Posted on February 19, 2016
By Uyen Hoang
As I’ve been running discussion groups and workshops for students for the #IdealAsianCampaign, I’ve noticed many recurring things throughout each group and not just on the lack of knowledge of resources about the issue at hand. What I’ve noticed across the board is that in every group that I have ran there are always laughter present. And I know that they aren’t laughing because because they think it’s a joke based off the conversation, but still;
- There was laughter when we talked about how family spoons up critical remarks on weight and size at holiday dinners.
- There was laughter when we talked about the struggles of being the “fat one” in the family or if we had a sibling that occupied that role.
- There was laughter when we talked about skin whitening cream and how it fell into our hands.
- There was laughter when we talked about how extreme the beauty standards that we are inundated with from media and family are.
- There was laughter when we discuss the necessity for likes and affirmations on social media.
- There was laughter when we talked about how we or the people close to us skipped meals as a way of getting to a certain image.
- There was laughter when we talked about how we didn’t fit the images that we were pressured to strive for.
- And, so on.
I am compelled to wonder, why are we laughing?
Laughter can heal but laughter can also mask much darker feelings. When we’re hurt, we can choose either to laugh or cry. I guess, from what I see in my groups, laughing is a better fix for body image and insecurity issues. But after a while and with so many groups, it gets a bit unsettling. Is laughter really the best medicine for this? What does it mean when we laugh at the pain we feel?