Fat Shame

So I had a very large unexpected response from my last post “4 big reasons you look fat in photographs.” With 450K + views, I felt pretty proud of my marketed title, but then instantly nervous that more than just my friends were reading this and seeing these (what I felt) God awful photos of myself posted up online. Oh well, hopefully it was helpful. I got a lot of positive responses but when the negative responses started coming in, I don’t think I was prepared for those. I had merely just posted something I wrote on Facebook for my friends and suddenly I had not just a few people getting on there to tell me ” Why don’t you put down the fork, then you wouldn’t be so fat” or “Women in the photos only look fat for one simple reason – THEY ARE” and another ” Why don’t you eat healthy and start exercising!” A WHOLE can of worms opened simply because of the word FAT. Maybe if I had titled it ” How to pose better for pictures” no one have had the balls to say those things. In fact, maybe then no one would have read it and I would have gone about my day. But they did and they in fact don’t know me. The “start exercising” comment made me laugh because I workout 4-5 times a week….maybe they meant I should be doing everyday? or the “put down the fork” commenter likely didn’t know that I suffered from bulimia from middle school through college and ruined my endocrine system. 
I largely disagreed that these comments where related to taking better pictures and they protested saying that standing ideling by was going to make us end up in some type of diabetic, atery clogged death. ” Are you telling me that you are not overweight?” one girl says ” I have a real problem with people not owning up to having agency over their own bodies” Assuming that I don’t ” I’m tired of our culture making excuses stating that we should love ourselves no matter what we look like, or how unhealthy we are. ” Now this is where it got interesting for me. That loving yourself somehow was tied to what you look like. That your value resides in your weight and your looks, not in your head or heart. I stand in complete opposition with this view as she continued ” I don’t think big is beautiful …So you go girl, you and your friends cheering your fat acceptance on.” She ended her comment. Burn.
Wow. At first I got mad and puffed up my defenses but that didn’t last because all my old triggers poured in. The mean words I used to tell myself, were swirling around in my mind while the tears hiding behind my eyes, I could no longer hold in.  I looked in the mirror and no matter how much confidence you have , it still hurts when someone calls you fat.  Having 10 people that day go at it telling me who they thought I was, really hurt. “I’m going to shut down my blog…” I thought for a millisecond but realized It’s the price of exposing yourself and making yourself vulnerable. ” Wow, this must be what it feels like the be a Kardashian (except they have millions of dollars to cry into.)” But when I stopped crying and put a layer of thick skin on, I was sad – but not for the same reason. This comment told me a lot about her and anyone else that felt the need to post something mean. I felt bad for them. I felt sad that a some point they felt like I did because someone else called them names or made them feel less than a person and that insecurity they now have has manifested in this type of poison. I felt sorry for them.
Some believed my post about how to look more flattering in pics was somehow a secret mission or reason to circumvent health bizarrely I don’t know the logic that goes into that. That skinny or fat, you can take a bad picture. That even if you are working on your fitness at SOME POINT you WILL take a picture. That no one waits until they are their ideal weight, to be in a picture. So how can it hurt to learn how to look better? But still the argument was simply put “Fat people need to know they are fat and someone needs to tell them!”  Now lets think about that. The conversation would go like this ” So you are telling me I’m fat , for my safety because you care? Wow how nice and kind of you. I shouldn’t have reacted defensively instead your ‘advice’ should have been appreciated, because I know that you – a complete stranger , really care about my well being.”
That makes sense ( if you can’t tell that’s dripping in sarcasm ).
Someone argued the fact with me that it should be socially acceptable to call someone fat because it would actually motivate them into better eating and working out. However the rest of us know, that isn’t true. Hurting self esteem only perpetuates the dysfunction, not improves it. How could this post about taking better pictures spike such an interest in people, feeling it was their duty to let me know I ( or anyone else) was fat? It brought out a much larger issue.
So lets turn the tables. Would it be socially acceptable for me to call you ( or anyone)  an idiot? It hold about the same insult weight in connotation. That your stupidity and ignorance is going to ultimately lead to your death and that your lack of REAL concern about people’s well being is largely whats more wrong with this country, a even further leading epidemic than obesity. Would that be ok? Would you feel like I cared for you, and that your best interest was at heart? NO . See how that works? It’s super convient to justify being incredibly rude to someone based on the fact that we lived brainwashed in a society that thinks ” fat hating” is ok. Well it’s not. Not for women, men , Hell I won’t even call my dog fat because it’s not nice.
Going back to the whole looks thing – Beauty and weight are largely separate. Society interprets it to be the same thing. I can think I’m beautiful and fat – because my weight holds no merit on my beauty and it shouldnt for anyone. People protesting that big women can’t be beautiful is simply ignorant. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and just because someone has been brainwashed by the industry to believe that weight and beauty are the same things doesnt make it true. I personally believe that someones INSIDES makes them beautiful and that is my right to decide just as it was the girls right to decide that big wasn’t beautiful to her – I can’t argue with that. But what I can argue with is that we are SO much more than what we are on the outside.
Now let me get existential real quick. We are all made of energy. We all have the same atoms that make up the matter, the vibrating energy that makes this bag of bones a person. A human with feelings that loves , feels, hurts. What is physical is merely a shell of our true beauty. What we wear, what we look like, has nothing to do with what is on the inside. Now what you look like can affect how you feel on the inside and I know that is why everyone is so consumed about how they look with good reason. But everyone has qualities on the inside that can make them extremely beautiful, healthy or attractive and or unattractive, unhealthy or ugly. You can be thin but a stressed out, high anxiety, vengeful mess and the fat girl happy eating her ice cream is going to be more beautiful. (Anyone seen Shallow Hal?” Some of the ugliest people I’ve encountered  I’ve never seen – but there words on a keyboard tells me more about their thoughts that lets me know exactly what they might look like on the inside.
You don’t know someone’s life from looking at them. It’s like looking at someones Instagram’s without acknowledging that they only post an edited version of their life. Be kind to people, because Karma can be a real bitch if you are.


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I am a photographer, a writer and a travel/fashion addict.

20 thoughts on “Fat Shame

  1. Great post! For me the most irritating part of the label “fat” is the relativity of it. Like when my girlfriend who’s a 5’2 and a size 8 calls her self fat, and makes comments like “my ass is too big to wear that”, as my 5’7 size 12 ass is standing right next to her, holding a similar style outfit. And I struggle with it all the time. Does intent matter? Does it hurt more or less from a stranger? Honestly, it doesn’t. I may bristle differently, but ultimately its filed away in my “societal norms” box as a reminder that no matter how pretty I am my size is just not acceptable. *le sigh*

  2. Awesome post! There will always be haters, whether you are skinny, “fluffy”, or just plain fat! I thought the post “4 big reasons you look fat in photographs” had a lot of good information no matter your size! Keep living large my friend!

  3. Oh wow ..how shallow has society become …that they only look at the packaging, and the day your earthly body disappears …i doubt we will be judged on how thin or fat we were …but rather how we treated our fellow man! And how empty is your life that you have to be a hater on the internet …..how sad!

  4. love the post!! You know whats funny, I would love to see the people leaving these mean comments I am sure their bodies are SO PERFECT. They are probably these loser faces that sit behind their computers and put people down all day because they are insecure about themselves.

  5. Don’t let them get to you! Beauty is from within, no matter how much you weigh, what you look like, if you’ve got plastic surgery or are missing limbs or the most beautiful person ever…it doesn’t matter. There’s so many people with huge hearts out there that are considered “ugly”, “fat”, “poor”, “short”…we could even get into race…

    But besides that…the main point here is (which is so sad), is that our society judges us on our image. It’s all about what other people think of you…I think if you’re truly confident and happy with yourself, it’s all about what YOU think is good for YOU, not anyone else. Who cares what other people think – if you’re happy with your own body, mind, and soul – you are golden, girl.

    Keep your head up and don’t give up!!!

  6. A cousin’s daughter in another country posted your photography tips article on Facebook. I was so impressed I signed up for your newsletter. After reading this last post I’m REALLY glad I did. What an inspiration you are! I had the complete opposite reaction to your photos. Namely, what a beautiful look she projects, what great fashion sense, I’d like to meet her! As someone who’s just lost 25 of the 75 lbs. I SHOULD lose, you are the perfect role model. Carry on, you are lovely just as you are. Thanks for sharing yourself with us!

  7. I’m so glad you’re sharing your energy, style, and beauty with us, Alea. People who want to shut others down and shame them are clearly in bondage to fear. The way you voice your power and rejection of fear is a huge encouragement to me, and to so many. I am for you, and for your truth. Thank you for the gift your voice and your badass blog!

  8. Alea, I luved ur article. It totally made sense to me about camera angles. I understand ur hurt and frustration with comments. Believe me, I’ve seen so many ugly comments since Nikki has been on The Bachelor. What is wrong with some people? They hide behind their keyboards and say mean things but would never have the guys to say the same thing to your face. Rise above. Take the high road. Pray for those who judge. ( they cant see cuz of the log in their own eye ) you are doing a good thing with your haute girl blog.

    1. Thank you Jen! I bet! You guys def know what that’s like. I wish you guys the best 🙂 you and your family are such sweet people 🙂

  9. To me, the term “fat” is laced with hate. You aren’t denying your body size or shape in this blog, you instead are celebrating it! You are owning your body and your beauty and using that term ONLY to subvert the negativity the word has! You are living breathing proof that beauty is more than size, shape, or height. It’s about being connected to your identity and celebrating yourself. It’s about being kind but assertive, and honouring others while still honouring yourself. Let the haters hate. You are bigger (yay!) and better than that! Keep inspiring, girl! X

  10. A lot of people identify as “fat” as a way of increasing visibility and body acceptance, but it’s not a term you should ever impose on others. I’ve never really figured out if I’m “fat” or not. I’ve been called chubby by strangers online. If I say anything about my weight, my friends cock their heads and carefully say that I “look . . . fine” the way I am. As a former ED sufferer, these comments can very easily shatter me if I choose to let them, and boy is it hard to deflect that kind of cruelty. Thanks for writing about this. I like your blog a lot.

  11. I just found your blog today while I was trying to search for fashion blogs by people who don’t look like they starve themselves. I saw your post about the tips on how to not look fat in photos and I thought the tips were awesome! So thank you for that. I’m a size 4 and in pictures I look at least 2 sizes bigger because I’m just not photogenic at all and have no clue how to work different angles. So I don’t really find absolutely anything wrong with your title! Thank you for having a blog that shows that you can be curvy and still look awesome like you! Thank you for having the confidence to stand up to the idiotic comments people bravely post anonymously. We need more bloggers like you and blogs like yours. I will definitely be coming back to your blog!

  12. I read the photo tips first and then read this article as well. First, let me say that I really appreciated the picture posing tutorial! My weight has always been a struggle for me; through high school I was often mocked because of my size and even after losing about 50 pounds, the same people still picked on me. It doesn’t seem to really matter how much a person weighs or what they look like; the people who truly care will be kind and see beauty. People who are mean, will be mean, regardless of a person’s size and shape. If they weren’t mocking the physical appearance, they’d find something else to belittle. It certainly shows a person’s character in how they treat others.

    Second, don’t listen to the haters. Honestly, the definition of what is considered “beautiful” changes depending on the culture, the people, the time frame, etc. My grandmother and aunt (both large women) went to Germany and Ireland for a vacation and the men there flocked to them, telling them how beautiful they were and how they loved curvy women. In the United States, if you’re a size 5 but your thighs touch, someone will probably call you obese and you’ll get made fun of for being fat; in the U.S., “beautiful” people are the ones who’s bones stick out everywhere because they’re so scrawny. Back in the 50’s, western society (as a whole, there is always an exception) appreciated a curvy woman; today, they want a stick with clothes on.

    “Beauty” is constantly changing; while I do think that everyone should do their best to take care of themselves, you never know if someone else is working hard on their body or not. People used to say the same things to me about needing to “work out” more and eat better; during high school, I cut my food intake down to one meal a day (if that), played a vigorous sport every season, and conditioned for hours a day in the gym; I never lost a pound until I was later diagnosed with some medical issues and took measures to control them. People who make comments about “taking responsibility” for a person’s weight must have never experienced weight gain as a medical issue. I’m not saying slack off or expect a pill to fix all your problems; however, there are hosts of legitimate medical reasons for weight gain and the inability to lose, as I found out in my own case.

    Beauty is not defined, as you pointed out, by the physical appearance. I have seen some “physically beautiful” people, by today’s standards, that were so nasty and ugly inside that they appeared physically unattractive after only a few seconds. The opposite is also true. A person that smiles sweetly, treats others with kindness, is helpful and honest, and is loving will look beautiful regardless of the outward appearance. It completely blows me away that someone would have mean comments about your appearance and lifestyle without even meeting you.

    You seem like a lovely lady, physically and otherwise, from what I’ve read from you thus far and how you have handled this situation. I hope you keep writing and are able to blow off those other people who were so hateful. Beauty is what’s in your heart and your actions, not how much you weigh. And thank you for the photography tips!

    ***I apologize of the length of this post and any mistakes; I edited a lot and then ran out of time!***

  13. BRAVO! I was one of many who loved your post about looking better in photos, used the tips at my wedding, and shared it with friends. It saddens me that fat-hating seems to be the only acceptable prejudice left. What is also interesting is your comment about the industry dictating beauty. If you look back in history, voluptuous women were the ideal. Fertility statues depicted super curvy what we’d deem obese women. Even in the 1800s, women were wearing bustles, corsets or hoops under their skirts to give themselves hourglass figures. It wasn’t until the 1920s when male designers began influencing womens’ fashions and since many of the fashion designers were gay, their ideal body type leaned less toward T&A and more toward an androgynous young male. Hence the shift toward straight hips, no boobs, etc. which also allowed their clothes to hang better. It’s also interesting to note the difference between what men used to find sexually attractive like the girls in Playboy versus those in Vogue. So, one can’t help but wonder why so many women are trying to starve themselves to the point their bodies resemble teenage boys…and why so many straight men are finding that look attractive now? Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get a lot of hateful comments about what I’ve written here too (which is why I won’t even be paying attention!) but I had to applaud you and let you know I admired what you wrote!

    1. There’s no need to direct hate towards petite women, either. Bodily acceptance is about letting women be comfortable in their skin no matter the size. Let’s not turn the sizes against each other. And perpetuating the “starve themselves” thought process is just as wrong/incorrect as the “go to the gym” thoughts about larger women.

      Be yourself. Be happy. And let others do the same. 🙂

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