Sometimes my haters do something so hilarious that I have to post it here. Today is one of those days, but we’ll get to that in a minute. One of the things that I get asked a lot is how I deal with all the hatemail I get. Mostly through laughter.
First, I realize that these are people who spend their time typing about why they don’t like me, my work, my clothes, my dancing whatever. I don’t allow their comments in my spaces so they hate me for each other in spaces that they create, the most aptly named of which is probably “fitness circle jerk.” That’s hilarious to me.
On these forums I get to watch them tie themselves in knots trying to keep their hatefire stoked, and it is impressive. I do a marathon, they all say I’ll never finish. I finish, they all complain that I didn’t do it fast enough. I say I’m not going to do another one, they all talk about how weak I am for giving up. I decide to do another one after all, they complain that I’m selfish for doing another one (and say I’ll never finish). It’s actually pretty entertaining.
Also, I monetized my hate by creating an official hatemail page where people can see some of this ridiculousness for themselves, and support my projects. It is one of my great joys in life that my haters pitch in to support my activism in this way.
But as I said, sometimes they do something so funny that I just have to post it here. This picture was posted to my Facebook by an account that is very likely a dummy account (above everything my haters tend to value not putting their names to their work – just another way that we differ I guess). This poster calls themselves “Jenny Bates” so we’ll go with that.
It’s a picture of me doing a standing heel stretch, next to a picture of a ballerina doing a standing heel stretch. Someone has used a vertical red line to illustrate that we are using different balance points (which, since I’m probably three times her size I wouldn’t have expected to be a big shock, but that’s my haters for you.) In foreboding red block letters the caption says “There is nothing healthy about being obese.”
So let’s get clear about the message here: I do a standing heel stretch differently than someone else, therefore fat people can’t be healthy. There we’ve got it sorted, I’m going to go ahead and take this blog down because clearly my work is based on a lie, if I can’t do a standing heel stretch like a ballerina in a stock photo, what chance is there for fat people to be healthy? Everyone, stop reading my blog immediately, go to Fitness Circle Jerk and ask them what to do.
Then there is the implied message – in order to be healthy, one must be able to do a standing heel stretch exactly like the ballerina in the stock photo. One wonders how Jenny’s health would measure up on this scale. You’ll notice that she didn’t post a picture of herself doing the heel stretch (in much the same way that my marathon hatemail often starts with “I’ve never done a marathon but…”) I assume that these people do this because they rely on feeling better than fat people to feel ok about themselves (I’m thinking people who spend their time typing about me in forums and photoshopping pictures of standing heel stretches may not have a lot going on in their lives that they can be proud of). So they do whatever they can to hold onto their stereotypes, and to try to make fat people ashamed of our achievements. So here’s how I deal with that:
I don’t know how many people can do a standing heel stretch and I don’t care. I wanted to do it, I’m not naturally flexible – it took me a year of hard work to be able to do it – and I’m proud of that.
I finished a marathon, it took me about 13 hours (I like rounding up. I often round up when I talk about my age, my weight, and now my marathon time, it’s a little bit of activism and it tends to freak people out – it’s fun!) It was horrible, I didn’t quit, I finished the marathon, and I’m proud of that.
What’s most important about these achievements is that they are my personal expression of my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they are NOT a justification for why I deserve those rights because absolutely no justification is necessary.
So while (like taking time to smell the roses) I think it’s important to sometimes take time to laugh at my haters, I have other stuff to do (like getting ready to speak at Chico State on Wednesday, hope to see you there!) and so I’ll close with a great picture that many of you have sent to me by e-mail and Facebook with my sincere thanks for those who send me love mail! (If you’re looking for a group that helps put body positive messages in body negative spaces, consider joining the Rolls not Trolls Facebook group!)
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