Friday, 2 December 2016

Fatphobia Claims Another Life

Bully Free ZoneToday’s blog is pretty intense – content warning for discussion of bullying, harassment, and suicide.

Brandy Vela sent her sister Jackie a text that said “”I love you so much, please remember that, and I’m sorry for everything.” Then she took her own life.

Brandy was the victim of cyberbullying.  According to Jackie:

“People would make up fake Facebook accounts and they would message her and she wouldn’t respond and they would still come at her…They would say really, really mean things like, ‘Why are you still here?’ They would call her fat and ugly. She was beautiful, absolutely beautiful; the only thing people could find to pick on her was her weight.”

Jackie says her sister changed her phone number and reported the bullying to police, but was told they couldn’t help her.

“They couldn’t do anything because [the suspects] used an app and it wasn’t traceable and they couldn’t do something until something happened, like they fight,” Jackie said.

This is a story that far too many fat people on the internet know far too well.  Anonymous cowards who use the tools that the internet provides, and the fact that laws haven’t caught up with technology, to do things online that would be illegal if they did them in person, or even using traditional mail.

If you’re one of these bullies and you’re reading this, know that you killed Brandy Vela.  You have blood on your hands and it will never, ever wash off.  Walk away from this now, find someplace to hang out other than online hate forums, find something to do that isn’t mistreating fat people. You can walk away, and you should.

If you are the victim of these people, please know that you are not the problem – they are. You are fine, your body is fine, you do not deserve this – you never did, and you never will.

Friends and family are honoring Brandy’s life: Post-it Notes filled with loving words cover her bedroom, and blue hearts are tapes all over the hallways in her school.

I’d like to suggest another way to honor all of those who have been victims of cyberbullying. When you see trolls online putting fat people down, trying to keep us from living the lives we want, trying to keep us from telling our stories and creating community, trying to make sure that we can’t even exist in the world for a moment without constant shame, stigma, bullying and harassment, remember that while it’s easy to write them off as sad and pathetic (and they certainly are both) they are also something else – they are murderers. Brandy is sadly not the first or last to fall prey to them, and we should hold them accountable.

Stories like Brandy Vela’s break my heart.

Casualties of the

horribly conceived and horrifyingly conducted “war on obesity” and the cyberbullies who all too eagerly enlist themselves in the  army of hate.

If you are a fat person, know that you are amazing. In the face of a crushing amount of bullying and stigma, in the face of the government recruiting our friends, families, and employers to fight a war against us, in spite of the intense oppression that tries its best to crush us, that we keep living our lives is a testament to our incredible strength.

And yes, it’s ok to be fat.  And if they want a “war on obesity” then we will damn well give them one. And know that you can’t be strong all the time so if you are feeling low – if you fear that you may become a casualty of this war – reach out around the fatosphere, and let’s be here for each other.

In a world where waking up as a fat person and not hating ourselves is considered an act of rebellion, I’m proud to be a rebel. In a world where refusing to spend all of my time , money and energy trying to manipulate my body size is considered a crime against society, I’m proud to be a criminal. In a world where loving my body is an act of revolution, I’m proud to be a revolutionary.

Fuck the trolls, fuck the cyberbullies, and fuck the “war on obesity.” Live loud and proud my fellow fat people, because we are nothing short of extraordinary.

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