In light of recent heinous acts of Fat Phobia I have decided to discuss the reason what I don’t want to further highlight such fat shaming internet campaigns and diatribes.

While I do believe that recent internet hatred in the form of Fat Phobia has been brutally illuminating of the current state of affairs to some (i.e. those with thin privilege) I also know deeply and personally how painful it has been for many (namely: fat people). Normally, I jump on the chance to shed light on social structures upholding and spreading Fat Phobia, however, I’ve since realized when dealing with internet trolls I feel much more cautious and protective when it transitions into the realm of giving these internet haters more free publicity than their content would ever be worth.

[RELATED POST: Ultimate Guide to Understanding Fat Phobia]

{Language Defined: “Thin Privilege,” refers to the advantages of existing in a thinner body in current society (as compared to the oppression that is experienced when living in a fat body}. 

 

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(screen shots from google.com)

 

On that note, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by my WYV team to think of other reasons why I don’t feed the trolls – even though they are perpetually starving! Here are 5 great ones I could think of:

 

1.  They are exactly like those pesky seagulls at the beach who cry out for more crumbs even if you’ve just tossed them an entire slice of bread from your favorite sandwich!

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(image credit: Andrés Suárez García)

Imagine, if you will, that you’re sitting in peaceful solace on your most favorite beach – at just your ideal temperature with a delicious amount of sunlight. Let’s call this place your body positive bliss beach, for example. Now, just as you’re settling down to devour your most favorite sandwich of all time, let’s call it the “self-love sandwich,”  one hungry looking seagull traipses by, gazing on longingly at that sandwich in your firm grasp. Suddenly, your fingers begin to loosen a little and you feel some sort of obligation to feed said seagull (despite the fact that you are on a beach lush with mussels and crabs galore of course). You toy with the idea of just enjoying your own food for a moment, but then some serious seagull screaming ensues and you cave. First you throw some bits of crusts, and suddenly the sky fills with seagulls wanting more and more of of that sandwich. Let’s face it, neither a crumb nor a slice of bread (or even the whole loaf for that matter) would satisfy the seagulls – it merely makes them multiply in number and amplify in sound. Have you hopefully caught the analogy jumping out of my subtext here?! The trolls are here to devour all the self-love you have gathered in your own personal body positive space, and it’s up to you to deny them access to the most sacred spaces of your soul. 

 

2. It is a personal boundary, which I’ve created for myself to filter out targeted negativity and bigotry designed to make me question myself.

I believe that womyn have been taught from birth to have no true boundaries, to perpetually say yes lest they feel badly for saying no, and to serve as the empathically attuned intuitives for those unable to fully feel themselves. However, I know the importance of asserting one’s personal boundaries from learning through personal experiences of allowing myself to have none for many years. You can choose to perceive this boundary however makes you most comfortable, but it helps me to imagine that it creates a bubble encapsulating my self-love, which doesn’t ever seep out no matter how many holes are poked in it by others.

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(image credit: Robert Emmerich)

3. Their egos grow with every “thumbs down” or “like” – any and every buzz of attention they receive creates inflation. 

 Seriously though, some trolls are actually truly mentally unwell individuals who may better benefit from a round of therapy than an online anger ranting response from you. It’s a simple cost/benefit equation in my eyes at this point, and while you may feel you owe your community something, you actually owe these haters nothing. At the end of the day you have to do what feels right to you and sustainable to your body. There just may be those times that responding to a “troll” is actually more of a healing process for yourself than anything to do with them, so I would never be one to judge somebody else’s personal process. 

4. Feeding into the hate fueled fire actually creates more visibility for their platform, which undoubtedly has near-religious cult-like followers.

Not only will the trolls’ egos soar, so too will their social media fan base, most likely. Let’s face it, America loves cold, hard controversy – in fact, our capitalistic society quite often thrives off of it!

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5. Draining one’s own personal energy (and spoons) is simply not worth it!

It’s true, I would rather channel that energy productively into the Body Positive #FuckFatPhobia work that I’m already engaging deeply in. Perhaps you can allow the trolls to re-ignite or further deepen a passion of yours that has already existed – or maybe they will spark a new one. Whatever it may be, allow your voice to be heard proud and authentic, as an agent for social justice, rather than only the initial reaction of anger and retaliation (of course totally understandable, but must be harnessed intentionally). 

 

 Of course my ideas on trolls exist completely within the unique vacuum that is cyberspace. I do firmly believe that if given the chance for an interpersonal interaction with said troll/s in real life, you should always be able to wear your voice for what you believe in. Humyn interaction beyond what’s happening behind our screens, may seem to be decreasing in value rapidly, however I know it’s true power, and firmly believe in all of our readers harnessing that type of pure intellectual magic. 

Featured image: Flickr user david reid via Creative Commons

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