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A Response to Hate
purplefrog26 wrote in fatshionista
This is my response to a recent incident. I want to share it here because it took me a long time to be able to say these things. And because the fat community is one of the reasons I have the strength now to use my voice to be positive.

I had the privilege of attending a large, well run feminist, sci-fi convention this past weekend. It was filled with passionate, articulate, kind people who are guided by the principles of inclusivity, and diversity. However, there was a disturbing end to the weekend. A person had chosen to spend their time at the convention taking pictures secretly with their cell phone of attendees to post them online with hateful commentary. This person decided to target fat people, transsexuals, and women in general. I was one of the many people this person tried to humiliate by posting pictures with my face covered by white out.

Yes, this is what one feminist looks like. And it’s really sad that you hate your fellow women and your normal life isn’t filled with being surrounded by smart, funny, creative people.

I am a certified massage therapist and decided to donate 3 hours of my time doing free chair massage at the conference. I didn’t see this person donate any of their time doing the volunteer work that keeps conferences running but it didn’t stop them from commenting on my work.

My business is called Bodacious Bodywork and I am bodacious. I specialize in working with women of size and women with body image issues. But they guessed my weight wrong. Bad research skills, all they would’ve had to do was ask me and I would have told them what I weigh. Because this is what I do, I am a fat activist. I am not ashamed of my body, how I look or what I do.

This incident, unfortunately, is not unusual. Fat people hear negative comments, see the disgusted looks, and feel the drawing back of people around them. It’s not a safe world to live in if you are a fat person. We lose our right to privacy. Pictures are taken for amusement. Our shopping carts are examined with the intent to judge our eating habits. Our health status is questioned. We are not treated with respect and dignity by employers, service people, or health care workers. This happens every time we step out of our homes. Unfortunately, these messages can be internalized. So not only do you face the challenges of dealing with society but you tell yourself that you are ugly, worthless and disgusting. So it becomes a radical act when you choose to live your life and love yourself despite the negativity that we swim thorough every day.

I’m not sure what this person’s objective was in posting these pathetic attempts at humor. But I know that they did not change my commitment to living my life joyfully and abundantly. And I prefer pictures to include my face.

I have been very impressed with the response from the con goers. It's nice to have allies in this fight.

you rock. And, your beautiful. I wake up every day, not sad or mad that I'm fat, but thankful that I'm not an ignorant jerk like the person who took those photos of you.

Was this a fellow con-goer who posted the pics???

I love that dress in the last picture - you look great!

I heard of this from a key woman involved in this conference. Appalling.

It is a sad commentary on the state of mind of the individual who posted in that manner.

I sincerely applaud your taking the step of removing the mask she imposed on you and refusing to cower in anonymity.

I am very, very pleased to see your post.

Hella kudos.


Edited at 2008-05-28 04:28 pm (UTC)

I am -so- sorry this happened to you! Sci-fi cons, for me, have always been some of the few places I felt completely accepted and non-judged, and it bothers me that your con experience was not the safe space I've always found them to be. I mean, beyond the fact that it angers me that you got treated that way at all, obviously.

You are amazing and beautiful. Something similar happened to me in which people took my photos from my MySpace and devoted 30+ pages to discussing how I was too fat and ugly to live; I should kill myself; Photoshopping me on to pictures of Jabba the Hut and whales... Stupid bullshit that I roll my eyes at now but seriously destroyed me at the time. I wish I could have reacted with a tenth of the dignity and self confidence that you're showing.

Oh yesterday was my screaming day. :) But then I realized how much my life rocks.

I can't believe someone who participated in the con would do such a thing. I've been going to these cons for years and I have NEVER experienced such garbage.

Congrats to you for keeping your head held high.

I'd rather be in a roomful of sci-fi enthusiasts then pretty much anyone else.

Your a rocking person, and that last pic was stunning because it really shows your fucking spirit; unlike those cellphone pics...even though the one of you giving massages exhudes good vibes on your part!

Love the dress, btw -- where did you get it ?! i want one!!!

The dress is Igigi and it is wonderful!

I've been hearing about this horrible incident as people get back from that con (my sibling always goes and loves it) and have been horrified. I'm so sorry this happened to you and to the other wonderful women who don't deserve this sort of bigoted persecution.

Whoever took those photos with that commentary is obviously a sad pathetic asshole.

*gasp* that dress is so so gorgeous. you look absolutely lovely and i think your counterspeech is really great. good for you for not just internalizing all of that bullshit, and for speaking out, and for owning your body positivity in a public way as a response.

i'm really glad they were able to identify who the jerk is so that people are able to avoid/shun her in the future. the internet has made anonymous bad behaviour so easy for people...i'm glad that for once a perpetrator of hate will be held accountable.

Thanks. The dress is Igigi.

I just spent the last 20 minutes or so clicking back and forth on various sites, seeing what that *cough* woman did to you and the other people she took photos of, and what people were saying about it.

I said this over on the Fatshionista blog (I'm nuckingfutz over there). I can't believe the amount of hatred some people carry around with them all the time - for people they don't even know. As you pointed out yourself, she never spoke to you. How would she know what kind of person you are if she's never even spoken to you? I just don't get it. I'm not built that way (mentally/emotionally), so I just lack the capacity to understand where that kind of hatred comes from.

I'm glad you're not letting this get to you - I think it would be all too easy to let it get under your skin and eat away at you. But you are obviously a much better human being than that other "person."

And I'd like to echo what everybody else has said so far - I absolutely LOVE that last picture of you. You look so happy, and that dress is absolutely gorgeous! It would be gorgeous on a hanger, but on you it looks divine. :)

Nice to meet you. I saw the piece on Fatshionista right after I posted this.
From other sources, it looks like the person has lots of problems of her own.
Thanks for the compliment!

You look like a princess in that dress :) Isn't it awesome when you look and feel great?

That picture is super, and so are you.

Hey, there you are! I remember this last picture from your post a while back and how happy and beautiful you look in your gorgeous dress. It kills me that someone would do that to you (or anyone). That they could steal images from a person doing something amazing, enjoying their life and contributing and make a stupid, childish, cruel attempt at diminishing all of that for the sake of "humor". I think you're amazing.

:( That is really shitty of that person. And how cowardly, as well.

You, however, look absolutely beautiful in that last picture- that dress is incredible!

I'm so sorry this happened to you, a beautiful woman.

I've felt the sting of something like this too. I'm a roller coaster enthusiast. I went to a group gathering. We got a walkback tour of a coaster being built. Unfortunately to get to it we had to go up a FREAKING HUGE hill. It was miserable as it was but it was also 110 degrees that day. I made it to the top, but did stop to take a few standing rests. Some of the skinny people couldn't even make it it was so crazy.

I get home only to find a video of the event posted with the lovely comment of "two-tons of fun" about me in the video that was taken of me walking up the hill. As horrible as that made me feel, it was also very very endearing. I learned that my friends love me no matter what. From the skinny friend who encouraged me and pushed me to keep going when I wanted to turn back, to the friends who stood up for me in the web forum and lambasted that guy to smitherines. In fact, I leaned that I had friends I didn't know of. So many people that I didn't even know stood up for me.

I'm so proud of you for being yourself and showing your true body and face off. You are georgous. You make it better for all of us. Thank you.

Ugh that sucks big time! I am simply amazed by the positive support from people of all sizes about this.

You? You are fucking awesome.

I'm so sorry that someone was such an arsehole. I generally think that people (like myself) into Sci-Fi are somewhat more open minded and accepting than the general public as a whole. This is especially bearing in mind the general public's (incorrect) view of sci-fi fans as nerds/geeks etc, but obviously every fandom has its rotten apples.

Thankyou for posting this refutation of the disgusting hate posted by this extremely unpleasant person.

And I must complement you on the picture you posted of yourself, that dress is stunning and you look fabulous in it :-)

That's incredibly sad. I'm glad you've taken this in stride and your last picture really says a lot. Bodacious Bodywork sounds awesome, I've always been afraid to get a massage and I didn't realize other people could be the same way.

Thanks. It's really challenging to get a massage for some people. Lots of issues but worth it when you find a good massage therapist.

I can't believe how pathetic the person that took those photos is.

Just want to say that I read this and nearly started to cry-- I can't believe people can be so hateful, especially someone that calls themself a "feminist." Feminism is about total inclusion for a better world, so obviously that person just doesn't "get" this important core idea.

You ARE a very beautiful woman with great ideas, a great attitude, and a great career, too! I'm angered about how this person went to great lengths (and wasted copious amounts of energy) on trying to hurt you or make you an object of ridicule and laughter. I admire your positive attitude through all of this-- I'm sure a lot of people would've broken down by now. You are so very very strong, and I give you all the credit in the world for it. <3

I'm proud to call myself a fat activist, too!!

this is eileen. she is 400 pounds of tension release. she is bodacious.

he says that like its a BAD thing!?!?!

this person is obviously so filled with hate for himself
it has to spill over onto other ppl too. if he wasnt such
a fucking asshole, id almost feel sorry for him cause it
really must suck to be who he is inside.

Okay, I changed this because I felt bad. I wondered why, and then realized that saying something so spiteful would lower me to the perp's level. So I'll just say that it was a woman with issues and leave it at that.

Edited at 2008-05-28 07:46 pm (UTC)

what a loser that person is. im glad to see you being all public about this.

That gauzy dress is made of amazingness.

Rock on with your sassy activist self, and the haters can go fuck themselves. Think of it this way: you were reading, giving massages, and dancing the night away: having a great time and helping others have a great time. This bozo was sitting around thinking up rude comments. Who enjoyed the con more?

You looks lovely in that dress!

What a pathetic person the photographer is. She took an entire weekend out of her life to go to a conference so she could secretly make fun of people? Really? I can think of a million things to do with a free weekend, and not one of them includes going out of my way to be the world's biggest asshole. That's seriously fucked-up. I'm glad you can rise above it all.

I had someone very similar happen to me here on LiveJournal about five years ago. It hurt me to the core, and made me afraid of being public.

Thank you for speaking out and being YOU. That last picture - rocks! I love that dress.

Don't let anyone take away your voice. :)


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