I posted some recent pictures of myself on my facebook wall with the following caption:
Dividends of working out at the gym.
I can have a sleepover at my mum’s and not bother to take extra clothing, just so i can walk away with some of her new clothes and of course jewellery. Now, she can’t say, “Yemisi, don’t take it, it is not your size!” lol!
Jacket- My sister’s (Now mine)
Red sweater underneath- My mum’s (Now mine)
Brand new Leggings- My mum’s (Now mine)
Hair – All mine, just nicely retouched for me by my mum.
Winning all round!
Funny enough, a facebook friend who also identifies as an atheist came on the post thread and left a series of comments. These comments exposed an underlying hatred of plus size women, sexism and showed an endorsement of street harassment , cos well, according to him, women are supposed to provide visual orgasms for strangers on the streets, and you should be ashamed if you are not deemed sexy enough by strangers. BTW, he thinks only outsiders can decide if you are sexy or not.
Anyway, I decided to share these exchanges because, you never know just how many people especially those who claim to be rational thinkers, share these vile opinions.
Is fatness or bigness not sexy. Again?
Somehow , to him my losing weight was an indictment on my body-positive at all size stance.
Luckily before I saw his comment, my good friend posted this beautiful response.
Everyone is sexy to someone and everyone is sexy not only because of their body or outside but the inside counts at least just as much if not more. The most important thing about sexyness is however that YOU feel it in YOUR OWN body. And whatever needs to be done to make you feel that way about yourself is absolutely ok. Even if your really big in an unhealthy way you still can feel sexy just as some women need to be skinny to feel good. The wonderful fact is that Yemisi discovered her own body in a new perspective and listened to herself not to people who told her to stop eating chocolate and not to people who said a black woman needs to have some love handles. She looked sexy before and she does so now but she obviously feels so much better herself so applause her, she took a big step, she changed something that was hard to change: habits! Well done, Yemisi! I am proud of you! You look super!
Thanks, dear! You said much of what I would have said.
The power to feel sexy lies within us; it is ours whatever shape, size or age we are. We should never let anyone take away that power. Thanks , again!
Of course, I had to respond to the ill made comment.
What on earth about my pictures or the caption made you asked “Is fatness or bigness not sexy. Again?”
Why would you even jump to such an illogical correlation?
Do you think fat/big people do not go to the gym?
Do you assume fat/big people are unsexy or unhealthy?
Do you assume fat/big people are lazy?
Even if you say you don’t think so, unfortunately that is what your one-line comment/question implies.
Even if your comment was an attempt to be funny or sarcastic, it is wrong, assumptive, condescending, and feeds on social stereotypes.
Even though I understand that I do not owe anyone an explanation for why I look the way I do, why I workout at the gym or don’t workout at the gym, nevertheless, I will still proceed to point out some facts to you and every other person who has thought or is thinking along same line of your comment.
I am a big bold and beautiful woman and I will always be a big, bold and beautiful woman (BBW). That is the way I like me. As it is, I am also conscious of staying fit and be able to literally kick asses if need be. Staying physically fit means at least I have a fighting chance of physically defending myself if an asshole attacks me in this patriarchal world where men feel entitled to everything.
While I might not be able to guarantee how healthy I will always be (Cos health is not always ours to control), I know I will always be sexy at whatever size, shape or age. How do I know this? Because I do not live my day waiting for people to validate my beauty or sexiness.
I am sexy and I know it, so I assert it. I assert it at whatever shape, size or age I am.
My sexiness is mine to assert, not for others to give.
So yeah, the power and control of how I feel about my body is within me, not with family members, outsiders, online friends and certainly not in the hands of the media.
Keeping control of my body and mental health as much as I can also means I get to love my body unconditionally and treat it with the special care and love it deserves. And if that means shedding some weight, working out at the gym, not eating as much ice-cream and chocolate cookies at a go as I would want, then I say, my body is worth it. It is my choice, not that of others.
My decision to work out at the gym and shed some weights is not in any way an indictment or validation of any other person’s shape, size, health or sexiness.
My body is not on earth to validate or shame others. Your question is what makes others feel ashamed of their bodies, not my work out, not my pics and certainly not the caption of these pictures.
Now, read the caption of these pictures again. It did not say “Dividends of working out, feeling sexy and heathy again”. To summarise it, it says , “dividends of working out…able to ransack my mum’s wardrobe and walk away in her clothes, winning all round”
I think you need to rethink your comment and attitude towards this post. Again, Even if your comment was an attempt to be funny or sarcastic, it is wrong, assumptive, condescending, and feeds on social stereotypes.
Well, rather than apologise for his assumption, he proceeded to justify it.
That means if your mum had been very fat and you want to steal her clothes, you would have ordered for more chocolates and eaten more junks just to steal those clothes?
The truth is, it is unhealthy to be too fat. Whether it is sexy is not your judgement. it is the judgement of outsiders who get their visual orgasm by looking at you. Stop making it look like every judgement must always be from self. You need the validation of the public at times. That is why we are social animals.
Take a sample of men. A higher percentage of them don’t find this woman sexy. She may feel sexy but that is contrary to societal judgement. Well, she can go and live alone. It is not healthy likewise. What I am saying is, it is not healthy even before talking about sexy. I wont fall for personal solace when the right thing is not done.
He posted a meme of a naked big sized white woman on top of a small sized white man. I knew then that he had a serious case of fatphobia. And my response to the crap he spewed-
You obviously have a misguided, bigoted, up-your-ass opinion of yourself as the arbiter of what a sexy or healthy woman looks like.
First and foremost, under whatever circumstances, do not, I repeat, DO NOT post any picture or meme of a woman on my wall to body shame her. That meme you posted to body shame the woman in the picture and every woman her size, is totally unacceptable on my wall. Got it?
Secondly, whatever made you used the word “steal her clothes”? What in my pictures or caption made you believe those clothes were stolen and not taken with my mum’s consent. You do know the meaning of steal, don’t you?
Now, to address the fatphobia and fatshaming in your comments. Read the following comments and let them sink in.
You wrote “Whether it is sexy is not your judgement. it is the judgement of outsiders who get their visual orgasm by looking at you.”
This is the stupidest thing I have read on the internet in a long time, and believe me; I do come across a lot of stupid comments online.
Whatever makes you think as a woman/ human being, I walk on the streets for the purpose of providing visual orgasms for outsiders. Damn, I didn’t know my purpose in life as a woman is to look sexy and provide visual orgasms for strangers on the streets.
No wonder men feel entitled to ask women they barely know to smile for them on the streets.
No wonder millions of women encounter street harassment from pricks like you who think women are walking the streets to look beautiful and sexy for men.
Yes, I just called you a prick because that is the name for those who think women are supposed to give “visual orgasm” to outsiders and live for strangers to pronounce them sexy.
Asshole is another name I call people who think such thoughts.
Holy Flying Spaghetti Monster! What a bigoted, stupid, sexist comment from someone who claims to be a rational thinker. Here is a blog post you stand to benefit from- Everyday Sexism: Catcalls and Street Harassment
You wrote – “Take a sample of men. A higher percentage of them don’t find this woman sexy. She may feel sexy but that is contrary to societal judgement. Well, she can go and live alone. It is not healthy likewise”
I must ask, did you take leave of your senses before typing that?
According to your above comment –
- A woman is not allowed to feel sexy whatever her size.
- What the society thinks of a woman is more important than what a woman thinks of herself?
- A woman needs the validation of outsiders before she can claim to be sexy.
- And if a woman does not like what the society thinks of her, instead of calling out the society on its fucked up stereotypes, she should go and live alone?
Wow, what a comment from a rational thinker!
I have always stated on my wall that I am allergic to ignorance, maybe you thought I was only allergic to religious ignorance. The thing is, I am allergic to ignorance, and that include sexist, bigoted, patriarchal, body shaming crap that you are spewing.
I am body positive. And I will not encourage that you spew such bigoted, ignorant, hate filled, body shaming crap on my wall. Here is a blog post I wrote on fatshaming. Fat shaming is ugly and body shaming of any kind is disgusting. Read it with your rational thinkers’ cap on. You stand to learn a thing or two about fatphobia, fat shaming.
- The fact that you care about what others think of your size or body does not mean we all think the same way, social animals or not. Do not project your insecurities about your body or crave for social acceptance unto others.
- Unless you are the person’s doctor, you are not in a position to tell anyone they are unhealthy, especially not merely by looking at their size.
- Above all, learn to live and lets live. Fat people or anyone of any size can eat whatever they want to eat. It is not your business. It is their body. Their choice. Their Decision. Their right. No one cares about what you think is sexy or not. Keep that to your ass!
Fat shaming is ugly and body shaming of any kind is disgusting.
Well, he did offered a nonpology for using the word steal, but still insisted he had a DUTY to tell fat people to get off their lazy ass and lose weight.
Sorry for using the word ”steal’ i didnt mean it literaly …I thought you will know that…..
Now because of’live and let live’ personal opinions are not to be aired again? It may look like shaming but some of them need help- diatary, medical and physical,……it is not bad if we tell them to seek such. stop making a case for what is not
Well, I had to remind him
Personal opinions are what they are, “PERSONAL”, so keep them to yourself. People do not need to hear what you think of their body, especially when what you have to offer is negative.
And YES, it is bad to tell someone to seek help simply because you consider them ‘fat’, especially when it is unsolicited advice. Truly, do not force your personal opinions of another person’s body on them.
But would he learn, bet not!
Yes! “Negative” opinions are always given by honest friends…. The truth might be bitter but it is better bitter and acted upon than sugar- coated .
It is their body…. But many would rather look away and joke about it in beer parlour than tell the person to seek medical, dietary and physical help. Who knows how many over -fat people are reading this and will be motivated to seek physical help by throwing themselves in the gym? My friend just paid a huge s!me of money to a trainer to help his over weight wife. She is getting healthier now. Both painful and painless advice should be listened to…. The positive results is what is important!… you can tell me it is their body, fine. Yet, I am permitted to also advise them. Not all advice or opinion are solicited. I thought you will know that! Some are just given out of concerns….not all advice are taken either.
I had to enlighten him again
It takes an idiotic asshole to make jokes about another person’s body behind their back, be it in beer parlours or wherever. If you think such behaviour is in anyway justified, you are an asshole too.
Another person’s body is not your business. Calling your friend’s wife overweight and speaking of her as if she is an invalid who needed help just because you consider her fat, speaks volume about your character, not her weight or health.
Now, enough of your fatphobia on my wall. Zip it or be thrown out.
Well, look who felt insulted!
The way you are throwing insults every now and then is worrisome! I will look those insults away!
You can justify your unrealistic principle of individualism but he confided in me that he no longer find her appealing… and I advise he make her what he wanted by paying for her gym.… or buying some at home . She is not invalid. But these are issues that cost some people their happiness. Continue to live in denial
And he flounced out with
I am out now!
P.S. I don’t hate fat people. I am only giving advice. HATE is such a big word.
Oh dear! Well, i had to tell him-
I don’t do insults, I do facts. YES, it takes assholes to make jokes about another person’s body, especially in the way you described. And believe me, ‘Fat’ people do not care whether you love or hate them, get over your bigoted ass!
No one cares about your opinion of their body. Stop forcing your unsolicited “Get healthy” advice on those you consider fat. And cure yourself of Fatphobia, it reeks from every comment you made on this post.
And yes, get out. Fatphobic, body-shaming comments are not welcomed on my wall.
And my rational, feminist friend who first called him out on his comment, proceeded to seal it up with this beautiful response
you have a very strange perception of the world you know that, right? You are accusing Yemisi of “throwing insults”??? well, what do you think are YOU doing? I can tell you that even if you have the body of an Adonis I would not look at you twice if I knew what ugly thoughts you were thinking. It is one thing to help people getting healthier and talking to them about their way in a respectful manner but only if you are either a) a very good friend or b) their doctor. But it is completely out of the question that you cannot talk to people about their weight because you feel “insulted” by their sight. Really, have you no shame or dignitiy? I mean, who are you ? where do you take that right from to put yourself above them? only because you percieve yourself as better looking, healthier or thinner? I am sorry dear, but you are way way below, down in the gutter where minds are filthy and dark and unloving and most of all bitter!
What can i add to that but to say “Well said!”
We crave good health because we want to be happy. The bottom-line is our happiness. Let’s strive for it whatever way makes us feel at our best.
It is about understanding our body and listening to it too. It is also, about what suits us. For me, long hours workout suits me because it also means I can still indulge my sweet tooth moderately. But I know it won’t suits everyone.
Some people ask me what the secret is. I suggest everyone finds what is best for them. I am not a diet person, I will never recommend diets. Diets won’t make me feel good physically or mentally. Working out at the gym gives me a physical and mental fitness , also it makes me feel I can take on an intruder and defend myself if need be.
The power to feel sexy lies within us; it is ours whatever shape, size or age we are. We should never let anyone take away that power.
And for the fatphobic, body shaming assholes out there, get off your bigoted asses. A woman’s body is not yours to judge.
Related links –
Fat shaming is ugly and body shaming of any kind is disgusting.
Everyday Sexism: Catcalls and Street Harassment
Robyn Slinger says
Well, that was clearly and eloquently said 🙂
Although it really should be a no-brainer, sigh. I wonder what went through the mind of your commenter, is he the universal arbiter of how women should look like perchance? Pfff.
Marcus Ranum says
For me, the clue on this topic came when I ran into a guy I’ve known for years, at a conference. He was always a bit heavy-set, and this time he had dropped a lot of weight. As we were getting coffee I said, “Rich, you look great! Have you been working out?!” and he replied “late stage pancreatic cancer.”
And that was when I decided to keep my mouth shut about other people’s appearance unless invited to comment about some aspect in specific.
Shripathi Kamath says
#2. Actually, what’s wrong with what you did, if it is a friend? I dropped 20 lbs a few years ago over a period of four months or so. It was right after a quintuple bypass surgery. My tennis partner commented: “I can’t believe how much fitter you look!”
If someone looks good to you if they dropped weight, that is fine. I agree that unless you know the person, it could be inappropriate to make a comment, but in general?
Yemisi Ilesanmi says
@Marcus Ranum -- I have an idea of how your friend felt. Some years ago, i was put on a lifesaving medication that has weight gain as one of its side effects. People kept commenting on my weight gain, suggesting i was eating too much. Those i haven’t seen in a while would scream right in the middle of the street “Wow, you’ve gained weight!”. I got tired of explaining to people about my medications, especially since many of them do not need to know my medical records. People gain or lose weight for various reasons, we need to be tactical about how we acknowledge others weight gain or loss, if we must.
The body is individual private property, reshaping it is an individuals right. Also, nice coat!