Ben Leander Willgruber | Visual Designer and Writer

I have been fat-shamed and this is my response.

Some details of this story were changed to ensure anonymity.
The situation you are about to read is told the way I remember it. 

Out of nowhere, you told me that you hoped I don’t take my shirt off. I was a little perplexed and thought you were talking about me lifting up my shirt before injecting insulin. You made it clear that you weren’t. You were trying to make a joke that’s it’s awful seeing me shirtless. What a laugh. I answered that there are other people around who were not wearing shirts and you responded ‘Well, they’re in better shape than you are.’

My mind went blank for a second and I had to ask myself if that had just really happened. I didn’t know what to say, so all I answered was that how I look is none of your business. And also, that I would consider what you just said fat-shaming. Then, I shut up, acted as if everything were normal and became depressed. If I am being fat-shamed that means I am fat, right?

I have had body image issues most of life. 

If you’re interested, you can read up about that in my article ‘I feel pretty if you don’t tell me otherwise’. There, I also wrote that, for the first time in a long period, I finally found myself more attractive again after losing about 40 pounds. Christmas happened after that, so I might not be in my very very best shape. That shouldn’t matter to anyone else though.

I strongly believe that everyone can be beautiful, no matter what size.

And I hate that there are still people out there who think otherwise. People who believe that being proud of your body or being naked is a privilege for slim people. I just can’t. This comment hurt me a lot, even if it was meant as just a joke. This situation reminded me of when one of my former employers told me that my way of dressing was inappropriate for the workplace. I don’t get it. I’m not wearing a leather harness or walk around bare, so why should my fashion style matter? I am not complaining about having to see your face either.

It is my right to be as dressed or undressed as I want to be (as it is appropriate in a situation). A right that everyone’s supposed to have. Sad that there are people out there who do their part to make people who don’t fit the standards of our society feel like shit. In a good world, these people would feel like shit.

xoxo2

Ben

 

P.s.: The person later apologized after he/she realized how deeply hurtful it was to me. Still, I wanted to share my thoughts on the situation.

Suggested further reading:
The Truth behind my Weight Loss
I feel pretty if you don‘t tell me otherwise
Why Must Fat Shaming Stop by Julie de Rohan
Fat Shaming. Shame on Us. by Richmond Road

Title photo courtesy of ModCloth

9 thoughts on “I have been fat-shamed and this is my response.

  1. I’m literally not even-ing.
    I fat shame myself, and that’s my issue. Given that attention, I’m ok not hearing anyone else’s opinion of my body – good or bad.
    But in all honesty, I’ve been known to look at a overly fit physique and say, “What else have you accomplished?” so I’m hardly innocent in the shame-exchange.

    1. In all honesty though, I can relate to asking someone that a lot more than shaming someone for how they look. I’m not innocent in any way as well. Let’s just say I’m not the most positive person there is and something I let my negative thoughts and feelings out too. I guess everyone has the inner or outher voice of shame in them and lots of it has to do with being jealous of something we ourselves don’t have. We have to keep in mind that what we say might have major consequences to the person we say it too, however.

  2. Hypocrites.
    I was just thinking about people who just like making others miserable. Some are just content with you doing your job. Some want you to do your job AND be miserable in the meantime.

    1. I think in this particular instance with my job it was more that the employer didn’t understand how to properly treat his employees and how not to be offensive. I don’t think he wanted us to be miserable but he didn’t understand what kind of expectations are appropriate at the work place and which ones are more of an invasion of personal decisions and privacy. It not being the intend doesn’t make it better though.

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience and also for the link to my post. Although, understandably, you felt depressed after such a shaming experience, I really liked your response to the other person’s insensitivity. Finding your voice in such an awful moment is difficult for many people – they’re often left diminished and silenced, and unable to speak up in the way you did.

    1. Of course! I really liked your article and felt it was a good idea to include it for people who want to further educate themselves on the topic.
      I hope you’re right but in some way I feel like I didn’t speak up the way I now wish I had. I mostly went silent as well (except for confronting that person later and writing this post) because I didn’t wanna cause drama and make a scene. Now, I feel like it might’ve been better to put myself first and talk it out immediately – even if that meant exposing the hurtful comments in front of other people who were present.
      Anyway, thank you very much for your feedback!

  4. There are some who care nothing about being friendly or polite and instead remain as evil and judgmental as they are able. Forget them and be yourself – and proud of who you are. None of us are perfect. Good post! Naked hugs!

    1. Very true! Even worse, there are many people out there who just don’t realise how hurtful their casual shame, homophobia, racism, etc. are. I can accept that all of us make mistakes but I wanted to speak up just to remind people how a comment like this might affect the other one.
      So thanks for the feedback and the hug! 🙂

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