Hilarious Haters

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.

Heel Stretch Hate

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!)

Haters Walk on Water

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36 thoughts on “Hilarious Haters

  1. It’s interesting that it implies if you did the same pose again but with the same center of balance as the ballerina then you would suddenly be healthy. Yet I imagine whoever made that wouldn’t suddenly change their minds if they saw that.

    It’s also implying that thin people (who can do standing heel stretches) all can do the pose like the ballerina. So if someone who looks like a typical fitness model does the pose with a center of balance different from the ballerina are they suddenly unhealthy? Logical inconsistencies….

    1. Also implies that we know the ballerina is healthy (we do not). Sure, she has some level of health on the whole health spectrum/lots of grey area thing…but we also know that ballerinas have a higher incidence of eating disorders, also I’ve seen some real damage on ballerina’s feet. I suspect there’s some other skeletal problems that could occur over time as well. Also, there are many many illnesses and disabilities that occur that are invisible. Maybe this ballerina has autism, schizophrenia, celiac disease, PTSD, or who knows?….We really don’t.

  2. Everyone balances differently… it’s just unfortunate that sometimes it includes their brains.

    I say you do a new photoshoot with even more balancing. 🙂

  3. I love it! “You can perform an physical feat that I couldn’t possibly perform if I tried, but because you’re not doing it the way I think you should, you’re unhealthy!”

    The haters are just almost adorable, in their own ugly, limited little way.

    Also, I’ve never seen a more aptly-named site than Fitness Circle Jerk. Well, the last two words, anyway.

  4. Love that graphic at the end.

    Sad, though, how often self-hate shows up that way, with fatties (and folks of all sizes) denying their own miraculousness.

    The good news is, work such as yours makes a difference and provokes change in fat folks relationship to themselves. To hell with the Jerks. Every time a fattie moves away from self-hatred and towards self-appreciation, is a victory for you and all fat activists.

  5. I Googled your haters after reading this. The first comment I read went, “It just seems like she only did this marathon so she could brag about how athletic she is and prove that she is fat and healthy…” Lol. Your haters don’t miss a beat, do they?

  6. OK, I went to the hate mail page and started reading…. At first, I was struck by the sheer idiocy displayed by the haters and the blade-sharp replies you gave them, and chuckled repeatedly as I worked my way down the page.
    But then, it just wasn’t very funny anymore. The level of hatred — real, unbalanced, specifically targeted HATE and LOATHING too many of them expressed towards you, and toward people they didn’t know – at all- except for their “overweight” status…. wow. Frightening. Truly scary.
    I have a very strong background and education in psychology and counseling, and you know- some of those haters, well, I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw their hateful asses.
    I stopped reading that page. I don’t know how you do it / deal with it daily, Ragen… Your sanity points must be endless. ❤

  7. BROOOOO-THERRRRR. Lookit, my hubby is 5’11 and MAYBE 160, dripping wet, and there is no way he could do a standing heel stretch. He can barely sit cross-legged. And he’s the one on statins for cholersterol.

    Meanwhile, size 16 here can still put her ankles behind her head (which, to be honest, hubby has never complained about…*ahem*…), sit cross-legged on the floor for hours and get up using only my feet, and bend backwards over the arm of a sofa. I can also do a few more twisty yoga moves that impress even me.

    WTF does this comparison prove?? Fuck-all, that’s what. And I’m riddled with osteo-arthritis from years of violin playing and soccer.

    I wave my paw and say “Bah”.

    1. Yeah, I’m a lot bigger than you are and I can put my hands flat on the floor while standing up, then roll up vertebra by vertebra. I also have Osgood-Schlatter’s and an ankle that appears to be permanently borked from pregnancy, neither of which has a damn thing to do with my weight.

  8. Well, that photo and caption win the Non-Sequitur of the Day competition hands down.

    I’m now on Pub Med looking for studies that use the position of the centre of gravity during a standing leg stretch as a surrogate marker for “health”. Is this a simple health screen that I could have been using on my patients, and why didn’t I find out about it before now? And what does it mean for my own health when I can barely raise one leg high enough to make a 45 degree angle to the other?

    If you catch my rolling eyes, lob them back to me please.

  9. I can barely raise one leg high enough to make a 45 degree angle too, yet my doctor, at my physical a month ago, said everything about my health is phenomenal. Better go set him straight…

  10. Love this post! As usual your attitude is exceptional. You bring us to laughter about those who have been offensive and even cruel with their remarks. I am saddened that they are out there, but just love how you handle it. Your last graphic, just sums up everything you said in your blog! Thank you and know that their are a heck of a lot more people who love you,who are inspired by you, your dance and your activism, than those haters out there. Thank you for all you do to lift us above those who would drag us down. ❤

  11. Ragen, I read about half way down the hate mail page and was just too sick to my stomach to continue. Your being healthy, and an inspiration to others, just enrages them to the core. The only good spin on this is that they must be terribly unhappy people to be so outrageous in their hate mongering toward you. I am so sorry that you have to be subjected to this stupidity. You are courageous, you are a bright light and they are simply and utterly dim bulbs. Keep shining Ragen!

    1. I think your getting sick by reading all that is a good sign. It’s when people think that those kind of things are OK to say or to read that things will never change.

      The more sick I feel for reading or listening to crap on the TV or movies, the more I feel I’m finally getting it. 🙂

    2. But– but– don’t you want to “eat right” and “get fit” so you too can be as intelligent and happy as all the people on that page so clearly are?! Huh? Huh?!!11 I know that I do! Yessir…

      (Yes, the above was sarcasm.) :p

  12. Out of idle curiosity, I went and googled images of standing heel stretches, and pretty much all of them are tilted one way or the other. It amuses me to picture this hater flipping through pictures, looking for one perfect vertical one, and getting more and more frustrated.

  13. to quote one hater: I am trained in gorilla warfare.
    But not literate, apparently…or perhaps he IS trained in watching Gorillas fight each other. Guerrilla warfare…maybe. I read part way down the page and I admire you for your ability to laugh at them. It made me sick.

  14. i find it interesting that that hater has chosen a ballerina to compare you to.

    I’ve heard Summer Glau discuss her time as a professional dancer and I’ve read a small amount of what ballet dancers go through. The pressure to remain extremely thin is INTENSE. So, semi-starvation, injuries etc etc.

    But (quite rightly) we don’t look at a photograph of a ballerina and think OH NOEZ SHE IS NOT PRIORITISING HER ~*HEALTH*~. We recognise that as a person with agency she is perfectly entitled to put her career, her love of dancing or whatever reason she became and continues to dance ballet, above her physical health.

    Just as all people, at whatever size, make their own choices about how to prioritise their physical health.

  15. You know what makes me laugh? That sort of perfectionism implied by the photo comparison was one of the things that used to be a barrier STOPPING ME FROM PURSUING HEALTHY EXERCISE.

    Because if anything less than a perfect standing heel stretch is just proof that you’ve failed, then anyone who can’t do a perfect heel stretch is a failure and shouldn’t be doing it.

    Because if the simple existence of my stomach means it is physically impossible for me to get into some yoga poses (I’m looking at you, seated twist with the knee held in the cook of an elbow that bends backwards so the hand of that arm rests over the back on the opposite hip and grips the other hand) then I’m a failure and should just not try, right? For years it never occurred to me that watching instruction videos for poses done by very slender, long-limbed and experienced people wouldn’t help me, or that there was such a thing as modified and beginner versions of poses.

    So I’d decide to give yoga or pilates another try, and feel like a failure after the first lesson because I couldn’t hold a plank for the full minute of slow breathing, or because I couldn’t hold a pose the way the instructions told me to. And I’d give up, thinking I “couldn’t do it”.

    Embracing that it’s okay to do what I can do, to whatever degree I’m able, has made me feel able to enjoy exercising MORE than I ever did when I took the perfectionist view the picture above presents.

  16. Bahahah what a fool. Number one: the dancer is on demi pointe and you are not, so of course you guys are going to have different balance points. Number two: everyone has different balance points and body lines in dancing, that’s why it is so beautiful. People would stop going to the ballet because it would be boring if all dancers were exactly the same. Number three: This person must be EVEN UNHEALTHIER THAN YOU BECAUSE OMG LOOK AT HER SKEWED LINE OF BALANCE, lmao

    Haters are miserable, aren’t they!

  17. I love this. I’ve won Australia-wide martial arts competitions, and I can’t do a standing heel stretch. But I know the kind of training that is required to enable you to perform a move like that.

    But yes, the two pictures are different. You are holding the position, and she’s moving through it, which also explains the different angles. Arguably, you are performing the more challenging exercise.

  18. Boy, that was a lot of work for such a complete non-starter of a measure of health.

    You might as well say that anyone who climbs Mt. Everest in the wrong color parka is unhealthy.

    And I totally need a tee shirt and a cushion of the walking on water thing because it is made of pure, unadulterated AWESOME!

  19. I was fascinated with the photo of you doing the standing heel stretch, although I didn’t know what it was called, or that most people can’t do it until I read this post. Now I’m impressed beyond words. But back to the picture, not only didn’t the caption not make any sense, but I kind of love the red line showing your center of balance for this exercise. It shows how integrated you are with your body. Not sure that’s the right word. As a fat woman with a large % of my weight in the front, my center of gravity is not the same as an average size person which is one of the reasons why I have trouble walking down stairs or a slope. Nothing I say is making sense. Just.. Brava!

  20. By pretty much all objective measures I’m healthy yet I can’t do a standing heel stretch. If I tried I might become less healthy due to the concussion I’d receive when I hit the floor because my balance is terrible (one of the objective measures I don’t do so well on is my inner ear).

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