If you’ve been enjoying the news this week, you know the owner of the LA Clippers is a racist scumpig who got caught out being a racist scumpig. For his racist scumpiggery, he has been fined and banned from the NBA. And while we can all understand that racist douches deserve what they get, it’s interesting to note that, in our society, we still have a number of perfectly acceptable prejudices to choose from. Racism is unacceptable in 2014, as is sexism and homophobia. But who can we make fun of still? There’s a few of them out there.
Though people are willing to talk about it openly now, the fact is people make fun of fat folks all the time and it’s not likely to change anytime soon. The reason for this is that it’s ingrained in our culture that being overweight is unhealthy, and, realistically it is. That’s not to say you can’t be healthy and overweight, but you can sure as hell be healthier if you’re not overweight. Because of that, fat people are a target – they’re people who did something wrong in the eyes of those who mock them.
The funny fat guy is a motif in hundreds of films – it’s a winning formula for Disney to have a fat guy as comic relief (think Pumbaa, that little fat satyr in Hercules and that portly mouse in Cinderella), and it’s the basis for the careers of people like Chris Farley, John Belushi and Peter Griffin. We laugh at fat people, we make fun of fat people and it’s A-OK. Probably not to fat people, but whatever.
The stigma against red heads seems to have come from nowhere. There are well publicized stories of sperm banks rejecting redheaded donors and shows like South Park making fun of gingers, not to mention numerous Youtube videos made by gingers protesting against their harsh treatment. So why hate redheads? No one knows.
Fact is redheaded women are often smoking hot, but that seems to be the exception to the rule, while all other reds are tormented mercilessly. It’s generally worse in the UK and Australia (they call reds Rangas there, after orangutans) and they can face full on physical beatings from bullies.
The fact that redheads only make up something like 4% of the population so their rarity may make them an easy target – people hate things that are different, after all. At any rate, there’s one thing we can all agree on and that’s how hot Christina Hendricks is.
You may not think there’s a lot of hate directed at gypsies these days but consider, first and foremost, gypsy is kind of a racial slur. They prefer to be called Romani, but nevermind that. All you need to do is wander on over to TLC and see its lineup of gypsy programming including Gypsy Sisters and My Big fat Gypsy Wedding. Like all TLC shows they exploit their subjects by making them look monstrous and despicable. Are all gypsies filthy, tactless, inconsiderate trailer park pigs? According to TLC, yes. If that’s not furthering a prejudicial stereotype, well then, may a gypsy steal my first born.
If you’re a smoker you can’t help but agree with this – everyone hates you. Smokers no longer have a place in polite society and, ironically, we have places for them. They are segregated, sent out back and not to be within 10 feet of doorways. Most businesses no longer allow them inside and of course it’s all for a good reason, but if someone admits to smoking they’re basically asking to be viewed as an outcast, an unclean thing that the rest of us have agreed, as a group, to not want to be near, as though that one smoker was somehow worse than rush hour traffic or the stuff that’s in Twinkies.
Basically we’ve taken the thing we don’t like, the actual smoke, and decided the smoker is just as awful and carcinogenic. They must go away. Far, far away.
Let’s go back to TLC, but also A&E and History and any number of other networks that make their bread and butter off of cheap reality TV shows. You’re going to find hillbillies there. From Honey Boo Boo to catfish noodlers to hog catchers and Duck Dynasty, the world loves them a hillbilly, boy howdy. You can make fun of a hillbilly on account of he’s just a good ol’ white boy who talks funny and has crazy way of living that’s different than yours. Weee dawg, that’s entertainment!
Now the thing you need to know about a hillbilly, especially a TV hillbilly, is that a good portion of that whole lifestyle is total BS. Look at Duck Dynasty – there are plenty of readily available photos of all of those guys clean shaven in polo shirts. They’re millionaires, for God’s sake. But for the TV show they went native – big, goofy hillbilly beards and backwards hillbilly ways cuz by golly them boys from the south sure is dumb, ain’t they? Hyuck! Let’s call ‘em stoopid!
Because we see these pretend stupid hillbillies on TV, who are basically doing a modern minstrel show, we as a culture have the notion reinforced that hillbillies and rednecks are these uneducated, gun-loving, beard-wearing, moonshine drinking dipshits. It’s probably an amazing disservice to literally everyone south of Pennsylvania, but we do it to ourselves and it looks like everyone’s content to keep the stereotype going.
Whether you’re a literal prostitute or just someone who’s been called a whore, society still stigmatizing anyone, but especially women, who enjoy sex. This ideal is sitting atop a great pinnacle made of irony because, of course, men like dirty girls. But publicly many people will pretend to be disgusted by a woman who is open about her sexuality and likes to bone. This is dumb because the alternative is a woman who doesn’t like to bone, and that’s ridiculous.
Slut shaming has been a hobby of the American public for ages. The Scarlet Letter is how they did it old school and these days it’s just name calling and ostracizing, all with a nice dose of hypocrisy.