A few days ago, I wrote a post about a piece I read in the Irish Times. My post about the fat shamed woman who dared to share her story is spawning a few related entries by yours truly. This may not be the last time I mention that particular post, but I feel compelled to write again, so here goes…
In my original post, titled “Be careful, now. Nobody is “too fat” for a knuckle sandwich,” I wrote about my reactions to the original Irish Times piece written by Róisín Ingle. Ingle had gone to a celebratory luncheon and dared to inquire about a cheese plate. One of her companions very publicly yelled at Ingle not to order cheese, because she thought Ingle was “too fat” to be allowed to peacefully eat it. She even had the gall to say, “No cheese for you!” like some kind of cheese shaming Nazi.
I read some of the Facebook comments about that story. I wrote about one of the worst Facebook commenters in my original post. There was another commenter who was almost as bad as “Mel O’Brien”, Russian troll extraordinaire (see the original post for more on that). The other commenter, name of Pamela, was leaving nasty comments for people who expressed empathy for Róisín Ingle.
Pamela seemed to me like, quite frankly, a raving bitch. She responded with bile toward people who weren’t agreeing with her anti-fat stance. I noticed that she left a scathing response for a commenter who took issue with the “cheese shaming” old bat in Ingle’s story.
“I don’t care what anybody thinks of my body or my Gouda consumption.”
Good for you. Let’s see how empowered you feel when you get diabetes or chronic heart disease.
I noticed her comments toward those who disagreed with her were quite acid. I didn’t tag her in my response, which was “Life is 100 percent fatal.”
Days later, Pamela responded to me. She tagged me, writing “Inane comment.”
I “laughed” at her and wrote, “No, it’s the truth. Everybody dies at some point.”
She came back at me immediately.
Pamela: No shit. Would you rather die at 60 or 65 after years of debilitating ill health, or live a full and active life well into your 80s?
I was tempted to write about how my friend, Matt, suddenly died in 2021 at age 58. I’ve mentioned him before, but here’s a reminder for those who have either forgotten or missed those previous posts.
Matt was a healthy man who should have had another twenty years or so. In the wee hours of the morning on the date of his death, he had just left the company of friends and family. They were celebrating his 58th birthday. I’m sure he had no idea that, on his way walking home, he was going to get hit by a car traveling at a high rate of speed, and then be left so grievously injured that he would die.
I truly hope that before his meeting with a speeding black Rolls Royce, Matt ate plenty of birthday cake. I hope he ate and drank with much gusto with his dear friends and loved ones at that last birthday celebration. Those people who were with him to celebrate his last circle around the sun are now, like me, only left with memories of him. Skipping the cheese certainly wouldn’t have saved him on the day he died.
But, not wanting to write Matt’s story, I decided to take a more measured approach. Below was my response to Pamela.
Maybe if you ate more Gouda, you would be a more pleasant person. Just a thought.
As for when I’d prefer to die, I am ready to go whenever the time comes. Sometimes death comes even when a person does everything right. Shit happens.
I hoped that would be the end of it, but she came back hours later… like a bad case of genital herpes.
Pamela: Wow, I didn’t think you could surpass the stupidity of your previous comment but you keep outdoing yourself. “Whenever the time comes”, as if your lifestyle has no influence in how long you live and it’s all just a matter of fate. Antediluvian head-in-the-sand nonsense.
I probably should have just blocked her, but I couldn’t resist leaving a parting shot. She obviously has the personality of steel wool, and requires harsher treatment than the genteel niceties one usually reserves for Sunday afternoons. So, I responded thusly…
Me: Wow, you really are a very nasty person, aren’t you? Why would I want to hang around this Earth when insulting and rude people like you are in it? If there’s a choice between eating what I want to with my friends and dying young, I would take that over living longer and having to be around miserable old bitches like you. Now kindly fuck off and leave me alone, please. 😉
Seriously, though. I don’t have children or grandchildren, so why would I want to live until I’m in my 80s? I’ve seen what happens to the elderly. My husband is almost eight years older than I am, so he may be the one who goes first. Pamela doesn’t know a thing about me, but she’s calling my comments stupid and inane, and swearing at me. Is this really supposed to be an appeal to live healthier, or just a really disgruntled person showing her ass to a perfect stranger?
One never knows what the future holds. I know my friend Matt intended to live a long time. It didn’t work out that way for him. I’m not saying you shouldn’t watch your weight or exercise moderation when it comes to eating and drinking, but sometimes Gouda is good for the soul. No matter what, it’s never appropriate to publicly humiliate people who are simply hoping to enjoy themselves with their friends and family.
I don’t know about you, but my own life keeps me pretty busy. I don’t need to mind other people’s business. I’ve got plenty of my own to tend. I don’t know what other people are dealing with in life, so why would I begrudge them that simple pleasure? Especially when I’m not a doctor?
Anyway… Pamela can have my Gouda. It’s not something that brings me joy. Bill just proposed having a Martini. I think I’ll join him. Don’t mind if I do.
I am currently in dog crap hell. For once, Arran isn’t the culprit. About a half hour ago, Noyzi came to me and put his head in my lap, a sign that he wanted to go outside. I let him go out while I checked on the progress of the laundry in the dryer. When I came back, Noyzi was still outside, distracted from taking care of his business. I waited a few more minutes before finally shooing him inside. It’s really cold outside, and I saw a pile of crap in the yard. I figured Noyzi was done.
After a few minutes at my computer, I realized I needed to visit the loo myself. I was wearing slippers when I felt that awful sensation, and the aroma assaulted my olfactory bulb. Noyzi had left a large pile of crap right at the door to my office. And because he never has accidents in the house, I was not expecting it. I cleaned up what I thought was all of it, cringing as the smell wafted into my office. I got up again and my bare foot found the one turd I hadn’t seen. It was cold and squishy, and since I had smashed it, the smell got worse. I started yelling out swear words as Noyzi slunk away, guiltily.
He really is a good dog. We’ve had him since October 2020, and I can count on one hand the number of times he’s had an accident in the house. Arran, on the other hand, has never been 100 percent accurate about housetraining. Arran, however, has the experience and good sense to know to do it downstairs, where I won’t immediately discover it, and will smell it long before I step in it.
I think the smell of dog shit has finally dissipated. My slippers are getting a wash. Now I’m ready to write about an article I saw in The Irish Times yesterday. Actually, now that I think about it, the fact that I started this post with an anecdote about dog shit seems especially appropriate. To me, a lot of cheese smells like shit. I don’t like most cheeses. Most of the ones I will eat must be melted first. But a lot of people do love to eat cheese. Sometimes, they’ll eat it in lieu of dessert.
Irish Times writer Róisín Ingle published a piece yesterday about a horrifying incident she experienced at a restaurant. Ingle explains that she’s been “judged” for her weight all of her life. She’s developed admiration for the singer, Lizzo, a Black, zaftig, flute playing wonder, who has become an inspiration for many people, including those who struggle with obesity. One day, a Lizzo t-shirt showed up in the mail. Ingle wondered if maybe she’d ordered it late at night after drinking too much wine. Later, a friend clarified that she’d sent the t-shirt as a way of boosting Ingle’s spirits.
Ingle writes: I put my Lizzo T-shirt on to watch her win Record of the Year at the Grammys over the weekend. She sang her self-love anthem Special surrounded by a gospel choir. “Fame is pretty new but I’ve been used to people judging me/That’s why I move the way I move and why I’m so in love with me.”
Lizzo moves through the world in her body with no apologies. The classically trained flautist has been playing the same tune for years, telling fans they should love themselves, celebrate their talents and reject societal expectations. She started to become a sort of mentor to me when she talked about her fitness regime a few years ago around the time I had started to exercise regularly for the first time in my life. “It may come as a surprise to some of y’all, that I’m not working out to have your ideal body type. I’m working out to have my ideal body type. And you know what type that is? None of your f**king business.”
As someone who has also been harassed about my weight, I am highly inclined to agree. Fat shamers and concern trolls can just fuck right off. And that’s exactly how I felt as Ingle wrote about what happened to her when she was celebrating at a restaurant with her mother and, evidently, some other people who didn’t know or care about her.
Ingle writes: It was a jolly occasion, a gathering of fun, clever people. We were choosing what to order and I was musing aloud about whether to have dessert. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I asked the waiter whether I could have a bit of cheese instead. He was about to answer but a woman at the table intervened.
Uh oh… this doesn’t sound good at all! And it wasn’t. According to Ingle, the woman roared, “No, you mustn’t have cheese! You are too fat for cheese! No cheese for you!”
Ingle sat there and “took in” what had just transpired. The woman apparently realized that she’d shocked and offended her target, as Ingle writes that she’d “insisted she was coming from a ‘good’ place”. The fat shaming concern troll explained that she was “worried” about Ingle’s health as she aged. Evidently, the fat shamer had been overweight all her life, and felt she must warn the writer of the doom that awaited her if she ate cheese during a celebratory lunch with her mother.
Ingle handled the interaction better than I probably would have. She wrote that in the past, she might have left the table, gone to the toilets to cry, starved herself for a couple of days, or engaged in some combination of those actions. But this time, she simply responded calmly to the woman, saying “what she had said was unnecessary. I told her that she didn’t know what might be going on for the person she was cheese-shaming. I pointed out that the psychological stress caused by her comments could be far worse for a person than a few slices of Brie. I told her that ultimately, my body, other people’s bodies, were none of her fecking business.”
And then, to my surprise, Ingle wrote She said nothing for a few moments. “I’d never thought of it quite like that,” she said. She had done this kind of thing before, she told me. I don’t think she’ll do it again.
This response from Ingle, while very mature, is not very satisfying to me. I can’t stand concern trolls. I don’t believe for a minute that people who make rude comments about other people’s bodies care at all about them. They certainly don’t care about the psychological damage they do to people who are struggling with their body image. Telling someone they are “too fat for cheese”, especially in front of a crowd, will do nothing but ruin the person’s day and give them bad memories.
My title suggests that I might be inclined toward violence if someone did this to me. Rest assured, I probably would not have given the woman a knuckle sandwich. She wouldn’t have been worth going to jail over. But you can bet that I would make her think twice about ever making a comment like that to me again. That’s if I ever again allowed her to be in my presence after that incident.
I generally get a kick out of the comments from Irish readers. Sure enough, they didn’t disappoint. I even added one of my own.
I think I would tell the cheese shaming buttinski that her health is far more at risk by butting into other people’s business than it is to eat all the cheese she could ever want for the rest of her life. She might just be trading her cheese habit for a knuckle sandwich.
However, I couldn’t help but notice one guy, name of Mel O’Brien from Cork, who left some very rude comments. He left so many of them that I felt compelled to check out his Facebook profile. Mr. O’Brien has just fifteen friends, and has made a lot of his comments public. I guess his fat shaming didn’t go over well with some readers…
Mel wrote several comments like the ones above. At first, I just thought he was a fucking jerk. Now, I think he’s crazy. Behold…
I’ve been suspended from FACEBOOK, again, with no way of responding to this bullshit. So all I say to FB and the person or persons who complained about some comment I made, is FUCK OFF!
I kept scrolling and saw lots of pro Russia posts, along with conspiracy theories about the COVID vaccines. Obviously, Mel doesn’t play with a full deck. Yet some people still want to be friends with him. Here’s what he posted a couple of days ago.
Just to make things clear: I’m on FB to keep in touch with people who are already my friends. I’m not looking for new friends, and most of the friend requests I’ve received in the past couple of years have been men masquerading as women. I don’t want to be friends with anyone from the LGBT crowd, since I’m offended by this “pride” nonsense. What do they have to be proud about? So please don’t send me a friends request unless we know each other from the past. Thanks.
Below is a post from January 1, 2023…
I’m a bit pissed off today, January 1, because I post videos that I believe to be important, but last year virtually no one watched any of them. Too busy getting their jabs, I guess.
Another reason I’m annoyed is YouTube ending the suspension of my comments, due to some comment I made “may offend” community guidelines. They never told me which comment “may offend” someone. An evil bunch, probably members of the mentally-ill LGBT crowd. I’ve received several warnings, and a threat of removing my site in 2022. So much for freedom of expressing my beliefs
Facebook also doesn’t like my comments, and I’ve been suspended a couple of times last year. More evil people.
I was permanently banned from Twitter in 2019, but they had the gall to email me last year informing me that my ban had ended. Needless to say, I won’t be going back to their garbage.
THE ONLY TWO PEOPLE I KNOW WHO GOT JABS BOTH DIED LAST YEAR SUDDENLY OF HEART ATTACKS. COINCIDENCE, EH? SCAMDEMIC.
This planet is controlled by the forces of evil, which control is made easier by compliant sheeple who believe anything they’re told, forgetting the lesson of the WMD.
THINGS ARE GETTING WORSE, NOT BETTER.
It’s sad and scary that there are so many people in the world who feel so entitled to share their ugliness with everyone. And then when they get called out for it, they continue to be ugly. Not only is Mr. O’Brien a fat shamer; he’s also a homophobe.
I generally enjoy The Irish Times. I think the journalism is excellent and often very entertaining. I also enjoy reading comments from the Irish, who are often hilariously witty. On the other hand, I’ve noticed that quite a few of them admire Donald Trump, promote conspiracy theories and other stupid nonsense, and opine about things about which they apparently know little. It occurs to me that the last time I was in Ireland, I saw a Confederate Battle Flag. It was a sticker on the back of a taxi cab. And now that I think about it, quite a lot of American Trump supporters are people with ancestral backgrounds like mine. 😉
Anyway, good on Róisín Ingle for responding diplomatically to the fat shamer who tried to deprive her of Gouda. I used to care a lot more about what people thought of my body, too. I think I got over that when I realized how short life really is.
In 2021, a former Peace Corps colleague of mine celebrated his birthday with friends and family. Then, as he was walking home, he got hit by a car and was left for dead. Sadly, he did die of his injuries, and at just 58 years of age. He was a bright, vibrant person who touched many people over his lifetime. I don’t think he had a weight problem when he passed. In fact, I like to think that he was happy when he left this world… having just spent his last hours with people he loved, celebrating his birthday, rather than languishing from a chronic illness for months on end.
I think of my old friend, and realize that while it’s always a good and wise thing to take care of your health, it’s also a good and wise thing to enjoy your life. Because now, more than ever, you just never know when your life will end. So I say, eat the cheese if you want it. Tell the fat shamers like Mel O’Brien to fuck right off. Try not to give anyone a knuckle sandwich, though… unless they really, really deserve one. 😉 In the case of the fat shaming idiot Ingle encountered at her lunch celebration, I would not have faulted her…
Incidentally, as I was writing this, we got a delivery of Dutch cheeses. I don’t eat much cheese, so it’s mostly for Bill, who loves cheese. I’m sure he will be delighted to try them later…
“No means no.” As a child of the 70s and 80s, I heard this catchphrase a lot. Some marketing genius came up with it for PSAs about date rape. It’s meant to emphasize the importance of obtaining sexual consent before proceeding with sexual deeds.
I never had a lot of problems with people not respecting me when I said “no” to sex. But, before some smartass tries to tell me it’s because no one was interested, I will state that like almost all women, I was occasionally sexually harassed by men. I just mainly stayed out of situations in which I would have to deal with them. I’m not sure why that was. To my knowledge, I’ve never been raped. I did have some unfortunate encounters with a pervert when I was growing up, but he just showed me pornography. He never actually touched me. For that, I’m grateful.
Last night, I had an experience in a comment section with a very aggressive pro-life warrior. I had just read a news story about 80 year old Florida Representative Frederica Wilson. In the late 1960s, Ms. Wilson almost died from a pregnancy that resulted in a stillbirth. Doctors pronounced her baby dead in its seventh month of gestation. However, because her pregnancy predated Roe v. Wade, doctors were not permitted to induce labor. According to the article, Wilson said:
“I had to learn how, first of all, to handle the immense grief that comes with losing a child and the fact that the corpse of that child was still within me. I cried every night and all day. My little body was wretched with pain, weakness and frailty.”
Today, I relived one of the most painful times in my life on the House floor. I shared my experience of being forced to carry my dead baby. Prohibited by law to induce labor, I carried my deceased child inside me for two months and almost died. We can’t go back. pic.twitter.com/emuWzQDgWX
Wilson was commenting about anti-abortion legislation just passed by the House. The “born alive” bill will not go anywhere right now, as the Senate will probably not address it, and even if they passed it, Joe Biden won’t sign it. But it is a sign of what’s to come, as extremist right wingers try to impose their ridiculous anti-abortion views on the majority of Americans. I can’t help but notice that a lot of these folks are men. Quite a few of them are pushing shaming messages toward women who have casual, consensual sex. They claim they aren’t wanting to punish women for having sex for fun. But then, when a woman unintentionally gets pregnant, they think she needs to “lie in the bed she made for herself.”
Sure enough, there were several of these pro-life men opining in the comment section of the Washington Post article. A woman posted this excellent comment:
An embryo at 4 weeks is the size of a poppy seed. A 10 weeks fetus is the size of a pomegranate seed. Besides the contribution of one cell from a man, it is essentially a parasite using the woman’s blood, bone, muscle, etc. Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one. Mind your own business, in other words.
Then a pro-life man challenged her. He asked when she thought abortion should be banned. A lot of us, myself included, responded that it shouldn’t be banned at any stage of pregnancy. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll restate it for the latecomers. The vast majority of women who have abortions after the first trimester do so because there’s a medical reason. Either she’s sick, or the developing fetus has catastrophic medical problems. Late term abortions aren’t something a person does for fun or convenience. Any person who would do that for shits and giggles is not someone who should be a mother, anyway.
It wasn’t long before a guy named Kenneth decided to harass me with his pro-life views. I usually try to be respectful when I make comments, but this guy wouldn’t let up. He kept hammering away at me, trying to trip me up, challenging my opinions about abortion. I found him very disrespectful and responded accordingly. It reminded me of times when some horny guy wanted to do something sexual, when I didn’t. Fortunately, I never had an issue saying “no”, mainly because for some reason, I was afraid of sex and aggressive men. My fear of sex was greater than my fear of being socially rejected.
However, I happen to know that a lot of women, particularly young women, care a lot about what men think of them. So, when a man comes on to them, they’d rather just give him what he wants. They are willing to give in to his demands for sex. That’s how some of them end up pregnant when they never meant to be. While not every man is an asshole in this situation, a lot of men are.
I noticed that Kenneth had some “slut shaming” qualities. He commented to me that a woman who has a one night stand and has an abortion is doing so out of convenience. Obviously, he thinks that’s wrong. First off, the woman shouldn’t be having casual sex. Secondly, if she does get pregnant, she should commit to the pregnancy. Thirdly, if she doesn’t want to be a mother, she should give the baby up for adoption. He makes it sound like this is an easy thing to do. He acts as if pregnancy is easy, painless, and CHEAP.
Kenneth seems to think that he’s morally superior to pro-choice people, because he’s against abortion. Moreover, he thinks he has the right to hammer his views at total strangers. I normally don’t give guys like Kenneth much time, but I was feeling sort of hostile last night. He lobbed his impassioned entreaties at me, clearly getting nowhere, but unable to stop trying. I got increasingly annoyed, as he tried to explain to me– a woman– about pregnancy and the morals associated with it. It wasn’t the first time I’ve encountered this phenomenon.
I finally tired of Kenneth’s bullshit. It was time for dinner, and I wanted to end the conversation. So, after he referred to me as a “pro-abortionist”, I wrote this:
I am not a pro-abortionist. I simply don’t think you need to concern yourself with women’s healthcare decisions. It’s not your business. Especially since I highly doubt you vote for people who care about helping the poor or making healthcare affordable for everyone. Now please leave me alone. I’d rather clean the lint out of my bellybutton than continue this pointless dialogue with you.
As you can see, I very clearly asked him to leave me alone. I even used the word “please”. It’s a very clear indication that I’m saying “no” to continuing the discussion. It was getting nowhere, and my dinner was getting cold. But, not surprisingly, Kenneth came back with more stupid drivel. So I blocked him.
If I hadn’t had dinner in front of me, I might have pointed out that he was acting like a horny man. I refer to the type of man who pressures a woman for sex, won’t take “no” for an answer, and then slut shames her when she gets pregnant! This type of man accuses women of “getting themselves pregnant”. They call them sluts. They don’t want to help them. Instead, they say they should have been more careful. Guys like Kenneth put all the responsibility on women, as they demand to have a say in their healthcare decisions.
A few months ago, I had a similar experience, not on the topic of abortion, but about Virginia Military Institute. I wanted to comment because a number of my family members went there or worked there. Bill and I married there, although he’s not a graduate. My favorite relative, Uncle Brownlee (RIP), was in charge of the physical plant in the 1990s. He was actually at the forefront of making VMI accessible to women. I commented, and a man very soon attacked me for posting something positive about VMI. This guy wasn’t a right wing pro-life asshole, like Kenneth. Instead, it was a left-winger named Kent, trying to school me on how “racist, sexist, and abusive” VMI is.
I’m not going to try to tell people that VMI doesn’t have its problems. It’s not where I would have wanted to go to college. However, I do know that a lot of people– men and women– have done well at VMI and love the school. I think the good far outweighs the bad. Moreover, I have personal experience with VMI, thanks to my family members who attended and worked there. My perspective means that I don’t agree with people who think the school should be shut down for its sins of the past. This left-wing guy, Kent, who likely has ZERO actual experience with the school and probably doesn’t know a single graduate, felt the need to hammer me with his views.
As Kent tried to tell me more about “abuse” and all of the reasons VMI is “terrible”, I asked him to leave me alone. Naturally, he wouldn’t. For some reason, he couldn’t manage to do that. Instead, he came back with two more paragraphs of drivel. It was probably lost on him that he’s pretty abusive himself. I ended up blocking him, too, after pointing out that he doesn’t seem to be able to respect the word “no”. Perhaps he’s more like an “abusive” Keydet than he’d like to admit. I’m sure the strong and brave young women who choose VMI for college can make an informed decision about their higher education choices without Kent’s input, in spite of his penis.
I can’t help but notice that a lot of pro-life men missed the memo regarding “no meaning no”. I’ve noticed that they are also a lot like fat shaming men. Maybe it’s not so much the pro-life types that are like this, but it’s more narcissistic assholes who are. A narcissist can be on either side of the political spectrum, after all. But they do have one thing in common, and that’s the tendency to shame other people. And narcissistic men love to do it to women, especially those they see as somehow morally weak.
To these types, a fat woman is weak because she eats too much and dares to be in public when she’s not attractive to him. This is annoying to him. A pregnant woman who wants an abortion has the nerve to reject the sperm of the man who fucked her. She should have kept her legs crossed, just as the fat woman should keep her mouth closed. What they see as a lack of discipline is disgusting to them. But they never seem to look at their own behaviors, do they? The hypocrites!
I don’t have time for hypocrites, nor do I have the energy to waste on guys like Kent and Kenneth. My mind is perfectly good, and I have the ability to make my own decisions and form my own opinions. I don’t need help. When I ask to be left alone, I mean it. No means no.
Maybe if more men like Kenneth respected women who say no to them, there would be less of a need for abortion. Either way, it’s none of his goddamned business if a woman wants or needs an abortion. Women like me are going to fight for the right to make our own healthcare and education decisions without help from anti-choice assholes like Kenneth… and Kent, for that matter.
Here’s a repost of my reaction to Kim Hall’s viral blog post about braless teenaged girls in towels or pajamas. I’m sharing it to go with today’s partial repost. It was written for my original blog on September 5, 2013, when I was living in Texas. I’m mostly leaving it “as/is”. I think it’s a pretty good post.
Yesterday, my Facebook feed was positively littered with links to a certain blog post written by a Texas mother of four who wrote an open letter to all the slutty girls out there not wearing bras and taking selfies before they go to bed. I could link to that post, but I don’t see the point of doing that. It’s all over the Internet.
To be honest, I’m of a mixed mind about this woman’s post. I am generally not a fan of people taking slutty looking selfies. If they are teenaged girls, I figure it’s because they are caving to some kind of external message that they need to be “sexy” in order to be desirable. I think that’s sad, but I sort of understand it. Growing up is hard. Still, if I were a mother, that would not be something I’d want to encourage. On the other hand, I don’t think “slut shaming” is good, either. I think it’s best to encourage common sense.
Of course “Mrs. Hall” immediately made her post the subject of scorn when she included photos of her handsome sons in their bathing suits at the beach. Her daughter was wearing a modest one piece tank suit and it looked like they were just having clean family fun. But if you’re going to be complaining about “scantily clad teenaged girls” who might give your sons boners, you ought not post photos of your boys dressed in a similarly scantily clad fashion. Yes, I know that on the beach, it’s perfectly acceptable to be wearing a bathing suit, while most people don’t think of pajamas or nighties as clothes you’d see in public. But the fact is, we still see a lot of skin on those boys… and if your point is that girls need to cover up, you’d best take care with your own photos.
Apparently, Mrs. Hall then thought better of it and posted another version of her post with photos of the kids covered up. But the damage had already been done and lots of folks began posting rebuttals. These days, America is pretty polarized when it comes to morality. We have a lot of really religious folks out there who are trying to take back the country, as it were, and at least by my observations, seem to be taking things to extremes. We also have a lot of folks who are proudly atheist and are also taking things to extremes. The people in these two groups may not be as many strong as those of us in between, but they are very loud, and some of them are very articulate. Consequently, the Internet becomes inundated with viral posts that both speak to and repel people who identify with these two groups.
I have friends on both sides of the spectrum, so I’ve seen the FYI post for girls a number of times already. I have also seen rebuttals and parodies. I found the initial blog post hypocritical, smug, and ill-conceived… but I also understood where the mom was coming from, even if she came off as quite sanctimonious.
You know, the one thing that I really came away with is that I’m sort of glad I didn’t have kids. I wanted them, but raising kids is so complicated. Even without the FYI blog post, there was an article about how overweight kids are having “fat letters” sent home. Childhood obesity is no doubt a big problem, but shaming people is rarely the way to get them to reform. And there are just so many reasons why people get fat. Could be a simple issue of too many calories, not enough exercise. Could be because the kid is lonely and eats to soothe emotional pain. Could be because the kid is being bullied or abused by other kids, their parents, or someone else.
I just don’t see how sending home a letter about the kid’s BMI is the school’s role. Unless the school’s staff is going to help the parents do something about the problem, I don’t see why they are more qualified to “diagnose” obesity more than a medical professional is. Medical professionals also have the added ability to determine how obesity is affecting the children in question. Moreover, kids whose parents don’t care aren’t likely to care if they get a letter, though the kid probably will.
Of course, if the school sent home a letter about my BMI, my parents would have been embarrassed and would have taken it out on me. I remember being in 9th grade and weighing about 115 pounds. I was weighed in front of everyone and the coach made some comment about how I must have had a big lunch. I was humiliated, even though now I realize that I was nowhere near fat at that point of my life. I would love to be that weight today. Maybe after I’ve been dead a few months…
I got a lot of “fat shaming” from my parents even when I wasn’t overweight and struggled with fucked up eating habits for years. I’ve reached a point at which I don’t care as much as I used to, but the memories still hurt… and probably had a lot to do with why I was so old when I finally had a real relationship with a man. Fortunately for me, he turned out to be a great guy who treats me like gold. It could have easily gone the other way, though.
Anyway, I guess the point of this post is that there are an awful lot of people self-righteously sticking their noses where they don’t belong. Mrs. Hall’s open letter may have resonated with a lot of people, but she probably should have addressed boys and girls, not just girls. And she should have practiced her own counsel. And the fat shaming asshats are not doing anything but making childhood more miserable with their letters home. Adolescents are vulnerable, especially when it comes to matters pertaining to their self image. Eating disorders are serious problems that can wreak havoc on those who have them and those who love them.
Childhood obesity is a problem. Teen sex, especially when it leads to consequences like pregnancy or diseases, is a problem. Something does need to be done about these issues. I just don’t think shaming is the way to go about it. Growing up is tough enough.
This morning, I got a private message from someone who read my recent rant about pro-life men who make me want to hurl. I was surprised to get that message. As of this morning, that particular rant only has four views. However, it does have two likes, which is somewhat unusual for my blog. My posts, by and large, don’t get “likes” very often. 😉
The person who wrote to me indicated that she felt my post was “poignant”. I thought that was an interesting observation. Maybe it does seem poignant, though, that a middle-aged woman who has always had the right to choose would be so disgusted by men with “pro-life” attitudes. Very soon, the risk of pregnancy for me, personally, will no longer exist at all. So, if Roe v. Wade does get overturned, it won’t matter too much for me, at least not in terms of whether or not I would be forced to bear children. If the United States turned into an actual Gilead, as depicted in Margaret Atwood’s book, The Handmaid’s Tale, I would either be a wife or a “Martha”. Or maybe I’d just be a “working stiff” who wears grey. The bottom line is, my actual purpose– according to some men– will soon cease to exist. But, you know, even when I was still young, a lot of men didn’t think I was fulfilling my “purpose”. They probably felt like a vagina was wasted on me.
As I was reposting the two book reviews I added this morning, I watched the latest episode of Fundie Fridays on YouTube. The host, Jen, had a guest named Mickey Atkins on the show. Mickey is a social worker, like I would have been if I hadn’t become an “overeducated housewife”. The two of them were discussing Lori Alexander, aka “The Transformed Wife”. Lori Alexander, for those who don’t know, is a very controversial figure on social media. She believes that women’s sole purposes for being is to make babies and be housewives. I don’t generally pay a lot of attention to Lori’s posts, because I disagree with almost everything she says or writes, and I generally don’t think it’s productive to pay attention to her dumb comments. However, sometimes, when she says or writes something that is especially offensive, I will take note of it. I do casually follow Fundie Fridays, as well. I don’t watch it every week, but I do watch often enough. So, even though I think The Transformed Wife shouldn’t have a platform, I decided to listen to Jen and Mickey talk about her this morning as I multi-tasked.
Listening to this video led me to look up things I have written about Lori Alexander. In the process of doing that, I ran across some old posts on my original blog about related subjects. It occurred to me, as I was reading, that men who “concern troll, and “fat shame” women, are a whole lot like the pro-life men who make me want to hurl. They REALLY have a lot in common. And, I also realized, that whether or not they know it, a lot of pro-life men and fat shaming men are probably motivated by the same thing… the desire to have sex with, and ultimately control, women. I think a lot of men are, deep down, offended by women who don’t do what society expects of them.
A lot of men think it’s a woman’s duty to be pretty, friendly, agreeable, and sweet. They think it’s her role to be willing to have sex with them– and only them. She is to turn them on and, when she gets pregnant, be willing to have their babies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the man will feel like he needs to stick around and help raise the babies. It’s only that to be “good”, a woman is to be attractive and appealing. A smart woman with an opinion– especially if he doesn’t think she’s attractive– is offensive to a lot of men. And women who get pregnant, and then decide to reject the pregnancy, are repulsive to certain men.
Notice that I specified “certain men”. Not all men are like this. My husband, Bill, is not like this at all. He’s a kind, supportive, loving man who doesn’t mind that I’m overweight, opinionated, and often unlikable to other people. Bill loves me for who I am, not what I look like, and not just for my sex parts. I realize that I am extremely lucky, too. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I did. My husband is an absolute gem.
But I know from my past life, and even incidences from my current life, that not all women are nearly as lucky as I have been. Every once in awhile, I run into a guy who seems determined to remind me of what they think should be my place. I see them do it to other women, too. They firmly believe that women are here to entertain them, satisfy them, attract them, and serve them. They aren’t here to be someone in and of themselves.
So how did I come to this conclusion? It started with a post I wrote on my original blog about a group called “Overweight Haters, Ltd.” Back in 2015, a woman named Kara Florish was riding on The Tube in London when a middle-aged male stranger placed a business card on her lap.
The man quickly got off at the next stop and disappeared in the crowd, leaving Kara sitting there, stunned. Kara posted on Twitter, commenting:
“I am not upset myself. I am smaller than the national average and not exactly obese, but this is hateful and cowardly and could potentially upset people struggling with confidence and eating disorders. Please tweet and share this if you are also outraged. Plus – to the person who wrote this card, go back to school, you can’t spell ‘beautiful’.”
I didn’t actually write about this incident until several years later. Florish wasn’t the only one who got a card from this vile group. In another article from The Guardian from 2015, it was reported that another commuter, a man named Sean Thomas Knox, witnessed a woman getting one of the cards. According to the article:
“Young man just got on train at Oxford Circus, gave printed card saying YOU’RE FAT to overweight girl. He jumped off. She read it, [and] cried.
“Am 99.9% sure this wasn’t staged. She didn’t even realise I was watching at first. Her stunned, desolate reaction was very real. Then tears.”
Knox described the man who handed over the card as a “hipster.. smartly, trendily dressed” with a beard. “Perhaps it was a piece of conceptual art,” he tweeted
“It lasted a few seconds, but the card in that photo [Florish’s] is the same card I saw, in the girl’s hand. And her shock was real.”
I’ve seen a lot of comments fat shaming men leave for women online, too. They often couch their opinions as “concern” for women’s health. But, when it really comes down to it, I think men are less concerned about health as they are their own sex drives. A lot of them seem to think it’s a woman’s duty to be pretty for them, so they will want to have sex with them. And then, once they have sex, if the woman gets pregnant, she should want to have the baby. To not have the baby is to reject the man. A lot of pro-life men simply can’t deal with that kind of rejection. It’s a terrible assault on their egos. Notice, too, that a lot of pro-life men– especially those who are religious– also pressure women to be pleasing to them and pretty, but not sexy or, heaven forbid, slutty. Slutty women end up as handmaids, you know… or they work at Jezebel’s. 😉
Think I’m way off base on this? Consider something that happened to me back in February 2018. I read an article about a woman who had given birth to a baby girl she named Parker. The woman then left the newborn infant outside in the cold. Parker later died. Her mother was arrested and charged with murder, which was eventually reduced to a conviction of manslaughter. She was sentenced to nine years in prison.
For some reason, a man decided that the comment section was a good place to rail against abortion, even though this story had NOTHING to do with abortion. He pointed out that had the mom aborted Parker, people would be applauding her choice. A lot of women responded to him, including yours truly. I dared to tell him that I didn’t think men really needed to chime in on this issue, since it’s never their lives or health on the line when someone gets pregnant. A few days later, I got a private message from someone who was looking for advice on apartments in Alsace. After I responded to the PM, I noticed I had another one from a “stranger” named Jason. Jason wrote this to me:
Interesting that Jason, who is presumably “pro-life”, doesn’t realize that I used to be someone’s developing fetus. And yet, he felt the need to invite me to commit suicide. Sadly, when I complained about this to Facebook, they said there was “nothing they could do about it.” However, I’ve been “on restriction” all month for writing a comment that referred to “dumb Americans”. Go figure.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that I enjoy being referred to as a “cunt”. It’s not a nice word. And no, I don’t like it when people call me “fat”, because I know that’s basically akin to “ugly” in some people’s opinions. Nobody likes to be insulted. On the other hand, I am already married to a wonderful guy who doesn’t think I’m a “fat cunt”, and would be devastated if I died. But this comment did make me realize that Jason must be very, very frustrated by women who aren’t afraid to speak their minds, and would happily deny men, both access to their cunts, and respect for their views.
You see, my guess is that Jason isn’t gay. He probably really enjoys having sex with women. And a lot of women have probably denied him sex. At the same time, he’s presumably here because some woman had sex and got pregnant. He probably passed through his mother’s “cunt” when he was born. So he actually owes everything to a cunt, doesn’t he? But he thinks that, as a man, he should have power over women. A woman who tells him and his male brethren to STFU is very threatening and offensive. So he calls me a vile word and advises me to kill myself. Makes a lot of sense, right?
As a woman, I have been sexually harassed by men, even though I don’t think I’m conventionally “beautiful”. It started on the playground when I was a little girl, when little boys would try to make me give them some “sugar” (I grew up in the South in the early 80s, and that was a euphemism for kissing). It continued as I got older, when bigger boys would grab me and try to touch me or kiss me, and when the neighborhood pervert, who referred to himself as “The Home of the Whopper”, showed me pornography. Then, it continued when boys would make comments about my body– negative or positive– or try to humiliate me with cruel jokes and pranks. In college, I remember meeting a guy at a party, and within a couple of hours, he was trying to stick his tongue down my throat. I was shocked and horrified, and I asked him to stop. He then proceeded to treat me like I had given him blue balls or something.
I got harassed when I lived in Armenia by men who exposed themselves to me. It happened three times that I can remember. I was lucky. I knew a woman who was harassed and violently assaulted. She had to go into the hospital. On a trip to Turkey, a man felt my legs as I tried on shoes that I desperately needed. Another man grabbed my breast when I was trying to find a bathroom. Not two hours later, when I was changing clothes, a different man came into the dressing room, called me “sexy”, and asked me to come with him. The female friend who was traveling with me was also harassed, although she wore men’s shoes and had shaved her head. The trip, which was mostly amazing, culminated when we got stuck on the border with Georgia and the customs manager propositioned me. And no, I wasn’t looking sexy. I had on shorts, a t-shirt, and wore no makeup. He still wanted to have sex with me… and, of course, that was ALL he wanted. He thought I would give it to him, because I’m an American woman, and women from the USA are supposedly “loose”. I was a virgin at the time.
A couple of years later, when I was back in the States, I worked at a country club. One of the members, a guy named J.J., was notorious for hitting on all of the women who worked at the club. It didn’t matter if the female he was targeting was a minor who was still in high school, or if it was the matronly dining room manager who was in her 60s. None of us were spared his attentions. One day, he followed me into the linen closet, which unfortunately was in the men’s locker room. Thinking the locker room was empty, I had gone in there to get tablecloths and napkins. He cornered me, and tried to paw at my breasts and kiss me. It was absolutely appalling, and yes, I said “No”.
And… I have also been fat shamed by men. It started with comments from my father, who would tell me that no man would find me attractive (he also didn’t like my outspoken personality and vulgar language). He would touch me and tell me I had “fat” I needed to lose. Sometimes, he called me names, like “hog”, or referred to me as “retarded”. As I got older, some men would body shame me. It happened a lot in Armenia. I would get stopped by strangers on the street trying to sell me Herbalife, or they would flat out tell me I was “fat”. But it also happened in the United States, or on vacations. Regular readers of my blog might remember when I wrote about the man on SeaDream I who was surprised by my pretty singing voice and said to Bill, “Now I can see why you’d love her.” He made similarly disgusting comments about women, revealing the attitude that he felt like it was a woman’s duty to be beautiful and available to him. And if she wasn’t those things, he could call her a “fat cow” (he literally referred to his late wife in this way– she had just died of breast cancer).
Some men, especially in the military community, are very offended by smart, opinionated women, especially if they’re considered “fat” or not pretty enough. I’ve gotten tons of shit over the name of this blog by men in the military community, as well as some rather clueless women. One time, a military man commented on a blog post I wrote that was shared on Facebook. He wrote, “Ugh. I hope she at least has children.” WTF, guy? I responded that I didn’t have children, and I would be very happy to tell him why I didn’t, if he really wanted to know the gory details.
Frankly, I think it’s probably a burden to be really attractive to men. I remember another incident, back when I was in my late 20s and thinner and prettier than I am now. I was at a bar, and one of my co-workers, who was slim and pretty, was dancing to music. We were friends, but hadn’t come to the bar together. A guy tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to look at him, and he asked me if my co-worker was with anyone. Obviously, he’d spotted her and wanted to meet her, presumably because she was very attractive. But instead of asking her, he approached me, the less threatening “fat friend”. I think I told him that we hadn’t come together and if he wanted to talk to her, he should man up and talk to her. I’m not her “fat friend”, there to help some guy score.
Lori Alexander, who thinks that women need to stay home and pump out babies for their husbands, also fat shames women. She says that it’s a woman’s duty to be pleasing to her man. And if her man thinks she’s too fat, she needs to do something about it. And she needs to let him have sex with her, no matter what… even if it happens while she’s trying to sleep or isn’t feeling well. In that sense, I guess she’s in agreement with famously pro-life mom, Michelle Duggar, who told her daughter, Jill, to be “joyfully available” to her new husband, Derick. The year after the public heard about this advice, the news came out that Jill was one of four of the Duggar daughters who were molested by their eldest brother, Josh. We all know where Josh is right now. Mr. “Pro-Life” father of seven is currently sitting in a jail cell, awaiting sentencing for receiving and possessing images of child sexual abuse… and some of the female children being abused were in diapers!
So yeah… I think guys who would like to deny women the right to bodily autonomy are, by and large, not interested in protecting babies. A lot of those guys wouldn’t bother to stick around if a woman got pregnant out of wedlock, and they certainly don’t want more of their paychecks going to providing social welfare safety nets. These guys– Josh Duggar especially– use women for their own gratification and then condemn them as “sluts”. They are repulsed by women they see as sloppy and out of control, whether the lack of control is regarding food or sex. And so, if you pay close attention, you see that a lot of fat shamers and pro-life males respond to women in very similar ways. They have a LOT in common!
I think, deep down, most of these pro-life, hyper-religious, fat shaming guys are obsessed with sex, and controlling women. They hate that a woman has the power to do something they can’t do, and a lot of them are offended when a woman has the nerve to have a vagina, but doesn’t “do enough” to be attractive. Or, worse, she’s attractive, but denies him access to her vagina. Or she gives him access, but then doesn’t want to accept the grand gift of his sperm, which created a developing fetus. Remember… the vast majority of us owe our lives to a woman and her vagina.
I’ll leave you with one last anecdote. A couple of days ago, I read a Facebook post about the 1987 film, Dirty Dancing, which was released when I was 15 years old. A lot of people forget that the reason why “Baby” has to learn to “dirty dance” is because Johnny Castle’s partner got “knocked up” by Robby, the asshole waiter. She had an illegal abortion, which made her very sick. The poster pointed out that the film was a reminder of what could be at stake if women in the United States lose access to abortion. One male commenter wrote this:
What is the script was flipped? What if Robby was a loving caring father that wanted the baby, but Penny knew that if she had the baby, her life would change, and she didn’t want that? Robby would have no legal say in it, and would be forced to see his child killed. Not all guys are douchebags. And not all women are angels. If a person, male or female, doesn’t think they can handle being a parent, then don’t take the risk of it happening.
Naturally, I had to respond. I didn’t even address the fact that this dude used the term “douchebag”, which is, in and of itself, a very offensive and sexist pejorative. Who uses douchebags? It’s not men who use them; it’s women. And, in fact, we aren’t repelled by “douchebags” so much as what comes from using them– the residual nasty smelling stuff from a woman’s private area. It’s the “waste” that is repellant. Personally, I consider the term “douchebag” to be akin to calling a woman a “cunt”, but since that was the term the guy used, I went with it in my response to this hypothetical “loving, caring father” who would be “crushed” that his child would be killed by heartless Penny.
If you don’t understand that it wouldn’t be Robby’s health or life on the line, and you think another personshould be compelled to stay pregnant for someone else’s sake, then yes, you ARE a “douchebag” (not that I would use that term). Guys who want to be fathers should find women who want to have babies with them.
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