The People of Walmart Thing

WTFI saw yet another person on FaceBook post a picture of a fat woman, likely taken without her consent, and used soley to make fun of her with the note: “I know it’s wrong but I had to post it.” And, when called out, the further justification of “I know it makes me a bad, terrible, awful human being” but no move to delete the post.  Fuck a bunch of that.  Even if someone was holding a gun to this person’s head they still didn’t “have to” post it.  There is nothing wrong with the people in these pictures – there are very serious issues with the choice to post them, and trying to justify it is far worse.  This is bullying and it’s not ok.  So I’m reposting this piece about it:

You know the pictures.  People in Walmart, or wherever, very often fat people (EDIT:  I missed an opportunity for intersectional activism here, as commenters have pointed about below there are also often elements of classicism and racism going on as well.)   They might be dressed in tight or scant clothing, or their hair is in curlers etc.  Someone photographs them, puts them on a website for comment and then they get passed around Facebook where today I saw no less than four people who claim to be size acceptance advocates make fun of them.

Let’s look at what we know about the people in these pictures:

1.  They got dressed for the place they were going at the time they were going there- they had no intention to be photographed.

2.  They were probably photographed without their knowledge or consent.

3.  They have no opportunity to speak up on their own behalf unless they happen to find their picture and all the bullying, abusive, shaming language that is with it.

4.  They are people, deserving of basic human respect even if they make choices that are different than ours.

This is no different than the fat administrative assistant who goes to McDonalds to get lunch for her office and ends up in a picture without her head carrying twelve bags of McDonald’s food and getting ridiculed all over the internet.  Maybe the person in the Walmart picture can’t afford other clothes, maybe they had to rush their baby to the emergency room and they are at Walmart for medicine in what they were wearing around the house when the baby got sick, maybe that woman is sitting in a shopping cart because she is disabled and there were no scooters and she didn’t want to inconvenience her ride by making them wait until there was a scooter, maybe that’s just how that guy wants to freaking dress.

Regardless, why is it considered ok to take someone’s photograph without their consent for the express purpose of giving perfect strangers who weren’t there the opportunity to ridicule someone just because the way that person looks isn’t considered by some to be socially acceptable?  This seems especially significant for Size Diversity activists who ask that people please stop ridiculing us because the way we look isn’t considered by some to be socially acceptable. So I think it would be great if we were the ones who lead the charge against this practice.

Maybe when we see these photos posted we could stand up for the rights of people to be treated with basic human decency even if they make different fashion choices than we do, even if they they don’t look the way society thinks they should look or act the way society says they should act. Maybe we could stand up for a world where nobody is ridiculed for how they look, especially if we would like to start being included in that group, and believe that the road to respect is probably not paved with hypocrisy.

So when you see one of these on Facebook or Reddit or wherever, consider speaking up for someone who does not have the chance to speak up for themselves.

Some ideas of what you could say/do to get involved:

  • Comment:  I am for a world where nobody is photographed and shamed on the internet.
  • Comment:  I think it’s a shame when people get their entertainment by bullying and abusing others.
  • Suggest a possible story that humanizes the person in the picture.
  • Message the poster privately and share your concerns.
  • Post something on your own page against the practice.

Maybe we can get our Facebook entertainment watching  little pugs that can’t run or looking at pictures of kittens, not bullying and shaming other human beings.

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Published in: on April 4, 2014 at 3:04 am  Comments (81)  

81 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. YES!! I agree with you 100% about this, and have lost several friends after taking a stand against the Walmart posts on Facebook. I was told I need to chill and I take things too personally… this feedback from people who, until one of these Walmart posts showed up, I thought were kind and decent and reasonable folk. My heart breaks each time I see one of these posts, as they are one of the reasons I am at 370 pounds afraid to leave my apartment. Somehow it has become acceptable in our society to take photos of people without their consent for the sole purpose of making fun of them for “entertainment” purposes, and I am terrified of becoming one of those people. I’m told I *shouldn’t* care so much what others think of me, but for crying out loud, I have as much a need to be accepted, or at least not humiliated for my appearance, as any other human being. I enjoy Facebook, but I’ve learned to spend as little time there as possible to avoid the kind of bullying that happens there. Unfortunately, it’s not just on Facebook — it’s on TV and in magazines and just about anywhere I turn, and this makes me very very sad.

  2. I went through this on facebook recently. The person who posted it, a distant relative by marriage, and I eventually reached a point of agreement and understanding through our conversation. But she had some asshat on her feed who decided to argue with me about it. I tried every thing I could think of to get him to see the person in the photo as human but he just wasn’t up for it. I eventually gave up on him but was happy that this relative was open to what I had to say. We just have to keep trying! :)
    Allison

    • Arguing with friends of friends is the worst, isn’t it? I try very hard to avoid commenting negatively on anyone else’s wall (though sometimes I fail to resist) because even if *they* are perfectly reasonable, smart money says that among all their college buddies, coworkers, and extended family, there’s at least one jerk who will freak right the heck out over even the most respectful, polite disagreement.

      Good for you getting someone to see your point and coming to a reasonable understanding!

  3. I love this, and I’ve pointed out that it’s so easy to giggle or laugh because someone is “different,” but we don’t know why that person is different. Maybe it’s choice, which she have every right to make. Maybe it’s some sort of mental or physical illness. Maybe it’s none of your damn business why someone looks the way he looks.

    No one would like being on the flip side of these things… no one would enjoy having this happen to them, and we ALL have our less-than-stellar public moments, too. I know not one person who would enjoy having one of their more embarrassing looks or moments broadcast for all the world to see, Let alone broadcast for the sole purpose of mocking.

    • She has* every right to make… I’m clearly too tired to be typing!

  4. Joyce – HUGS. That’s a hard place to be in where the people who are supposed to support you are showing themselves to be the kind of people who might very well not. I think it was a brave thing to stand up to them.

    I carried out my very small act of rebellion today by participating in my kid’s school physical activity survey online. I wrote that I thought testing students’ body composition was stigmatizing and served no useful purpose. I felt strangely better after writing it – the ghost of all those hideous grade school weigh-ins at my back.

  5. Thank god you tackled this, Ragen. I am *so* tired of seeing these Walmart-people posts. They’re often racist and sizeist and almost always classist. I find it deeply disturbing that we find it “hilarious” to witness a slice of life that doesn’t look like the airbrushed, whitewashed world of TV and movies.

    • Yes.

      I temped at Mal-Wart. It sucked. I’m fat.

      Guess what, internet rubber-neckers? A lot of people shop at Mal-Wart who are fat. A lot of people who shop there are skinny. Same with the employees. Sooner or later, every type of person you can imagine seems to go through, one way or the other.

      I think you’re on the money here. There’s definitely an intersection of classism and fat-hating happening with this kind of nastiness-by-proxy. A lot of people who’d hesitate to publicly indulge in one or the other on its own feel they get a license to do so when the two are combined.

  6. A friend of mine who is a single mother told me about the time her child got sick at night. She called the doctor, who called in a prescription to the local big store with the 24 hour pharmacy with the drive through window. She bundled the child into the car, and set off – only to find that the drive through was closed, that late at night.

    So there she was, as she said, the minister’s widow, in her pajamas, cranky (sick) child on her hip, in the store, hoping she doesn’t run into anyone from her late husband’s congregation…

    She laughed about it, at the time (this was before the “People of Walmart” thing got popular…) but when I see things like that, I always think of her.

    You *don’t* ever know why someone has made the choice they did – or how much choice they really had.

  7. I basically skipped to the comments section because I’ve been on People of Wal Mart. A friend was kind enough to send me the link. when you find yourself on there, you have to take it as a sense of pride because otherwise you will probably kill yourself. I remember the night it happened too. I was having a bad day already. I don’t remember why but I was on my way home from rapier practice in my Snoopy shamrock pants which I LOVE, and my clashing on purpose blue and white striped socks. Terrifying people with my clothing is fun. I’d taken off my doublet because HOT and I was buying ice cream. I had tears in my eyes, and as I was leaving I heard, “This is going on People of Wal Mart.” I just cried a little more at the cruel world. I figured I’d never see it anyway. But… I did. And it made my husband very upset.

    • Here’s the entry. I won’t go read it but if you’re really brave you can! http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/53816/wwib-after-me-lucky-charms/

      • I think you look cute. But, that’s beside the point. It’s shitty that someone stole your picture and posted it out of nastiness. I’m sorry someone hurt your feelings after you were already having a bad day. They suck. You rule (rapier? how cool is that). Don’t let the haters get you down.

        • Thanks. Well part of what made me feel better was the thought of “Really? I can kill you five ways to Sunday in less than 3 seconds. I can maim you. There are things I can do to you that will cripple you for life, and you’re so much of a coward that you sit there behind that computer screen and mock me. I’m so much more than you will ever be. I have people to love me, and I don’t need to mock anyone at all to feel better about who I am as a person.” I do wish I hadn’t taken my doublet off though. I’ve been to Wal-Mart in my fighting clothes more than once. One time I went and I was wearing my full chest plate, and someone elbowed me and said ow. I found that hilarious.

          • Love it! Incredible how brave people are when they’re anonymous.

            • That isn’t bravery; it’s the personification of cowardice.

        • I like to imagine an alternate version of this where you realize the picture is being taken, still have your rapier, and whirl around and cut the phone in half. Sigh people are so clueless.
          Though I will say a bunch of us SCA (medieval renactors) thought it was quite hysterical when we went grocery shopping in garb and ended up on the site. I think perhaps the best way to combat it is if it became a thing to go there in costume. Not a costume mocking what is usually on the site, but anything anyone can think of. But then that might drive more customers to walmart, and I doubt anyone really wants that.

      • You totally look cute (great hair)! But even if you didn’t (by some arbitrary standard) it’s horrible that someone would steal your image and then say in your hearing that they were planning on mocking you with it. I’m sorry you were hurt!

        • Me too, but what can you do? This was WAAAYYY before I had any idea that there was such a thing as body positivity. <3 If it happened today, I'd turn around and say something. Because seriously it's bullshit and she should be ashamed of herself for doing it.

      • . . . And I wonder if the dirtbag who posted that ever found out that ze had messed with somebody who could put a piece of steel clear through a human body.

        Non-SCA types: There are two types of SCA fighting (regions vary, IANA knight, etc.). Heavy is done with weapons made of rattan and padded just enough to keep them from flying about randomly when they inevitably break. These can be impressive weapons, yes, and you wouldn’t want to try to beat up somebody who was holding one–but rapier is done with actual factual blades. Take the safety tips off, sharpen the sides a bit, and you’ve got an exact working duplicate of the kind of thing people used to use to kill each other in street fights.

        • Or I may just be assuming that all rapier fighters are SCA rapier fighters! Sorry if I mistook you for a SCAdian!

          • I AM SCA I just haven’t played in a little over a year. Irish dance is really fun. Anyway, I’ve also done stuff with Western Martial Arts which involves all kinds of sword play including rapier and grappling.

            • I study Tai Chi. I used to do karate but my joints couldn’t stand it. Anyway, reason I mention Tai Chi is that I have seen the most amazing fatter people doing Tai Chi – they are so lithe and fluid in their movements and ironically, so light. It is one environment where the size and shape of your body doesn’t matter, the understanding of it does. Which is one reason I love it so much – to enjoy movement even if you have a chronic joint condition, bad chest and are ‘overweight’ as I am, is a wonderful thing.

              Every time I feel bad about my body, I think “I must do more Tai Chi”.

            • I kind of thought that might be the case with the pants, you look vaguely familiar too. I have some holiday poofy pants that I’m sure would earn me a place on their site.

    • I’m so sorry you had to deal with this. What garbage. I think you look awesome. :)

      • Thanks. =) I love those pants. I got married on St. Patrick’s Day. They hold a little something extra special.

    • If I saw someone dressed like you, I would think “what a cool person!”
      People of Wal Mart sucks. I used to enjoy looking at the pictures of all the different people because I’m something of a people watcher, but the mean spirit of the site makes it a negative thing.

  8. This is where fat acceptance and class acceptance intersect. Many of the people who buy things in Walmart either work there or are too poor to buy elsewhere, for other reasons. To show photos of fat people at Walmart without their express permission is to violate the rights of fat people and the people who cannot afford much else. It is thus doubly contemptible.

    • *applaud*

    • More applause. Some tool on the radio tried to justify a comment she made about “women in pajama pants” by going on this rant about “having pride in yourself.” Frankly, I think the single mom who throws on her PJ bottoms and a torn shirt to keep her uniforms clean between her first and second jobs while she tries to get some grocery shopping done in the hour-and-a-half she has to do it has a LOT more reason to “have pride in herself” than some jerk making fun of her clothes.

      • I also note Radio Tool (TM) didn’t say anything about men in sweats, so it’s not just fatphobia and classism, there’s an element of sexism, too.

        • WORD! Yeah I’ve heard the BS line of “Have pride in yourself” and they were also touting that you have to have on make up too.

          I once went to Aldi which if you don’t know what it is it’s a low low price grocery store. And I was picking up sausage for like… 15 people. My hair was in a bun. I’d thrown on a bra at least but was still in a t-shirt and pajama pants. You could tell I’d just woken up! And this bitch was all “Nuh uhhhh”. Seriously, she was VOCAL about it. God. PEOPLE. At ALDI of all places.

          • You have to wear make-up in order to show enough “pride in yourself” to avoid mockery?? That’s some gender-policing bullshit. I never wear make-up because I don’t. want. to.

        • It’s a trifecta, and it’s just never, NEVER ok.

    • Right on.

  9. People of Walmart makes me nauseated. As far as I’m concerned, one of the key requirements for a joke to be funny is that the joke not be mocking anyone with less power, privilege, etc., than the person making the joke. People of Walmart and similar things fails this test spectacularly.

    I can understand being surprised or amused to see someone walking around an ordinary setting like a grocery store in a costume or very eccentric outfit. I can even, on some level, understand the temptation to photograph something like that; I think it’s wrong, and I would never do it or condone it, but I can understand the impulse. But many of the photos I’ve seen from People of Walmart aren’t of people doing their shopping in outlandish costumes. They’re of people wearing clothes that don’t fit well, or cover the parts of their bodies that one would typically expect those clothes to cover. Of course, I have no idea why they’re wearing those clothes, but there is a strong possibility that those are the only clothes they can afford or have access to at that point. Many of them are also in wheelchairs/mobility scooters, indicating that they’re dealing with some kind of disability, pain, or illness.

    Dear oh-so-clever photographers of People of Walmart, and people who share their work, please explain to me what’s so funny about someone who, potentially, is in pain or sick, does not have access to clothes that fit them, and is just trying to buy some damn groceries. Please enlighten me as to what sort of satisfaction you get from mocking someone who is, potentially, dealing with more than you’ve ever dealt with, with fewer resources than you’ve ever had. Because I just really don’t get it. And actually, on second thought, I don’t want to.

    • Exactly. It stops being comedy when you are punching down iinstead of up.

    • Yeah, I don’t get it either. But a lot of people are really deeply cruel, and get their satisfaction from feeling superior to others.

    • I work at a thrift store. As a coworker once said (when no customers were in the store), “We get some rare birds in here”.
      And we do. At one point around Christmas time there was a lady who came in dressed like Will Ferrell did in the movie “Elf.” It’s kind of hard not to notice something like that. I thought it was odd, but it never would have occurred to me to take a photo of her and post it on the internet so people could have a laugh at her. She has the right to dress whatever way she wants as long as there are no offensive symbols or messages on her clothes, and I don’t have to understand why she makes the choices she does.

      • Also taking into consideration that Wal-Marts are usually (if not all of them?) 24/7, people could be wearing a costume/anything else and need to pick something up, without having the time to change.

        I was once parked in front of a convenience store during coldish (not extreme) weather, and didn’t feel like putting on my jacket in the car just to walk a few yards in and out. Someone coming out the door made a comment on me not having a coat on, which was certainly not nearly as nasty as the stories I’ve heard, but I felt like “Seriously? I have to plan what I’m wearing just to walk a couple yards?!”

    • Have you read Ragen’s posts about Fat People On Scooters? There are a lot of vicious memes about fat disabled people, based on the bigoted idea that they caused their own disabilities by eating “too much” and being “lazy” and therefore deserve mockery.

      Funny thing. I live in Korea where most people are thin, yet there are STILL people (usually thin) who use scooters, wheelchairs, and other mobility aids.

    • “As far as I’m concerned, one of the key requirements for a joke to be funny is that the joke not be mocking anyone with less power, privilege, etc., than the person making the joke.” This. I know I’m late to the conversation, but that statement just encapsulated for me my problem with many jokes I hear. Thank you.

  10. Recently a “facebook friend” posted a photo of a woman she made from behind her on the street and almost certainly without her consent, to post it on FB openly encouraging her “friends” to mock this person. The comments were disgusting. I told these women to try to imagine how they would feel if someone did this to them, that it is just plain bullying and that the only ugly thing here are their comments. I absolutely expected to be “defriended” (I wouldn’t give a shit about that) and called uptight and “calm down, it’s just fun!”, but they just ignored me and carried on mocking this person. I don’t know whats worse.

    • I defriended someone over a similar circumstance. They kept sharing memes about fat people in scooters or wheelchairs and I tried standing up for them…. And they tried defending their crappy actions. It made me sick. So I sent her a message and said i couldn’t have her on my friends list anymore if she was going to so openly mock and hate a person because they’re fat because I’m also fat. What would she think of me if I been in a scooter because of an injury sustained while dancing?

  11. I have never taken part in this online bullying, but it never crossed my mind as being bullying. (I have no idea how.) Thank you for bringing this to light. When I see this online, I’ll do something about it too.

  12. I agree with the poor-shaming too. Look down on the low-lifes who have to buy cheap products from a warehouse!

    • In the US, it’s okay to shame poor people because it’s their own fault they’re not rich. Because personal responsibility and bootstraps. //sarcasm

  13. I’m so happy to read this. I have NEVER understood the “funny” parts about this People of Walmart thing, and it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one.

  14. To be honest. I didn’t even know “People of Walmart” was a thing…and I am totally appalled. Not surprised, though – it’s so typical of our fat-shaming, bulllying culture. Sick, sad world.

    On a lighter note: thank you for the link to the pug video – so adorable!

    • In addition to being fat shaming it’s super racist. How many of those pictures are basically “look at them there wacky black people” and it’s just so awful.

  15. When I finally found the guts to leave my abusive marriage three months ago, I left the house at the spur of the moment…just pulled on jeans over my pajamas and ran when my husband was asleep. I had no time to grab anything. I went to may parents’ house. The next day, my mom took me to Walmart since it’s one place with affordable plus sized clothing and bought me some clothes to wear to work. My mom is small, so she didn’t have anything to lend me that would fit…I was wearing my wrinkly pajama top, jeans, and an old sweatshirt from my car. If I saw myself on People of Walmart, I would have been crushed. You never know why people look like a mess…and, they don’t need an excuse to look how they want to anyway. There’s too much meanness in the world. People just need to be nice already.

    • Good for you for leaving!!! You’re a very brave person. <3 I hope that your life is better now.

      • Thanks! I’m doing a lot better. Feeling happy and optimistic for the first time in years. :)

    • Congrats on leaving. I don’t know your situation, but it sounds like you had been thinking about it for awhile. Glad you’re able to be safer now.

  16. Thanks Ragen. I put everyone on my friends list on notice at the end of last year that in the New Year if they felt that had to ridicule people for their clothes or their size or how they look that they should go right ahead and use the facebook tools to put me on their “don’t show this to these people” list. And if I saw these types of things turning up in my feed that I would be using tools to hide them from my feed. I also said if they had a problem with that to go right ahead and unfriend me now. It was in relation to this despicable piece that was doing the rounds last year.

    ***WARNING! WARNING! Please don’t read this if you’re in a good mood today or you’re feeling down on yourself. It’s vile and very upsetting.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/01/01/rich-wisken-writes-incred_n_4527086.html

  17. Seriously, with a society like this, who needs Big Brother? We’re doing a fine job of creating our own Room 101s and keeping our fellow man in constant fear of landing in them. Thank you for calling out this abominable practice. It’s disgusting, and the only thing about those pictures I find “pathetic” are the people who sit behind their monitors and laugh at them.

  18. I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve been photographed without my consent and it was not not not okay. I never found it on the internet but the internet is a big place. I was just eating my goddamn dinner in a goddamn restaurant.

    The times I’ve encountered that with people I know, I’ve asked if they’re aware that they are photographing someone without their consent. If they don’t get it, I ask them why and then just keep asking why until it clicks for them.

    Shaming people into politeness is a major part of my toolbox.

  19. I remember the first time I heard of People of Walmart. A friend of a friend told me he thought it was really funny, and since I had a good sense of humor I would clearly enjoy it.

    Yeah, not so much. The way he described it I expected to see people in reindeer antlers and tutus doing interpretive dance in the cereal aisles, at absolute minimum. But no. What I saw was a bunch of ignorant, racist, ableist, classist, misogynistic, jackholes making fun of people for being fat, needing scooters or wheelchairs, or wearing things they considered randomly ugly.

    It’s freaking Walmart, people, not opening night at the Met. People go there to pick up a bottle of milk in a hurry, a necessary prescription, or a magazine and some Tootsie Rolls on a lazy day, whatever. Even if it isn’t an emergency, why should anyone feel the need to put together a perfectly co-ordinated and ultra-fashionable outfit and do their make up and hair?

    I have a keen sense of the ridiculous. PoW isn’t ridiculous. I have a great sense of humor. PoW isn’t funny. It’s mean-spirited, shameful, and far uglier than anything worn by any of its victims.

    • You are SO right! <3

    • Interpretive dance in the cereal aisle would actually be so cool…

      • I kinda want to do this down. I’ve never been good at interpretive dance, but it still sounds fun. Walmart Flashmob! :-)

  20. I have blocked friends for this reason. Family, too. But I don’t just de-friend them as I still need contact ability.. especially with family.. and I don’t have to read their posts..

  21. HERE HERE, Ragen! A favorite post!

  22. Thanks for the five types of responses. Depending on the relationship, I don’t always feel the same response is appropriate. Nice to have some suggested options.

  23. I am SO grateful none of my friends post crap like this on my Facebook.

  24. Also, some of these people may be inappropriately dressed or look a bit ‘odd’ because they have a disability, such as autism and/or intellectual disabilities. I know my son’s gone out in some strange emsembles if I haven’t managed to catch him first at the door.

    The people being mocked could well be people who don’t know how to dress but so what? We aren’t all equally good at the same things. Sizeist bullying is bad, but I know many intellectually disabled people who are also large who suffer the double-whammy of being bullied for their size *and* their disability.

    Especially people with Prader-Willii Syndrome who suffer an incredibly slow metabolism, eternal hunger and intellectual disability. I cannot count the number of times I’ve seen one of these photo posts where the victim is clearly (to anyone familiar with PWS people) suffering this challenging and life-limiting condition. It breaks my heart. I’m glad my son is just autistic and doesn’t have these health problems too.

    And not that it’s OK if the person doesn’t have a disability either. I just find it particularly poignant when that is the case. It is so easy to mock someone less able or less objectively ‘attractive’ than yourself. But I firmly believe that when you point the finger at someone else you are pointing three fingers back at yourself.

    • I wasn’t even aware this condition existed. (Prader-Willii, I mean, I think most people know about autism). Thank you for bringing this element into the discussion. It is an important thing to know about and to keep in mind. Like you said, even if the person doesn’t have a disability, it’s wrong, but people with disabilities (especially intellectual) can be particularly vulnerable, and it’s a good thing to be aware of so you can catch yourself before you form judgements on someone.

  25. I actually had a go at a woman I was courting over a page she liked and a comment she did that was designed to insult and make fun of random people on what they wore. Irony is she was about 4’10 and weighed at least 120kgs herself. It’s a shame where people need to insult people but then play the victim card when they are called out on it. She used the argument that it was harmless fun. I used the argument that it was brainless, ignorant and vile fun.

    Of course I gave them heaps until I was banned from the page. lol

  26. I hate the way the people who post these pictures will say “Oh, I have freedom of speech” and “People can’t expect privacy in public”. You know what, I know they can’t be sued or prosecuted for posting these pics, but I can still call them out for being an asshole and a shitty human being.

    • Oh yes, the good old “freedom of speech” argument. As if they are being called out for expressing beliefs or sentiments that are truly important to them, or as if they’re weighing in on abortion or euthanasia or something controversial like that. No, what they really want is freedom be a hateful idiot in a public forum, to keep reliving their junior high/middle school days (why anyone would want that, I have no idea, but clearly people do) without having to worry about getting called out for their behaviour.
      And the truth is, people SHOULD be sued or prosecuted for posting pictures without the permission of the people in them. The disgusting reality is, the law has not caught up to technology, and at the rate it’s all going, I’m starting to doubt it ever will. Obviously, the amount of privacy a person can have in public is limited, and it’s good to keep that in mind… for instance, I can’t expect to go out and about in just my underwear and not have people notice or react. But should I basically be able to go about my business without worrying that if I stop for a second to pick a wedgie, or if I slip and fall down some stairs, that it will be photographed and/or videotaped and broadcast to the world? Yes, I should be able to live my life without having to feel if something embarrassing happens it will be immortalized.
      The other disturbing thing about this is, what fits under this umbrella of “in public”? I mean, if you’re on the toilet in a public washroom, does that count? If people start taking and posting photos of men’s junk at the urinal, should we just accept that as the norm, “use public bathroom at your own peril”. Or change rooms in clothing stores? “Oh, you didn’t want anyone to see you in your bra? Should’ve waited to get home to try the shirt on!”

    • Yep. Cuz that’s YOUR freedom of speech.

  27. It’s as if unless we stay imprisoned in our homes all day, we have to be on our best behavior at all times, or risk being publicly humiliated online. That’s ridiculous. No one should have to worry about being bullied just picking up a gallon of milk at Wal-Mart at midnight.

    The law really does need to catch up here. There is real harm being caused by shit like this. Where is our right to have control over our own images?

    • That ^^ My husband and I were photographed as we walked out of a comic book store today. I’ve no idea what the dude was doing but I was afraid to say anything. =P

      • That’s awful. I’ve decided that if it happens to me, I will simply walk up to the person in a friendly manner and introduce myself and try to engage them in conversation about it. Let them know I’m a person.

        • He could have course been an innocent photography student, but in UK at least, you have to ask people to sign a disclaimer in case of law suits and due to the Data Protection Act. I think that should be the case every time anyone wants to take ‘anonymous’ photos. I’ve seen Goths in London actually charging for a disclaimer LOL

  28. The person I describe as one of my Inspirational Figures, Mr. Bernard Baruch, said: “Two things are bad for the heart: running up stairs and running down people.” Yet, if Forgiveness is to be Absolute, then even those who *seem* unforgivable must be forgiven. And judgments against those who are judgmental ought to be avoided. So it may be that encounters which *seem* only harmful and negative actually carry the benefit of providing a strengthening exercise for the Forgiveness muscle. But there’s every likelihood that I am simply an idiot. So your potential disagreement with this may well indicate that you possess an intelligence which is far superior to mine.

  29. Until my employer folded last month, I had a job that required me to take pictures at Wal-Mart. I stocked displays for one of Wal-Mart’s vendors and sent in before-and-after shots of each shelf. I was doing my thing when some guy outside my field of vision snapped, “Oh, no, you did not just take a picture of me.” So I hastily explained what I was doing.

    He was not socially acceptably thin or groomed and he was wearing work clothes that had obviously been used for work. I didn’t have time for a conversation then . . . but I wanted to ask him if he was thinking of PoW.

  30. Thank you for posting this on FB again. I recently reached my limit with this kind of stuff after a friend posted on FB that “her retinas were burned by a VERY large 40ish woman in daisy dukes and a spaghetti strap tank, leaning over the jewelry counter” in the same breath she concern trolled that she “truly feel[s] for people who suffer from obesity, but they aren’t doing themselves any favors by dressing like a teenager.”

    So many issues with this. Retinas burned, really? SUFFER from obesity (who the fuck does she think she is to make THAT determination)? And maybe she WAS doing herself a favor dressing like that. Also, would she have complained if a skinny 40ish woman was wearing the same outfit? How is dressing like a teenager even part of this conversation? Anyway, I immediately adopted a no tolerance policy and now call out every. single. person. immediately when they start putting down somebody else’s look or size or choices. I’m sure it will cost me some “friends” but I think that’s just going to be a price I have to pay to be able to sleep at night.

  31. I had an opportunity to make a statement about 15 years ago an email with a picture of the Polka dot cuties going around, folks that I new from BBW Bashes. This person that sent the email had it altered to say “Krispy Kreme Calendar”. When I first saw the picture of the friend, much like he did, I replied to all, “I happen to know these women. Do you know if they were compensated for this photo when you shared it.” He eventually apologized to me but I tried to tell him I wasn’t who he needed to apologize to. Then he said I didn’t mean to send it to you. What? That does not make it ok.

    • One of my brothers had a girlfriend who forwarded some super racist emails to her “friends” I told her how offensive it was and she said the same thing “didn’t mean to send it to you.” But now I know you’re a racist, so whether you meant for me to know that or not, there’s no going back from there. She wasn’t around much longer after that.


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