Showing posts with label fatshaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fatshaming. Show all posts

11 September 2015

My Fat Shaming Week

Trigger - comments shared about fat shaming - having a much needed vent

If you are fat, this has been one helluva week.  From Nicole Arbour's video, to the usual backlash against fat people because of it through trolls who surged like a swarm of locusts in delight at being to hurt a little more than usual.  

Then there was the whole #PlusisEqual campaign from Lane Bryant whose message that it was time to represent the 67% of women who are unrepresented on billboards; only then to use "socially acceptable" sized models in their campaign photograph.

I cannot help but think that while Lane Bryant may have an inkling of what their message actually means, they are not brave enough to carry through with it.  Ultimately they want to sell, that is their business.  But I know I, for one, would have seriously considered buying from them if they have been truly representative.  

I am not going to lie, this week for me it has been hard being a fat woman.  Not because I feel any less confident this week or feel any less about myself; but more because going through this week has been like being surrounded by jellyfish, not knowing when they are going to sting.

It started by seeing the "Dear Fat People" video shared on my Facebook timeline, by people who I know, progressing by troll attacks on my blog and Facebook page following my post about it (see here ) which I spent all yesterday's lunch time deleting.  

Comments that I am "glorifying obesity" simply by existing on the internet, that I am a whale that needs to be put down, that I am a gross and disgusting woman who will never be loved and that I need someone to shut my big fat mouth (never going to happen fuckwit).

While I do get trolled occasionally, I have been lucky, if lucky is even the right word in that it doesn't happen too often.  So to find so many comments this week has been hard; although sadly I did half expect it because of my posting about a video that has been talked about worldwide.

This was also a week where I have been targeted by the general public more than usual too.  From the woman who openly laughed at me to her friend as I walked past (get a life and work on your own issues sweetheart), to the man who commented to his girlfriend that I had a pretty face, only for her to comment "Yeah but look at the fat!".  Insecure much love?

This week culminated in me blowing my top when a teenager passing in a car with her presumed parent shouted out of the window at me as I crossed the road "Oh gross, she is huge!".  I turned around, gave her the finger and screamed fuck off at her.  I was half expecting the mother to turn the car around and have a go at me for shouting at her daughter, but she didn't.  Hopefully she was ashamed of her daughter.  I know I would be.

This week now comes to the near end.  I leave it still happy in myself, still confident, still wearing bloody amazing dresses and feeling awesome while wearing them.  It also leaves me sad and hurt.  

Sad that there are still people who use fat people as a vehicle for clicks and subscriptions, sad that trolls get their kicks from trying to hurt others.  I am also hurt that people I know, as well as random people on the street think it acceptable to share hateful videos and comment negatively about me right to my face, or behind my back; as if either my feelings do not exist or they are of no consequence.

Next time you make a fat joke, next time you share a derogatory video that you think has no consequence because "fat people deserve it", next time you troll (ok, there is no hope for them), look into the eyes of the person you want to insult and ask yourself:  What kind of human being do I want to be?  Don't be a dick.

8 September 2015

Dear Fat People - My Thoughts

TRIGGER WARNING -  Fat shaming quotes shared from Twitter  - taken during #fatshamingweek

A couple of days ago a video appeared in my Facebook timeline.  Yes "that video" by comedian (and I use that term loosely) Nicole Arbour.

It has taken me a few days to process my thoughts about this video.  In one way, you have to hand it to her.  She pitched the video to be controversial and prime click bait.  The fat haters watch to nod, agree and cheer, the fat people watch the video to see what hated looks like this week and then the media gets involved and it snowballs.  She then takes down her channel, claiming Youtube did it, then reactivates just when she knows that people will be searching for it.  She has a business head on her, pity that she does not have a heart.

The video itself is, to be honest, a bit sad, pathetic and more than a little jaded.  She rolls out the old tired insults that fat people are "lazy, disgusting, inconsiderate and they smell" (of sausages apparently).  Maybe ten years ago those words may have been fat shaming comedy gold but now, sweetheart, I have heard more creative insults from a random man on the street.

She ends by saying that she isn't saying these hateful things to be an asshole (too late on that one), she in fact loves us "no matter what" but that she hopes that her "bomb of truth" so that people can enjoy us for longer on this planet.  She says, whilst completely dehumanizing fat people and talking about us as if we are no more than things, there to ridicule and insult for your entertainment.

Aside from the fact (pretty obvious but here is a research link) that fat shaming does not work and in fact can backfire badly (now there is a truth bomb for you Nicole); I have to wonder why anyone would think it would?

Here are a few comments from #fatshamingweek on Twitter (wait, I thought that it did not exist?)

Quotes taken from Blisstree

I was myself targeted by trolls especially that week, telling me the fact that I was fat made me worthless.

We are told that if you are fat, it does matter if you have an education, that we have low standards, that "fat means yes" (more than a little rapey) and that we should kill ourselves if dieting fails.

That is the thing though, fat shaming does not work, it dehumanizes people, it strikes a knife into their heart, causes depression far more than fat on your body ever could and can sometimes kill.

This video does not hold any power over me.  I have, as I have said, heard much, much worse and the blatant "subscribe, subscribe" comes across as needy and pathetic.  When I first saw it yes I was incensed with anger and hurt, but not from her words.  It was the fact that people who knew me thought it appropriate to share. 

Let us be clear, that video is not "satire" as many people like to label cruel things to justify themselves, it is not funny and is abhorrent.  What does hurt, is that people think it appropriate to share as if it was nothing.  Would you say these things to my face?  Would you label me a "thing" and disgusting and lazy?  Would you to my face dehumanize me to the point where I am simply a creature to be taunted?  Would you stand there, point and laugh at me.  No.  

The age of the internet allows us to share our thoughts and opinions in a way that we never could before, as I frequently do on here.  It also gave rise to the age of the troll and a place where one stupid video can give rise to yet another torrent of hatred; and that is dangerous.

So before you share a video or an article, think about what you are actually sharing and what sharing it actually makes you as a person.  I will give you a hint, it isn't a good one.

I will leave you with my current favourite, meme.  To all those who create these videos, think these thoughts and put them out in the world, ready to hurt:

18 June 2015

I Won't Dance (But Still Ask Me)

I LOVE to dance.  Always did.  When I was in my early teens I used to have dancing lessons, learning the Latin American dances of the cha-cha and the tango and the classics like the waltz and foxtrot. I got up to my second Gold Bar before I stopped.  Looking back, I cannot actually pinpoint why or when I decided to end my lessons.

I started to go out to clubs when I was 16 and loved dancing with my friends.  We would stay out way into the small hours, dancing until our feet hurt.   We all had an active social life at the weekends for many years, but gradually, my participation on the dance floor lessened.  Again, I cannot pinpoint the exact time that I stopped, around my mid twenties I think, but this time I do know why; I got scared.  

The stares, the laughs; the comments, the ridicule at the fat girl dancing.  It did not happen all the time but regularly enough that on each night out I started to wait for it to happen.  

The fear of other people's ridicule grew greater than my love to dance.  

I stopped dancing and instead, I was the one stood on the sidelines, watching my friends happily dancing away.  Occasionally, fueled by enough alcohol and the combination of a brilliant song, I would join them; only for the fear to return and I would be back to standing at the side.

I do not want to be this way.  I have improved every aspect of my life through my growing confidence; yet my ability to go on to a dance floor still eludes me.  

The "dancing man" was recently in the headlines.  Ridiculed on Reddit for daring to dance whilst being fat (typical for the cretins on Reddit) his story went viral and only a couple of weeks ago he was thrown a party with thousands of people in attendance and with Moby as the DJ.    He has since been on numerous TV shows and appeared at a LA Dodgers game.

Would this happen to a woman?  It is perhaps a controversial question but somehow, I doubt it.  I have been fat shamed by many a fat man who does not seem to see the irony in this.  For some reason, it is more "wrong" for a woman to be fat than a man, in society's view in any case.

That said, the experiences of the dancing man warmed my heart.  It gave me courage that not all people in this world are horrible people,  That, with my new found confidence, it may be safe to once again go back onto the dance floor.

That is my mission to myself this summer.  Dance.  Without a care of who is watching. 

10 November 2014

I Huff and I Puff

As you may be aware, I was recently given the opportunity to write my own blog on the Huffington Post website.

This has been a great outlet for me to talk about some of the things that I would not necessarily share on my blog, but have been floating around in my head and needed an outlet.

I thought that I would share a couple of the things that I have written so far and if you find that any sound interesting to you, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Here I am talking about, as the title suggests, fat shaming.  What it is and what it can lead to if left unchecked.

A post about how when we born, we are free from prejudice, judgment and an idea of who society excepts us to be.  We are simply ourselves and we are good enough.  Everything that comes after is learned behaviour.

The thing that I hate to hear the most.

I have a million more things running around in my head but hopefully you have enjoyed these few.

Vicky x

23 September 2014

Unconscious Fat Shaming

I said that I would not be posting on the blog for a little while given circumstances at home; but today I want to think about something that isn't sadness, worry and hospitals so I went looking for something to pique my interest.

I ended up on the Women's Rights Page on Facebook reading this post about a lady called Brittany Miles who runs a blog on Tumblr called Full Bodied Lovin She tells her story of overcoming depression and anorexia and her journey to finding self acceptance. She describes her blog as "a place to nurture my own self love, and help create a culture of acceptance for others".

Now, whilst I am rapidly discovering that the Women's Rights Page isn't all it is cracked up to be, with many many adverts, strange off topic statuses and mixed messages; I read this post as the lady in question sounded inspirational, and she was.

The comments however soon began to make my blood boil and I needed an outlet for my thoughts, which is why this post is coming to you now.

Remembering that this was a woman who had overcome fat shaming, who had gotten through anorexia and depression as a result and brought herself out at the other end; wanting to share her story and inspire and encourage others, some of the comments were in my view harmful.

It wasn't so much the troll type comments of which there actually were few, it was the misguided ones that really bothered me.  The "she isn't fat, she's lovely", the "she isn't fat, she's gorgeous" the "you're not fat by the way, you're beautiful!"  The last comment was directly in reply to her own personal comment on the page thanking them for sharing her story.

All of these messages I know came, in the commenter's eyes, from a good place.  An encouraging place.  But that therein is the problem.  What they are actually saying is "It is ok, you are not fat now.  You are good enough".

Do you not understand how harmless and dangerous it is to saying that to someone who is recovering from an eating disorder?????

I questioned one of the said commenters saying "Why can she not be both fat and lovely" and someone else responded with:
"I think because fat has a negative connation to it"
The word fat only has a negative vibe to it if you allow it to.  If you call someone fat as an insult, that says more about you as a person than it does anything else.   

In my opinion using phrases like "You are not fat, you are beautiful" is just a sugar coated version of saying that fat is bad, you shouldn't be fat, but it is ok because I don't think you are so that is alright.  It isn't the classic version of fat shaming, but it isn't too many steps away from that.  It is unconscious fat shaming.

I believe that we need to tell people when we hear this happening, whether the comment is coming from a place of malice or a genuinely wanting to be nice.  I know when someone says something like that to me it really rattles my cage.  I am fat.  I am not shying away from that.  Those people trying to sugar coat your weight  in an attempt to what they think will make you feel "better" are actually trying to justify your weight to themselves.

To understand why you could be happy at a certain size when they could not.

The lady in question is a US size 12-14 now and is happy and body confident.  This is so amazing and she inspires me so much.  What worries me however are the people who didn't read her Tumblr page as clearly many didn't.  What would they have said to her if they knew what her dress size was?  Would the sugar coating have been dropped and replaced with venom?

I am aware that a lot of my anger and frustration in writing this post is as much about what has been occurring (unrelated) in my personal life as the comments on the Women's Rights post. With that said, I am curious as to what anyone else's views are on this topic.  What do you think about unconscious fat shaming?

12 September 2014

Don't Be A Dick

I have received various different versions of the same article from various friends and people I know lately.  Which one?  The "Fat shaming does not help people lose weight, study finds".  I know that the intention of passing these articles to me was good, but what has actually happened is that I swiftly became irate. 

After reading various incarnations of the same kind of article, I confess that I am at the erupting volcano stage so rather than vent my anger on an unsuspecting friend or colleague, I will write here instead. 

So, fat shaming does not help people lose weight; no shit Sherlock!  I do not need a study to tell me that.  I also do not need a study to tell me that discrimination against fat people is a real thing.   

Is there actually anyone out there that does not realise that fat people are discriminated against, victimised and bullied?  The Times have reported in a recent article that " Fat-shaming is one of the last socially acceptable forms of prejudice, and should be viewed like racism and sexism" and I wholeheartedly agree.

What was laughable was the amount of articles that I read that clearly had no idea as to the extent of fat-shaming that goes on.  I read in this article in the Guardian that "Research suggests even doctors can unwittingly harbour negative attitudes and assumptions about fat people".  Are you FUCKING KIDDING me?  UNWITTINGLY?   

Have you met any fat people who have spoken to doctors?  

I'm depressed and need counselling  - lose weight and then you will be happy

I fell over and broke my toe                - lose weight that will help

I strained my wrist                               - just lose weight it will feel better

I see purple people                              - diet and I am sure that they will go away 

If you are fat, every ailment that you may have is put down to how much you weigh.   

I went to the doctors to ask about counselling.  I knew what my issues were which was nothing to do with the fact that I was fat.  I was told that if I lost weight, I would be happier and therefore not need counselling.   

I was not aware that a medical degree also enables you to read minds and see what people are thinking.  I also was not aware that a medical degree gets you a free bonus psychology degree either. 

How dare you to presume to think that I am unhappy because I am fat?   

How about instead of "Fat Shaming does not help people lose weight" the title was simply "Don't fat shame".  Concise, easy to remember, to the point.  Another way would be to quote one of my favourite shows The Last Leg.