If you’ve followed my facebook page at all over the last couple of years, you’ve seen some weird drama. Like the time I said “Jesus Christ Bananas” or the time I took Hannah out for a coffee and all hell broke loose.
I don’t look to post controversial things, so it always amazes me when something completely innocuous leads to a crappy comment. Most crappy comments do not bother me- I might repost them and talk about them (OK I usually do) but it’s because I’m thinking “Holy crap, look! People really can be THIS stupid, mean and ignorant and let’s talk about how dumb it is!
But even though I’ve seen it happen before, I was still caught by surprise when my status “I want a milkshake!” led to the following comment:
”Spiking your insulin isn’t all that good for you or baby, so probably good that there’s no milkshake. Lol”
At first, I just sat there stunned. And I thought, is she saying that no pregnant woman should indulge in the occasional ice cream treat (because that is ridiculous!) OR no *plus sized* woman should do so? (Also ridiculous, by the way).
The wording, “spiking your insulin” automatically made me cringe. Like, was she insinuating I must have diabetes cuz I’m a fatty? It immediately touched on the whole “are you sure you should be eating that?” bullshit I had to hear growing up. Stuff like reaching for the same food at family functions that everyone else gets to eat and having someone comment in front of everyone about my portion or choice. I hate it.
I hate that being too fat or too thin (or being pregnant for that matter) seems to put you into a position where everyone gets to have a say in what you do with your own body. People think they get to look down at me, make disgusted faces when I eat, send teenager me to school with fucking SLIMFAST for lunch, put my still forming and growing body into drug trials, and even when I try to get smaller, they shout nasty things at me from their cars as they drive down the freaking road. I have dealt with this stuff for twenty years- and it sucks.
This is how people think they are allowed to talk to fat people, to fat children even, as if making people feel bad about their bodies is for their own good. Newsflash: It’s not. It doesn’t work. In my case it led to binge eating, contemplating suicide, depression, self-mutilation and eventually teen pregnancy because I just wanted someone, anyone, to love me and accept me.
Today I was told several times that because “I put myself out there” on my public page I should expect to be insulted. But that’s bullshit. As my friend Shannon put it so perfectly: “Well yeah, if you post something like “I want a milkshake” it is entirely appropriate to expect comments on whether or not people like milkshakes. It becomes inappropriate and potentially fat shaming, depending on your point of view and personal history, when someone thinks they get to decide whether or not you can have that milkshake.”
The point is unless they ask you it is NEVER OK to tell someone what they can or can’t eat. Especially someone on the internet that you have never even met. You don’t know if that person has an eating disorder, or serious issues about their body or food. You don’t know their health or their history. So even an innocent or well-meant offhand comment can have a major effect on someone. How your comment was intended, or whether or not you yourself are or were plus-sized is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter whether you know if they are fat or not.
I do think the poster might not have meant her statement the way it came out. Maybe she was honestly “concerned”. But it did come out that way, not just to me but to many people, because this is something that people who are not a size acceptable by society have to deal with all the time- everywhere you go, other people think they know what is right for you, or tell you what you can or can’t eat without knowing YOU or why your body is the way it is. In fact, I’m sure the majority of fat shaming I’ve dealt with in my life was well intentioned and not meant to hurt- maybe even meant in a light-hearted way, without the person realizing how their words affected my self-worth.
So basically, if you don’t have something positive to say about my body, keep it to yourself. I have a lifetime of self-confidence shredding inner demons to fight- I don’t need to add concern trolls to the mix.