douchebags

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Too Many Arseholes

Published January 23, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

I can feel a bit of a rant coming on.  I’ve been feeling it building for awhile lately, noticing something happening and becoming more socially acceptable as more and more people get into things like Facebook, Twitter, blogging, YouTube etc.  And it sucks, so I think it’s time to speak up about it.

The thing that I find really, deeply offensive that a lot of people seem to think is ok, is this practice of photographing or video recording complete strangers, and then putting that image/footage up on the internet with criticism about their clothes, body, hair, etc.

I don’t know what goes through people’s heads when they think it’s ok to do this.  To snap a pic on their phone of someone who is wearing a very short skirt and post it to Twitter, to take pics of people in Walmart and send them to a blog that does nothing but ridicule complete strangers, to video some drunk stranger in a bar and post it to their YouTube.  To photograph a fat person or someone they consider ugly and post it saying “Look at this hideous person!”

Do they think the subject doesn’t know?  Quite often they do know.  And usually they’re too upset, horrified and embarrassed to say “Hey, fuck you douchebag!”  Or even if they don’t know this is being done to them, what happens when some friend or relative says “I saw a photo of you on the internet!”

Do the people who post these things even give a second of thought as to what happens to that photo as soon as it’s uploaded?  Or do they not give a shit at all?

Thing is, doing stuff like that is pure and simple douchebaggery.  Even if someone does have a really freaky outfit, or they’re dancing like a drunken fool – who are you to photograph/record them and post it to the internet for people to laugh at?  Have you never had a shit fashion moment?  Do you not have flaws about your body or looks?  Never made an idiot of yourself at a bar or a party?  How would you feel if someone posted pics or photos of you like this?

Thing is, I know what it feels like.  It happened to me.  I got on the train one morning to go to work, minding my own business, and there were a group of young guys, about 18-20 years of age.  One of them thought it would be REALLY funny to photograph the fat lady (me) and text it around to the other guys.  I knew he was doing this, but I was so embarrassed, mortified and hurt that I wasn’t able to say anything to them.  This was pre-confident, assertive me.  All I could do was try very, very hard not to cry while they made barking noises and looked at each others phones, knowing full well it was me they were texting around.

By the time I got to work I was a mess.  Sobbing my heart out.  I was lucky, my colleagues were super supportive, and one of my bosses at the time asked me lots of questions about what the guys were wearing, what they looked like.  For some reason, I remembered a logo on their shirts.  She Googled it, found the company and called them, demanding to speak to the manager.  She got him.  She told him in no uncertain terms that she wanted answers and that she wasn’t going to rest until someone was held responsible for this douchebag behaviour.  She was AWESOME.

The upshot was, the manager worked out who it was, put the guys on performance management and in his words “Tore them each a new arsehole.”

But not everyone is able to see anything being done about when it happens to them and they know it.  To this day, I don’t know if there are photographs of me still on people’s phones, still going around, or if they’re going to pop up on the internet.  It still makes me feel bad, and I’m a hell of a lot more self confident and assertive now than I was then.

I don’t care if you’re a woman doing it just to criticise someone’s fashion choices.  That’s no better than photographing someone you think is fat or ugly or any other reason – it’s all ridicule.  And it’s douchebag behaviour.

Maybe it’s because the paparazzi are so well ensconced in our culture now, that people think it’s ok to whip their camera phones out and photograph strangers.  You know what?  The paparazzi suck.  Even though they’re often stalking people who have chosen to live their lives in the public eye, they still suck for harassing those people, for stalking them and for making money off the negative stuff about those people.

But someone just photographing or filming a complete stranger on the street or in a shop, bar, or any other public place with the intent to post those pictures publicly and ridicule or criticise them is nothing short of a complete and utter arsehole.

Stop doing it.  Stop supporting it on websites and blogs that collate this kind of shit.  Stop being an arsehole.  You’ll thank me for the good karma later.

A Relationship With Yourself

Published December 1, 2009 by Fat Heffalump

I found this lovely little video on YouTube today:

Isn’t he a cutie?

Did you listen to the lyrics of the song?  A sweet little tune, a love song to himself.

I love this because it’s quite accurate in summing up a healthy relationship with oneself.  It’s not all saccharine sweet, there are moments of self loathing and doubt.  But when it all comes down to it, yourself is the one person you will always, ALWAYS have in your life.  So you have to learn to love yourself, to be a healthy individual.

I am learning to love myself.  Most of the time, I do ok.  Sometimes the old recordings of self loathing come back, and it gets REALLY difficult.  Sometimes other people’s recordings come in.  Like my parents, or my brother, ex-boyfriends or even strangers who have been hurtful and hateful towards me.  Those old recordings make it harder to love myself too.  But I know now that they are just that – old recordings, that I have the power to switch off.

It’s hard for anybody to love themselves.  We’re taught not to.  Not to have tickets on ourselves, not to be “up yourself” (good Aussie term there), to be humble and self deprecating.  Of course, we add those supposed to’s to the insecurities and harmful words of others, and we end up with a big pile of self loathing.

For we fatties, it’s even harder.  People tell us every day that we’re somehow worth less than others, less than those who aren’t fat.  It seems the bigger our bodies, the less our value is in our culture.  We’re dehumanised, demonised and devalued.  Facing that makes loving yourself REALLY hard.

But the thing is, we’re as worthy as anyone else.  More worthy than the douchebags that get their kicks out of trying to hurt us.  And you CAN love yourself if you are a fatty.  You don’t need to be thin to love yourself.

For me, it was the realisation that I judge myself harder than I do any other person on this earth.  When I realised that I demand things of myself that I would never expect of a friend or romantic partner, it was a huge leap towards being able to love myself.  When I started listing the things that I found wonderful in other people, it had nothing to do with their physicality or shape or size.  The things I have the most love for in other people are their intellect, their humour, their kindness, their respect.  When I started asking myself if I met those criteria myself, I was surprised at how much of it I did.

Though, as I said, it is, and probably will always be a work in progress.  While douchebags don’t get me down like they used to (though they try, the poor, sad things), sometimes the self criticism gets a bit beyond the healthy range.  At least I recognise it pretty quickly now and re-train the brain back in to the right path.

What about you?  Do you think you’re able to love yourself?  Or do you need to find a way to make that happen?

 

Desperate and Dateless? I Think Not!

Published November 14, 2009 by Fat Heffalump

Following up from my last post about the whole world of fun that opens up when a woman declines a man’s attention, I want to talk a bit more tonight about fat women, dating, romance and sex.

Now I don’t proclaim to be an expert on the subject in any way, because it’s such a bizarre thing that is totally individual to every person on this earth.  But I do have my experiences and the bits I’ve learned, and I know there are a lot of fatties out there that are completely baffled by the whole subject, so let’s talk about it a bit, and maybe get some things right.

There is this perception that fat women are desperate and dateless.  That they’re at home on a Saturday night pining over their lack of prospective romantic partners.   Hang on, I AM at home on a Saturday night!  Oops!  But that is out of choice after a long tiring week, not because I’m some sad lonely heart.

Guess what?  Fat women aren’t desperate and dateless.  They’re not completely ignored by men because “nobody will have them.”  In my experience, and remember I am post-35 years old, I’ve never had any time of my life where I haven’t had some male attention.  That’s not always been the kind of males I would like attention from, but no more than receiving attention from the males that I do want the attention from.  Fat women get married, have hot sex, are seen as beautiful and do live happily ever after.

Yes, I am still single.  I am aware of this, so you don’t need to leave the whole “But you’ve not got married yet, so you’re still desperate.” comment.  Had that one before, surprise, surprise.  YAWN.  But being single is not some failure to find a partner.  Being single is about where you are on the road of life, the people who have come into your life and at what point, and a whole lot of choices.

What I think many fat women do lack is confidence and good self esteem.  They are often more “gun-shy” than their slimmer counterparts, simply because when they have suffered rejection (and every single human suffers rejection, not just fat people), it has been particularly nasty and cruel.  The guy who rejects the slim girl is less likely to insult her as viciously about it.

And when you consider how attractive confidence is, it’s no wonder that fat women often feel very intimidated about the whole dating thing.  It becomes a vicious circle.  Fat woman is rejected horribly, loses confidence, avoids the situation, loses more confidence, feels unattractive and worthless, and so on.

I know, I have been there myself for large chunks of my life, until I started to gain the confidence and stronger self esteem that I have built up today.  It’s a tough place to be in, but there is life outside of that.

The thing is, there are plenty of great men out there that love fat women.  I don’t mean fetishists, though of course we all know they exist.  But good men who love the shape of their beautiful, bountiful fat women, and who find women attractive for more than just some magazine media/Hollywood ideal of beauty.  If there weren’t, April Flores wouldn’t be such a popular porn star!

I’ve been on dates with (and in some cases, dated exclusively) all kinds of men.  Young men, older men, fat men, thin men, sporty men, men that would be considered “super handsome”, men who have big old issues and even a few douchebags.  It’s all a process of elimination really – meeting guys and eliminating those that aren’t suitable for whatever reason.

One of the difficulties of being a fatty in the dating world is that low confidence and self esteem often have the fat woman thinking that there’s no way that the guy who has just paid her attention is interested in her.  She tells herself he’s just being nice, or he’s gay (cos let’s face it, fat women and gay men go together like strawberries and cream – I have so many gay male friends, it’s awesome.) or that he’s a douchebag setting her up to be a jerk to her (who hasn’t experienced that one in high school, hmmm?)

What happens is she doesn’t believe that the guy paying her attention is genuinely interested, so she rejects him out of self protection, and then he’s hurt too.  See the vicious cycle forming?

As fat women, we need to find some confidence in ourselves.  Because often that’s the strongest thing that holds us back.  When we encounter the douchebags, we need to hold our heads high, look them in the eye and say “Fuck you!” and remember that THEY are the douchebag, not us because we have fat bodies.  When a man is kind to us or pays us positive attention, we need to accept it as just that – kindness and positive attention.  Smile and say thank you and enjoy it.

Recently I struck up a conversation with an attractive man I was seeing in my day to day travels regularly.  He was always very polite and friendly, and one day he made it clear he’d like a chat.  So we talked.  Each time we saw each other afterwards, we talked some more.  He mentioned that he may not be in the same place for awhile, as his circumstances might be changing, so I figured “What the hell, I’ll give him my card.”  I handed him my card and said “If you disappear from the regular spots, here’s my email address.”

I would never have done this a few years ago, simply because I didn’t have the confidence and was terrified of rejection.   But with the confidence and stronger self worth I have built over the past years, my thought was “What the hell, life is short and he’s nice, I’m pretty sure he won’t be a douche.”  And he wasn’t.  But if he had been, I could have handled it too.  Now I’m enjoying a new friendship, some flirtation and who knows where it will go.

The thing is, there are a lot of people in this world, and everyone has really wide and varied tastes, values, needs and stages in their lives.  Don’t let the douchebags of the world put you off living your life, and believing that there are people out there who see you for the amazing person you are.

Under No Obligation

Published November 10, 2009 by Fat Heffalump

This isn’t just a post about being fat.  It’s also a post about being a woman.  The two are very much linked together, because fat actually is a feminist issue.  It’s not only a feminist issue, but it is still one.

One of the problems with being fat and being female, is that in Western society at least, and probably in others, women’s bodies, and women themselves, are often considered public property.  Women’s bodies are commented on and critiqued.  They are touched, felt, groped, stood over and dominated.

Even when it’s not intended to be a menacing thing, women’s bodies are public property.  Ask any woman who is, or who has been pregnant what it’s like having complete strangers paw over her belly, comment on her shape and ask inappropriately personal questions.

When a woman’s body is fat, it’s subject to judgement and derision, comment and criticism.  A woman’s morals are judged by her body.  Slender, pretty women are “lovely, sweet, take care of themselves, angelic” etc.  Fat women who don’t fit traditional beauty standards are “lazy, gluttinous, slothful, sloppy, dirty” etc.

Of course, it’s totally wrong.  Body shape and physical attributes have absolutely no reflection on the morals and values of the person within.

Because women are so often treated as objects, not people, we have to endure a lot of behaviours from men that we shouldn’t have to endure.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE MEN.  Whooooweee, do I love the fellas.  Not only cos I find men sexy creatures that I would like to do sexy things with, but also because I generally enjoy the company of men the most.  Except for those men that exhibit the attitudes and behaviours that I’m about to talk about.

If a man speaks to a woman in public, and she does not respond, or is not interested in him, she is not a bitch, a slut, whore, fat cow or a lesbian.   She is under absolutely no obligation at all to respond or pay attention to any man.  Her avoidance or disinterest is not an invitation for that man to aim hostility, ridicule or abuse in her direction.  It is simply what it is – disinterest, and she is allowed to be disinterested.  It is not a crime.

Guys – if a woman buries her nose in her book, or plugs in her iPod, or turns away from you – leave her alone.  This is her way of telling you she does not wish to be disturbed by you.  This is not an invitation for you to harass her, insult her or assault her.  Women are taught from a very young age not to argue, to not make a fuss, to behave in a “ladylike manner”.  So these are her cues to leave her alone.  It’s likely she’s not going to say “Go away.” or “Leave me alone.”  because she has been taught to “not make a fuss”.  Or she has had an experience where she has told a man to go away, and he has actually got MORE abusive, MORE persistent with her, so she’s trying to avoid that.

If she is talking, laughing, or paying attention to another man, this also does not  mean that she has to pay attention to you by default.  She is allowed to choose which men she gives her attention to, just as you are allowed to choose which woman you pay attention to.  That does not make her a bitch or a snob, it just is her choice.

If she is a fat woman, she is not desperate.  She does not have to be “grateful” for your attention.  Or anyone else’s attention for that matter.  She is not just waiting for someone, ANYONE to pay her attention.  She is not an easy target for you to sleep with either, because again, she is not desperate.  She is just fat.  Just because you think she is unworthy or somehow deficient for being fat, doesn’t necessarily mean that other people, indeed, other men feel the same way.

If a woman is not interested in you, she is not interested in you.  Move on.  Behave like a decent human being, and you may find the next woman you approach will be interested in you.

It is not true that nice guys never get the girl.  They do, they just don’t behave like a douchebag about it.

Dealing with Douchebags

Published September 22, 2009 by Fat Heffalump
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Ugh, I hate having to even talk about this topic, because it is so wrong that it still happens. But I know most of you have dealt with this shit so I’m going to talk about some ways to handle it and cope when it happens.
Yes, it’s douchebag season again. But when is it bloody not?
I copped some abuse again this afternoon from a douchebag passing by in a car. I was idly standing at a pedestrian crossing on my way to catch the bus home, when a car went by and a douchebag hung out of the window and screamed “Hey you stinky fat fuck!”
How absolutely mature and erudite. Fucktard.
This is an almost daily occurrence for myself and many other fatties. It’s not just fucktard bogans in passing cars either. The douchebaggery comes from all walks of life. I’ve copped everything from little old ladies stating loudly that “People like that shouldn’t eat.” as they passed me eating fruit salad in a shopping centre, teenage kids pointing and giggling, men making disgusting comments about “fucking the lard arse”, right through to a somewhat normal looking woman in her 40’s who pushed me on an escalator and when I said “Excuse me!” turned and replied “Well you shouldn’t be so fucking fat!”
The worst that I ever got was the time I was on the train to work and a group of young guys in King Gees started making barking noises, and I looked up to catch one taking a photograph of me on his mobile phone. I then sat there in horror as he texted it to all of the guys around him, who sat around making the most horrific comments about me being a “fucking fat dog who should just kill herself.”
It used to tear me to pieces. The times I would arrive at work and burst into tears because someone had exhibited this douchebaggery to me in the street… I can’t tell you how often it happened. Many times I came within a whisker of taking my own life out of sheer despair at how complete strangers treated me. I can’t describe the pain it would put me through.
These days I am lucky enough to have got some excellent help from both my GP and a very good psychologist who have taught me how to protect myself emotionally from douchebaggery, as well as where my value lies as a human being. But while I don’t let these people destroy me like they used to, it still hurts, every single time.
I’m still at a loss how to deal with it a lot of the time. Do I flip them the bird? Do I say something like “Fuck you, douchebag!”? Do I ignore it? More often than not, I’m so shocked that all I can do is blink and flinch.
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A friend of mine recently said “I wish I was there when this happened Kath, I’d smack the bastards one!” when I was telling him about how douchebags treat fat people. The thing is, douchebags are quintessentially cowards. They tend to pick on lone fatties, or maybe a couple of women. Douchebags never pick on a fatty that has a male friend with them. Nor do they pick on fatties in groups of people. I’d love to have this mate with me when someone had a go, because while he probably wouldn’t smack them one, he would definitely step up and tell them where to go. But as I said, douchebags are cowards.
However sometimes justice comes to play. Remember the guys in the King Gees on the train? Well, I got to work that day, and burst into tears. And one of my bosses at the time, Ali, happened to be in. She demanded the whole story from me. She asked me to describe the guys, and for some reason I remembered the logo on their King Gees. She called the company, which turned out to be an apprentice training company. She demanded to speak to the manager of the company. It turns out that these young guys were a group of apprentices going off for a training session in the city that day, completely paid for by the company. The manager knew the exact class/group that it was. When given the description of the guy who took the photo of me on his phone, he knew exactly who it was. He told Ali that he would investigate and take some action.
Ali called the manager of that company every morning for four days. On the fourth day, the manager called Ali first. He told her he had called in each of the guys from that group one by one, leaving the dude with the phone for last. As he said “I wanted him to sweat bullets”. He demanded each of the guys prove that there were no photos of not only me, but other women they had encountered on public transport etc on their phones. He told each of them that if he ever caught them harassing anyone again, in company uniform or otherwise, they would lose their apprenticeships, no further notice. The last guy, the one that took the photo? In the managers words “I tore him a new arsehole, ‘scuse the French Ma’am.”
I’m not sure if Ali knows how much it means to me that she went in to bat for me. Her anger and indignation at their treatment of me meant more to me than I can put into words.
If you’re a friend, family member or other person in the life of a fatty, please, PLEASE take the time to listen when they tell you of douchebaggery they have suffered. If you’re with a fatty and someone abuses them, and you can (it’s not always safe to do so), stand up for them. Or at least console them. If you can’t understand why you should, perhaps think what it would feel like if someone insulted you all the time. How would it feel if people told you that you should die, because of the way you look? How would you feel to be pushed, spat on, your photograph taken for ridicule, food thrown at you, lewd comments made about you (even about raping you – for some reason douchebags like to throw this one at fatties), sworn at, criticised by old ladies and middle aged women, and avoided as though you have some horrible contagious disease?
Because that’s what happens.
If you’re a fatty that has suffered douchebaggery (and who of us hasn’t), ***hugs***. I know how much it hurts, and I know the hurt doesn’t get any less with time, even when your self esteem is strong and you are confident. I know it’s wrong and unfair that this shit still happens. And you are welcome to vent about it in the comments here if you want to. I’m sorry that you, and I, have to put up with this.
Remember, even if you can’t say it, you can always think it:
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A Letter to the Friends of Fat Single Women

Published September 20, 2009 by Fat Heffalump

An open letter to all non-fat friends of single fatties.

Dear non-fat friends,
I love you all, even those of you who are not my friends but the friends of other fatties. You’re awesome, because you don’t buy into the shallow bullshit that a lot of other people do. Fatties are used to people avoiding them because they either think fat is contagious, or that fatties are not “cool enough” for them. So kudos to those of you who don’t buy into that and love your fatty friends.
But I want to talk to you about the way you approach your single fat friends with the subject of dating. Cos some of you get it really wrong. And I want to help you get it right!
  • It is ok to arrange for us to meet single guys that you know, so long as you ask us first. Either blind dates or introducing us at an event.
  • Ask yourself “Would I date him?” If the answer is no, then don’t suggest him to us. We are fat, we are not desperate.
  • The guy that lives with his mother… is he caring for her or is she caring for him? If she’s caring for him, don’t suggest him to us.
  • Do not suggest that we are lesbians unless we have expressed desire for women. Fat women are not all closet lesbians. It’s an insult to everyone to think this way.
  • If you know that we are a lesbian, it’s ok to introduce us to other lesbians. Do not introduce us to other fat women on the assumption that we will just get our fat on together and become lesbians.
  • Do not suggest that we may get more dates if we “just lose some weight”. We don’t want to date the kind of men who won’t date us as we are.
  • Do not tell us “But you have such a pretty face.” when we complain about being single. This implies the following sentence “Despite your fat body.”
  • When we are out together, and some guy behaves like a douchebag towards we fatties, do not then give him your phone number, flirt with him or have sex with him, no matter how hot he is. This tells us that some douchebag is of more value than our friendship. Besides, if he treats us badly now, he’s probably going to treat you badly later.
  • Do not suggest that we should cover up any of the fat bits of our bodies before we go out. Yes, I know I have big fat arms. I don’t care, it’s hot and this sleeveless top is pretty.
  • Don’t ask your fat friends for dating advice, and then dismiss it because they are fat and probably don’t get any dates anyway. They’re used to having to think more about how other people behave, they probably have the best advice.
  • Remember, if you wouldn’t go out with him, don’t suggest him to us. Just gotta make sure you understand that one.
  • If you double date with a fat friend, don’t comment on her food or your own. Nobody really cares but you, and you’ll just make your friend feel bad for no reason.
  • Don’t ask your fat friend how she got a date with the great guy. She got it because she is awesome and he’s smart.
  • Most of all, treat your single fat friend the same way you would treat any other single friend.
Again, you’re an awesome friend and we know you mean well, but sometimes it’s hard to understand that something can be hurtful when your intentions are good.
Thanks for being a great friend.
The Fatties.

Fat and Feminism… (or shut the fuck up bitch a man is speaking)

Published August 15, 2009 by Fat Heffalump

If you have seen the comments on my post “Still a Long Way To Go” you will see I have been plagued a bit by a troll over the past couple of days. Not your standard troll who likes to antagonise just for the fun of it, but a poor, hard done by man called William who really believes that he’s got the God given right, just because he’s a man, to fill up someone else’s blog with his “You women have got to stop whinging, we men have got it so hard too.” attitudes.

Unfortunately he doesn’t respond to either open debate or ignoring/deleting him, and has started emailing me as well. Because what he wants is not for his voice to be heard (which he could quite easily do by blogging in his own space and move on from mine, which he is so determined to prove is WRONG and MISINFORMATION), but he wants for me to just SHUT UP and say “Oh yes William, you wise man, you are so right, men are so hard done by.”
Well that ain’t gonna happen folks.
You see, this is one of the problems with fat acceptance. Not only are we fighting for acceptance as fat PEOPLE in this world, but there are also a very noisy population of men out there who just want women to shut the fuck up and stop talking, which makes it a feminist issue too. Stop complaining, stop having a voice, stop standing up for what they believe in, stop speaking for other women who don’t have the confidence to do so, stop arguing… just shut the fuck up already bitch, you are so WRONG!
The saddest thing is that douchebags like this drown out the very valid points that other more respectful men are trying to make, as you will see by the other man who comments on that blog – who is a respectful gentleman and not swallowed up by the “Oh my God a woman is speaking and she doesn’t agree with me, that’ can’t happen!” attitude.
Yes, I said douchebag. A douchebag is a man that has offensive attitudes towards women.
Because what men like William want is for women to be invisible, especially fat women, because then he doesn’t have that pedestal of “Well I’m a man AND I’m fat!” over them.
I don’t want to get involved in the politics of fat acceptance. But so long as there are men out there who honestly believe that women don’t have the right or reason to point out that there is a vast double standard when it comes to the attitudes in society towards women and their physical appearance and men and their physical appearance, I will have to. Especially as I am a woman who has some confidence and the ability to string a few sentences together.
So long as there are men out there who demand that women stop complaining about this double standard and expecting us to just shut up and go away, I feel obligated to speak up about it. I will continue to do so until those men get it that there IS a double standard, and that while there are issues that fat men face in society today, that those issues are vastly amplified for women, who have their value read in their appearance more than their brains, or heart, or humour.
Until then, I will exercise my power on my blog to delete, block and report the douchebags to my heart’s content.