Fat Woman Fights Back Against Walmart Filmers

EDIT:  It has been pointed out that, in my anger over an act that was indeed atrocious, I made some horrible mistakes.  These include not recognizing my privilege as a white woman talking about People of Color, the language I used to describe them, and my suggestion that getting police involved is a positive thing when, because of systemic racism, that could well be a death sentence for the People of Color involved.  I’m leaving the blog post below as written below so as not to try to erase my mistakes, with my sincere apologies, and with the promise to do better in the future.

Kelly Lynn was just trying to do some shopping when she ran into some of the scum of the Earth, and now she’s fighting back.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know how I feel about anyone who participates in things like “People of Walmart” (in which people take pictures and video of people without their consent, with this express intent of making fun of them on the internet.)

Anyone who participates in this – whether it’s by taking the pictures, looking at them online, or sharing them around, is being an asshole. Period. There is no excuse, there is no justification, and no I won’t “agree to disagree” because if you think this is ok, then you’re just wrong. Luckily there’s a cure, and that’s to stop participating in things like this.

Here is the story in Kelly’s own words from her Facebook page:

Even when I asked him to stop he didn’t stop. Even when people were staring and asking him why he was doing this he didn’t stop. He filmed me and took photos of me so loud and unafraid of how that might make me feel. What if this wasn’t me?! What if this was someone with out confidence or with out the love I have? When I said I was going to take their picture they posed. This is not a selfie, they knew exactly what they were doing. Hence why they were trying to cover their faces. It’s disheartening that people would rather ignore or deny what is happening instead of trying to stop it. Please share this. 5/15/16 11:15pm Stow Ohio Walmart.

Update- Many people have asked me to explain what’s happening here for those who don’t get it or understand. – I am fat. I’ve always been fat. I was raised to believe that I was just as wonderful and beautiful as the next person so most of my life I have had a confidence that actually shock people. I’m not sure which is worse the fact people hate me and want me to die bc I’m fat and happy or the people who congratulate me for loving myself even though I’m the most disgusting thing they know, fat. Through the years I’ve tried my very best to use my voice for good. Bring support to anyone I can. Not just fat people either. What do I identify most in the world with? Being a fat woman. People may see this as a bad thing but I don’t. I see it as something that’s a part of me not all of me. I feel pretty, I feel beautiful and I feel sexy. I’m not ashamed to feel this way. Whatever my health is, it has no baring on my worth. It’s not anyone’s business what I look like or my health. It’s mine. They don’t get to treat me like a circus animal just bc it’s not what they understand. I’m a person. First and foremost a person. Every single time I leave the house and venture out into public I am scrutinized for my body. As if my body is not my own. I can’t even take my nieces and nephew to the movies or to the park without someone yelling at me, taking my photo or even stopping their car next to me to tell me how fat and gross I am. This happens almost every single day. Sometimes it’s hard to even leave the house, but I push myself bc for every terrible person there is someone who comes up to me and tell me how cute I am or how much the like my outfit and style. I get so many emails from men and woman who tell me how much I helped them become confident. It makes every bad experience worth it. Changing one mind, one person makes all of it worth it. Am I mad at these people? Sure a little but not as much as I am sad for them. Sad that they live a life where there find this sort of treatment ok. They’re not just doing it bc they think it’s funny how fat I am, they’re doing it bc they fear me. They fear the idea that I could live my life and love myself despite being so fat. The thing they never want to be because it could be them on the other side of the camera being made fun of instead of me.

If they only knew me. If they only knew that being truly happy you would never feel the need to make fun of or tear someone else down for their own insecurities.

People wonder how it’s possible people get so fat they are bed bound or need to be cut out of their house. This. This is why. If you’ve never been in a situation like this then you have no idea but they weight of people’s hate piled on top of you is heavier than any fat could ever be. You fear leaving your house, you fear going out, you fear that plane ride, you fear eating in public, you fear living your life might offend someone and they could hurt you. Hurt you for existing and sometimes for some people it’s easier to just stay home. So judging someone for being too fat is bullshit. It’s not your business for one and you don’t know how they got there. It doesn’t even matter how they did. But you can be kind and nice and treat fat people with respect. Yes fat. It’s not a bad word.

It’s ok to be mad, but it’s more important for this to show people how fat people are treated in hopes it will break that cycle.

Until it stops I will share all my experience, the good and the bad.

I’m not ashamed to be me and I won’t let someone rule my feelings and thoughts about myself. I won’t let them take my power.

Rock the hell on Kelly, thanks for being a shining example of how to fight back against sizeism, and how to be clear that the problem isn’t fat people, it’s the people who shame, stigmatize, bully, and oppress fat people. Here is the picture that Kelly took of the scum who were taking pictures and video of her in Stow, Ohio.  The police are now involved and hopefully they will be caught. If you see them, feel free to tell them that  Ragen said “Fuck you.”

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29 thoughts on “Fat Woman Fights Back Against Walmart Filmers

  1. I wonder whether Walmart can be sued for allowing this type of filming to occur without the subjects approval. I believe a person has the right to how their image is used. Since Walmart is not stopping this harassment of customers they are complicit in it. Conceivably thay may have store cameras which show something.
    Whatever, if a legal case were made, especially if after notification was made to the management with documentation then even if a legal case were lost it probably would make waves in the industry.

    1. If it were a one-time thing, I’d probably say not, because the employees are busy stocking shelves and stuff.

      However, the fact that there has been a “People of Walmart” site for years shows that this is an ongoing thing, and well-known, so they really ought to take steps specifically to stop it. They could have “house detectives” roaming the store, looking for people doing this, specifically, and they could have posted policies that this behavior is not allowed, and that anyone caught taking picture or video of another customer (or worker) without their permission will be booted from the store.

      They haven’t done that, so maybe there’s a class-action suit in there. I’m not lawyer, so I couldn’t say for sure.

      1. Walmart isn’t going to spring for a house detective to stop this kind of thing – they just did away with the position of security officer. You know, the person who associates report shoplifters to, the person who calls the cops, and the person who reviews security tapes with the cops. It’s now management’s job to do all of that. So if they don’t care about catching shoplifters who affect their bottom line, they aren’t going to give a rat’s ass about dickwads who take pics of fat customers to post online for mockery/shaming.
        I know this because my husband works at Walmart (maintenance, actually just a glorified janitor) and he came home with the news about their new “security” protocol.

        1. I question the assumption that shoplifting should be a higher priority then the dignity of their customers. If WalMart will not provide a safe space for us to shop, then they deserve to be sued, or criminally prosecuted. In a just world, nobody would have to be subjected to this kind of harrassment.

    2. I could be wrong, and hope I am, but my understanding is that there is little expectation of privacy in public places (from a legal perspective), barring, say, restrooms and fitting rooms, for example. I am still glad that Kelly did this, though, because it may be a tipping point, and set a precedent.

  2. OMG, this Walmart is literally a block from my office. Where was store security?! Where was anyone who works there?! I am going to print this and take it into the store. I will show it to management and ask. I don’t shop at Walmart because of their treatment of employees, but obviously, the store cares nothing for the safety of the people who are spending money there.

  3. I just went to her Facebook page and sent her a friend request. This is someone I want to be friends with, I don’t think I would have been able to speak up. I have pretty okay self worth and I’ve always been pretty good about not hating myself or my body (even though I’ve been fat since before I graduated high school in 2004), but actually speaking up for myself in person (no matter the issue) is very difficult for me. I also cry really easily, like the moment I get angry and try to talk, so if I had tried to speak up I probably would have cried from anger, but it would have seemed to them as thought I was crying because I was sad about their behavior.

  4. I have made the mistake in the past of thinking “People of Walmart” was funny. Not for fat shaming. I thought it was funny to see people running around in goofy costumes laughing at the camera who wanted their picture taken. But then there are also people who shat their pants (no joke), people wearing their pyjamas or underwear to the store, wearing crazy stuff like pantyhose as pants, people with butt cracks and other body parts hanging out who didn’t know they were being followed… this post made me see the error of my ways and ‘unlike’ their facebook page. It’s never funny to take pictures of people without their knowledge/consent and laugh at them behind their back, no reason for it, and if I saw these kinds of sights in real life I would mind my own business and look away so why would I need to see that kind of thing on the internet? I don’t. Kelly Lynn is a beautiful girl and I’m glad I read your post Reagan.

  5. I had my picture taken by some random douche weasel a couple of weeks back. I was terribly unimpressed by whole thing and loudly rude about it, which is nothing compared to how loud and rude I plan on being to the next person who tries it. I’ve had enough of people like that getting away with crap.

  6. I always thought it was kids/teenagers that where behind the horrible “people of walmart” filming and bullying. It’s heartbreaking to see two full grown adults, a couple even, engaged in this disgusting bullshit.

  7. I’m the person who brought this story to Ragen’s attention after reading it myself. I have theories about people like those two.

    Possible trigger warnings follow:

    They’re likely immature, for starters. Secondly, maybe they fear becoming fat themselves because of the stigma they are perpetuating (I doubt they even have the critical thinking skills to think this deeply).

    There is a clear lack of empathy here too.

    I get a sense of “othering” as well. They are black in a society that is still biased against their race, so they tried to elevate themselves above Kelly in an effort to project their brokenness onto her.

    People who are comfortable with their bodies and know who they are don’t feel the need to degrade other people for their bodies.

    Society looks at super large people — and large people in general — as being less than human. They see a person of Kelly’s size and treat her like a circus freak.

    Unfortunately, as wrong as it is, it is human nature to feel uncomfortable and dislike what is “not normal” according to society’s standards. It takes an intelligent person to recognize their own built-in biases. There is an evolutionary/natural selection reason why people treat those who are “not normal” like poo but I don’t wanna get into it.

    None of this is an excuse because, while we are animals, we can also be rational, and choose to examine our biases, prejudices, et cetera. We can educate ourselves but many people are intellectually lazy and brainwashed.

  8. Also, I’m a very large woman myself, and decided to put on my bikini yesterday for an outing at a recreation center to take advantage of the hot tub. Now, as far as I know, I didn’t get filmed, but noticed that a young guy who was already in the hot tub got out within 5 minutes or less of me getting in it (it was not crowded).

    He didn’t say anything but I can’t help but wonder if he got out so quickly because he didn’t wanna be near me. If so, that was his issue.

    What do you folks think?

    1. Do you know how long he was in there, before you got in?

      If he waited a few minutes before he left, he probably didn’t leave because of your size.

      Had he left immediately, I’d be concerned (for his issue), but since he didn’t pop right up and leave, it was more likely simply time for him to leave. Most people who are going to react that way tend to react quickly, in my experience.

      Of course, it could have been that he was enjoying his solitude, and along came this friendly person, who wanted to chat, and he didn’t, so he left to seek solitude elsewhere.

      Or it could be that he found you so smokin’ hot, he just HAD to go take a cold shower! ;-D

      I hope you stayed and enjoyed your soak.

    2. I’m not going to say it’s impossible that he got out of the hot tub because of your size. But I will say that if anyone got in the hot tub with me–if I was enjoying it alone (which I understand is an assumption I’m making, not necessarily the case), I probably would have gotten out just because I get weird around people I don’t know.
      For that reason, I think you’re a hero for putting on a bikini and getting in a hot tub with a stranger. Haha! 😀

      1. There were at least 2 others in there. I also posted photos of myself wearing said bikini on FB.

  9. I was not offended by this post, Ragen, but appreciate you updating it and, as a result, highlighting ways in which I am unaware of my privilege. Thank you for an excellent example of how to give an apology! You are the best!

    1. You’re also an example of how we can learn from our mistakes, as well as teaching others, so they don’t make the same mistakes!

      I much prefer to learn from other’s “hard way,” than to do it the hard way, myself.

      And yes, I had not at all considered the danger to these people, if police got involved. A lot depends on the local police force, of course. If the local police force has a high percentage of POC, then they should be more likely to be even-handed, right? Right? Also, the leadership of the local police force has a lot to do with it, as well. I have a friend who is a retired police officer, and she actually preferred to avoid certain counties in our state, simply because of the police leadership in those places. In fact, in one town, the police officers actually tried to frame her, because she was a woman who didn’t like being harassed, and that bent them out of shape. Crooked cops are a real thing. But other areas had good leadership, with officers who really did live the “serve and protect motto.” And other areas were a mixed bag, with good leadership, but lousy beat cops (including one notable partner who said, “It’s ten minutes till our shift ends. Let’s not bother to stop that guy shouting on the sidewalk and waving a machete.”). She told me that in her entire career, she never once shot her gun (not counting firing range). She was able to TALK to people. The point is – locality, and the people in charge in that locality, really does make a difference. Unfortunately, bad people tend to congregate, so it can go pretty bad, indeed.

      Nationwide, and on average, though, I must admit that POC have a more dangerous time of it, and I have no idea what the local situation is for these people. Odds are, they’re not really all that safe.

      Thanks for the reminder!

  10. I have been in this position, in a Wal-Mart to be exact. I had been living in a major city for a while and had dyed my hair blue. I had to return to my small southern home town due to an emergency with my mom.She was on a ventilator and we didn’t know if she was going to pull through. I had not slept in over 24 hours so I wasn’t being particularly observant as I trailed behind the family friend i was riding with. I did notice a thin blonde girl snickering with her friends. Imagine my fury when I woke up to see a photo of myself taken from behind on Facebook. She was primarily making fun of my hair color with a few snide comments about my size. She was planning to submit it to people of Wal-Mart. I only saw it because she happened to be on my cousins friends list because she attended his church and he commented saying he thought that was me .I was proud of my family that day. Many stood up for me that day,and someone pointed the post out to her mother. It was removed and an apology was posted along with them meeting me publicly to Apologize in person. Now having weird hair color is a fad here. Go figure.

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