Fat Shamers Get a Taste of Their Own Medicine by Being Publicly Shamed Themselves

Say What!? 22

scaleFirst came the viral pic of the man on a train ride from Philadelphia who was supposedly raving on a train about cheating and, in turn, has been publicly shamed on Facebook feeds the world over. Now, photographer Kimberly Massengill, aka Substantia Jones, has started a Tumblr called Smile, Sizeist!, which invites anyone who has experienced fat-shaming to snap a photo of their harasser and submit it for publication on the blog, ideally with the story of the incident.

Jones told The Huffington Post that she started the site because "I want fat people to know there's a way to fight back non-violently, another way to shield against the shame and humiliation the harasser seeks to impose. I want to help facilitate a power exchange."

Given how shameful, out-of-control, and prevalent fat-shaming has gotten, I get why there's an impetus for something like this Tumblr. But I can't help but feel like the mentality seems to be, let's fight fire with fire, shame with shame ...

Plus, as in the case of the man on the train, there are the issues of privacy (photos of sizeist shamers so far appear to be mostly candid, although one was taken with permission), and also, how about ethical reporting? Sure, a blog is a blog, it's opinion ... not necessarily fact. But the way Substantia is presenting the fat-shaming incidents on the site, you would assume they were all true -- word for word, detail for detail ... But there's a chance what we're reading is more fiction than fact.

It's one person's story next to a photo of someone who -- in most, not all, of these posts -- has been given no voice to defend him or herself. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding, a miscommunication, something was misheard? And now their photo is on Tumblr for all the world to see next to a post that makes them look like they're a discriminatory jackass. Isn't something about that troubling? Or just ... not kosher?

Furthermore, doesn't going to the trouble of taking the person's photo, writing the story up, and then making it this big, hairy, publicized thing empower the fat-shamer? Make them a pseudo-celebrity (you know, of the lowest on the totem pole kind)? 

Fat-shaming is a serious problem that must be addressed, but I'm not so sure this is the best way. I'd much rather deny these insecure, hateful bullies any attention whatsoever. Ignore them, be above it. (Just look at Melissa McCarthy! Perfect example.) Because, in this case, an eye for an eye isn't going to get the message across that shaming -- in any form -- is just plain wrong.

How do you feel about publicly shaming fat-shamers?


general health, obesity, body image


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belon... belongs2Jesus

it's the attention they desire

nonmember avatar Cass

It's disgusting. And, since anything meaner than worshiping at the feet of every fat person has been called fat-shaming, I'd hazard a guess that a lot of people are going to get put up on that site without cause. I am fat. I am fixing that, because it isn't a good thing. I like myself, but my body can't do what I want it to and doesn't look like how I want it to. If someone at my weight is happy, good for them. Lets just not glorify or coddle fat people. They're fat and we should treat them like human beings. That means not disparaging them AND not putting them on a pedestal. In doing so, that means that their detractors should not be afforded extra punishment for attacking this special class.

DKs-Kat DKs-Kat

If a person is in public they have no expectation of privacy. Its how paparazzi are allowed to snap shots of celebes when they are out in public. It may be annoying but it's not breaking the law.

Freedom of speech is a right. If a person takes a photo of another person either candid or not, while the subject is in a public area, there does not need to be a release signed and the photographer owns the photo and has the right to do with it as they wish.

So I say if you don't want to wind up on the site, keep your opinions to yourself, at least while out in public.

eupeptic eupeptic

I agree that judging and shaming those who judge and shame people who are overweight (or anything else that people judge others over) brings yourself down to their level. However, after skimming and reading some of the posts on this blog it appears to me that the postings are more focused on creating an open and honest society (where people can be held accountable for their own actions) rather than a closed, secretive, and deceitful society (where people can, on the outside, pretend to be a better person than they actually are on the inside).

This blog might also be a good tool to teach children about how being judgmental affects others (e.g., by having them put themselves in the shoes of those on this blog who were judged and even physically attacked [e.g., "How would you feel if someone said or did that to you if you were overweight...?"] by those who are judgmental and even hateful towards others).

WCURi... WCURiverRat

If you don't want to be fat shamed, get up off your lazy fat ass and try to lose some damn weight! And saying you have thyroid problems or diabetes is not an excuse! There are plenty of people who have one or both and manage to not be a ham planet!

nonmember avatar sabrina

no worries wcuriverrat, i put your profile pic on the site for your insightful, intellegent, thoughtful comments. im sure youre just as beautiful on the outside as your comments prove you are on the inside.



nonmember avatar MZN

My mom got horribly fat shamed recently by the parents of one of her elementary students. She'd only met these people once, and they took it upon themselves to have their kid hand her a helpful diet plan that she never requested. Kid handed it in right with their homework. My mom was mortified and in tears. What awful people. My recommendation, find either an etiquette book or helpful 'how to be a parent' book and send it back with the kid along with a thank you note for the unsolicted weight management advice inside the front cover.

nonmember avatar Joe

Great. Nothing says more about the legitimacy of a social movement than a good ol'-fashioned witch hunt. Surely every picture posted will be of an actual bad guy, and the story will be free of bias of any kind...

Caera Caera

I love it.

Fat shamers are just one-half step above Nazi's, WCURiverrat.

River rat. Seems so apt.

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