Musing from the Bread Cafe.
Fat shaming in the land of reading.
I’m not a fan.
And I am trying really hard to remember when it’s my place to speak up, join in with the pitchforks and torches. Most of the time I don’t have a dog in the fight, and the fight isn’t one that needs my rallying cry. I’m talking about all the “drama” that likes to stir shit up.
Sometimes I don’t want to provide even negative publicity to an incident, so I take myself, do my action, and walk away from the social media posts.
But a lot lately has been showing up and squatting in my path. And while I can take my toys and walk around it, sometimes that’s not gonna work out.
An industry cover model went on a rant fat shaming the world at large, and his clientele. When he said (paraphrasing here), “it’s all just lame ass excuses don’t tell me why you’re fat shut up,” I took him off my covers. I unfriended and unfollowed. Yes, I know he already has my money, so I’m just “hurting” my wallet by recovering. No, I’m saying my characters who have body dysmorphic issues, or weight issues deserve more respect from a picture that represents them.
I didn’t say much (at the time), didn’t announce I was recovering my books, and recreating promo materials, I just did it. Several other cover models spewed similar vitriol, and I hunted their profiles down and made note that those faces would never be on my books.
A few weeks go by and a reader sends a message to an author that they couldn’t meet her at an event because she (the author) had gotten so fat. The reader then proceeded to give this author dieting advice. My blood boiled. How f&&**ing dare that reader shame her for not looking a specific way. So, of course, I had to look up who this author was, and send a message of support. It didn’t matter to me what this author looked like.
I was shocked when I saw what the author looked like. From the post, I had formed a certain look in my head and I expected to see someone my size. She was slightly thinner than average. Read that again: a person with a slightly smaller than average sized body was fat shamed.
I did post a message of solidarity for the author, because …
so many reasons, where do I even begin?
Rude much? Not any of that reader’s business? If that’s fat, I don’t even what to know what they would say about or to me.
And that’s the big one right there: If someone feels they can shame an average sized author for not appearing to meet some random personal fitness standards, what the hell is going to happen when I show up?
I’m fat. Big, large, plus sized. Have been most of my life.
And before anyone says by showing up, and living, and not hiding in a hole that I’m somehow promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, that’s some serious bullshit right there.
My health, my struggle, or my acceptance of my size is not out there as some excuse for consumption. I do not need to share my A1C numbers so that readers can decide if they want my books or not. My books are not about me. If they were they would be memoirs, and they aren’t. And if they were, all the heroines would be BBW redheads and all the heroes would have rocker-long black hair, they don’t.
Fat shaming, and all hate needs to go away. That shit is not cool. It is not the last acceptable prejudice that people can roll out, because it is not acceptable.
I’ve been stewing and thinking about whether I was going to post this or not, because it’s personal. How much am I willing to expose? How big of a dog do I have in this fight?
My dog is pretty big, and while I may not get online and rant and rave, I will be quietly in the back, slashing tires, and undermining the foundations in other ways.
Learning to be unapologetically one’s self is hard enough as it is. Shamers need to take a lesson from Thumper: If you can say anything nice, keep your trap shut!