Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

Recently, I wrote an article about being fat-shamed after sex.

It got picked up by some major news outlets overseas, and then ironically, I found myself being fat-shamed by hundreds of strangers. Mainly men online.

Honestly, it’s the price you pay if you are a female writer and sharing your private life. Strangers online will tear it apart and send you hate. But it’s not abstract hate.

It’s never a simple “I hate you!”, But more a “That jumper you love looks disgusting on you!”. It’s often very detailed messages where a stranger tells me that they find me “fat” and “ugly” and it always leaves me feeling self-conscious.

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Mary Rose Madigan
After writing a viral online article, I received an onslaught of horrid abuse from men online. (Instagram / maryrosem)

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When I set out to become a writer, I thought my life would be like Carrie Bradshaw. I’d live off cocktails and words. But instead, I spend a lot of my time blocking strange men who tell me my body is disgusting.

It’s hard not to take it personally, because it is personal. Someone has seen something you’ve written online, it’s triggered something in them, and then they track down your social media to say very mean things to you, how can I not take that personally?

Now, if you add in the fact that I’m plus-size, a whole new lump of hate is heading my way. My body is constantly used against me.

Complete strangers message the meanest things you could ever think about yourself. Or even worse – things you hadn’t even thought to be self-conscious of yet.

Once, a stranger messaged me to say they found my arms “gross”. I spent the next week wearing turtlenecks feeling embarrassed by them.

Woman working from home
Men online even go as far to harass me on LinkedIn. (Getty)

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I do not like that strangers on the internet have this kind of hold on me. Perhaps the more prolific and well-known you are it’s easier to handle, because you’ll have someone to field these messages for you.

But I’m a one-woman team, and there’s no one to protect me from my DMs or worse, when they find me on LinkedIn. (Yes, they seriously bother to find my LinkedIn.)

I try not to read these messages, but even just by flicking through, you get the gist, and the gist is enough to leave you feeling awful.

I do not think it’s any secret being a plus-size woman online is not easy. I’d argue that’s why so many famous women that start off plus-size end up shrinking themselves down, because people’s comments and hate are endless.

Rebel Wilson
Rebel Wilson has been praised for her major weight loss, and society likes her so much more now she exists in a smaller body. (Instagram)

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Honestly, you only need to look at all the praise both Chrissie Swan and Rebel Wilson have gotten since they’ve lost weight to realize society prefers smaller women.

I’m aware that my just existing in a plus-size body evokes a reaction and the fact I have a public-facing job means I’m always going to have to navigate this kind of online hate, but it is bloody hard and keeps me in therapy.

Now, there is the other side of the coin. Amongst the messages where men called me fat, there were also men messaging me to tell me they loved my body or found me sexy.

Drawing of women.
‘What I find most frustrating is that as a plus-size woman, I’m often defined and judged by my size.’ (Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Perhaps they were trying to be nice, but it felt more violating than anything else. I can not think of one male writer that would have to deal with their body being so widely discussed.

I suppose what I find most frustrating is that as a plus-size woman, I’m often defined and judged by my size.

Good or bad, my body is always up for debate, and I’ll be honest I want it off the table. I want to be able to have an article go viral without my body being brought up.

I do not know what the answer to this is. I just wish my body wasn’t a conversation. I wish I could write my opinions, and my weight would not be used against me. Surely that isn’t too much to ask for?

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