environments where men calling each other un-flattering names has been the norm.
    It seems to me that knowing when NOT to use one of those terms, like when the person has just had a death in the family, is where a spirit of fun and support of fellow male workers can show through.

  9. People razz me for being short because I am…
    & now the old jokes are starting….
    At this stage of life I could care less….
    I tease kids about being kids- dumb kids…
    Basically I put the barbs of my buds in context by the age of 16.
    I never, ever tease women at work, you MIT as well pat her ass & pack your personal belongings.

  10. Edwin I am sorry to read this. I am sorry because I have been the ass that has made those jokes and if we are all honest they aren’t, at their core, simply one person razzing the other but they really are an attempt to best someone else. I think that is where we have to take a look inside ourselves and ask why we make those jokes. What would happen if as a coworker, friend, bother, son, etc I took the time to encourage someone else? They would not be better than me because I pointed out something that was true already. They would simply be. In the same the negative “ribbing” simply points out, in Edwin’s case, what is already true and it doesn’t change the reality even if the joke was never made.

    Speak up for the human in all of us.

  11. Listen guy dont worry about it. Thats what makes men much less complicated and happier then woman. I love mens mind, sense of humor , lack of hang ups and I seriously think they are nicer human beings then us women. Sure you have your ass_ _ _ _ s but overall men are so simple they are great.

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