Model Photographs and Shames Naked Woman at Her Gym

A sculpture of a fat dark-skinned woman with short hair and a daisy bathing suit curling pink weights.

My Best Friend got this statue for me. Sadly I don’t know the artist but if you do let me know!

Dani Mathers is a former Playmate of the Year, and is currently spending her time taking pictures of naked women in her gym’s locker room and then sending them out via snapchat with body shaming captions. (Thanks to reader KC for letting me know about this.)

You read that right. Dani took a picture of a naked woman who was just trying to shower in the gym’s locker room and captioned it”If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either”, then Dani took a Selfie with her hand over her mouth, then Dani sent them out via Snapchat.

After many people reacted with rage (thank you decent people of the world) Dani posted an apology video, which I will break down bit by bit.

I just want to acknowledge a photo that I accidentally posted.

Accidentally?  You took the time to take two pictures, write a caption and post them to social media. Out of curiosity,  what would you have done if you were trying to do this on purpose?

It was absolutely wrong and not what I meant to do.

What exactly did you “mean to do” when you took a picture of a naked woman in a locker room without her knowledge or consent?

I chose to do what I do for a living because I love the female body and I know body shaming is wrong, that’s not what I’m about and this is not the type of person I am.

It is the type of person you are, and the way that I know that is that you fucking did it. You saw a woman taking a shower in your gym and your first thought was to take a picture of her without her knowledge or consent, then send it out via social media to body shame her. That’s the type of person you are.  You can become a different type of person, and you should, but it’s going to take real work to unlearn the prejudices that are now so ingrained.

The photo was taken as part of a personal conversation with a girlfriend and because I am new to Snapchat I didn’t realise I had posted it, and that was a huge mistake.

Let’s go over this again:  It is not ok to take a naked picture of someone without their knowledge or permission. It doesn’t matter if you planned to share it with the world, your girlfriend, or keep it for your private collection.  Holy fuckballs lady. Quit apologizing for posting the picture and start apologizing for taking the damn picture.

I know I have upset a lot of people out there but please believe me this is not the type of person that I am. I have never done this before and I will never do this again, you have my word.

Here’s hoping – especially for the women who just want to take a shower in your gym’s locker room.  (It’s not lost on me that Trans people are being denied their basic right to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on bullshit claims that they will do what this woman actually did – does that mean we’ll have laws that try to preclude models from using the facilities?)

In the first few minutes after hearing this all I could think of was whether she could be prosecuted or this, and then unrealistic and inappropriate ways that I wanted to help educate her.  I considered getting a group of women of different ages and sizes to follow her around, naked, until she can respect the diversity of body sizes. I considered trying to publish the unphotoshopped versions and outtakes from her modeling sessions – after all, if this woman who is just trying to take a shower doesn’t get Photoshop or her choice of poses, why should Dani?  I thought about encouraging naked women of diverse body sizes to send their pictures to Dani with the hashtags #unseethis and #takenwithpermission Meanwhile I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the woman in the picture isn’t suffering because of this, and that nobody publicizes a response pretending to be her.

My rage isn’t so much for me – I’m lucky that I’ve found a path that has left me comfortable with my body and clear that the problem is with body shamers and not with me.  Most of my rage is reserved for women who will now be afraid to go to their gym, to change in the locker room, to take a shower, lest some chick with a self-esteem problem and a cellphone be hiding around the corner loading up Snapchat. My rage is for women who will internalize Dani’s bullshit body shame and women whose greatest fears of being at the gym were reinforced and realized today. No apology can fix that.

Here’s what I know is true:

Yes, it’s ok to be fat.

Yes, you are worthy no matter what.

I also know that this makes me twice as interested in using my gym’s locker room to change and shower, to claim and own that space for bodies of all sizes who want to be there, including mine. Don’t like it? Well that’s just too damn bad.

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Published in: on July 15, 2016 at 6:50 am  Comments (51)  

51 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. On a positive note, she may get in serious trouble for this BS. I hope she does, because perhaps that will discourage others.

    http://www.tmz.com/2016/07/14/dani-mathers-gym-pic-photo-police-report/

    • Good! Hope there’s a civil suit against Dani as well. Maybe even a suit against the gym as well. They have a no pics rule- but obviously no one to enforce this rule.

      • Actually, it was the Gym that reported it to the police.

        • Anyone know if the gym revoked Dani’s membership at least? I would definitely demand a full refund of my membership and walk the fuck out if I knew that was allowed to occur at my gym. (I would assume they did if they called the police, but I haven’t heard).

        • Good for the gym! Good for the police. Let’s hope the prosecutor follows up! I cannot imagine having my privacy invaded like that at the gym.

          • Signed!

          • Signed.

            Also, I saw the picture there (blurred), and I’m not even sure this is fat-shaming. I think it’s more “There’s a naked woman to whom I am not attracted” shaming. She looks straight-sized to me.

            I don’t mean this in a “but she’s not that fat” kind of way (because we all know that argument is crap). I mean this in an “all bodies are just fine, and privacy must be respected” kind of way. I’m getting more of a sexual-crime vibe off this than a fat-hatred vibe. Either way, IIIICCCKKKK!!!!

            If a gym has open showers, then that means that the culture in that gym is to accept all bodies, and to take responsibility to control one’s own sexual urges. That is an open shower. Open showers are fine. Shower stalls are fine. Even if the gym is set up with shower stalls, it’s fine to walk out of the shower and to your locker and dress at your locker, because locker rooms are a place where people will be in all states of undress.

            If you want people to be fully clothed in a locker room, then you provide LOTS of changing stalls and separate shower stalls with attached changing stalls, and make sure it is super-convenient to maintain “modesty” at all times. I’ve been in one of these. They do exist.

            This set up specifically did NOT do that, which means “modesty” is neither expected nor required, but people controlling themselves and not making a big deal about other people’s bodies IS expected AND required.

            So, if this former Playmate can’t look at a woman’s body without thinking SEXXXX!, perhaps she should join a gym designed and run by proud prudes who take all precautions to protect patrons from prurient people.

            • Big Fat Science took a similar position: paraphrased, that though the victim was fat and the abuse weight-based, calling it “fat shaming” downplays its severity, making something unambiguously criminal and Stephen-King-villain levels of cruel sound like a minor issue of hurt feelings.

              • I saw the picture too, and it seemed to me that this was as much age-shaming as fat-shaming (I mean, I think it was about equally both). The woman in the blurred picture appeared to be late middle-aged. The degree of scorn that a lot of typically “attractive” young people heap on the bodies of anyone over the age of 35 is truly appalling. I’ve signed the petition too — as a fat 60-year-old woman, I found that this particular shaming pushed TWO of my buttons (and confirmed me in my determination never to change clothes in a public locker room, ever, ever, ever.)

  2. This was a deliberate act of bullying and shaming, and she needs to be charged for it. The apology letter s a joke. When,women,she,e other women (for ANY reason), it s just mean girl, criminal,activist. It is women like her who keep other women down.

  3. She is reaffirming publicly why I refuse to use a gym locker room or shower and making sure people know for a fact that they have 0 privacy in there once someone decides to be an asshole.

  4. I hope she goes to jail for this. Posting nude photos of someone without their consent is no different than tearing their clothes off in a public place.

    • Agreed. Digital footprints are also hard to erase. Its a grave violation of privacy, personal space and consent. I agree with another comment that states that this is more than fat shaming. This is random, focused contempt for another human being based on her physicality–likely both body type and age–is also sexual harassment or assault. It was an unwarranted and unwelcome violation of body autonomy. No one should fear having nude photos taken of them without knowledge or consent, especially in private areas where nudity is likely and expected. A lot of health related places require various stages of undress (gyms, medical clinics, spas). This voyeur deserves to he brought up on charges, because she has, in fact, committed a crime. “My bad” doesn’t cover it.

  5. Rage! Words! Scrambles!

    Can’t put into coherent sentences, but rage, revenge porn, JLaw’s Reddit problem, making sex workers look bad, giving bad people ammunition to abuse sex workers and women because “they deserve it,” and just RAAAAAGE!!

    It all ties in together. There. That’s a complete sentence.

    I need to hide now.

  6. If she has that much problem with not being able to “unsee” bodies that she considers less attractive than her own, she needs to stay away from public gyms.

    Then again, I hope she gets to spend a bit of time in a prison shower, and gets to see lots and lots of average bodies she cannot unsee, which is precisely what her actions deserve.

    Trying to excuse it by saying it was “accidental” is not only a lame apology, it also insults our intelligence. If someone poked their camera into her shower and shared the resulting photos, would she accept the explanation that it was an accident? Granted, if she’s stupid enough to believe we’d buy that, she might just be stupid enough to buy it herself.

    • What’s really killing me is her “I only took it to share it with one friend! I swear I didn’t mean to send it to *everybody!*” excuse. Is the number of people you intended to share the nonconsensual naked photo with supposed to make it less evil or something?

      • Yeah, imagine how well it would go over if a man said that. “I only snapped your naked photo to share with one friend. It was an accident that I sent it to everyone in my address book!”

        The intended audience doesn’t matter – one or a million. Taking photos of people in bathrooms or locker rooms without their knowledge or consent is wrong, period, even if the person taking the photo plans on keeping it entirely to themselves.

        Many people feel insecure enough about going to a gym, without fearing that some asshat like this is going to publicly shame them.

  7. I’ve heard more plausible excuses from misbehaving middle school students (who will look you in the eye and swear they are not doing the thing they are doing right now).

  8. Disgraceful and her non-apology was BS. My YMCA locker room has posted that it is a cell phone free zone likely for this very reason. I have to think this is illegal in some way but will never see justice regardless. I loved Virgie Tovar’s response about how we’ve created a culture where this is acceptable. She’s still a shitty person for doing it though.

    • Considering in most places, someone can be arrested and charged for the surreptitious “upskirt” photos taken in public places, yeah, it’s illegal.

      It’s the electronic equivalent of peeping in someone’s bathroom window, whether it’s being done by some creepy, perverted guy or by some egotistical, judgmental gal.

  9. It’s not only “not ok to take a naked picture of someone without their knowledge or permission” it’s also against the law. The woman photographed has a reasonable right to privacy in a restroom/locker room and this ‘model’ violated her right.

  10. People are doing jail time for secretly photographing women in restrooms and dressing rooms. This is NO different… book her Danno! She may not be your run of the mill sexual predator, but she just terrorized millions of people that go to the gym!!!!

    • And they’ll only be more terrorized if she gets away with this.

  11. I was trembling with rage (and that’s not an exaggeration) when I read this yesterday. I was sexually assaulted in a gym locker room. The first thing my attackers did was display and make rude comments about my body.

    Your actions define the “kind of person you are,” not your words. Let’s go over Dani’s actions. She took a naked photograph of a woman without her consent. She posted it online for strangers to gape at. She posted insults about the woman’s body and encouraged them to do the same. And now that she’s been caught, she’s telling blatant lies about it.

    Those aren’t the actions of someone who “cares about bodies” and “knows body shaming is wrong.” They aren’t even the actions of a catty high school mean girl. They’re criminal offenses, and in a just world, they’d be treated like it. Unfortunately I think GlenysO is right. We DON’T live in a just world.

    • I am so sorry that you had that experience, and this horrible incident to remind you of it.

      • Thanks for your kind words. It’s just… one of those things that makes you wonder how common this kind of thing is, you know?

  12. On a brighter note, the image you have with this post is adorable. Where is she from?

    • My Best Friend got her for me in a little shop in Astoria. Unfortunately I don’t know the artist, but I love the piece.

      ~Ragen

  13. Seems Ms. Mathers is suffering fallout over this. She’s been banned from all LA Fitness gyms and has been suspended from her job.

    Ya know, isn’t something like this called sexting? Hmmm, felony or misdemeanor?

    They discussed this on the radio this morning. All were totally horrified over her actions. They said that the gym contract all members sign outlines the rules for the gym. One of the rules is no pics are to be taken in the locker room. So she knew what she was doing was against the rules.

    Gosh, I bet she wishes she had thought this through a little harder before she acted.

    • I hope she’s charged with ALL of the crimes she committed. Since she spread the image all over the country, I think that makes this a federal offense.

    • IIRC, the gym my wife belongs to does not allow ANY photography on the premises, whether in the private areas such as locker rooms and showers, or on the workout floors. Were I to venture a guess, body shaming is just one reason for that rule.

      Even in public places, it is common courtesy to ask someone if you may take their photograph. I’ve gone to events such as Comic Cons and Ren Faires in costume, and most people will ask before taking a photo. While I accept the idea that having a good costume pretty much guarantees people will be taking my photo, I still appreciate it when they ask first, and I tend to extend the same courtesy when I have the camera.

      Were I working on a blog post or other such article on gyms, and wanted accompanying photographs of people using the facilities, the photography would be done with the full consent of both the gym and the participants. Some people simply do not like having their picture taken, let alone posted online, and that preference should be respected.

      Incidentally, that is another of my dislikes about such webpages as “The People of Walmart.” Taking someone’s photo, even in a public place, without their knowledge to post online for public ridicule is patently wrong, and I won’t support it by visiting such pages.

      • I think if you want to do a blog post on gyms, and you want accompanying photographs, you can use stock photos, or work with the management of your gym to arrange a photo-shoot with either no people, at all, or else consenting adults who know their photos will be shared online.

        Even gyms that have a “no photography” rule will have some pictures in a brochure or online, or something, and you could probably get permission to share those.

        It’s all about respect. You have it. That woman does not.

  14. I just want to know where to get one of those adorable figurines!

  15. I am encouraged at the outrage this despicable and, yes, illegal act has sparked. I, too, heard it on a morning radio program and every person in the studio-men and a woman-was shocked, appalled and called for legal action against this perpetrator. The gym and her employer did exactly the right thing. She should be made to register as a sex offender, as would any man who cut a peephole through a bathroom wall or took photos up women’s skirts. This was a vile, depraved, and criminal act. My guess is that “Ms. Tits” will have to find another career without the cameras and the fawning sycophants. And, forgive me, I have no wish to invite bad Karma, but it will stick in my throat for days if I don’t say it…that BITCH!

  16. I believe I read Dani has hundreds of thousands of Snapchat followers. She knew exactly what she was doing. And as one person called her out: even if you were doing this privately, you’re still a shitty person. But this time you got caught.

    She’s vile and gross and I can’t even think of enough words. The good thing, she’s been banned from LA Fitness.

  17. Since this story is all over FB, I read a post about it. One person, whose comment got over 1,000 “likes”, said that you are a butthole if you make fun of someone who is at the gym and trying to improve themselves and change their body. Um…no…you are a butthole if you make fun of anyone for the way they look for ANY reason. My god do many people lack critical thinking skills!

    • Seriously! Yuck! My first reflexive thought was, “So it would have been okay to photograph the woman nude without her consent and plaster it all over the Internet if Dani hacked her webcam and took her picture in her bedroom? It’s only wrong because she was at the gym?”

  18. I live in the back end of nowhere and my local Top 40 station dropped this story in between songs. I didn’t hear any excuses made for the perp, which was a pleasant surprise. I don’t think the announcer even mentioned the word “fat” or any synonym thereof. Jerk posts naked photo of woman in locker room all over Internet, encourages insults: that was the whole story.

  19. Yep, Dani’s sorry all right–sorry she got verbally slammed for her shitty behavior rather than being praised as she expected. Seems that now Dani’s 15 minutes of fame are up, she can’t think of anything to do with herself so she decided that being a fatphobic bully was what she’d do.

    This asshole needs to be sued six ways to Sunday and then some.

  20. “does that mean we’ll have laws that try to preclude models from using the facilities?”

    Can we get a #NotAllModels hashtag going?

    Seriously, they can use their fame for a good cause to spread the word that this is not OK.

    Sigh.

    When I was a kid, I lived in Europe, and we had people changing into swimming suits right by the side of the pool. I don’t mean peeling off their outerwear with a suit underneath. I mean flat-out changing. Naked between outfits. And no one thought anything of it, because there was a compartmentalized culture about nudity. There was sex-nudity and undressed-nudity. Basically, the difference between being naked and “nekkid,” as a famous Southern comedian once said. I think it was Jeff Foxworthy.

    Anyway, people had this idea that you could be naked in public, and as long as you weren’t “up to something,” it was fine, no big deal, just ignore it. Only if people were doing sexual things in public did it become an issue.

    I MISS that attitude. We just don’t have that attitude here in America, and frankly, I think it would solve a lot of problems if we did.

    I mean, if we had that attitude, then having trans-friendly locker rooms wouldn’t even be an issue. Just have “the locker room,” and anyone who wants to use it can use it, and everyone just behave in a civilized “not my body-not my business” manner. Can we get that, please? I want that.

    • Thank you so much for that comment! I’m VERY TIRED of the rampant attitude that all bodies are about sex ALL THE TIME and if a body isn’t sexually appealing at that moment to someone that’s somehow a problem (even, say, in the grocery store, with a complete stranger.)

      This is why breast-feeding in public is controversial (!)–not because it’s gross to see babies eat, no, but because big, hot, throbbing bodacious tatas are ALWAYS ABOUT SEX SEX SEX. Never mind their biological function!

      Nudity is a normal state. That doesn’t mean it’s appropriate everywhere (the same way t-shirts and cutoff shorts aren’t appropriate everywhere), but people not being hysterical about people without clothes, deeming the very state of nudity obscene and shameful and open for judging at all times, would be very refreshing.

      I won’t even start on the “fat bodies are everyone’s business” attitude, with its corollary of “I don’t want to have sex with that person; therefore they have no worth and I am bound to inform them of these facts,” because I have other things to do today. But thanks.

      • Yeah, I’m not a nudist, myself, but I totally get the attitude – let’s normalize nudity, so that we don’t freak out every time we see someone naked and aren’t sexually attracted to them, AAAAND so that when we see someone naked to whom we are sexually attracted, we know how to control ourselves, and deal with them the same way we would, were we both fully clothed.

        Unfortunately, nudism has a bad reputation, and I don’t even know why. People hear about nudists, and automatically think ZOMG! THEY’RE BEING SEXY ALL OVER THE PLACE, AND THEY’RE NOT EVEN THAT HOT, ANYWAY! EWWWWW!

        Ummm, no.

        Personally, I prefer clothes, and at the same time, prefer the idea of everyone being comfortable changing/showering in public, without fear of being either body-shamed or sexually ogled. Sort of situational nudism, I suppose.

        In fact, I believe that more situational nudism – that is acceptance of nudity in a locker room – would lead to more body acceptance, in general. If it’s OK to be naked in front of other people, while you’re changing clothes, then do you really need to “dress to hide your flaws” or even feel ashamed of any physical “flaws” in the first place? After all, everyone in the locker room has seen it, already. True, your desired partner might not desire you and your particular body, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your particular body. It just means that your desire is unrequited, which is common as dirt, and not something of which we should be ashamed. Frustrated, perhaps, but not ashamed.

        But even in a situation where nudity is allowed and even expected (such as a nudist colony), it’s NOT RIGHT to take a picture of someone, in the nude, without their consent. Even if you don’t post it or share with “just one friend,” you don’t take that picture!

        And yes, I believe that public nursing is perfectly fine. I wouldn’t eat in the bathroom, so why should I require a baby, with an undeveloped immune system, to eat in the bathroom? But we still shoo nursing mothers to the bathroom, tell them to sit on the toilet (like that’s so comfortable), and feed their babies there, because “nobody wants to see that” or “you’re turning on all the men,” or “perverts are getting pervy, and we blame YOU.” And covering the baby with a blanket? I don’t like to have cloth covering MY face. It makes me feel smothered. Why should a baby have to deal with that? Of course, having a quiet room, with a comfy chair, dedicated for nursing can be very nice to use, because it’s quiet and comfy. But to REQUIRE it? Nope.

  21. I don’t know how anyone can read stories like this and feel that fatphobia, or prejudice and discrimination based on one’s body size, is not real and a problem.

    • I think it’s a “Not My Problem” issue.

      If it’s not MY problem, then it’s not a “real” problem.

  22. I first read about this issue on your site here, and have subsequently read about it other places as well. That is so horrifying and it definitely qualifies as criminal behavior, not just “body shaming.” And the “I only meant it for one person, not the whole internet” defense just makes it worse.

  23. I hope the lady IN THE PIC is being well looked after by her friends and loved ones. I would be so upset if a pic of my naked self was out there like this-even if public sentiment was on my side.


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