Why Is Laughter Out Loud

2179 Words 9 Pages
Many people are familiar with the acronym LOL—laugh out loud. However, how many realize the impact laughing out loud can have on individuals? Many people don’t realize the negative impact their laughter can have on another person; this is a real problem especially among students. Similarly, there are many who don’t realize the positive influence their laughter can play; this is also a problem. People need to realize laughing includes both good and bad aspects: “We humans laugh often and it is not always because something is funny. We laugh in the face of the pathetic or the powerless; sometimes we laugh at our own powerlessness or pathos. In short, we laugh at both the comical and the difficult” (Stengel, 200). Although there is an …show more content…
One type of this taunting laughter exists in a form called “katagelasticism” (Proyer et al., 116). The idea behind this condition is that “‘[individuals] enjoy exposing others and [are] happy when they get laughed at’” (Proyer et al., 116). Many fall victim to the cruelty of katagelasticism; in other words, many individuals are the targets of cruel mocking laughter. It is flat-out cruel for an individual to intentionally expose someone to create a moment of mocking laughter. It is hard enough to cope with a flood of embarrassment upon any sort of exposure, but to combine that with mocking laughter is almost unbearable. This kind of laughter is a problem that needs to be stopped. Too many people suffer from being torn down by such mockery. As people recognize the reality of individuals using laughter to mock, some may take a stand. As individuals take a stand against katagelasticism, negative laughter will decrease. To further expound upon the issue of mockery in laughter, in her article “After the Laughter” Barbara S. Stengel of Vanderbilt University states, “The 14-year-old who chuckles as she describes a classmate’s appearance or behavior and characterizes him as ‘so gay’ may not intend to wound, dismiss or diminish, but that will usually be the result—even if the intention was self-aggrandizement or protection” (Stengel, 202). In this case, as one student makes a degrading remark about her peer …show more content…
One such type of fear is gelotophobia—the fear of being an object of laughter. In “Character and Dealing with Laughter: The Relationship of Self- and Peer-Reported Strengths of Character with Gelotophobia, Gelotophilia, and Katagelasticism,” Proyer et al. of the University of Zurich says, “There are people, so called gelotophobes, who extremely fear being laughed at. They…feel discomfort when being confronted with laughter, and display high sensitivity toward the laughter of others” (Proyer et al., 114). Some people suffer with an extreme anxiety toward laughter. In crowds, to be penetrated by the shrapnel of laughter, even when it is not directed toward that individual, is highly uncomfortable. These individuals deserve some sympathy and relief. Continuing, they say, “[A] gelotophobic person [may see] him- [or] herself as being low in strengths” (Proyer et al., 120). Because of an intense fear that one might be laughed at, a gelotophobe may begin to think he or she is weak. To have low self-esteem on top of this immense fear is not an easy burden. A laugh is torment to such a person, a laugh is unnerving, a laugh is ridicule. Fear is struck into the individual any time a laugh is vocalized even when that laugh isn’t direct at him or

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