Thank you, Troll

Elysse Andrews elysse_troll Colorado State University

[dropcap background="yes" color="#333333"]E[/dropcap]veryone on the Internet says it, “Don’t read the comments!” and “Don’t feed the trolls” but does anyone listen? I sure don’t. I’m not here to complain about the trolls, that’s not my goal. I’m actually here to thank my troll.

A couple weeks ago on Twitter, I posted a selfie under the ironic hashtag #feministsareugly, knowing full and well that there were going to be people who had different opinions. Knowing this, I posted away feeling completely satisfied in my knowledge that I am, in fact, not ugly and that no matter what anyone said my mind would not change. It didn’t take long for the trolls to come stomping in. About four of the five of them had no impact on me, causing an eye roll at most, but number five’s tweet got a reaction. “You need to lose about 30 pounds before you can disprove this hashtag.”

After I got over the initial shock that comes from being called fat and reporting the user for abusive content I got to thinking: did I just get subordinated? In case you don’t know, the idea of subordinated and dominant groups in society is built around the idea that there are certain characteristics in society (physical or situational) that assure privilege to those who possess them. In our society the most acceptable definition of the dominant group is represented by white, rich, cis-gendered, able-bodied, acceptable body size, straight males, followed by white women with the same characteristics.[divider type="short"]

[pullquote align="right"]I posted away feeling completely satisfied in my knowledge that I am, in fact, not ugly and that no matter what anyone said my mind would not change.[/pullquote][dropcap background="yes" color="#333333"]S[/dropcap]o where do I fit in? Before, I would have been that white, rich, cis-gendered, able bodied, acceptable body size straight female dominant group but lately I’ve gained weight, and quite a bit of it. Without going into the idea of thin privilege, I’m just going to tell you that being a “plus-size woman” in American society is not fun and I’m barely even plus-size. I can’t walk into a store and fit into their clothes unless they carry XL, which a surprising amount of stores don’t. My weight subordinates me. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Thanks to the troll, I’m realizing no.

Being subordinated into the “plus-size woman” group has given me the ability to identify as what America doesn’t want me to: a woman. America is obsessed with little girls, being shaped like them, having skin as smooth as them, being hairless like them, and finally and most importantly being as docile or submissive as them, (for more information read The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti), so finally being able to identify as a woman feels totally empowering.

So, dear troll, thank you for calling me fat, because you’ve unwillingly taken a fat, little girl and turned her into a “plus-size WOMAN” and whatever my weight ends up being,

you’ve given society one hell of a misbehaved, fighting woman.

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