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Diet Humor In English
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Diet Humor In English

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The present article focuses on women\'s humor about dieting in a culture where women are expected to diet. Participant observation in an Israeli Weight Watchers group, interviews with female dieters …

The present article focuses on women\'s humor about dieting in a culture where women are expected to diet. Participant observation in an Israeli Weight Watchers group, interviews with female dieters and qualitative text analysis were used to generate four main themes relating to the variety of ways in which diet culture affects women\'s lives


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  • 1. Cookie Pieces Have no Calories: Diet humor as women’s resistance to the diet culture Diet culture and consumer culture Debbie Iancu-Haddad
  • 2. Diet joke… Why was the first woman in space envied by women around the globe? She was the first woman who was weightless
  • 3. Contents  Definition of humor  Studying culture through humor  Feminist theories on dieting  What is diet humor  Themes of diet humor  Does the humor reflect resistance?
  • 4. Definition of humor  Humor is the ability or quality of people, objects or situations to invoke feelings of amusement in other people. The term encompasses any form of entertainment or human communication which invokes such feelings, or which makes people laugh or feel happy.
  • 5. Dimensions of humor  Behavioral element Laughing, smiling, or other expressions  Cognitive element Who has the last laugh? The person who didn’t get the joke..  Emotional element I can relate to the experience (Wow, that has happened to me…)
  • 6. Theories of humor  Incongruity theory  Superiority theory  Aggression – offense & defense  Self Humor Humor is a rubber sword – it allows you to make a point without drawing blood- Mark Twain
  • 7. Studying culture through humor  Humor is culture specific  Humor reflects shared knowledge regarding social norms  Humor relies on the rules of convention – upsetting the normal order by subverting then reinstating the dominant norms  Each sub-culture has its own humor
  • 8. Humor & the diet culture Feminist theories on dieting  Politics of the body – the personal is political  Diet culture as a backlash against feminism (Wolf, 1990).  Tyranny of slenderness (Chernin, 1981)  Diet culture is linked to consumer culture (Bordo, 1995)
  • 9. What is diet humor?  Reflects the absurdities of dieting  Criticizes the diet – not the dieter  Reflects the dieter’s feelings and emotions
  • 10. Humor & the diet culture Themes in diet humor  Diet culture ideology  Diet culture’s rules of practice  Diet culture, food and social interaction  Diet culture and consumer culture
  • 11. Diet culture ideology  Inside me there's a thin person struggling to get out, but I can usually sedate her with four or five cupcakes.  Outside every fat person there’s an even fatter person trying to close in.  A Woman's Random Thoughts: “I read this article that said typical symptoms of stress are eating too much, smoking too much, impulse buying and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That is my idea of a perfect day”.
  • 12. Rules of practice Counting Calories  Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking causes calorie leakage.  If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the calories in the candy bar are cancelled out by the diet soda.  Since Calories are units of heat frozen food has no calories (for instance: ice- cream, popsicles)  Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER counts, such as hot chocolate, toast, and Cheesecake.
  • 13. Rules of practice Forbidden foods This is for Women's eyes only: THE RULES OF CHOCOLATE  Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done.  A nice box of chocolates can provide your total daily intake of calories in one place. Isn't that handy?  Q. Why is there no such organization as Chocoholics Anonymous? A. Because no one wants to quit.  Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, orange slices & strawberries all count as fruit, so eat as many as you want.
  • 14. Rules of practice Exercise…
  • 15. Rules of practice Exercise Humor  The advantage of exercising everyday is that you die healthier.  My gym instructor told me to touch my toes. I told her: “I don’t have that kind of relationship with them, can’t I just wave?”.  I don’t exercise at all. If God had wanted me to touch my toes he would have put them higher up on my body.  I’m in shape – round is a shape.  The only exercise I get is jumping to conclusions.  Pushing forty is enough exercise.
  • 16. Diet culture and social interaction  If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.  If you fatten up everyone else around you,then you look thinner.  When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you don't eat more than they do.  If you eat of someone else’s plate the calories still belong to their rightful owner.
  • 17. Diet culture and consumer culture  Reasons not to exercise: “I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to show up”.  Margie’s Rules of Dieting: “When you do not recognize a food object in your refrigerator, you can bet it was once one of those "delicious, fat free, sugar free, high fiber snacks" you bought on your first day of dieting”.  A Woman's Random Thoughts: “I know what Victoria's Secret is. The secret is that nobody older than 30 can fit into their stuff”.  Definition of panic: not only are you too large for the clothes in fashion departments, you can’t even fit into the changing rooms.
  • 18. Diet culture and consumer culture
  • 19. So is Diet humor resistant?  Diet humor resists the rules of practice and social interaction  Diet culture does not oppose the main diet culture ideology  Very little diet humor points out the connection between the diet culture and the consumer culture – including the diet industry which has huge global revenues
  • 20. So who are we fooling?
  • 21. So remember… Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!" Have a wonderful day! Debbie-Iancu Haddad