As a fat activist by far the biggest advice I’ve been given when trolled is something that sounds a-lot like the following ‘Make sure you’re taking breaks from social media’, ‘You should turn off the Instagram honey when it gets too much’ and ‘You should take care of you by switching off’. It’s so prevalent as advice for those who are fat trolled that I’ve even given it to other fat people. I’ve said through support and hugs that indeed YOU should take a break, YOU should switch off and YOU should ignore those idiots
BUT What happens when you realise that by switching off social media and the trolling by association you also lose those ever important connections to your fat people, your fat community and your fat life line which doesn’t exist for most of us IRL.Australian Fat Activist @iamdaniadriana
I’ve done a bit of thinking of why this response of ‘Taking Breaks’ sounds a-lot like victim blaming. See for those of us who are trolled rather than supporting our experiences with all well intentions you’re telling us to not only suffer through the pain but also silence our voices further. The death threats, rape threats and fat phobia comments in isolation seem like just one angry man baby in a basement but when those comments are repeated for days, months and years we don’t feel like it’s isolated. We feel the weight of fat phobia on our shoulders and a constant reminder that our safe spaces aren’t safe because our bodies aren’t safe. We can’t simply switch off because our community of fat positivity sometimes only explicitly exists online.
While I don’t have the definitive answer to end fat trolling, the best come back for every situation or indeed how to effectively communicate the pain of being told to ‘Switch off’ when we deserve to still be included in online discourse here are 5 actions that won’t ease our pain BUT will perhaps be able to make you move through the very valid pain you feel and find your people.
1. Find your People or Person because not all fat positivity nuance is created equal!
When I am swamped with trolling online, experiences of fat phobia or microaggressions that make me want to drop kick every Tom, Dick & Harry I find there are two groups people I have to turn to in the fat positivity sphere. People who get the nuance of fat phobia and the fat experience and people who just don’t. It’s easy to say that only other Fat people will get your experience but truth be told we are all at different levels of unpacking our fat phobic marination.
Basically find the people you don’t need to re-educate, continually re-explain or for don’t offer the only advice that is along the chorus of ‘Just take a break’.Australian Fat Activist @iamdaniadriana
It’s not because they aren’t great people and deserve space in your life but I guarantee those times when you are devastated at the treatment of fat people in the world and your own very real experience of this in play – those people won’t get the grey area of your pain. They will want to keep you safe but the People or Person who GETS your experience might not be able to solve the pain you’re going through but they will also not give you some useless ‘Just love yourself and Ignore the haters’ bullshit because you can love yourself to high heavens but repeated micro-aggression’s are rage inducing and you deserve people who GET that.
2. Break some shit, literally.
Remember how I said I don’t have the answers to solve all this shit? Well yeah that’s still true but as someone who doesn’t process anger very successfully and usually moves from anger to sadness WAY too quickly. I find breaking shit (like a whole bunch of plates I brought on the cheap) is extremely cathartic. Will it solve fat phobia? nope!
BUT it makes me remember that this shit is valid and that energy I get out brings me some sort of peace that only occurs when you turn rage into energy. So smash shit up.Australian Fat Activist, iamdaniadriana
3. Talk about it, Complain about it, Demand people come up with better answers than ‘Switch off’!
Should you sometimes take social media breaks as not to completely combust in regard to the fact that the world is on fire? SURE but have you been fed that the answer to on-going bullshit of fat treatment online be ‘Switch off’ than that’s bullshit. Why? well because a-lot of us fatties are feeling this dismissal, this lack of speaking out, this idea that if we don’t like it ‘well then stop putting yourself out there’. How about this, How about the magic of the internet find better ways of protecting us? How about other thin people who don’t have this marginalization of fatness take on our pain and report the dickheads constantly, every day and ask Instagram to do fucking better?
How about we get to scream and bitch about our daily occurrence of this bullshit and how ‘Ignore the haters’ IS a dismissal of our experience?Australian Fat Activist, iamdaniadriana
Even if it is some sad bastard on the other end of the comment it is a real human doing this to us. This is all of our problem. If you’re anti-diet culture prove it, solve the problem and don’t make us silent. Also understand that a-lot of people still blame the treatment we receive as fat people simply because we have the ‘ability’ to lose weight. That response is bullshit and tag me in that shit I’m ready to tell them to eat all the dicks.
4. Ask a thin friend to log on to your account to block, delete REPEAT!
God bless my dear friend Megan, she will log in when I need it and read through every god damn comment section of my content and block, delete repeat. One of the biggest things I hate is when people say ‘Oh just block and delete them’ well I still have to read every fucking awful comment Susan. Find a thin friend ask if they wouldn’t mind doing a block, delete spree. Saves you reading, helps them become a better ally. Win/ Win!
5. Acknowledge your pain in therapy, counselling or in a space with a professional.
Validation of this pain is needed and processing of this pain is needed. While not everyone can afford or can find a fat positive mental health
professional they do exist and you deserve to have that pain validated and heard. You deserve spaces dedicated to your processing of microaggressions.
Also for those who are thin allies and reading this the biggest tip I can give you is not to try to understand our experience. Simply listen, hug (if consented) and stop telling us to take breaks, god-dammit!Australian Fat Activist, iamdaniadriana