Virgie Tovar, a contributing writer and friend to Wear Your Voice, has recently received a great deal of criticism from fatphobic, predominantly conservative critics.
The University of Minnesota recently invited Virgie to talk about the politics of fatphobia and thin privilege in honor of International No Diet Day. Virgie’s talk, “Dispelling Myths: Fat, Fatphobia, and Challenging Social Stereotypes,” calls on people to challenge concepts of Eurocentric beauty standards and accessibility, and to think about how they benefit from any privilege they may have.
People do not always like to think about these things. They may react strongly, internalizing this message and inherent guilt as being “bad.” Rather than stepping back and thinking about it critically, they often retaliate through trolling and passive aggressive reporting.
On Wednesday, Fox News ran an article about Virgie’s talk. The writer (who doesn’t even appear to have attended the lecture) describes it in condescending tones, ending with, “No surprise, Tovar, who lists her occupation as ‘fat activist,’ has a Masters in Human Sexuality—with a focus on the ‘intersection of body size, race and gender’ — and taught at the University of California, at Berkeley, where that is considered an actual academic field of study.”
It brought the trolls out of the woodwork, both in the article’s comments section and on Twitter.
We commend Virgie for her incredible work. She sheds light on tough issues and does so with incredible warmth, humor, and compassion. Virgie has worked very hard for people of color and the fat and body positive communities. Activists like her are integral to becoming a society that no longer hurts and oppresses others. Voices like Virgie’s and her peers’ shed light on tough issues, help others own their self-loathing, and move beyond emotionally damaging behaviors. They also help create dialogue that advances policies to protect marginalized people from further discrimination and harm.
Get it, Virgie. We love and support you.