Pick up artists, wannabes, anti-feminists and internet trolls were out in the Twitterverse last week, fanning the flames of outrage the vast majority of tweeters expressed over #FatShamingWeek.
The week of ridicule was inaugurated by writers at the masculinist blog Return Of Kings on Oct.7. The website is led by sex tourist and writer Daryush Valizadeh, better known by his penname Roosh V.
“I think sometimes to get people to change their views, you have to hit them a little bit hard,” Valizadeh said. “In the US, we’re the fattest that we have ever been. So, why not try a different approach that works? From my own experience, shaming people is the best way to get them to achieve a desired behaviour.”
The general consensus on Twitter is Valizadeh and the thousands who tweeted in favour of #FatShamingWeek are in the wrong.
Valizadeh says the hashtag idea was an afterthought. It was only intended to announce a week-long series of fat-shaming articles to the existing readership. But then many mainstream blogs, most notably Buzzfeed, posted and tweeted about it.
“It was like a snowball. A lot of others picked up on it and said ‘hey look at these guys, they’re horrible people and they deserve to fall off a cliff’. And from there we just enjoyed it. We wanted to get our message out there and I think it is,” Valizadeh said.
Some headlines posted to Return of Kings for fat shaming week include “obesity is a larger threat than Al-Qaeda,” “five ways to bully fat sluts on a date” and “fat single mothers are child abusers.”
STU women’s studies major Katrina Card is not impressed with Valizadeh’s fat shaming week.
“The fact that this guy has so many followers and people who look up to him… it just blows my mind,” said the third-year student. “There are some women who can’t help their body types. They’re genetically predisposed to be that way. They could be going to the gym every day for all he knows.”
Card battled eating disorders including anorexia in high school. She says nagging and shaming over her eating habits played a big part in her past.
“The pressure was just getting to me, so eventually I more-or-less stopped eating. Some days I’d just have a piece of toast and that would be it.”
Card said Valizadeh’s thinking is very extreme and it’s like he wants you to think that’s the only way to think.
But Valizadeh says that is the point.
“Right now we’re going through a stage where everyone is equal, and everyone is great, and everyone is born to be the president,” he said. “Shaming is a great way to say ‘hey, there’s something wrong with you. You are not equal to that person over there because she is thin… you’re doing something wrong and you have to change that,’ and apparently this is no longer acceptable.”
The fat shaming week officially ended on Oct.13 but the theme always has a spot on Return of Kings and the hashtag continues to be referenced hundreds of times a day.
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