Home > Fat Acceptance, Fat Hate > There’s a reason I wear earphones in public…

There’s a reason I wear earphones in public…

A while back I was having an email conversation with Heather Blessington (mamaV) from the mamavision eating disorder blog and We Are The Real Deal body image blog. Among other things we were discussing whether or not unmoderated blogs are a good idea. When blogs are about controversial topics, such as body image, I don’t think it’s a good idea to let people run wild with their comments. What we saw when WATRD first started were lots of fat-hating comments and body shaming comments.  Most of it was useless and didn’t serve to enhance the conversation, only to put people down.

When emailing with Heather I said that it’s easy for people to spew vile fat hatred when sitting behind their internet connection. When you write anonymously on the internet you can get away with saying things that you most likely don’t have the balls to say to peoples faces. I told Heather that I’ve been fatter than average my whole life but I was only subjected to rude comments from a stranger once.

Now I can say not once, but twice.

Today I was walking into work, minding my own business as usual, when a car full of young men drove past. Usually when I am anywhere other than home I am listening to my iPod, but for some reason I didn’t have my earphones on today. One guy in the car shouted “big batty gyal,” out of the window. At first I wasn’t sure how to take it: I am black and the guys in the car were black. Some men of African and Caribbean descent prefer bigger women, so it could have been a “compliment.”  I don’t think it is a compliment to make random comments about women’s bodies in public, but that is not the point.

I knew it was not a compliment when someone else in the car yelled “KFC Is that way, bitch!”

Now, what ever happened to courtesy and civility?  Was it really necessary to say that to me, like I don’t already know that I’m fat and I need to be told repeatedly?  Are people simply incapable of keeping quiet these days?  And since when is my weight anybody else’s business but mine?

Since becoming aware of the fat acceptance movement I’ve tried really hard to stop judging other people and to stop judging myself.  I do pretty well but this comment sort of caught me off guard.  I could just imagine what it would do to someone who has not yet overcome their body hatred and who still believes in The Fantasy Of Being Thin.

I don’t care if they found me unattractive, I probably wouldn’t have liked them either.  I don’t care if they think I really do survive on KFC and donuts.  I don’t care if they think I’m the biggest, most obesiest person they ever saw.  In the name of being a decent human being KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!

Categories: Fat Acceptance, Fat Hate
  1. May 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    No one deserves to be the subject of that type of hatred. When people say things like that, it says a lot more about them than it does about the person they were insulting. Unfortunately, it still does hurt if you are subject to it, especially if you already feel vulnerable.

    On the subject of moderated/unmoderated blogs, I write about controversial topics. I moderate first time commenters, but anyone who has left a comment before gets their comments approved automatically. In 2 years of blogging, there are two comments that I have not approved. Both of them were spewing hatred. Outside of those, I let a lot of comments through that are controversial, that I think are dead wrong, etc. My approach is generally to address what is wrong about their comments/arguments by replying to the comment, rather than not approving it.

    • May 3, 2010 at 7:14 am

      Thanks for the support!

      I do agree with what you’re saying, I guess I’m just extra sensitive about comments when they affect me directly. I need to work on that, people can have reasonable opinions that I disagree with, and I shouldn’t be so fast to put them in the hateful category.

  2. May 3, 2010 at 11:34 am

    So, for all you know, you’ve been subjected to hundreds of horrible comments and you just couldn’t hear them!

    I remember my mom once got really upset because she was walking down the street and somebody yelled “DYKE!” at her. She had no idea why (she thought it must have been something she was wearing), but she really began worrying about how she looked, how she carried herself, what others thought of her, etc.

    For context, this is my mom.

    I have no idea why guys feel justified in yelling shit at strange women out the window, whether complimentary or otherwise. I have to admit, that, as a guy, when I’ve seen a beautiful fat woman walking down the street, I’ve had the urge to yell something I perceived as complimentary, then realized how insane that is. But there is this odd compulsion to express your opinions of women out the window.

    It’s almost like men feel entitled to inform women as to whether they are attractive or not. I say “almost like” but it is a form of entitlement to yell compliments or insults at strangers.

    And the weird thing is how it impacts a person, like my mom or like you. People who ordinarily have a pretty solid self-esteem get pretty shaken up by these incidents. And the worst part is there isn’t really anything you can do about. Drawing attention to it will only ensure that more asinine pubescent boys will be shouting things out the window. It really, really sucks.

    And it’s sad that the onus is on you to carry your headphones so you can ignore this shit. Just another symptom of our twisted modern times.


    • May 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm

      Wow, Shannon, your mom is amazing! Imagine just giving a kidney to a complete stranger. What a saint.

      I’m sure I have been subjected to nasty comments. I get a vague sense of it sometimes, but I’m sorry, if a car is coming I’m not going to jump in front of it just so you can pass, fat or not.

      I’m usually a “yeah, whatever” kind of person. But today I was out for lunch with a friend, and I found myself being concerned with whether or not my shirt made my stomach look big, how did my pants fit . . . That’s not me and that’s not the kind of person I want to be, but those assholes in the car made me self-conscious. I’m sure it’s temporary, but still.

      When you see an attractive fat woman a smile goes a long way. Much better than yelling from a moving car.

  3. February 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    On the subject of the commentary of randoms:

    whether said/written in a manner intended as either praising or hurtful, I think most of the encouragement for Random Dude/Chick to say his/her piece is due to the lack of individuation cultured by our society that allows people to believe adopting a falsified or better yet, anonymous online-persona is what GIVES gives them an identity. This makes them feel like somewhere, in an unseen audience behind them, there will be a zillion other douchebags pressing the “like” button before shifting their attention to the next ADD phenomenot.

    The idiocy of the whole matter – beyond the hatefulness, beyond the rudeness – is that they use these “freedoms of anonymity” to “be”, online, whoever they want to be perceived as in THE REAL WORLD, which seems to generally be part of something exclusive, denoting-of-status and likely, intellectually barren. Whether that means they are Anti-fat, Anti-queer, Anti-Religion, Anti-Poor, Anti-establishment, etc etc etc, typically, it all seems to me, to be derived from the necessity for distancing their “real life” selves from the appropriate clique to which they most desire to belong – inasmuch as throwing around a few slogans OBVIOUSLY gives the whole internet the impression that one is somehow an epitome of contradiction to those one attempts to damage.

    i think the reason that the type of rudeness/hate that you experienced has become more prevalent is that the disconnect between our “real lives” and our secret, anonymous lives has closed, not in a sense that we ARE now who we want to “be”, but that our anonymity has been replaced with a sense of pride in cultivating a following based on who we AREN’T.

    As, internationally, real names (instead of handles) are used more and more by individuals desperate to define themselves (whether for industry, for entertainment, to waste time – whatever, but GLOBALLY), the idealized versions of themselves are being given a far more secure platform on which to stand – through social networking, YouTube, Blogs, and the like, the non-entity of the real-life individual is suddenly to become aligned with this supersized, far-more-interesting Avatar.

    As a result, people behave in public in socially brutal ways they would have been, if not less-bigoted about, then at least far more discreet about, now feeling as though little by little, comment by comment, they have built up some level of righteousness for their bigotries, some validation for inappropriate behavior and commentary in the real world. And as this is a cultural phenomenon, everyone else sits on their hands, afraid of rocking the boat that allows them the imaginary freedom to display their own prejudices.

    Fucking sad but fucking true.

    In my little ol’ opinion.

    On the subject of blog-moderation —

    I think as the author of a blog, you have the right to moderate your content as you see fit, bearing in mind that the negative jibes one may receive as a result of controversial postings can enhance debate, learn you something, or at the very least, prove that the author is not opposed to being criticized.

    However, that being said, in an internet-culture where people can spew negativity just for the sake of it, I don’t think it benefits any author to post asinine comments/hate speech or general rudeness.

    If it doesn’t make people THINK then really, it shouldn’t be taking up space on your blog.

    (although that being said, I’m a massive hypocrite and should delete at least two-thirds of the content I’ve produced for my OWN blog.)

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