Fat Shaming Body Builder Didn’t Mean It?

My Best Friend Kelrick got this figurine for me in a little shop in Astoria, Queens. Sadly I don’t know the artist.
Body Builder Diana Andrews (whose Instagram says that she is part of UKBFF  – UK Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation) apparently has some trouble focusing during her workouts. She secretly took pictures of another gym member, then took to Instagram to fat shame her to her 17,000+ followers.

She took a picture from behind the woman, who was working out on a treadmill, and digitally wrote “Love Handles” across it. Then she posted a second time, saying “I bet she’s ordering [burger emojis] for delivery.” (No, I’ll not be posting the picture here, and I don’t think other people should either.  It was taken without permission, I’m not going to add to that.)

Let’s start with the unhelpful responses:

Putting Diana Andrews Down

Nope.  The answer to body shaming is not body shaming.  How Diana Andrews looks has nothing to do with it.  What she did would be wrong no matter how she looks.

You Shouldn’t Shame Fat People When They Are At The Gym

Nope Nope. You shouldn’t shame fat people.  Not if they are working out on a treadmill, not if they are eating pizza they had delivered to the hot tub.  We talked about this already – it’s never ok.

That Girl She Was Shaming Wasn’t Even That Fat

Nope Nope Nope.  The thing is that if someone is being shamed, stigmatized, bullied etc. for being fat, and we say “they aren’t fat” or they aren’t even that fat”  in their defense, what we are also saying is that there is a size at which they would deserve that treatment, and that’s just not true.

My suggested response (choose your own profanity adventure)

“Wow, that was extremely (fucked/screwed/jacked/messed) up! You should not have done that.  You need to apologize immediately and face some consequences for your actions.”

After people rightly went the hell off on her for her utterly inappropriate Dani Mathers impression, she published the following “apology”

“I am writing to express my sincere apologies for my actions. I realised that I was wrong to make this silly joke. It wasn’t my intention to body shame, hurt, or disrespect anyone. Thank you guys for all your messages and continued support.”

Wow, if she managed to be this body shaming, hurtful and disrespectful without trying, she’s obviously a natural. And let me just ask this – if it HAD been her intention to body shame, hurt, or disrespect anyone, what would she have done differently?  I am so very over these fake ass apologies.

What should happen now?

Here are some ideas that I have for consequences:

Her gym should revoke her membership – obviously people aren’t safe with her there.

No other gym should allow her to join for at least 6 months. She needs to learn the joys of working out at home for a while where she can take all the secret pictures she wants of her cats or whatever.

She could be sanctioned by UKBFF  – miss a meet or two. And it would be great if they could come out publicly against fat shaming.

People could unfollow her.  She took a picture without the subject’s permission for the express purpose of fatshaming a stranger in front of her 17k+ instagram followers. She fat-shamed the woman, then she doubled down, then she non-apologized.  I’ll bet that those 17k people could find a better role model.

If you have other ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Regardless, let’s be crystal clear that she is absolutely wrong.

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20 thoughts on “Fat Shaming Body Builder Didn’t Mean It?

  1. I don’t know the legal situation in the United States but in the European Union this is illegal, so there could be legal ramifications too. At the least she should be informed about this. It is part of the copyright legislation, and called portrait rights. The person on a photo needs to give permission for publication and in this case that obviously was not given or even asked. Do you know whether this is the case in US law?

  2. I originally saw the post on Tess Holiday’s Facebook, and your title mimics my response. She “wasn’t trying to body shame?” Then what the fuck was she trying to do? I hate their half assed apologies when they get caught.

  3. If she did it once, she’ll do it again. So no gym is safe from her exploitation. Hopefully gym goers at all establishments will quit their membership should they find she’s a member.

    She may have signed a gym membership agreement that prohibits members from doing what she did. In which case, I hope legal action is taken against her-both criminal and civil.

  4. “I realised that I was wrong to make this silly joke.”

    If someone could point out where this alleged joke took place, I’d appreciate it. Right now all I’m seeing is some creep exploiting another person’s body (sans permission) for their own promotion and amusement.

  5. Anyone know the name of the gym? I could imagine a flood of email/phone/ contacts and/or social media criticism could motivate them to take action against this morally-unfit person. Big arm and leg muscles are useless, IMO, if your heart and brain are atrophied

  6. not her intention to fat shame, huh? then why the hell did she take a pic and make commentary? Blatant bullshit, and yeah, not her business. I don’t get why people do that stupid crap. It reminds me of what I had to tell some high schooler one time who tried their best to make my day hell to impress their friends. he came in and apologized the next day (in private, after two teachers heard him bragging about what he did–they told me). I told him “No, you’re not. You’d do it again in a moment and you know it. If they had to tell you to apologize, you don’t mean it. Don’t insult someone like that.” He blinked at me in shock. We’re patterned to believe that if we apologize, it’s the end of it. But if it’s coerced or pointed out, does it mean anything? No. So don’t apologize unless it’s sincere. Saying it doesn’t mean shit otherwise.

    1. Yeah, that’s kind of like the “Forgive me for cheating on you; the affair didn’t mean a thing” bit that some people do.

      My question – If it didn’t mean a thing, why did you bother with it, knowing the consequences to a relationship which apparently DOES mean a thing? Or does “it didn’t mean a thing” mean that the other relationships means literally less than nothing, in the negative numbers, meaning actual hatred? Did you do it ON PURPOSE just to screw up the relationship?

      A forced apology is not a real apology any more than an “Oops! I got caught!” apology is.

      It certainly was her intention to fat shame. What was not her intention was to get called out and face consequences for it.

      If she had posted the picture of the fat woman exercising, with a caption such as “I’m so proud of her,” it would have been fat-shaming, but at least she could actually claim some ignorance as to HOW it was fat shaming. But “Love Handles”? NOPE. No question about that one. Not at all.

      1. That is such a good question. Before my daughter came out she was married and her husband cheated on her at least 5 times of. Every time he would beg and say “she meant nothing to me.” But then when my daughter came out he claimed that he cheated because he’d known she was a lesbian. Well, which was if?

  7. I think this secret picture taking crap is quite common. And although I wish I were tough enough to just not let it bother me it does. It is the main reason I have never felt comfortable at a gym or swimming pool. I love to swim but will only do so in my friend’s private pool. This type of body shaming is awful. People are made fun of while working out and while not working out. There is never a break from it.

  8. Ah the age of me looking at you, ha ha ha and I’ll post it on the internet. Bullying used to be on the block now it is global.. BUT she didn’t mean it, aw I feel so much better. If she hadn’t been called on it would have have (regretted getting caught) not meant to make a “silly Joke”. Silly? The woman may have trouble finding clothing flats, dates real friendships, adequate medical care and decent treatment from fellow human beings. She may be compromised by persons who do mean to shame, blame, harm and publicly (globally) humiliated her from one end of her life to the other, but you was only foolin’. Grow up and grow a soul you self involved bigoted grown up school yard bully! Or apply for a job on a US fat hating show, I heard there is an opening… Ha ha funny huh? I didn’t mean it.

  9. I had a student boarding with me who’d say the most hurtful things, then end with a ” just kidding”. The first time I told her it wasn’t on. The second time I caught her, I just looked at her and said ” Baseball, strike 2″. 3rd time (she was always shocked at getting caught) I told her to find another place to live. I like people too much to have bs around.

    1. Good for you! Way to stand up for yourself and the people who live with you, and have to share the house with a “just kidding” person.

      Home should be a haven, where you can escape all the cruelty in the world, and you made that happen in yours!

  10. Woah, it gets better.

    Ms. Andrews claims she made her comments because the person on the treadmill had the audacity to be “on her phone” on the treadmill.

    I’ve seen people read books on the treadmill at the gym. People watch TV all the time on the machines or listen to music.

    What a ridiculously hollow, back-tracking excuse.

    That lady is most certainly not a lady. I’ve stepped in deeper puddles of sincerity on my dad’s farm.

    1. If her comment had anything whatsoever to do with phones, or even ears, then maybe, MAYBE, she’d have a point.

      But “love handles” has nothing to do with being on the phone, even if being on the phone was wrong, which it isn’t.

      I mean, come on. If you’re going to scramble for some excuse, at least make it vaguely realistic.

      I love your “puddles of sincerity,” too.

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