Yesterday was a rough day for my Facebook Feed in terms of Body Positivity.
First, was the new viral thread of “Wal*Mart Shaming” pictures. This bothered me for two reasons:
- If you are a fat person of limited means, it’s not easy to find clothes that fit well. You can get kinda lucky if you are 2x or smaller. If you are over 2x, it is almost impossible to find clothes that would not get your shamed in pictures, even at Wal*Mart. So, laughing at what these people are wearing is really acknowledging and finding humor in what is a real social problem for people of different body types.
- The fat people or not, the rest of the posts are people who are dressing to their particular style, which may or may not conform to societal norms. I get it that for people who have not “woken up” to an enlightened mindset that a man in denim shorts and pink heels could be funny. Do I find this funny? Absolutely not.
Secondly, there was a meme that has started making the rounds. It is of a fat couple, laying face down, cuddling in a bed. When I first saw this picture, I smiled. It reminded me of my husband and I, and how blissful we are after we… yea…..
But, then I saw the caption, “This could be us, but we don’t get enough food stamps.”
- I’m not sure I can articulately explain why I am incredibly offended by the connection between being fat and being on social assistance. I feel like this hit at the heart of the misconception that being fat is all about being lazy, and unwilling to do any hard work. I don’t know. It just really pissed me off.
- Why does an image of two fat people doing something that straight sized people do everyday have to come with a negative connotation? I’m really tempted to remake this meme, into something more positive.
The biggest frustration I had with both of these posts were the comments. There was one or two people standing up for why these might not be funny. It’s amazing the reaction of people to this.
“I’m fat. I’m on food stamps. This is hilarious.”
“Being fat is gross. People should just stop.”
“Come on, just get a sense of humor.”
“No one should be wearing THAT.”
The problem, is there is no way to change the minds of people commenting on posts like this on the internet. There’s no point in getting into a keyboard war with people anymore.
The greatest thing we, as Social Justice Warriors, can do is not share or comment on such degrading material. When you comment on something, even to say how wrong it is, it only increases the posting stats of post and increases it’s visibility. If we, as a society, stopped reacting to such material, pages would stop posting it.
If pages, blogs, and companies got more interaction from positive posts, and no interaction from negative posts like these, they would stop putting stuff like this on the internet.
I can’t control the sense of humor of others. I probably find situations funny that other people wouldn’t. Is it really anyone place to police humor? Probably not. But, I’m beginning to realize the best the I can do, for my own self-care, is not put myself in a position to see stuff like this. It’s not funny to me. That doesn’t mean I need to comment, or argue about it. I can just remove it from my digital life, and seek out more positive messages to share with the world.
The best way we can make the internet, and the world, a better place would be to put more energy into promoting content that help make a more positive world.