This isn't completely off topic since it's a response to the vast support I've gotten when Fit for Fertility on facebook illegally used a photo of me exercising for selling crappy weight loss products on her page, implying that I was a beginner at exercise and that I was some kind of inspirational "before" picture. After everything happened she came onto my page to accuse me of bullying when every comment I saw on her page was a polite asking for the photo to be removed, sometimes with links to my blog or my page, calls for her issuing a public apology to me, etc. Everything was positive and encouraging and time and time again she removed the comment and then blocked people simply for daring to speak up on my behalf.
However, all of this positivity has turned dark. After I, Vanilla Rose and Ragen Chastain all wrote about my plight (and I am forever grateful for them doing so as well as flattered and overwhelmed with emotion from the support I've received), at some point, Jamie, the woman in charge of the page who originally stole my photo, reported to me that she's been receiving threats of violence and rape. Now, I'm just going by what she said and have no way to verify this information because she's blocked me from replying to her directly, but I want to talk a little bit about what it's like to be a woman on the wrong end of a public attack.
You're all aware of the tumblr blog, This is Thin privilege, right? In which posts start out "thin privilege is" followed by some bit of fatphobia. Well, Male Privilege Is..... male privilege is being able to be on the bad end of a public attack without having to literally fear for your life or your well being. Jamie actually messaged me to let me know that her home was armed because she was literally that afraid. When a woman receives a threat of violence or a rape threat, she has to take it very seriously since, after all, 1 in 3 women is the victim of a sexual attack- and those are just attacks that are reported (about half). Imagine how high that number would be if we included all of the attacks that go unreported because of fear, embarrassment, or simply no knowing how to handle the situation. The point is that rape is a reality for women as a gender. For women as half the fucking population. Threats of sexual assault are rooted squarely in misogyny and this domination that men have over women.
I know how bad situations like this can get because I've received my own number of threats from trolls on the internet simply for daring to be fat and okay with it and to tell others it's okay too. I've had to be afraid for myself and my family. All of these threats come from men. Don't get me wrong. Men insult and threaten other men all of the time. But, when a man threatens a woman it comes from a different place. From a place of domination and power over women as a whole. This is not okay in any way and I expect it from random trolls and terrible people on the internet, but NOT from other fat activists, NOT from supposedly enlightened individuals who are standing up for the underdog, NOT from my fans, Vanilla's fan's, or Ragen's fans. There's something deeply wrong with a culture that almost fetishizies violence against women and normalizes this kind of behavior.
I'm not a great feminist writer even though I'm a feminist to my core and believe misogyny is responsible for a great deal of fatphobia and sizism (and other problems) in our culture. So excuse me if this post is rambling or doesn't make a lot of sense. I just needed to express my concern and anger for the horrible people who are leaving these kinds of threats in Jamie's folder. This is absolutely wrong on every level and I'm so disappointed that an originally inspiring and supportive movement to get this photo taken down has turned into something so ugly and dark.