Dear Readers Friends,
I was recently visited by a troll. From the safety of its internet cave, this mean-spirited creature attempted to publicly body-shame me, leaving a comment that said, "Honey, you aren't curvy...you are fat." This comment had nothing to do with my outfit of that day, nor did it offer any constructive observations or criticism. It was the internet equivalent of a playground bully, and I simply won't stand for it. Edited to add: I want to clarify that the commenter could have used any word. Being called fat didn't hurt my feelings. and I don't consider it an insult. What I found appalling wasn't the word used, but rather the intention behind it.
I put pictures of myself on the internet. I do. That does not mean that I am "asking for it" with regards to rude comments. I believe that the internet can offer a form of community - it is a medium in which people can share their experiences, insights, photos, jokes, pains, challenges, and more. Just like any community, a commonly understood set of behavioral guidelines helps us know how to appropriately respond in comments, forums, and other areas dedicated to conversation. Each blogger, as a host/hostess, may choose to give misbehaving visitors the boot by deleting their comments or even blocking their IP address. I know that I am not alone in my expectation that blog visitors should behave themselves just as they would if they were sitting in my living room. Name-calling and bullying are not acceptable. Nobody needs to hold a space for meanness in their real or virtual life.
This "...fat" comment, in particular, seemed intended to cause me shame. In our culture there continues to be a great deal of size-ism, and it is commonly understood that to call a woman fat is to devalue her. The "fat" label - most especially, perhaps, when applied to a woman who clearly is not fat - is a sure-fire way to ensure that a woman spend more time fretting about her figure than focused on her many gifts and even...gasp!...sharing them with the world.
Unless that woman is me.
I am not ashamed of my body. My body is strong, supple, and graceful. It is firm in some places, and soft in others. It rises to my demands (almost) without fail, whether I want to participate in a four-hour yoga workshop, make it through boot camp and two war zones, shimmy for two hours straight, make love with my husband, run for three miles, or stay up through the night with a woman in labor. My body is shaped in a way that screams "WOMAN!", and I'm finally, blessedly, okay with enjoying that.
I will not be shamed.
And I hope that you won't be, either. Show your body, and the world, your solidarity by displaying one of these badges on your blog, with a link back to this post. Let's paper the blogosphere with shame-free blogging on Friday, April 15 (that's this Friday!!!). Write a post in praise of your body, display the badge, and tell everybody that you will not be shamed. Share your pride in your body, name the parts that you love and appreciate. Thank your body publicly for everything it does for you. Inspire other people - of all shapes and sizes - to
Don't forget to link back to this post so that people will know how the shame-free movement was born!
A special thanks to my friend, Megan, for creating these badges for us.
P.s. Here's my post for Shame-free Blogging Day (April 15, 2011)