Yes We Do Need to Talk About This

Haters Walk on WaterThere is an amazing piece over on Shakesville that tells the truth about what it’s like to be a woman who does advocacy – from the unbelievable amount of abuse and hatred that we deal with, to the people who tell us that we shouldn’t talk about the abuse, or that we’ll never make a difference with the haters anyway. I hope everyone who sees this post goes and reads every word of that one.

I’ve talked about dealing with my haters







and today I want to share a little battle with haters that I’ve won.  The Fat People Hate Tumblr has generated plenty of hatemail to me (including after they changed their name to Fat People Love) but it looks like that’s all over now – I’ve beaten them.  A reader made me aware of a recent post. It seems they did one last ranting raving name calling diatribe and then they said:

I beat Body Hate Tumblr



Outwit, outplay and outlast.  Done, done and done.  It’s over, I win.  I get so much hatemail everyday that I created a special page for it, but no more from fatpeoplelove – they give up and I’m still going strong.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out y’all.

I believe in celebrating every victory, I believe that we can make a difference, and I believe that we need to talk about it.

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24 thoughts on “Yes We Do Need to Talk About This

  1. It’s not just women who do advocacy. They get the worst of it by miles and miles, but women get vitriolic abuse for *existing* on the internet if they let it be known that they are women. The gal who runs the “I fucking love science” FB page got a huge backlash when she stopped being anonymous. There was a gal whose website was about helping small businesses market themselves effectively who got lambasted. I even heard about threat made to the owner of a knitting blog. A KNITTING blog, y’all.

    1. Yep — though because of this, sometimes, women existing on the Internet is advocacy all on its own. Most Fridays on my blog, I post a review of a free online yoga practice. You would think this is non-controversial, right? Or at least controversial only as it might inspire critical discussion from folks who practice yoga.

      But every Friday I post, I spam at least one comment attacking my review of the practice because of my body size. (One comment may not seem like so much, but considering the traffic my blog gets, that could represent 2% of my views that day.) If I write about a gentler practice, it’s because with my body, I couldn’t possibly do a more vigorous one. If I write about a more vigorous practice, I’m lying; I didn’t really do it. If I say a practice was difficult for me, it’s only because I’m fat. If I say I found a practice easy, see the first two explanations above. Today, I wrote about a practice for running, and the comment was, “Running? How would you know about that?”

      Over the course of time, I have inferred from this that to exist as a plus size person on the Internet and to write about physical activity/exercise — particularly without a focus on (or even reference to) weight loss — is in itself a radical act.

  2. (breaks out the virtual bubbly)

    Congrats on the win, Ragen!

    And yes we bloody well do need to keep talking. Right now I have a quote on my desktop (uncredited, so if anyone knows who first said this, I’d love to know) that is applicable to the conversation. “Resistance: because if we fight we might lose, but if we don’t fight we’ve already lost.”

    The people ‘encouraging’ us to shut up have some sort of stake in the stays quo. Either they are privileged under it, or they believe they will one day be the ones to reap the benefit of it, or they fear what happens when they no longer have a place all picked out for them by the will of society. Perhaps they even fear what they will do if they one day realize that they have been desperately trying to win privilege in a system that will never reward them because the goal is impossible. After all, it’s kind of upsetting to learn you’ve dedicated your life to a lie.

    But nobody gains when nobody is willing to speak out against injustice.

    1. I think that I basically just let them punch themselves out. It doesn’t bother me, I don’t give them the attention that they are so desperate for, and I only mention them when it suits me so they seem to have given up, albeit with one last pathetically desperate name-calling rant. Unfortunately, they’ll likely move onto someone else, but I’ll get to do continue my work in a little more peace.


    2. I read the full post on their tumblr page, and the theme of it is actually along the lines that Ragen is a “mentally ill person” so they won’t be catering to her constant need for attention any longer by mentioning her on their account. Which I would find hilarious if it weren’t for the fact that their page is full of so much hate and mean-spirited humour which people actually take seriously. There are not enough trigger warnings in the world a person could give for that page.
      Though I am still sort of amused by their vague, meaningless assertion that Ragen is mentally ill. Given that there are just about as many different types of mental illnesses as there are physical ones, it really means nothing at all and shows that their ignorance goes far beyond their beliefs about fat and obesity. There is a brief mention of the “narcissistic syndrome” (by which, I’m pretty sure they mean narcissistic personality disorder, I’ve studied very little psychology but I really don’t think “narcissistic syndrome” is a thing). I’m wondering if and when their Crazy People Love page will appear. Or even better, Crazy Fat People Love. Maybe they’ll try to see how many forms of prejudice they can fit on the one page.

      1. The only thing that upsets me about this, and the reason that I didn’t link to it or show the full text, is that I currently have the privilege of neurotypicality. Mental illness is a real thing and the people who live with it often suffer tremendous stigma, oppression, and barriers to getting treatment and throwing around words like mentally ill and crazy around to describe people who disagree with them downplays the real lived experiences of people with mental illness.


        1. Hi Ragen:
          Sorry about that. Feel free to delete my post if you wish. I have OCD and have experienced depression myself, so I wasn’t trying to make light of the situation.

  3. No matter what the haters write, what they are really shouting out to the world, over and over again is “I’m afraid, I’m afraid, I’m afraid! I’m so fucking scared that I revert to acting out like a 2 year old. I live my entire life in fear.”

    So unaware. So pathetic. They are to be pitied. Stopped, yes. Held accountable, yes. But mostly pitied.

    1. This is a wonderful thing to remember. When I think of saying to the people who judge me, “I’m so sorry that you’re so afraid..I feel so bad for you…” it makes me feel so much more in charge and whole!

  4. WIN – every time we do it, we change the world a little! I manage to win over my own prejudices and judgemental (there is mental in that for a reason) self more and more often. At least I catch myself and reprimand myself more often – which is a win everytime.

  5. “I believe in celebrating every victory, I believe that we can make a difference, and I believe that we need to talk about it.”
    And I believe in celebrating with cake! Too bad it probably wouldn’t survive the postal journey. Oh, well, if you are ever in my area I owe you one. And in the mean time, you’ll keep talking and I’ll keep learning.

  6. i’ve long since been of two minds about it: one says that one needs to shine light into dark corners so the vermin who hide in them realize they’re being seen for what they are. another says that giving haters attention gives them too much power and wastes energy that’s better used for other purposes. i believe both carry truth, and i’ve generally tried to navigate somewhere between the two depending on the situation.

    i like the way you do it, ragen — mostly ignoring haters during regular blog posts, but having a compiled page showing them for the crappy human beings they are, and occasionally pointing at particularly egregious examples. that acknowledges that the abuse exists, and that it is pernicious and nobody should have to put up with it, but it doesn’t allow it to take over your blog and its comments. it makes this a very good space, and i hope it leaves your life reasonably intact.

    silence is no answer, indeed. ignoring haters completely makes some go away, but there are always more where they came from. i do think it’s high time that people got off this ridiculous idea that how you act on the internet is some kind of “game”, that it’s not “real” and that the fact that so many people (mostly men) behave like scum “is just the way it is”. no, it isn’t. threats are not limited to the net, and we have ways offline to deal with them. we need to do more of that online as well, so willfully stupid people realize that harassing others isn’t fun and games, and the real predators realize that they might end up in a real-life jail.

    1. Ms Piranha,

      I agree with so much of what you have to say here. About how confronting the trolls is a mixed bag, both a blessing and a curse.

      Also, your comment about how so many people seem to think – or at least claim to think – that anything done online has no relation to “real life”.

      So much of our business, our recreation, our real LIVES has moved online, it’s about time that law enforcement moves online as well, in a much bigger way than it already has.

      The internet seems to have caused, or allowed, many people to put aside what would be considered common decency anywhere else, and even to go so far as to flippantly break the law (ie: people seem to think nothing of stealing music and movies now, or as Ragen pointed out, making terrorist threats).

      The pseudo-anonymity of the internet has caused people to either BECOME much less moral than they used to be, or maybe they are just no longer afraid to reveal what was always their true nature. Which, once again, is a mixed bag. Is it better to live among crazy trolls and never know about it? Or is it better to know, no matter how hard that is to take?

  7. Apparently they can’t stick the flounce since they have since posted about you (I hadn’t heard of that tumblr so I had to take a look, wish I hadn’t).

  8. The head mod. of ThisisThinPriv. commented on there, so I decided to catch up on reading it. I found this from a week ago: and the original posting here:

    Very nice breakdown of society. Most of the stories I read on ThinPriv. make me cry though, since there is so much hate in the world. I thought it was rare until I started to experience it more, now it’s the non-hate that’s rare.

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