I’ll be honest: this is the most personal thing I’ve ever written. I am a little, teeny, eensy bit worried about it.
But lately I’ve been thinking about these things that I’ve done and that have happened to me and thinking about them specifically in terms of an ulcer I haven’t tried to heal yet. I’ve wondered how many people will read this and think, “Ah.” I don’t think I’m alone.
So I’m going to share this story, knowing from past experience that sharing stories builds strength, and hope it’s still true.
See, when I was younger I wanted to be invisible.
It’s nearing summer; this means there is an awful lot more pressure to look a certain way, or to be working toward looking a certain way. Here are a couple of reminders to make the season a bit less daunting, conversationally (that I friggin’ need too, y’all).
- You are not obligated to change your body. Your body is the bomb diggity just the way it is.
- You can wear a bikini if you damn well want to, and fuck the haters.
- You can never wear swimsuits if you damn well want to, and fuck the haters.
- Don’t assume people care about your diet.
- Don’t assume people care about your workout regime.
- Not everybody is working out to lose weight; don’t assume that’s why.
- Not everybody is eating or not eating certain foods to lose weight; don’t assume that’s why.
- People are not obligated to prove they’re healthy.
- Health isn’t a competition.
- People are not obligated to be healthy.
- Everyone is worthy of respect and dignity regardless of health, diet, body size, or gender presentation.
- Talking about your diet or your workout can trigger anxiety and shame in other people of all body sizes. Be aware of this, pls, especially if you’re talking to someone you don’t know that well.*
* This is an important caveat, I think. Obviously people have friendships where all topics are open for discussion! Just, y’know, be aware and respectful of others, yo. We could all stand to be a little kinder.
On Sunday, Rehtaeh Parsons’ family took her off life support.
Rehtaeh Parsons hanged herself in her bathroom four days before that, because Rehtaeah Parsons was gang-raped by four boys a year ago.
They took pictures.
It took weeks for the police to even talk to them.
The atrocity they committed was dismissed — lack of evidence, they couldn’t prove who’d taken the picture.
The people in Rehtaeh’s school called her a slut. They passed her phone number around. They asked her if she’d have sex with them. They bullied, shunned, and browbeat her to death.
Her mother has a memorial page for her on Facebook and I can’t stop looking at the pictures and pictures of her as a child. Rehtaeh with a little dog. Rehtaeh’s school portrait. Rehtaeh and her family. Rehtaeh and her friends. Selfies she took. Pages and pages and pages of them, and I can’t stop looking, and I can’t shake it.
I didn’t know her. I don’t know her. But I know girls like her. I know boys like the ones that did this to her. We all do.
People were so horrified at Steubenville like it was some isolated incident, like it was on a different level than all the other rapes that happen every day, every hour, every minute. Like Steubenville was the limit of human atrocity, an outlier, something everyone shook their heads at and wondered “How?” and thought “That could never happen to my daughter.” Not me. Not here.
It happens here. It happens wherever you are, right now. It happens every two minutes in the US. One out of five. One out of four. One out of six. One out of three. One billion, worldwide, every year.
Steubenville is not an isolated incident. What happened to Jane Doe and Rehtaeh Parsons is not an isolated incident. It doesn’t happen just to pretty white girls with long hair; it doesn’t just happen to the people we are most comfortable feeling compassion for.
I’m sorry, Rehtaeh. I’m sorry that so many people failed you. I’m sorry that we are all complicit in a culture that shames and silences and browbeats victims literally to death. We created this. We built it.
I want to tear it apart with my teeth.
It’s good that you want people to be healthy. But you can’t give people a message that it’s okay to be a bully. Because it isn’t. It isn’t okay. People die from others bullying them; they self-harm and commit suicide. It’s a fact. I know it and you know it. You can tell it’s good to focus on health, because there’s nothing wrong with that. But you can’t tell people it’s okay to bully others about their bodies or their weight. I know deep inside, you know that too. So please get into some therapy, stop projecting your viciousness and hate onto others, and show the world that you can be a kinder person. Nobody wants to be a bully.
(rebloggable by request)
Commission for Khaleesi
I JUST SCREAMED
I LOVE THIS SO MUCH THANK YOU SAM!!
The first piece of art I commissioned for myself: totally me as Wonder Woman. NO REGRETZ.
You too should commission queensassyofthefatties, for her art is adorbs.
This is not a hate post! New followers won’t know this, but old followers will: I had an ED. Still do! It’s not the kind of thing that vanishes without a trace, but they do become manageable and you can get beyond them.
I understand blogging about triumph and pain, and when I was deep into my ED, every day felt like the most intoxicating combination of the two. I wasn’t happy — not with myself and not with my habits — but I felt accomplished, in a strange way. So I get it. I really, really understand and empathize.
However, I won’t promote it. I am all for living healthily if that’s your goal, I am all for moving your body joyfully and eating the things that make you feel good and working toward loving yourself and your body more. But I firmly believe you can do all of those things at whatever weight you are right now, or whatever weight you were before. (If you’re unfamiliar with it, I recommend reading up on the Health At Every Size organization).
I’m not asking you to unfollow me. I ask only one thing (and I am asking, not demanding, because ultimately I have no control over whether or not you do this): Please don’t use my body as justification. Don’t use me as a worst case scenario. Basically, don’t use me as thinspiration. I’m a person who’s walked the same path some of you have, and I have so much empathy for you. Please allow me the dignity of being treated as a person with her own experiences and her own journey, not an object or a lesson or an example.
I try to keep this blog full of empowering and positive messages of self-love, compassion, and support. If you’re into that, please stick around; I’d love to have you.
Love and solidarity,
So I wanna publicly shame this flaming bag of dicks for being the last (or, well, one of the first technically by the timestamp, but I didn’t see it until today) in a LOOOOONG line of trolls this week that started with the bags of dicks on this comment thread last weekend and has conga-lined through my week of rape culture here and there and everywhere. I’M OVER IT. I’M SO DONE.
But what the fuck. YOU GUYS. I don’t even know what to say about this!
I’ve legit been fucking sitting here for five minutes typing really coherent shit like “??????” and “?!?!?!?!?!” and “WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK WHAT THE FUCK” and I am totally bemused, I feel absolutely nothing other than an all-encompassing exhaustion. It’s BLERGH, that’s what it is. I FEEL SO BLERGH. I AM ENTIRELY BLERGH ABOUT THIS.
Like, oh, another one. Cool. At least this one is sort of amusing because it doesn’t make any goddamn sense and hits a ton of Internet Troll Bingo boxes I hadn’t gotten yet: intentional misgendering! Sent to personal Facebook profile! Insulting my doctor for my being fat (????)!
(This dude intentionally misgendered me because women who are fat are so undesirable to straight men that they might as well be men themselves, is what the psychology is here. Just FYI. That’s what homeslice is doing. Imaginative!)
LIKE HERE’S THE THING TROLL BRO AND ALL OF YOUR TROLL BRETHREN
I DO HAVE A FAT ASS
WHAT THE FUCK EVERRRRR
I’ve gotten some questions about this after that most recent concern troll. You’ve got some options.
- Ignore them. They’re not entitled to a response from you; you’re not obligated to give one. And block, block, block, if you can. If you can’t resist engaging with them (hey, I’ve been there, I get it)…
- Hit them with some truth bombs (have some resources + studies at the ready) and then duck out of the thread. The thing to realize about trolls is that they usually don’t actually want to learn anything, as much as you might want to teach them. Basically: explain exactly as much as you want to, and feel free to dipset right the heck out when you’re done. You can dictate that exchange.
- Take several deep, calming breaths, and imagine lighting them on fire. Then go about your day as necessary. Slightly less violent alternatives: rant to empathetic friends. Write letters. Keysmash an email. Do this. Get your anger out, but don’t let them see it; they don’t deserve to know they rattled you.
Sometimes you’re going to need to wake up one of your best friends at 1am and sob on her (not that this has happened to me recently or anything, except it totally has). That’s okay too. Activist exhaustion is a real thing, and sometimes you just gotta cry about it. Your community’s got your back.
The answer is totally sexism.
If you are like me and grew up listening to incredibly angsty twenty-something men whining harmonically about the women that have wronged them and the loves that have failed, then you know as well as I do that men write songs about specific women all the time. And they use their fuckin’ names (or names, anyway, that allude to specific women, just as the “Dear John” song alludes to John Mayer but uses a well-known conceit known as a ‘Dear John letter,’ Google that shit, to achieve thatˆ), too!
Like, I love Andrew McMahon as much as the next awkward teenage girl who hit puberty somewhere between 2001 and 2003, but homeboy writes a LOT of songs about specific women where their NAMES ARE THE TITLE: “Amy, I,” “Amelia Jean,” and “Letters to Noelle,” to name three of ROUGHLY TWO DOZEN. Fall Out Boy, Motion City Soundtrack, Brand New, fun., fun.’s previous and more depressed incarnation The Format, Taking Back Sunday, and countless others that I noticed, as I was nonchalantly scrolling through the time warp sections of my iTunes, talk about relationships with specific women and use names that probably only thinly veil the references to those women. Like, there’s no way you broke up with Justin Pierre for being a self-absorbed alcoholic or whatever and didn’t listen to Motion City Soundtrack’s next album and think, “Well shit, ‘Last Night’ is totally about our breakup, that blows. Why did that douche basically imply I broke up with him because I couldn’t keep up with his brilliance? What?”
The main difference is that Taylor Swift’s beaus are usually also famous, but here’s the thing: men in all genres of music are constantly — constantly— working out their relationship angst through music. Justin Timberlake has now written two consecutive albums, albeit with a seven-year gap, about his relationship experiences. Literally all Justin Bieber seems to sing about is some lady he wants to dance up on or how sad he is because some lady didn’t let him dance up on her. Bruno Mars writes about love and breakups all the time. Nate Ruess (of fun.) is all, “I Wanna Be The One” on one album and then on the next album is like, “Why Am I The One” and sometimes I just want to be all, “Jesus, why the fuck ARE you the one if you keep writing about your breakups on your albums?”*
This is because it is an artist’s right to work out his (OR HER) feelings through his (OR HER) art. This is as true for Taylor Swift as it is for Nate Ruess, okay? It’s as true for Taylor Swift as it is for Justin Bieber or Justin Timberlake or some other Justin who hasn’t surfaced yet (and probably won’t because it’s probably like Highlander and there can only be one). Female artists have as much right to write about their breakups as male artists do. And Taylor Swift’s not the only one to do it — she’s just been the most open in interviews and in the press about her relationships, which has led to this weird entitlement circle where people feel like they SHOULD know about Taylor Swift’s relationships, and then mock her mercilessly for writing about them.
Through some stunning combination of what appears to be her own willingness to connect with people through shared experiences by talking about her personal life, the fact that she dates people of equal visibility, the enthusiasm of whoever handles her image in flaunting that openness and visibility and encouraging the media to pry deeper, and the media’s willingness to throw women under the bus as “catty” or whatever have created an environment where Taylor Swift is
- expected to share personal information about her love life and
- punished for sharing that personal information OR
- punished for not sharing that personal information AND
- disallowed from writing about it in her music because ‘everyone knows already’ or something
I’m not saying she hasn’t had some part in creating this environment, but it’s sure as hell not JUST her. And I just don’t fuckin’ get why everyone is so obsessed with who she is or isn’t writing about or is or isn’t naming when dudes pull this shit ALL THE TIME. The difference is that she’s criticizing equally visible men. That’s pretty much it.
Like, homegirl needs to stop hating on other women so much and there have been a lot of great conversations about how she contributes to slut-shaming and victim-blaming and sex-negativity, but I’m JUST NOT CLEAR why the media at large is more concerned with whether or not she’s calling John Mayer a douchebag (basically) in a song than they are with, say, John Mayer being a total pretentious shit all the time.
Or, more generally: why the fuck are we being so much nastier to a girl writing about her breakups and love interests than we are to powerful men who do the same thing ALL THE TIME to women they met at Starbucks and who don’t have multi-million-dollar record deals?
* I am well aware these songs are about very different things. Also, I volunteer as tribute to be the next muse for a tortured love song, I am js. Call me.