Skip to content

Goose and Gander —

August 27, 2014

Fat PoliticsMy Boring-Ass LifeDickweed

Warning: Assholes ahead.

In 2013, Caitlin Seida wrote about how her cosplay photo as Lara Croft became the subject of viral mockery. Her story has recently gotten a second lease on life thanks to Twitter.

Lara CroftI had already been mulling over this whole “public humiliation for sport” thing because of some reddit shenanigans that pulled me into that toxic little corner known as /r/fatlogic. But reading Caitlin’s story, and her uplifting followup, reminded me of the deeper impact this emotional terrorism has on random people just trying to live their lives and use social media like everybody else.

While investigating a notorious troll, I found this post on /r/FatPeopleHate by the person I was trying to ID.

First Asshole

It seems the troll got into an argument on Facebook with this woman:

Cassandra Mahaney

This is Cassandra Mahoney. What crime did Cassandra commit to deserve her spot in front of the reddit firing squad? She argued with this troll about feminism. Specifically, this troll thought that women shouldn’t dress provocatively because it incites rape, while Cassandra disagreed. Because of that, the troll decided to publish Cassandra’s photo on a subreddit with 18,000 followers.

Turns out, if you’re a feminist and you’re fat, then you don’t deserve respect. Bear in mind, the troll herself is part of this Feminist community on Facebook.

I did not know Cassandra, but I put her picture on Facebook and asked if anyone knew her. One person did and put me in touch. Cassandra was understandably pissed that her photo became chum for reddit’s bottom feeders and she confronted the troll, who immediately deleted her reddit account that went back years.

Why? Because she’s a coward.

Cassandra could not immediately recall who she argued with, but came back to me a week later with a few possibilities. Unfortunately, it’s a Facebook account with a pseudonym: Bethany Boomstick.

And this is a fairly benign example of the harassment that reddit allows. At the other end of the spectrum is our own Lindsey Averill, who was harassed over the phone, received countless pizzas, and endured death threats, all because she is directing the documentary Fattitude.

Two weeks ago, Bree wrote this post about the kind of people behind these fat-shaming mobs and wondered why. Why would anyone spend their free time mocking strangers because they’re fat? Why would somebody immersed in Feminism and identity politics think it’s okay to single someone out for dehumanization simply because they’re fat? Why is anyone over the age of 13 still pulling this shit?

There are any number of motivations, but my own personal theory is that lash out at internet strangers like petulant middle schoolers because they are so desperate to validate their own worthiness that they have to find and easy target onto which they can project their self-hatred. reddit fills that niche nicely, as people can spew their bile anonymously with zero consequences, while the peanut gallery cheers them on and rewards them with upvotes and camaraderie.

Despite sharing this mutual contempt with nearly 50,000 other redditors, there’s a sense of no harm/no foul. The moderators do their best to perpetuate this by making a list of rules that ostensibly prevent their toxic sludge from leaking out onto the rest of the internet, like Caitlin. Moderators supposedly don’t allow links to other subreddits, blogs or Tumblrs in order to prevent “brigading,” but are they really so naive as to think their readers aren’t already swarming those sites looking for fodder?

Most of the fat bloggers I’ve spoken with have encountered some troll or another who provokes a discussion on Twitter or elsewhere in pursuit of a juicy screencap they can throw to their feral fuckwads, preferably out of context and with their own snarky spin on the exchange. The idea that moderators can contain the monstrosity that they’ve created with a list of rules is laughable at best. It’s troll logic.

For example, there’s the two rules governing how redditors talk about fat people:

Shitlord Commandments

Sit with that a minute.

How do you define “personally identifying information”? Name, address, phone number all work, right? How about YOUR FUCKING PHOTO!?!?!?!?!

Update: I have pixelated the photos of the victims. I apologize to anyone I may have needlessly exposed.

 

Troll Headers PixelatedThese are just seven posts from the last three weeks where redditors posted photos of random internet people. These aren’t activists or leaders of Fat Acceptance or Health at Every Size® (HAES) who have chosen to become public figures (not that it makes the trolling any more justified, but their images are more public). These are just random people who are guilty of nothing more than using social media like every other person gets to do, largely without having their photos disseminated for public humiliation.

Here are the actual imgur screenshots that are connected to the /r/fatlogic submissions above:

 

Victims Pixelated No singling out? No identifiable information? No attacking users for being fat? What a fucking joke!

Every single one of these submissions made it to the front page of /r/fatlogic and its subjects are subsequently ripped to shreds by anonymous cowards. These rules are meaningless. They’re window dressing for the moderators to point to when someone says, “Hey, this subreddit is cruel and pathetic.”

“But we have rules! Look at the rules! We aren’t mean, we’re just pointing out inconsistent logic and having a laugh at the excuses fat people make for being fat.”

No, assholes, you’re cruel and pathetic. You’re scouring the internet for someone, anyone, who you can put before your equally cruel and pathetic peers so that you can forget for a moment what a barren, meaningless, unbearable existence you’re trudging through each day. Most bullies give that shit up by the time they get to college, at the latest. But /r/fatlogic and its ilk are the sediment of society who somehow make it to adulthood without realizing how petty and idiotic they’ve become thanks to the anonymity of the internet.

So a few days ago, I saw another post that made me think it might be by Bethany Boomstick again. It was a brand new account with these two submissions:

Rich Bigo

HAES Ham

Both are referring to the same HAES activist and if you click on the imgur links it takes you to a poorly redacted screencap of the comments made in response to naturalcolours’ Facebook account. The thing is, the redaction did not completely cover the profile picture of the activist, so I thought I’d see if I could find this person.

Lo and behold, I did. I also found the entire conversation that naturalcolours screencapped out of context. Interestingly, in the first post, someone asked her why she’s only posting the activist’s response.

Natural Colors3

Well, I went ahead and did naturalcolours a favor and screencapped the entire conversation, flawed logic and all, and properly redacted everyone’s identifiable information. You can read it here.

In short, naturalcolours claims she posted an academic critique and was shocked by how the activist responded. The truth is, she first posted a link to a PubMed search for “obesity” (which is about as useful as Googling “why fat bad”), then later posted a link to this study on BMI, sex and cardiovascular disease in Hispanic/Latino adults. The biggest problem with citing this study is that it doesn’t control for fitness at all, which is the one of the points of HAES — you have to adopt healthy behaviors to improve your health.

So here’s where things get interesting: in her reddit post, naturalcolours says explicitly that she gave the activist a link to this specific study:

Exhibit A

And if we look at her comments on Facebook, we find this exact same link:

Exhibit B

Then, of course, there’s the fact that the two screencaps with shitty redaction on reddit are also represented in this Facebook discussion where there’s ONLY ONE PERSON ARGUING WITH THE ACTIVIST:

Exhibit C

And now for the best part: naturalcolours has a Facebook account with her real name and a shitload of photos of herself. If you’re going to dox someone (meaning, dig up all the dirt you can on them and share it with the internet, as happened with Lindsey).

So, I went to town, researching naturalcolours and found out all kinds of great information about where she lives, where she goes to school, where she’s traveled, who her parents are, who she’s dating. It’s the kind of opposition research that would make 4chan proud.

But there were just two facts that I found relevant to her attack on this activist. First, she claims that she’s a poor, impoverished student who was offended when the activist called her a “rich bigot.”

“I’m not rich,” she protested. “I’m a poor, destitute student. Boo hoo hoo!” (I’m paraphrasing). Of course, that sob story is undercut by the photos of her traveling through Europe and across the US. I’ve been on food stamps and I can personally attest to the fact that jetsetting is not a big hobby of the down and out.

The second fact that intrigued me was the fact that there are three photos on her Facebook page where she brags about getting drunk. Granted, that’s what college students do. But if you’re going to tut-tut people for being fat (which is presumably caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices), then maybe you shouldn’t be a total fucking hypocrite about your own lifestyle choices.

In the United States, obesity is supposedly responsible for 4.6% of all deaths, while alcohol is responsible for 3.5%. Of course, that obesity/mortality number would look much different if they controlled for the fitness of subjects, but that’s a whole other story.

Armed with facts about her identity, I began to contemplate my next steps. Do I dox her? Do I share her name and photo so that any time a potential employer searches her name, they discover what this despicable asshole does for fun? Maybe just post her photos? My gut instinct was to hang her out to dry like the way cities would put heads on pikes to discourage attackers.

So, I turned to Facebook and asked what people thought I should do. The responses ran the gamut from wanting revenge for the perpetual humiliation of fat people on the internet to appealing to me to take the high road, and everything in between.

I sat with all this advice for a while and felt pretty sure I was going to expose naturalcolours one way or another.

And then I read this:

Good Advice

Of all the appeals to rise above, this one hit me the hardest. I have two daughters, and I would feel terrible if they saw me reacting in anger like this. Yeah, I could easily stoop to their level and give them a taste of their own medicine, but to what end? reddit’s gonna reddit. Even if this one doxxing discouraged some from humiliating fat people, the internet has the attention span of a coke-addled maggot, so it’s not likely to last.

Finally, I decided to confront naturalcolours directly by telling her that I knew who she was, that I had photos of her being a hypocrite, but that I decided against doxxing her. So, I laid it all out there:

Moira Kearney

Rather than own up to it, she decided to act tough and bluff:

Moira Kearney 2

Subsequently, /r/fatlogic freaked out and pinned this to the front page. They also reported me to reddit and I’ve been banned.

The lesson here is that it’s perfectly okay to swipe photos and conversations of people from the internet to mock them and humiliate them and dehumanize them, but don’t you dare suggest you could do the same or you have to give your people IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION! to shield them from exposure.

Incidentally, after the fact, someone decided to post a photo on /r/FatPeopleHate of me and my pet rat:

Me and the Rat

All of this without a single bit of information about naturalcolours being published.

And so I have changed my mind. I am going to share the photos of naturalcolours the same way that /r/fatlogic seems to think is harmless fun. I’ve redacted the identifying information and am presenting the photos as documentation of one of the many skeezy inhabitants of this fat-hating mecca of the internet.

Say hello to the hypocritical hippy who believes in peace, love, social equality and justice, unless you’re fat, in which case you get ruthless subreddits dedicated to your degradation and dehumanization:

Moira Kearney Main

Based on what I’ve read, I would actually get along with her quite well, as our political views are quite similar. But for a person who preaches tolerance and compassion, she draws the line at those who disgust her.

Is it about health? Well, if she felt that strongly that people who make unhealthy personal choices should be publicly ridiculed, then would she be boasting of her drunken exploits on Facebook?

Moira Kearney Drunk 2 Moira Kearney Drunk 3 Moira Kearney Drunk

Ultimately, this is just one small example of the hypocritical bullshit behind the fat hate on the internet. It’s not about health, it’s not about “logic,” it’s about mocking strangers for what they look like because you think nobody will ever figure out that you’re making your own unhealthy, stupid choices with impunity.

And I will continue to  keep an eye out for similar cases of assholes who are too stupid to cover their tracks well so that I can expose them publicly for being unrepentant douchebags. Personally, I’m tired of fat people being targeted simply because they exist proudly. The only reason /r/fatlogic has so much cannon fodder is that fat people aren’t ashamed of themselves like these cowards and cretins who are terrified that somebody might connect their identity with the hatred they espouse.

Advertisements
16 Comments leave one →
  1. Pyctsi permalink
    August 28, 2014 12:51 am

    Off topic, but rats are cute and now I wanna get another pair.

  2. Len permalink
    August 28, 2014 1:49 am

    Wow, this is dramatic!

    I’m always surprised by the sort of people who turn out to be nasty trolls. I think she looks like a nice enough person, but my guess is she’s young, a bit selfish and keen to show the world how ‘good’ she is by bringing others down.

    I’ve met too many people like that – have everything in the world going for them and spend their time instead putting others down publicly to make themselves feel superior. I’m praying that in fact she’s managed to convince herself that somehow her cruelty isn’t actually touching people, that her victims are like cartoon characters that can’t be hurt, don’t suffer because of her.

    Otherwise, she is a very nasty piece of work.

    On an unrelated topic, your rat is utterly adorable.

  3. Isabel permalink
    August 28, 2014 10:18 am

    I was trying to write to you on FB and you’re gone. WTF!?!?!??!?!

    • Isabel permalink
      August 28, 2014 10:07 pm

      Atchka, please give a shout.

      • August 28, 2014 10:15 pm

        I’m okay, just swamped with overtime and other shit. Facebook insisted that I change my name and provide a photo ID(!), which I’ve done despite feeling pretty irritated about the whole thing. Unfortunately, from what I’ve read, many people never hear back from Facebook after this action is taken. So I don’t know what to do.

        Peace,
        Shannon

  4. vesta44 permalink
    August 28, 2014 11:36 am

    I’ve been online for 16 years now, and trolls have been around online since the beginning of the internet. I remember all the chat rooms on mIRC, and how many of them were devoted to trolling one marginalized group or another. It’s something I learned to deal with early on, and learned that having a cutting sense of humor infuriated them – get nasty with me, and I tend to get nasty right back, but in a way that makes everyone else laugh at you (not something trolls like, especially when it’s their troll buddies laughing at them). So my response to trolls is to either ignore them or make fun of them and not let what they have to say about me bother me. After all, I know how “worthy” or “unworthy” I am, and after having to deal with a master of manipulation, narcissism, and abuse in the form of my mother for 40 years, nothing these trolls can say to me or about me could be worse. And they don’t want to threaten me or come to my house to threaten me – I have 3 feet of lead pipe with an elbow at the end that I’m not afraid to use on assholes (been there done that, and the drunk asshole who broke down my door ended up going to the hospital for stitches in his head). HelgaTheBitchGoddess comes in handy, and PsychoBitchFromHell can be even handier (the two really nasty sides of my personality that I don’t unleash very often, but trolls will bring them out posthaste).

  5. August 28, 2014 12:55 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that /r/fatpeoplehate has blocked their subreddit from non registered viewers. This is proof that these trolls are cowards. One thing I noticed about trolls is they often have double standards, like, if you delete their posts or block them then they cry and moan about how you are “against free speech.” But, it’s ok for them to do the same. Kind of how they are complaining about how we (FA) tell them that it’s bullying if they dox us but yet we, and SJWs (they have a real hatred against SJWs, feminists in particular) are “allowed” to dox and get away with it. As far as I have seen, I only see doxxing happening from the reddit crowd, not so much in the SJ circles. Also, many trolls honestly don’t think that what they are doing is wrong and use the “free speech” argument to justify what they are doing.There is a forum that discusses so-called “lolcows” where they gossip about “eccentric” people on the Internet who get trolled and made fun of; people with autism are usually targeted. Though this site has a strict no trolling policy.

    I think that there is a study showing that most trolls are psychopaths? That seems fitting since some of these people have an attitude that they don’t care and of course there are no real repercussions for their actions so they feel that they are invincible. Not to mention that most of them are smart and know how to use proxies, VPNs and anonymizers.

    If there was a law being made against cyberharrassment and cyberbullying in both the national and international level I would support it, though I’d have to be curious about how the logistics would work out.

  6. August 28, 2014 3:29 pm

    I know some of the folks in those photos. 😦

    • Happy Spider permalink
      August 28, 2014 7:53 pm

      You mean in the first half of the post? They ‘re very nice photos. That was my dominant thought when reading the first half of the post: my, these are pretty flattering photos. I liked the posts here about wearing a costume to a convention (I wonder what the poster decided about the proposed Fiona outfit?) , so I got a chance to admire the Lara Craft photo at the time and I liked seeing it again. The Cassandra Mahoney photo was great, I liked how she was dolled up like an old- time movie star and I liked the exaggerated pose. Most of the photos in the collage had a cheerful in- your- face-ness I liked. The woman in the grey shirt seemed more demure than the others and radiated a nice presence. Atchka looked fine with his rat; the green shirt and the rat together made me think he was going for a Pied Piper look ( a pied piper who likes rats, not one who kills them) or a bonding- with-animals Ranger look.

      I was thinking that maybe the reason these photos looked nicer than a lot of photos on the internet of fat people is that these are photos that, first, were posed for, and, second, were chosen by the subjects to represent them. As opposed to unposed photos taken from behind or photos chosen from a group of photos for being particularly unflattering.

  7. Dizzyd permalink
    August 28, 2014 6:09 pm

    That girl LOOKS like a single-digit IQ knucklehead! Bad enough this is some young punk that thinks she’s being oh-so-cool to her knuckle-dragging cohorts, but it’s even worse when it’s supposedly mature adults that partake in this middle-school mindset and act like tittering 13-year-olds. But they just back up our argument that this is all about “concern for our health”, and all about the braindead conformist hordes trying desperately to stamp out any indication of individuality or nonconformity. Since they can’t have fun, they figure, nobody else should be able to either, so they’ll just stamp their little feet in indignation that how DARE anyone who’s not up to their expectations have a life without their express permission. Haha, it is to laugh. She can’t go and cry about you posting her photos here so we see what kind of hypocritical dipwad she is, you made your bed honey, now lie in it! (God only knows you have no problem doing it to others!)

  8. Dizzyd permalink
    August 28, 2014 6:10 pm

    Oops! I meant “NOT about ‘concern for our health'”!

  9. lifeonfats permalink
    August 29, 2014 3:42 pm

    She’s a pathetic ass who can dish it out but can’t take it. This will probably not stop her trolling behavior but I’m glad you called her on it. She needs to do herself a favor and get a life besides stalking people online she doesn’t even know and posting pictures of herself looking a drunk fool on social media.

  10. rachel permalink
    September 4, 2014 1:30 pm

    Did you contact the girls in the pictures you used from r/fatlogic? I know one of them and I am not sure she is even aware they are posting it, and you reporting it without permission seems kinda hypocritical.

    • rachel permalink
      September 4, 2014 1:31 pm

      *reposting not reporting.

    • September 4, 2014 2:15 pm

      At first, I thought you were defending naturalcolours, but I think what you mean are the seven women who were mocked. I agree, and I apologize for not thinking of this. I have fixed the problem.

      Peace,
      Shannon

      • Rachel permalink
        September 4, 2014 2:47 pm

        Yeah. That’s what I meant. Thanks for fixing that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: