Ellen ! Ellen DeGeneres ! America’s favorite lesbian and anti-bullying advocate ! Who doesn’t love Ellen ?!
Me. I don’t love Ellen. Before a few days ago, I actually didn’t have much of an opinion of her, but when my close friend, Tiffany, told me about a tweet Ellen read on her show, I formed one quickly.
From what I can tell, on her show, Ellen does a weekly roundup of “funny” tweets from “amateur Twitter comedians.” And this is one of them:
“My 4 year old is so brave for yelling “that lady’s tummy is so big she can’t get by the table!” When everyone else was just thinking it.” - @kellyoxford
Why is this funny, Ellen ? Where is the comedy ? Is it comical how poor Kelly Oxford’s parenting skills are ? Am I supposed to laugh because this child is a total brat ? Surely you’re not expecting me to laugh at the expense of the big bellied woman, right ? Right ??
[image: quote of Ellen DeGeneres saying, “Most comedy is based on getting a laugh at somebody else’s expense and I find that’s just a form of bullying.]
Because that’s bullying, Ellen.
What prompted the discussion of this tweet between Tiffany and I ? We were at one of our favorite Thai spots for dinner. The waiter wanted to seat us in one of those two person tables, right in the middle of two other full tables. I took one look and said, “Um, can we get a different seat ? This isn’t going to work,” He looked at me like I was really putting him out by requesting a table we could actually fit into. And in that moment I felt that panic I’ve been familiar with my whole life — I’m fat, in public, around food, and everyone is looking at me.
It’s not funny. It hurts.
It’s a really painful experience when everyone is looking at you, judging you because of your body. Even if there wasn’t an issue with my table, I’m still noticed and judgements are made because of my size. I can’t hide my fat. I can’t take it off when I go out in public. I can’t hold the entire world’s face at MySpace angle height.
I’m fat and I like Thai food and I just want to enjoy myself in the company of friends — without shame being projected on me by children whose parents should spend more time teaching them how to be good people and less time on Twitter.
In the end, we were seated in a space suitable for our size. But if we hadn’t advocated for ourselves, we would have been that lady whose tummy was too big to get by the table. Most fat people ARE that lady because we’re taught that our bodies are wrong, not the arbitrary amount of space we’re “allowed” to take up.
There is nothing brave about making another person feel bad about their body, Kelly, Ellen, and anyone else who got a kick out of this tweet. It’s rude and mean. The end.