Things You Only Know If You’re A “Fat Girl” On The Internet

Turns out, you'll even get trolled by other fat women


by Bethany Rutter |
Published on

As a plus-sized fashion blogger with a fairly decent social media following, I’m no stranger to getting hate from trolls. I’m not sure if it’s the size of my body that offends them, or the fact that I’m unapologetic about it, but there are some things you quickly learn when you’re a fat girl putting it out there on the internet…

If I post an even slightly controversial picture, I will get trolled

It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and I’m frolicking in bikini. So positive are my vibes that I want to share that with the world, or at least, the internet. I post a photo on my Instagram... and I wait for the inevitable: the attack of the trolls. Whenever it’s a ‘controversial post’ – one showing my abundant pale fat, or my dark, dense body hair, for example – there will always be a smattering of ‘no one needs to see that!’ and ‘lol look at this trainwreck’ amid the overwhelming ‘you go, girl!’ and ‘I wish I had your confidence’.

Who are they? Why are they there? Why do they care? No one knows, but they’re definitely there – in fact this kind of Internet abuse is probably a genre in its own right.

Nothing enrages a fatphobe like a fat woman having the nerve to post a photo of herself looking happy, confident, but most importantly, visibly and obviously fat on the internet. For people who barely believe it’s OK to be fat behind closed doors, bringing that into a public forum is flying in the face of taste and decency.

…And the silent trolls are just as bad

One phenomenon is something my friend Danielle has termed the ‘silent trolls’. All they do is tag their mate’s name in a comment, without writing anything more than that. Once in a blue moon it turns out it’s a nice fat girl alerting her pal to a fat comrade looking great, but most of the time it’s a case of ‘LOL BRO LOOK AT THIS FAT CHICK’.


READ MORE: Why Does Plus-Sizes Always Have To Be 'Pretty'?

Hashtags on Instagram are not my friend

The way some trolls get you is to loiter on the tags that members of the fat community favour. Personally, I find the hashtags a bit cringey (the two most popular seem to be #honormycurves and #effyourbeautystandards), although that’s never led me to want to troll them. #effyourbeautystandards has nearly 300,000 posts with the tag, which means it’s ripe to be exploited by fatphobes and misogynists alike.

It’s perfectly possible to also get trolled by other fat women

There’s a phenomenon within the plus size blogging world where a clothing brand will use your photo on their Instagram or Facebook page, generally wearing an item they sell, with a view to promote how great you look in it... and then the negative comments come. Fat women who think it’s inappropriate for plus size girls to be wearing a bikini, let alone sharing that appalling sight with the world, or that if you’re going to wear a short dress you absolutely must wear leggings with it so no one has to see your fat thighs. These women believe they’re on the side of righteousness, because everything about their experience has told them their bodies are, first and foremost, abhorrent, and secondly, there to be commented on. They think they have the right to tear you down because they’re fat too. Seeing fat women in anything other than a sack and leggings is so controversial that even other fat women don’t want you to do it.

READ MORE: We Asked Fat Girls If Pirelli's Plus Sized Model Is Actually A Good Thing

You start to realise just how unacceptable fat is to other people…

Every time a fat woman posts a photo of herself online (in any state, but particularly in a state of undress) she’s playing roulette with the reactions she’ll get. Even as a very confident person, posting underwear or bikini photos online is a psychological undertaking for me, because I know the wild, vast array of negative reactions it can provoke in people. It’s more a testament to the varying fates of fat women and thin women. The world wants to scroll through their Instagram feed and see women who look like models posing in bikinis on their beach holiday. They want the gloss and white Western idealisation of women’s magazines, shrunk down to a smartphone screen, and anyone daring to use that space to present an alternative is a challenge they’re not ready to deal with.

Follow Bethany on Twitter @ArchedEyebrowBR or on her blog Arched Eyebrow

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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