FAAAAAAAAAT! WTF?

WTFI was out for a walk tonight and two  guys were walking toward me conversing about, of all things, the weather.  I smiled and said “hey,” as is my custom, and one of the guys stepped in really close to me blocking my path, stopped, opened his mouth really wide, looked me in the eye and said

FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!

So I stepped toward him, maintained eye contact and said

RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUDE!

Fair warning – today is a serious swearing day on this blog. If you want to skip it you are totally welcome to come back for tomorrow’s post and we’ll see how that one goes.  Otherwise, read the fuck on…

So anyway, the guy’s friend who had stepped well back, never said a word and we walked our separate ways, them picking up their conversation where it left off, me walking alone which gave me the chance to contemplate the situation. The best I could come up with was – What the fucking fuck was that about?

Was he one of those people who insist that fat people need to exercise but that we must, somehow, not look fat while we do it?

Was he just a run-of-the-mill fat bigot?

What could I have done to make it into a teachable moment?

Then I remembered something that I sometimes forget – It is not my job to make every awful fat bashing moment into a teachable moment.  That person’s behavior was just messed up and my reaction was totally reasonable.  In retrospect I wish I would have said DUUUUUUUUH! Oh well, hindsight being 20/20 and all that.

If you are fat in this fatphobic, war on obesity, body shaming, body hating, weight bullying world, there is an excellent chance that something fucked up (or many fucked up things) will happen to you.  Maybe you’ll come up with a snappy retort, maybe you’ll make it into a teachable moment, maybe you’ll stumble over your words or stand there not able to think of anything to say.  All of those are perfectly valid responses to total bullshit, and let’s be clear that these incidences – whether it’s some stranger yelling FAAAAAT! or your Aunt Gertie telling you that you don’t need that second helping of mashed potatoes – are  total, complete and utter bullshit.

It is absolutely not your fault, you do not deserve it, you should not have to experience it ever.  Make no mistake – the fact that something happens all the time, that it has become normalized in our society, does not mean that it isn’t some completely fucked up bullshit.  Seriously.

Perhaps this mantra can help, trying saying it a few times (modified in any way that works for you of course):  The world is fucked up, I am fine.

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Published in: on July 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm  Comments (113)  

113 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. One of these days I plan to react to people like that with a wide eyed innocent stare and then look very upset and go ‘Oh my god I never realised, when did that happen? Thank you, thank you kind stranger I will never eat again and exercise until I pass out so I can be thin.’

    It’s that or, ‘I started my diet two days ago and I’m not thin yet, what am I doing wrong?’

    I am not the doucheweasel whisperer but I do like messing with their heads just a little…

    • I love you!

    • I plan on putting on a fake southern accent (I’m from Ohio) and saying “Why sugar thank you so much for informing me of this terrible little fact. Please feel free to look the other way so your delecate little old senses won’t be offended.” It is so fun to mess with them.

  2. A friend made a comment on a completely unrelated situation that might apply to so much of our fat experiences: “It’s hard to wash the brains of the brainwashed.” I’ve had a similar experience to yours while I was out for a run. I don’t know how people think it’s ok to block and insult someone!

    • Now that is a mantra I must remember to use!

  3. I hate that shit! When I was younger, people yelled out their car windows at me every time I would go for a walk. I tried to avoid those main thoroughfares like the plague – but, there would still be a dumb ass out on the back roads too. You have to have really thick skin to exercise in this fat hating society! I like to ride my exercise bike. Nobody inside my house says a damn thing!

    • Isn’t that how it goes though? People say ‘exercise’ and what happens when we do? That. Every. Stinkin’. Time. And then they blame it on our fat. Face, meet palm.

  4. I prefer the response you did give – they said something true. You’re fat. You said something true in response: they’re rude. I find I’m turning into my mother as I get older (heaven forbid); I’m shocked at the rudeness. I was always taught not to comment on other people’s appearance or their personal habits. Apparently everyone in the world now feels it’s OK to violate that rule. And it doesn’t stop there – you can now comment on what people eat and how they dress. When did everyone get their badge to join the police? I must have been sick that day.

    • I also thought the response you gave was perfect. And who says it didn’t teach him anything?

  5. I’ve written a poem addressing such situations, based on my own experience: while swimming at a hotel pool, two guys harassed me from an overlooking balcony. I decided, rather than engage them, to ignore them, and not allow them to ruin the enjoyment of my swim.

    This poem grew out of my thoughts about them, and other such idiots. It will be published early next year in “Fat Poets Speak: Living and Loving Fatly.” Here are the first two stanzas:

    Hey you! Yeah, you —
    the one who hates me
    calls me ugly names
    doesn’t know me yet
    wishes me dead/gone/invisible
    just because I’m fat.

    Who did that to you?
    Who stole your soul,
    slashed your heart?
    Who never taught you
    divinity in every being?
    Who never showed you
    how to love yourself?

    • This is stunningly beautiful, thank you sooooooo much for sharing it here!

      ~Ragen

    • This is fantastic. Absolutely fantastic.

    • That is beautiful and moving. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Lovely. May we see the rest, please?

      • Thank you for the praise, Ragen, Siobhan, Julie, and Estelle. That poem, titles “Hope for the Haters”, had a difficult birth. Your welcome reception means a lot to me.

        The rest of that poem, several others of mine, and host of funny, moving, inspiring, and/or sassy poems from my amazing co-poets, and our awesome editor Frannie Zellman, will all be available when the book is published.

        FYI, for those who don’t already know, this will be the second volume of “Fat Poets Speak”. The first is available from Pearlsong Press and on Amazon.

    • Very cool!

  6. Wow … This leaves me speechless … Does this happen all over the US or are there some places that have it worse, in anyone’s experience?

    I’m from Belgium and I’ve had my share of insults (class mates saying stupid stuff, people shouting things from cars and people talking about me when I passed). But actually blocking people? I really don’t get that.

    The world is indeed f’d up …

    • There are definitely places in the US where it is worse than other places. I live in the Pacific Northwest now, where I don’t get the bullshit near as much as I did in the Midwest.

      • Thanks for the response. I specifically asked because we might move to the US someday (to New York, because of work reasons) and then I alway wonder what the experience will be like for me as a fat chick.

        Sometimes it scares me, sometimes I think I could handle it. I’ll find out if it ever comes to that …

        • I have a hard time imagining someone in central vt doing that…but maybe I am naive.

        • There are a lot of rad fatties in NYC if you end up in the city. I just hope that Mayor Bloomberg is gone by the time you move! He’s an asshat on an anti obesity campaign riddled with ridiculous efforts to rid the city of fatties.

          I’m down near the Nation’s capitol, thus far it’s pretty ok here. I’ve not been blocked or heard of anyone getting blocked like Ragen did–crazy!!! I get my medical care from John’s Hopkins, and my doctors are pretty wonderful.

          • Bloomberg is currently on a campaign to deny food to homeless people because it might not be healthy enough. He’s inspecting bagels before letting people donate. It’s sick.

    • Some places here in the States are definitely worse than others. Some states have a higher percentage of fat people, so those are the states where one usually does not get as much harassment (at least in my experience). I used to live in Missouri and I now live in California. And I can tell you for a fact that people in California are MUCH more mean and horrible to fat people than people in Missouri are. I think perhaps California might be one of the worst places you can live, here in the States, if you’re a fat person (lucky me, I’m stuck here). Oddly, it’s probably also one of the best places you can live if you happen to be a member of the LGBTQA community …I guess as long as you happen thin too.

      • What part of California are you in? Being such a huge state means there’s a pretty wide range. I know that I feel much more likely to be mistreated for my weight when I head down to the LA area than I do here in the SF Bay Area. We’ve got a pretty rad fatty community around here, though there are still large pockets of utter douchecanoeness.

        • I’ve traveled all around Cali, as I attend a lot of conventions and have received fat hate and weight bullying all over the state. The worse flat out staring and picture taking seams to be mostly in So Cal. Though, the incident where I was spit on happened in San Francisco (I know, go figure, that’s supposed to be a pretty open minded city when it comes to diversity – sadly weight bigots are everywhere). But yeah, I definitely get a lot of harassment here.

          The funny thing is, I went to Reno recently and spend 3 days there. I wasn’t stared at, given dirty looks, or had my picture taken the entire time (let me tell you, that is very rare compared to my experience in California). At the end of the three days I almost cried, I couldn’t believe I had gone so long without feeling “othered” or bullied. It was strange, I even saw fat people working in the stores and shops there (something I don’t see very often in California).

  7. If I had the guts I would love to have said “BULLLDOZER!!!” and body checked my way by. But most likely I would have been speechless.

    • I love that response. Truly, I think a guy like that deserves to be maced because he’s just blocked you in a threatening manner. Let him explain his idiocy to the police.😉

      • I agree, I find the physical blocking so aggressive I think a physically defensive response would be appropriate.

  8. I heard a commercial on the car radio while driving yesterday and it was some women espousing that she contracted diabetes because she was fat. UGGGH! The medical/pharmaceutical industry has everyone convinced that if you are FAT you are going to get diabetes, etc. What a dumb remark. Do only fat people get diabetes? Not true. Has nothing to do with it. My husband got diabetes about 16 years ago and he wasn’t FAT!

  9. “The world is fucked up, and I’m fine.” Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

    “It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
    –Jiddu Krishnamurti

    • Thank you for this, Tiina. Eric Fromm wrote an entire book titled The Sane Society about this phenomenon, and recently someone pompously told me, “No one reads Fromm anymore.” Well, that’s their loss.

      • “pompously” tells you immediately that they would probably benefit from a book called The Sane Society. Haha!

  10. Forgot to mention, I had a similar experience of rudeness a couple of months ago. It doesn’t matter if one large, XL, XXL, etc… I have learned from being different sizes that you can be targeted. Currently I’m about 50lbs overweight, I say overweight because for me I don’t feel healthy at this weight. Anyway, a man stopped and oinked at me. Yes, a MAN. A grown man! At first I thought, is he oinking at me because I’m wearing a pink sweater? Then I thought, well I guess I am a bit overweight… but I don’t look like a piggy. I was very tempted to start acting like a gorilla, because that’s what he looked like to me. But that wouldn’t be very nice…and just as rude as him.

    • Hi Jenny,

      First of all I’m sorry that happened to you because it’s completely ridiculous. I also totally agree with you that this can happen to people at any size – especially considering some people try to use women’s fear that we’ll never be thin enough to control us.

      Thanks a ton for your comment, one quick housekeeping thing. It’s totally cool for you to feel however you want about your body. To keep this a safe, body positive space, I ask that in comments here people don’t conflate weight and health, as the Health at Every Size and Size Acceptance approaches that this blog is built upon consider them two separate things based on the research, I hope that makes sense and that you’ll keep commenting! If you have any questions about this or would like to talk about it offline you can always e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

      ~Ragen

  11. I regularly shop at a store Ragan would know, Central Market, but a store not everyone would be familiar with, where you weigh and tag your own bulk items and produce. They also have tons and tons people with free samples all over the store. I was in the coffee area looking for a particular coffee (Bananas Foster, sounds disgusting, tastes wonderful) and then I headed for the lady with the coffee sample. The first thing she said to me was “I wondered if you saw the scale.” The only thing I could think of was that she thought I needed to weigh myself because I’m so fat and she kept talking about the scale and I just couldn’t get off the fact that she was fat shaming me right in the middle of the store. All she meant was she thought I was going to run my cart into the scale I weigh my coffee on, but I’m so programmed to think that people are just going to be rude right to my face that it’s the first thing I think of.

  12. This is horrible. I’ve had people giggle and look at me behind their hands at the pool. I once had a kid tell my son that I was fat. The kid made my son swear to secrecy. I finally got it out of him. I felt awful and I wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. In addition to the kid calling me fat, he also nearly drowned my son. This child was just a rude little shit.

    I may have shared this story here but I’m not sure. Mere HOURS after my sister’s funeral last summer, my grandmother asked me if I was pregnant. I just smiled real big and said “No I’m just fat!” She then turned to the rest of my family for affirmation. “She looks 5 months pregnant doesn’t she?!” no one agreed. My uncle turned the conversation upon himself thank GOD. My mother in law who was there was less than pleased.

    • Holy crap. People say some SERIOUSLY weird shit around funerals and grief. >< You handled that well.

      • Thanks. My grandma has been on some kind of vendetta on me since I hit puberty. I developed early, and I have naturally wide hip bones. I realized how incredibly fucked up it was because really, I was really quite attractive. Awful thing to say about myself at age 11, but really, I was quite amazing looking back. However, all I heard from anybody everywhere especially my grandmother was how beautiful I was just in the face. The rest of me wasn’t beautiful and I’d never actually be beautiful until I was skinny. I was skinny at about 145 pounds and then my thyroid started getting attacked by my immune system and everything went to shit. Anyway. Enough about that. I’ve said things ranging from “no, I’m just fat!” to “No, it’s a fucking alien that’s going to burst out of my body and eat your stupid fucking face, asshole!” I’ve even had people from high school make remarks about my weight and I’m all “What are you? 12? Grow up.”

        • You know what? Sounds like maybe some jealousy from the others in your family. You were beautiful then, and still are.🙂

    • I hope I don’t offend you, but I am appalled by your grandmother’s behavior in such a tragic situation. She sounds like an asshole.

  13. “Rude” was definitely the correct response, if you ask me. Didn’t his mommy or daddy or first grade teacher or pastor or parole officer or SOMEBODY ever teach him that commenting on peoples’ bodies is rude and deliberately blocking their way in the streets could be construed as an illegal act?

    I still remember well the lecture I got when I pointed at a man whose hair I thought looked funny when I was four. Mom was right, too. I can’t always help a private thought at something, but I know my mouth needs to remain firmly shut if I find something unattractive or tacky. It isn’t my business, I don’t know this person’s circumstances, and most of all THEY DIDN’T FUCKING ASK ME.

  14. My first reactions would have been, “DOOOOOOOOOOOUCHE!” or “YOUR MOM LOOOOOOOOOOOOVED IT!” Fortunately, I’m a lot more durable than I look.

  15. what. the. ever. loving. fuck!?? I feel like my head is going to explode because I can. not. wrap my brain around this behavior. The level of rudeness is just mind blowing!

  16. Ragen, I don’t think you used nearly as many curse-words as I think a situation like this calls for! Thanks for the warning for those with tender ears, but as for me, I’d rather hear your honest expression. Thank you for your always-awesomeness!

  17. It pisses me off that you went through that!!

    I had a similar experience a year ago walking with my daughter down a one way street where there was a “men” in a pickup honking at an elderly woman driving too slowly in front of them. This upset my daughter so she yelled at the pickup truck to chill out basically and one of the guys in the pickup took the opportunity to call my daughter a “fat ass” or something to that effect. She was on her way to a pottery painting party for her bridesmaids and family and it was supposed to be a fun day! At hearing of this I turned around and mouthed “asshole” to the man and possibly gave him the finger as I don’t recall all the details anymore. She kind of brushed it off although I knew it hurt her and continued on to enjoy her party.

    These moments come when you least expect them and are usually unarmed. I suppose we should always carry some clever retort in the back of our minds to respond to these douche bags but are usually too startled to think! I don’t remember where I heard this but recently I heard someone respond to a rude comment by saying “I’m sorry did you just fart because that’s the only noise that should come from an asshole”!!

  18. I’d be willing to bet that the rude guy thought that smiling and saying “hey” constituted flirting, because obviously no female can be friendly without wanting his bod. Thus, bro code demanded that he shut the fat chick down in the most obnoxious way possible.

    Or else, y’know, he was just plain being an asshole for no “reason”. Either way, I’m glad you responded to him the way you did.

  19. What goes on in people’s heads that they act this way?

    • This is exactly what I ask myself. I don’t get a lot of fat comments, but I do get jerks making sexual comments about my body. (I wear comfortable but not terribly supportive bras, and some men for some reason can’t handle breast movement) The only thing I can think to say to them is, “Your mother must be so proud.” But it really makes me wonder what the hell they are thinking? It’s not just a matter of the brain/mouth filter malfunctioning, because most of them have to take a lot of deliberate steps to say/do these things. Why would people choose to be so rude?

  20. Thank you for sharing this. It was a shocking display of rudeness and I am so glad responded as you did. I am just sorry that this happened to you. I have experienced some pretty nasty comments toward my weight as well. Instead of being quiet, I wish I would have spoken up like you did. Thank you for always being inspiring.

  21. I’ve found a difference in the way people responded to my size in different places. NYC was the worst (although no one actually blocked my path). A woman once knocked on the window of the coffee shop where I was eating and yelled through the glass “you’re way too fat, honey.” Yeah, she stopped on the sidewalk to yell that. I haven’t had similar experiences living in L.A. or North Carolina.

    My reactions varied from ducking my head and hurrying away to chasing someone across the street and calling them on their rudeness. Yelling may not have been the smartest choice in NYC, but, honestly, it made me feel good.

    Hope you have a great experience in NY, Metten. I loved living there and made a lot of great friends!

    • i suddenly thought my “Hope you have a great experience” etc. could sound sarcastic. I was serious. I really did have a great time in NYC, even with the occasional fat-bashing asshole. I moved there from California and everyone told me how unfriendly New Yorkers were (and one person asked if I was bringing a gun), but I found most people friendly.

      • Thank you very much. I didn’t read it as sarcastic, so that was ok🙂

        I really hope that if we ever end up there the experience will be overall positive and I will meet some friendly people. I’ll know once I’ll get there, I guess.

        I’m pretty sure it’s going to be quite a culture shock when it ever happens. And if I would have a bad experience I guess I can always come here for some tips and support …

  22. OMG Ragen, I am SO sorry that happened to you. Nobody should have to encounter, never mind exchange words with, a human being that horrible and, yes, rude.

  23. It was horrible and nasty, but be honest ladies…Ragen’s a pretty tough gal, and if it happened to someone weaker or who was still learning to be strong, it would have put them into a tailspin of depression for weeks. Absolutely not saying she deserved it, but if anyone could handle this kind talk from some random wanksock, it would be she. Good on ya for not roundhousing them in their dirty little mouths, girl! Insults after a friendly “hello”? Who the f*ck raised them to speak like that, Andrew Dice Clay?

    I’ve had horrible things hurled at me ever since I was 11 and the genetic weight started piling on. There were boys who used to stand in front of my house and yell FAT BITCH! when my folks weren’t home. Bullies would call my house saying they were referred by a concerned friend to offer me two weeks free at a local diet center to help with “my weight problem”. People would roll down their windows as they drove by and moo at me, call me “heifer”, and tell me I should be slaughtered. Or call out “Cellulite is no laughing matter” down a street full of people.

    One time in Uni a guy passing me in the cafeteria casually threw out, “An ugly woman is a curse to all who see her”, then nodded knowingly to me.

    More recently I went to see “The Pirates of Penzance” at my local theatre, and when I discovered with a bit of joy the guy next to me sang with me in the choral society, I thought I’d be in for a good evening (we’d always gotten on before). However, he spent the entire first half hogging the armrest, sighing heavily, and actually grumbling, “I GOT this seat because I thought NO ONE would be NEXT to me..” and shuffling all over the place. And when the fellow on the right of me arrived and scootched past to take his seat, he quipped, “Good thing I’m skinny” as he slid into his seat…then HE took over the armrest. I spent the entire first half twisted at such an uncomfortable position my legs went numb…couldn’t even lift my hands to clap.

    At intermission I went and sat with my voice teacher in the cheap seats and wound up having a fantastic time.

    I’ve put up with stuff like this my whole life, and it’s done irreversible damage on my psyche to the point where after 16 years of marriage I still don’t know why my hubby married such an ugly woman. It’s a large part of me, but it’s not everything. 🙂

    • *HUGS*

    • Yorkie, that’s ghastly. You and I need to meet. We would have an terrific time!

      • I’m for it! I’ve met tonnes of people from the internet IRL over the years, and 99% of the time it’s been fantastic. In fact, one of my closest friends lives in NH, and we’ve never even met. Anyone can shoot me an email at yorkshiregal129 at yahoo dot com, and we can dish sometime.

        • Sweet! I’m Deskdivax at gmail. I love meeting my online peeps IRL. I have a SLEW of them that I’ve met and traveled with through other groups. Someday I will get overseas!!

  24. I loved your response. I would have been tempted to say, “Great! Now let me know when you’ve worked your way up to complete sentences!”

    • HA! I love this!

  25. Don’t know if anyone’s ever mentioned this site (possible trigger warning): http://smilesizeist.tumblr.com/ , posting pictures of someone being a sizeist.

    • I’m so keeping that in mind. Love it!

    • That’s the saddest blog I’ve ever seen. Seriously. And I’ve looked at some f-ed up crap just today.

      • I love that blog, particularly the one of the chickie poo on the Underground scowling and putting on her slap.

  26. Before I got “really” fat (I was always called fat, even at my lowest weight of 153), I was a much friendlier person. I am, by nature, an extrovert. But since I got “really” fat, I have noticed how different people treat me. Unfortunately, it has made me a lot less friendly, and I pretty much never say hi to anyone anymore. I used to talk to everybody. The saddest part is that my husband never knew me before, and he assumes I have always been sort of hostile to people, which isn’t true. I just have a big chip on my shoulder to protect myself from being hurt by mean people.
    My whole point is, good for you, Ragen, for being braver than I am by being friendly to people, and also for telling that assclown that he was rude.

    • I got called “fat” when I weighed 110 pounds, because of the fact that I tend to carry my weight in my butt and thighs. Of course this was junior high school but it triggered years of bulimia, yo-yo dieting, etc.
      I think that younger women have it worse than someone in my age range. Now that I’m near fifty and have gray hair, people tend to cut me more slack because i look like (and am) someone’s mother.
      Sizism is a horrible plague and needs to be stopped. I tend to be very reluctant to get close to people because I fear rejection so much.

    • That is similar to how my life has gone. I used to be happy, but other kids in class would tell me to shut up, stop hogging the questions, etc. so eventually I stopped saying anything.

  27. Ragen, the idiot who shouted “Faaaaat” was really showing off for his friend. By saying, “Ruuuuude,” you deobjectified yourself and showed him that a) he’s not going to get away with shouting insults to you, especially right in your face b) you are a person, not a thing, and have feelings and responses c) you are not giving him, a stranger, permission to insult you. d) he will have to think twice about trying that from now on e) he will have to find another way to affirm his status with his friend. In other words, you did exactly the right thing, and not even one he could argue with. Bravo!

  28. Someone once said something rude like that to me, and I sneered at him and said at least I don’t reek of horrid BO like you. When I snuck a peek back he had his nose in his armpits, sniffing himself. That’s been my fallback comeback ever since. I find it works wonderfully – people usually hate to think they stink.
    But to present an opposing viewpoint, for every one rude comment I’ve gotten while exercising outdoors, I’ve easily received far more positive comments. While I’m still uncomfortable with people making a comment, however positive, based on my body size at least it’s always been an understated “you go girl” of some sort. I actually remember those far more than the few rude comments I’ve gotten.

  29. This reminds me of the lovely Joy Nash and her third? fat rant… Staircase Wit http://youtu.be/PyQ_IKkAM9I

  30. I think I would have been tempted to shake my head and ask sympathetically, “Small penis?”

    • OH MY GOODNESS. For about 20 years, ever since some guy goes by revving his engine or playing his bass really loudly or just doing some other oblivious or self-involved thing, I always shout, “Sorry about your penis!”

    • YES!!

  31. I, too think your response was the best, if you had humiliated him to much or had…. oh I don’t know, screamed RAAAAAAAAPE!! at the top of your lungs, it could have turned violent. Truly, since he physically blocked you, he was threatening you, so you handled it in the smartest way. I am sorry you had to go though that.

  32. I’m afraid I’ve become quite phobic of being alone in public. I always take a friend or loved one with me now, because as a Death! Fat I get much more of this kind of abuse than smaller fats do. It’s almost every time I got out in public now, if it’s not people shouting at me from moving vehicles, it’s people glaring, people looking me up and down and getting dirty looks of total and complete disgust on their face, and it’s people taking photos of me without my consent. I’m very blessed to have people in my life to go out in public with, I realize not everyone is so lucky. And though the bullies are usually cowards and usually only do that stuff when I’m by my self, they have gotten embolden over the past couple of years as the “war on obesity” has gotten more hyped and the intensity has risen. It happens more frequently now when I’m with people than it used to, just not as often as when I’m alone.

    I was even spat on while in the company if 2 other (thin) people. A stranger was walking toward us on the side walk, and as soon as he saw me he couldn’t look away. He got the most horrified look on his face, like I was some kind of sea creature coming up from the depths to murder children and puppies. As we got closer I figured he’d look away, but he didn’t, his look of disgust deepened and he spat on me as we passed him.

    I wish I was stronger. I wish I knew what to say in situations like this. But usually when it happens I’m so shocked (though, you’d think after a lifetime of abuse and bullying I wouldn’t be shocked by it anymore) that I can’t really think fast enough to react in any way that might make me feel better or make it into a “teaching moment”. These kinds of attacks, even if they aren’t physical, make my body react as if I’ve been physically punched. It takes the wind out of me and I can’t breath. My brain screams WHY!?!? and it’s all I can do to hold my mind together from flying into a million pieces where I can finally be numb and insane and I don’t have to care anymore about how much I’m hated simply for existing.

    • *HUGS*

      • TRIPLE HUGS!!!!

      • Count me in on the hugs.

    • I have read articles that say that the brain reacts to verbal attacks the same way that it does to physical ones. All the bruises are on the inside after a verbal attack, and we’re told to just brush it off. Sometimes its not that easy. I wish you could leave California. It’s probably one of the worst places in the world to be a fat person.😦

    • Oh, Stacy. I am so, so sorry you’ve ever had to experience anything like that. I just … that’s despicable. *HUUUUUUUUUUGS* Girl. You hold your head up and you come here for all the sanity you need. I am just gobsmacked. Please remember – it had NOTHING to do with who you are, and everything to do with what a horrible person he is. Please just keep being your own wonderful self.

    • Stacy, what did your friends do? I have to say that if this happened to someone I was with, I would have grabbed the asshole and asked him what the fuck he thought he was doing. I have put myself in harm’s way before, and it’s amazing how people back down when you assert yourself.

      I was threatened by several girls when I was in high school — they were going to beat me up for not standing up for the pledge of allegiance. My response: “You and who else?” Some guy grabbed my arm when his car was blocking a parking lot, he felt the muscles (while my boyfriend and his parents cowered in our car), let go and moved his car. I have stood up for people on the street who were being bullied or harassed, and the bullies always back down in the face of someone who doesn’t take any shit.

      So, I wish I had been with you, even in my disabled state. I still don’t take crap from anyone and have never had any problem on the street, even when I lived in NYC. I’d like to wrap my cane around the neck of the asshole who spat on you. HOW DARE HE?!?!?!?

  33. I thought your response was perfect. The fact that he didn’t respond shows you took him by surprise, and confusing the enemy is a great victory.

    I have sometimes responded to comments about my weight by telling people, with a straight face, that they are fat, too, and should know better than to behave that way – no matter what the person’s size. Amazingly, no matter what size people are, they take it seriously! Even if they are not fat, they are clearly made insecure by my telling them they are fat. I do so in a nonchalant way, so as not to suggest that being fat is inherently bad – more of in a ‘so what, you are, too’ kind of a way.

    Not surprisingly, I have noticed that online comments (on other sites) where people are being sizist, are usually filled with grammatical errors, and don’t make sense, and sound like the person is very ignorant and stupid – no surprise there.

    You are so right, it is not your job to be the asshole whisperer! It is a waste of time getting through to people that far out there anyway. A better approach is to help the marginalized group (in this case fat people) build self-esteem and community, in order to take care of ourselves and aggressively resist the attempts of the rest of the world to make us hate ourselves. It’s much the way I view bullying – I think we would do a lot better teaching victims to stand up for themselves and instill confidence in them (doable), rather than trying to actually change the bully (very unlikely).

    I agree that fatness is not one’s fault – it is the way we are built. Some of us will just be fat no matter what, others probably have bigger appetites than others, but it is what it is. In this case, what are you going to do about it? The medical profession’s main answer is dieting, but starvation is not acceptable. A choice not to starve should be applauded, not a reason to shame someone. A very small percentage of fat people may have eating disorders where they eat massive quantities of food, and this is why they are fat. For these people, they are very sick, and they need compassion, understanding, treatment, and help, not judgment. Long term dieting also has been shown to increase weight gain, as people typically gain back more weight than they lost – so of course people are eventually fatter after they have been told by doctors to diet! And then we blame these people for following bad orders from their doctors?! Dieting is a major cause of weight gain – so why do doctors and society not instead discourage fat people from dieting, if the true goal is for people to be slimmer? And then, even if someone does not rise to the level of disordered eating, but simply takes hedonistic pleasure in enjoying food, and frequently eats more than they need to and is fat as a result, so what? We all have our vices, and humans are naturally wired to enjoy pleasure. So long as the person is still functional and healthy, why does it matter? Apparently, we are still, as a nation, struggling against Puritan ideals. Betcha the same people who hate fat people are usually the same people who hate sluts (sluts are wonderful!).

    • Long term dieting is what pushed me up to 300 pounds. Not that there is anything wrong with weighing 300 pounds, but the point is, if I had not yo-yo dieted, I probably wouldn’t be at this weight. Dieting is horrible for the metabolism. It destroys it.
      Due to economic circumstances, at this point I probably eat about 1200 calories a day because I can’t afford to eat more than one or two meals. Have I lost weight? Nope. Why? Because dieting doesn’t work!

  34. Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    What a stupid asshole. And what a horrible word we live in, that people are being taught that it’s somehow okay to act like this jackass did.

  35. First I want to say thank you for all of us who wanted a snappy comeback but couldn’t think of one on the spot. You rock!

    That said, it still scared me for you. Maybe I’m overly paranoid, but I’m glad he didn’t assault you physically when you engaged him. There is genuine rage building against fat people in Western society today. It is misguided of course, but it is real. There have already been cases in the news of people being attacked simply because of their weight.

    Last year I was followed all around a Sprouts health food store by a man who made sure I saw his hate stares. Even in so small a store, I ran into him way too many times for it to have been by chance. His obvious hatred was so disturbing that when we left, I actually watched over my shoulder to be sure he didn’t follow us out of the store.

    While it is absolutely wrong that you need to even think about it, please be safe out there. There are crazy, hostile people just looking for a target.

    • Did you report him to the store manager? Part of their job is to ensure a safe environment for their customers. If they’d approached him or called police there would be a record of his intimidating and threatening behavior. You can also always ask to be escorted to your car.

      • No, I didn’t. I didn’t mention it to my husband either. I thought at first I was imagining it but I kept running into this man and it soon became clear it wasn’t by coincidence. I just told my husband I had finished shopping and wanted to go. I think that I was afraid he’d confront the man and I didn’t want that. I didn’t tell my husband why I cut my trip short until after we’d left the parking lot. I was taught not to “make waves” by my parents, especially about my weight. I was taught that the size of my body was my personal failing and that others’ reaction to me was to be accepted and understood as a natural response. I’m still working on changing that even all these many decades later.

  36. THIS IS SO AWESOME!!! I could have avoided so much depression if some one had told me that when I was a kid. I might be eccentric as fuck, and with wiggly curves to boot, but I am not the one with the problem.

    Love you, swearing and all!

  37. My reply would have been “Well, I’d insult you, but it’d be redundant – God already took care of that…”

  38. Reading this makes me feel the way I felt after the Trayvon Martin acquittal. I feel like personally apologizing to the large size people of the world for the disgraceful behavior of those of average size, just like I wanted to call or stop all the blacks I know to personally apologize for the injustice which they experienced so personally. I do my part, promoting self acceptance and HAES, but hearing such situations makes me realize just how much work there is to do. So sorry.

  39. I agree with the people here who said that you have to be careful to confront these people due to the fact that anyone who is crazy enough to say this to another human being you never know what they’re crazy enough to do! I told my daughter this after she lost her temper when confronting the guys in the pickup truck who called her a fat ass that you never know, one of them could have had a shot gun or something but when I heard him call her that I forgot those kind of fears being a mom but still think it’s wise to think twice before confronting some stranger who is crazy enough to say that kind of thing to another human being!

    • From everything I’ve read, that’s usually not the case. Usually they are preying on people they perceive as weak because they are fairly certain they will not receive any response. When they get it, generally they run scared because they’re cowards at heart. The ones to watch out for are the ones who are fortified by just enough alcohol to put an edge on their meanness.

      • I meant to add that showing fear is the desired response and the one thing you never want to do because that’s the part that emboldens them further. Standing up for yourself often renders them impotent.

      • You’re exactly right, Helena. An overwhelming percentage of bullies are going to be shocked that you stood up to them; they pick on people whom they don’t think will react. I’m not sure how one gauges the nutjobs with guns; I think they may look perfectly normal. I hate to say it, but I’d still stand up to someone, no matter what I thought they might do. I refuse to go through life being anyone’s target. When men on the street in NYC whispered behind my back or did anything weird, I’d just turn and confront them. Put them on the defensive, don’t let yourself be on the defensive.

      • I think it is also group mentality. As a group they feel stronger (and might actually be) but when singled out or alone they may be harmless or cowards.

        One friend online who was a Holocaust survivor (he’s dead now) said that in 1930s Germany, a group of Germans would go by him, make comments, push and shove him, and damage his bike. A little later, one came back alone and said sorry and tried to help him out. The lesson is that people become different animals when they are together than alone.

        • Group mentality is definitely bad.

  40. What the fucking fucksticks. I think the violation of my personal space coupled with the loud noise and the surprise would have made me use alot of curse words in his face. Eurgh. I’m sorry you had to endure such twattery.

  41. I have to say, Ragen, that I was one of the people in your blog that didn’t care for swearing, but I read on anyway and totally believe that “fucking bullshit” is the only thing to say about this situation. I have had my share of incidences like this, but holy cow… WTF.. is right!!

  42. I would be speechless, only from wondering how someone who acts so much like a bratty child, is able to move through the world without someone “parenting” them.

  43. Ragen, I’m so sorry that that happened! It’s really amazing that you were able to retaliate – whether it taught that douche bag anything or not.

    My husband & I were walking on the boardwalk. Two blonde, skinny teenage girls were walking toward us. As they passed, one of them said very loudly with a sneer on her face, “I just HATE seeing a hottie with an elephant!”

    By the time I computed what she said, it was too late to respond. Um, ok… jealous much? My husband neither heard what she said nor noticed her at all. I didn’t let it ruin our trip or my evening. I’m grateful to be who I am. Elephants are pretty awesome creatures, & I’d rather be an elephant than a bitch. I wish I’d had the wherewithal to say that to her face as a direct response though!

    • I think these girls were more fleas than bitches. Small, bloodsucking vermin who serve no useful purpose.

      • Good call! Fleas they shall be. Annoying, yet ultimately insignificant.

  44. “The world is fucked up, I am fine.” Ooh, I love it. I think what you said was totally appropriate (I have to admit, I would have been tempted to say something much nastier in response)…

  45. The more I think about this, the more I think my response might be to look at the guy with him and say, “You really need to rethink your friend choices, Pal, cuz this guy makes you look BAD,” or “I see why you keep him around. He makes you look great by comparison.”

  46. “Duhhhh” can be ableist because it mimics the speech of people with developmental disabilities, so “rude” was the way to go.

    • I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and while that may be true, it’s also somewhat insulting to hear people with developmental disabilities have hearts of glass, and must be protected at all times from bad language. It plays into the stereotype that people with developmental disabilities are forever children. I know you are trying to be helpful, and I appreciate that.

      However if someone got upset over that statement I could see you saying don’t say it, by saying “No one should ever say anything mean ever about developmentally disabled people.” It sends the message everyone must treat them with kid gloves, and talk to them like they’re 5 years old in a saccharine, “Who’s a good boy/girl? You are! You are!” That can be just as harmful as being called the r-word if not more. It gives towards the idea that if people with developmental disabilities are forever children, nothing they say really matters.

      • It’s not about “protecting” people, it’s about changing some of the ableist ideas that are ingrained in our culture. One of those ideas is that a “stupid” (or not conventionally intelligent) person is not as valuable as an intelligent person. That’s why words like “duh,” “idiot,” “moron,” “retard,” etc. are used pejoratively. It is OK to value or desire certain abilities (like intelligence), but when they become a requirement in order for a person to participate in society, or when lacking those abilities is seen as pitiful, or when those with the desired abilities feel that they are superior to those without, then it becomes a problematic sort of ableism.

  47. Ragen, as a friend of mine often says, you are made of win and chocolate and pie. That was a brilliant response. And something the jerkwads probably didn’t expect.

    As a fat person, I’ve had some real pearlers in the street. “Jenny Craig on Mondays, 2 for 1!”, “You’ve got huge tits, but you’re fat” and “Save the Whales!” are some of my favourites. Sometimes I’ve been able to muster up a comeback (pretty lame ones, mind), other times I’ve just been struck dumb. My hubby gets it as well – especially when he’s out running. He was running through town one time, and these little shits ran alongside him for a couple of seconds and yelled, “BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!” – implying, of course, that’s the noise he makes when he runs, cos he’s fat. Nice.:/ They can just be glad I wasn’t there with him.

    It hurts like hell that we live in a world where it’s acceptable to treat people like this. When’s it going to end?!! In the meantime, I am so beyond thankful for you and all your ass-kicking awesomeness. Keep fighting the good fight.

    Big fat hugs,
    EZZA
    pleasantlyfat@wordpress.com.


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