Three Quotes on the WisCon Drama

(As always, as soon as I say I won’t be posting, I start posting.)

Update: I hear Rachel’s now getting physical threats over this, which is deeply uncool. I know that’s not the kind of thing to come from this crowd, but just for the record: I’m all for calling out her cruel, fucked-up behavior, but it is not okay to threaten to hurt someone.

So, before this morning, I’d never heard of WisCon, which bills itself as “the world’s leading feminist science fiction convention.” (Cool.) Today, I’m hearing about it all over the place, because of what happened afterwards: someone named Rachel Moss posted pictures at Something Awful of WisCon attendees, mocking them for fatness, disability and gender orientation. Especially fatness, evidently.

I didn’t see it before it was taken down, and I’m not about to go looking for the full history. (As your Sanity Watchers leader, I highly recommend you do the same.) But I thought Barry’s and Lesley’s posts on the matter were well worth quoting.

Barry, on the intersection of fatphobia, transphobia, and ableism:

Why do these things go so smoothly together, like peanut butter and chocolate in a Reese’s commercial? I think that anti-fat bigotry, anti-trans bigotry, and ablism overlap in that all three bigotries are a sort of body fascism. Those who have what society considers the “default body” — by being thin, by being ablebodied, or by being born with genitals that match one’s gender identity — are considered superior to those without the default body, and have the right to mock inferior people with non-default bodies.

And, of course, men also have the “default body,” and women do not. So it’s not surprising that the anti-fat, anti-trans, anti-disabled bigotry in the SASS thread is also shot through and through with misogyny.

And Lesley awesomely tells people like Rachel Moss to go ahead and keep it up, motherfuckers:

Do it. Take it. Take my picture and eviscerate me online. It’s just a public, out-loud, communal version of what people do to me inside their heads every single day. It’s happened to me before, online and off. It’ll happen again. It’ll happen every day I leave the house, for the rest of my life.

I am still fat, and I am still not sorry. And nothing you can say, nothing you can post, nothing you can do will change that. No matter how many times you try to humiliate me. No matter how much you want me to hate myself. Because it’s my fucking body. And I don’t owe you a damn thing.


Update 2: The Angry Black Woman, whose picture is being used as an avatar by a Moss-inspired asshole, under the words “100 % N*****,” also has some choice words. (Sanity Watchers warning on her comments, though.)

Now I definitely am not down with physical threats. Especially not against female bloggers. But if Rachel Moss feels scared, hurt, embattled, and like she can’t walk down the street without someone having something nasty to say about her, all I can say is: good. She deserves it. Because that’s a slice of what she did to others for no other reason than she thought it would be funny. I would not wish actual physical harm on her ever. But you know that feeling in the gut you get when you’re anxious and upset and freaked out? I hope she feels that every day for a year. It still wouldn’t be enough.

97 thoughts on “Three Quotes on the WisCon Drama”

  1. Something Awful? SO not surprised. They are one of the worst “let’s mock everyone who is different than the rest of us” sites on the webz, but reserve extra hatred for fat people. They have stolen people’s pics from Myspace and made a whole blog to make fun of them. They made fun of kids who did science fair projects for school.

    Rachel Moss and others like her clearly need to get a life if this is what makes them feel good, to take pics of strangers, white out their faces, and ridicule them for daring to have extra meat on their bones, be gay or lesbian, transgendered, anything considered outside the realm of “attractiveness.” They are the ones with the problem.

    And that purple dress! That’s gorgeous!

  2. As a fat geek girl who’s attended a con before (PhillyClassic 3 and Classic Gaming Expo to be precise), I’m more than appalled over what that woman has done. But I think that the “fuck you, at least I’m enjoying myself” response from Lesley is the high road to take…

  3. I thought Rachel Moss was lesbian, and that she herself was only mocking the fatties. My understanding was that it was the other folks at SA who took it upon themselves to extend the mockery to transgendered and disabled folks (and maybe also lesbian couples). I could be mistaken but that’s how I read it initially.

    And yeah, good on Lesley. I mean, where do people get off thinking that we’re all fatasses because people are too tolerant of us? Like I’ve said before, if incessant mockery and shunning and the constant threat of being beaten to a pulp for being a fatass was enough to make people thin, there shouldn’t be a fat middle school student anywhere.

  4. Pathetic. Seriously, nothing better to do with her time than go out of her way to make fun of fat people? What a creative and revolutionary way to spend one’s time. My eyes cannot roll any further back in my head.

    Some people are a tragic waste of the carbon that they are based on.

  5. I went and read it, and it comes across as sad more than anything.

    I have a mixed response to Lesley’s response. On one hand, it rocks. On the other hand, she shouldn’t have to. I’ve employed much the same tactics before and in my personal experience, it still stings. “Hit me with your best shot” is great to rock out and feel awesome to when people get you down, but at the same time, it’s about a women going willingly to get beat up, you know?

    I’m hesitant to submit this because I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade or doubt people’s descriptions of their own feelings, but at the same time, if you were hurt by this? It is okay. You don’t have to be Superwoman of the Kevlar Heart to be cool.

  6. Becky, thanks for pointing us to that post. Much admiration to purplefrog, her soul is even larger than her body for sure. She just completely shows by example how tawdry that troll’s soul is.

    And I too think her purple dress is awesome.

  7. Ooh, Lesley is here! I just want to clarify that I don’t want to take away from your awesomeness at all. Never. My comment was about my personal emotional reaction. Maybe this was the wrong place for it. In that case, I’m sorry in advance! Anyway, you rock, that’s all.

  8. Purplefrog’s purple dress, not the troll’s dress, I have no idea about the troll’s wardrobe.

  9. Around here we have a hierarchy of tooldom that goes from toolbag to toolshed, etc, and I think that Rachel Moss just hit the coveted Sears Hardware mark….

  10. Lovelovelovelovelovelove Lesley’s comments. Because that’s what it’s really about, isn’t it? They hate something about themselves, so their goal is to make someone else hate themselves even more. Best response? IT WON’T WORK. I still love myself, and you can’t stop me. Neener neener neener. Here, have a yogurt, it will make you feel better. ;) I like all of the responses so far, in fact. Rachel Moss should be very sad that her brain never made it out of 7th grade.

  11. Oh, fuck.

    I went and read the cache of the original post on SA. I knew I shouldn’t have, but I’m an old-school scifi fan, and I’ve got friends who attend Wiscon just about every year. I’d go myself, if I didn’t hate flying with the passionate heat of a thousand suns. And, well, fuck.

    And all I gotta say now is, the person who wrote that crap is one ugly, small-minded, wizened little shit, and I imagine just living with herself is one hell of a punishment.

  12. You know why I’m drawn to sci-fi and fantasy? Because it’s at least in part about possibility. About invention. About a brave new world. As a fat lesbo, sometimes the fictional tomorrow is more hopeful for me than what I see in the next 10 years, a time when sexuality is likely to be repressive and obesity will be made into the age’s greatest scourge.

    Her shot at Unitarian Univesalist Polyamorous blah-blah really raised my hackles. I’m a UU, and UUism is a real theology and a real spiritual discipline. The diversity in UUism really scares some people. It makes me crazy when people marginalize UUism based on what other people call the fringe element.
    (Billy Graham had his fun deriding the Jews, but HIS faith is the legitimate, normal, patriarchy-propping state religion. (No queers, no commies, no uppity women for Billy Graham.)

    Wow. I’m more angry about this than i thought.

  13. That “default” thing is the thing I hate most about the “But minorities/women/gay people can’t ‘help’ being the way they are, therefore fatbashing is not a hate crime”. So you’re assuming the default setting for the entire human race is “thin white straight guy”? Umm, fuck you. Also: What a boring fucking world THAT would be.

  14. From reading around about this, it appears that Rachel herself is a recovering bulimic, which may explain some of this (and also makes me pity her more than hate her.)

  15. I was particularly ticked off at her attack on fat vegans (who are “doing it wrong”) and persons with fibromyalgia (a “fake disease”? This must be ‘fake pain’, then) as I am both.

    The whole thing seemed like such a pointless stream of you-don’t-matter-because-you’re-fat/trans/disabled/different-ism. Fortunately, such people usually end up with a God-given ‘taste of unprivileged life’ at some point in time. Hope that when it happens, she’ll learn from it.

  16. I don’t know – my pity ends where her website begins. It’s one thing to be the kind of person to make snide comments about people out of a place of self-hatred, which is something I can sometimes pity; it’s another thing entirely to go to a convention specifically to take pictures of people specifically for the purpose of ridicule. Those weren’t just remarks, that took some time investment. That wasn’t just self-defense; that was going out of her way to find people to hate.

  17. And going and reading Lesley’s whole post again, to use the jargon of the internet: I want to marry that post and have its babies. :)

  18. Tal – (disclaimer – not sniping at you – I agree but I feel like I need to add another perspective) I am a struggling bulimic. I have been fighting bulimia for 20 years. I am not yet fully recovered, though this blog has definitely helped.

    In that time, I have NEVER, made fun of someone for their body shape or size. I am so aware of the issues I have around my own body that I would never pile that onto someone else. It is so sad. I think she needs help but she doesn’t deserve to be let off the hook.


  19. I’ve read people referring to her alleged ED history and self-love/hate path as excuse or explanation as to why she engaged/is engaging in hateful and bigoted behavior.

    Is this a valid point of argumentative end? Is it valid to refer to someone’s mental health as excuse for bigotry and discrimination? Is it acceptable to excuse hate of one disability with possible ownership of another? Why do we (the Othered) strive so vehemently to explain why someone would engage in such dehumanizing behavior?

    Far be it from me to engage in the P word online or off, and I’m not calling for a reformation of dialogue on dialogue for dialogue’s sake (meta snark?) but I’m curious as to the process we as an Othered body of bodies are reaction to and processing this recent thread of verbal or internet violence. “Bring it” as a form of empowerment is a radical but yet base form of response, isn’t it? What more can we take and run with as a response? Do we walk out of our doors with our heads a little higher, our bodies a little more flamboyant than before to simply assert our right to exist wholly and fully as a part of this culture we call home?

    Rather than attack the product of the culture (RM), what would we or should we do to not necessarily respond to but process and use this momentum to our benefit? I’m talking on a micro as well as macro-level activist. Keeping in mind that radical can be as simple as getting up and as complicated as dismantling the patriarchy….

    Just thoughts….

  20. Hey Cindy, I’m a UU too! Nice to see another one around. I hate hearing cheap shots taken at it as if it’s not a “real” religion, especially since few people outside the faith know anything about it. Actually I get quite a lot of my identity derided in this way and made to be “not real”. I’ve heard it all: recurrent mono isn’t real (even though my own doctor confirms it is), UU is a load of crap, Asperger syndrome is just something geeks make up to get attention, blah blah blah. I even had a paramedic tell me it is impossible to be hypoglycemic without being diabetic *sigh* Okay, I’m off on a tangent here, but the point is that for one, SP is thankfully helping me to stop caring what random other people think of me! And for two, being told a significant part of your life does not exist (which is all too common with chronic illness) is incredibly painful and can make you either doubt your sanity or want to start punching people, neither of which is particularly conducive to an enjoyable life.

    I know quite a few people who frequent sites like SA, 4chan, etc. and this kind of thing is sadly not atypical of those kind of sites (actually, this is probably mild compared to some of the crap they spew.) A large portion of the internet is sadly used as a playground for immature bigots. But it’s great to see people fighting back and saying “So what? You can’t hurt me.”

  21. Ugh, I got interested in this so I checked out Rachel Moss’s site and some other posting of hers relating to proanorexia sites, and about how the moderator of one of those sites killed herself. I made the HUGE mistake of looking at that person’s LJ and her last post is talking about her killing herself. So upsetting.

    This is NOT to say that Rachel’s posts about the wiscon convention were not incredibly upsetting.

    The whole fucking thing is just sad. From extreme bigotry to self bigotry and suicide, I feel like it’s all related somehow. But I haven’t slept in a few days, so forgive this woo woo comment.

  22. That’s my perspective, too, oh snap.

    I think she’s in that phase that some folks with EDs get where she hates her own body so much that she transfers that hatred on to other people. Internalized fatphobia and all that.

    Not that I’m inside her head or anything. Just a guess based on past experiences with similar situations.

  23. The best thing to do is give a giant finger to anyone who tries to make you hate yourself. It’s called abuse, and it it NOT acceptable!

  24. Faith I don’t think Tal meant it like that, I think she meant more that the girl has an E.D. and she’s acting out her hate of herself on other people. It is sad…

    That being said, that has to hurt for the people they did that to. That’s wrong on a million different levels and it makes me so angry to watch people be battered that way.

    The people touched by this though have showed an infinite amount of class, instead of slinging ugly words back at them they’ve stood proud, and that in and of itself is incredibly impressive and shows what beautiful people they truly are.

    I personally have an urge to seek all those women out because 1. They are so classy 2. Didn’t it seem like they were having a massive amount of fun. That’s so awesome

  25. @Mia No worries! I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself, nor do I aim to make anyone feel badly if they ARE hurt by such sentiments.

    We all react to this sort of thing in different ways. I was sharing mine. And your thoughts on that are totally valid, and well taken. :)

  26. Actually, I think I was in error about the “lesbian” part. I saw something about her saying she was “going to get gay-married in California,” but on reading further I think that was a joke. Sorry about the mistake.

  27. Threats to her are definitely not good and don’t help the cause since it just made her dig her heels in and be more of a jerk.

    However, she is SO wrong to have done what she did. I saw the SA pages when they first went up (unfortunately) and I was so upset by them I didn’t even want to bring them up with any of the FA people because I just couldn’t face the topic. I am glad others saw the post and dealt with it.

    That post was hateful. It was done to be funny but I have seldom seen anything less funny. I hang out in some places that spend time making fun of things (and people) and I’ve had to develop a thick skin because of it because the posters on Fark and some of the other “humor” sites can be pretty crude and cruel, but this post topped the charts in stupidity and juvenile behavior.

    She should be ashamed. She should be shunned. (But please don’t threaten violence or harass her outside the internet; that’s just wrong). Let’s hope that everyone will show more class than she deserves. We’re the good guys so I hope everyone will act like it.

  28. Heh. The SP Response Team. You all should train EMTs.

    This may not be a popular response. First — physical threats not cool. Second — having done hand to hand combat with “the rex”, with all the serotonin imbalance it entails, and how said imbalance screws with one’s empathy, I’m like this:

    If you attack people for “fun”, especially with no prior thought to how your “target” people might react to being publicly shamed and ridiculed —

    you might get what you deserve.

  29. And this? (quote via ABW’s post, which includes part of the original Moss post on SA)

    Fat activism is, in my opinion, one of the stupidest types of almost entirely online-only activism there is. I’m sitting at a computer, and I’m super fat (well, not me actually), and I can’t get a date, so therefore I AM OPPRESSED.

    *shaking head* Anyone who could read any blog on the ‘Sphere and glean THAT message from it…well, it makes me wonder if she’s actually read any of our writings at all, really.

  30. Meowser, behbeh, if I read her right, she didn’t say she read the blogs. She said she scanned them looking for good places to troll.

    Crucial difference, that. Maybe she’s Rick.

  31. You know, mocking goofy non-conformists at a science fiction convention is a bit like going to a Tyson processing plant and complaining that there are chickens. OH NOES….REALLY?

    I’m hopeful that Rachel Moss’s next expose will be going to a gas station and mocking people who DARE TO PUMP THEIR OWN GAS. HAHA THOSE GAS GUZZLING FOOLS.

    …After she was invited to the gas station to pump gas, only to arrive and realize “pump gas” didn’t mean what she thought it meant.

  32. It is not okay to threaten to hurt someone because of internet bullshit.

    I agree that it’s not okay to make physical threats to someone for being an asshole, but “internet bullshit” always comes across as dismissive to me. The fact that this happened on the internet rather than another forum doesn’t make it any less hurtful.

  33. I’d like to leap in to comment that
    1) She had initially said she wanted the SA thread shut down because of threats to contact her school, not threats of physical violence.
    2) When she did so, the SA members turned on her and started making horrible comments about her.
    3) We (feminist, fat acceptance people, etc) shouldn’t take on all of the responsibility for those threats. Definitely decry them, but don’t take on all the blame.
    4) This wasn’t “interent bullshit” to many of the people involved. People she photographed and verbally attacked (and SA commentors made physical threats towards) were scared. She outed some trans people which can have serious real world consequences (losing a job, etc.). She made many, many WisCon members deeply upset and fearful. One panel I attended, “Trans 101” lost half of its panelists because of this. WisCon safety came to the panel to prevent anything further from happening, but sadly it was too late. Rachel Moss willfully and intentionally did a lot of damage.

  34. “internet bullshit” always comes across as dismissive to me.

    A good point. That was really poor phrasing on my part. I’ll change it.

    Also, Julia, I didn’t even realize she was doing this while the con was going on. Jesus.

  35. “Crucial difference, that. Maybe she’s Rick.”

    Ooh…I recently had a rather unpleasant debate with someone identifying only as R. This person was apparently trolling a teen’s blog and saying quite unkind things. I wonder…

  36. Sad, pathetic, destructive. What tipped her to the dark side since she sort of identified herself as a feminist? Self hatred? since she attended the Wiscon as well and is part of the crowd that she viciously mocked? More power to the Wiscon people who are just minding their own business and not hurting anyone. Just puzzled and saddened by unwarranted cruelty to others.

  37. I hope it was the goons that turned on her, because maybe she’ll get a smidgen of a taste of what it’s like to be in an unsafe space. Maybe she’ll understand what it’s like to actively avoid places or groups of people for fear of what they will say do or think about you. Sorry, no sympathy or pity for her – she didn’t have any for the people she called out. I hope her school does get called, and her parents, and every single person who will ever consider her for a job, a date or a fucking cereal box prize ever again. This kind of shit is not tolerated in the real world and her actions have put people at risk. She doesn’t deserve harm but she absolutely does deserve to understand the fear and anxiety she has put people through by publicly humiliating them and/or exposing their sexuality/gender presentation for a team of worldwide losers to tear apart. I hope someone makes a t-shirt with her face on it and some hateful invective below. Make that a billboard and nationwide PSA campaign.

  38. Oh yeah this was going on mid con. I found out about it Saturday afternoon (2nd day of con) after my “Fat is Not the Enemy” panel and from then on I was on alert and filled with feminist rage. I contacted appropriate people in charge, let people who had been targeted know what was up, etc. etc.

    This also led to pretty much everyone I ran into Saturday night getting treated to a dose of fat positive feminist rage. Which, well, stuff happens.

    Rachel Moss is also accusing WisCon members of calling her mother and family members. Interestingly, the place where her phone number, address, etc was posted was….Something Awful in members only areas.

  39. There go my Sanity Watchers Points for like … next month. I am sorry, I will have to swear profusely now… what the FUCK?
    The time and energy that goes into threads like those at SASS, it boggles my mind why one would want to spend their time like this. Seriously. What is the motivation behind somebody pouring shit on pages about strangers like this? Making themselves feeling better?
    I loved those pictures from the con. Everybody looked like they had a ton of fun. There were some people that I did not find attractive. And it is NONE of my goddamn fucking business. Nobody has the obligation to look pretty or hot or whatever for me, just like I have no obligation to conform to some stranger’s standards of beauty. Gaaargh!

  40. Ah, and the fandom_wank crowd has weighed in. What gets me is their insistence that somehow because this is “on-line” that it has nothing to do with real life. Nothing at all! People just had their real pictures of their time at a real event posted on-line and publicly dissected in the cruelest, most misogynist ways possible. Why are those silly uptight fat feminists bringing this into the REAL sphere? Don’t they know that what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet?

    God I hate people.

  41. It sounds like she’s a graduate student from what I can tell. (I should say, I suppose, that posting her real address does seem like a Bad Idea to me).

  42. Seeworthy has a write-up about this incident. She used to be a frequent, non-trolly commenter over there before she became a SA lackey and garbage-spewing fatphobe.

    Now I learned that not only did she hate on fat women, trans and queer Wiscon attendeees, she ridiculed a 9 year-old boy and called him a pussy. She’s an out and out psycho.

  43. If that is purplefrog/Lesley in that purple dress, she is absolutely gorgeous.

    And while I don’t necessarily condone physical violence, people really need to think about what they say before they open their god damn mouths. My dad always told me to not let my mouth overload my ass, and it sounds like Rachel Moss and a lot of the other people over there on those websites needs to heed that advice. Sure it’s all fun and games to spew hateful shit about people when you can hide behind your computer, but if you keep running your mouth like that, you’re eventually going to piss off the wrong person.

  44. When she did so, the SA members turned on her and started making horrible comments about her.

    And that’s the problem with pulling the whole: “I’m better than all those other women” thing to get yourself in good with people like that. One misstep, and you’re back to being an icky icky girl and subject to the same cruel treatment you helped inflict on others. How does it feel, Rach?

  45. Wow, between this and the Open Source Boob Project, sf(ish) cons have been taking quite a beating.

    I am, of course, outraged, and I don’t wish violence on Rachel M., but I do, perhaps, wish that she would actually feel bad for what she DID, not just the consequences.

  46. Lilah – it always boggles me how people characterize whatever the most negative sentiment expressed on a f_w thread as the consensus of the group. When I read that thread, I see a debate where many if not most of the posters are arguing our side of things.

  47. Oh, and Kate, that’s why I love this site. If I have a concern about phrasing or anything else in a post, I know I can bring it up and be listened to rather than told to get over it and stop being so sensitive. Thanks =)

  48. Kit – you’re not wrong (and actually, I’ve posted extensively in the thread myself). It was the original post that really got my hackles up, perhaps unfairly.

  49. Becky, but of course! When I said “internet bullshit,” I was thinking more in terms of a big, steaming pile of truly awful bullshit, not “one of those silly internet dramaz that everyone unnecessarily freaks about.” But as soon as I saw your comment and Julia’s, I realized it totally came off as the latter, and I definitely didn’t want to be sending that message. As several people have pointed out, just because this shit is happening on the internet doesn’t mean it’s not real. Rachel Moss is a real person who viciously attacked and hurt real people, and there are real consequences on both sides.

  50. I feel I should point out, to be fair, that the journalfen post is not on fandom wank, it’s on unfunny business, a different community that happens to have a lot of the same members.

    That said, I’m rather surprised by the tenor of the unfunny business post; I assumed any post made about this at either F_W or UB would come down on the side of the con-goers. Also, I’m a little surprised anybody thinks “it’s not acceptable to put up Ms. Moss’s personal information” is even up for discussion. Of course it’s not. But like I said on UB, throwing a bunch of people who were hanging out to talk about sci-fi to the rabid SA wolves is just plain cruel.

  51. I’m going to post my comment and then read the comments already posted. So if I repeat I am sorry.

    I am just disappointed in people. Sometimes the internet just brings to light the amount of sickness that exists in human society. How can anyone call themselves a feminist and turn around to make fun of women for not conforming to a subjective ideal?

    I guess what is most upsetting to me about this is that these women were attending a conference where they should feel comfortable. Where they should feel proud to be who they are. These women were betrayed by someone that masqueraded as a comrade. Shame on Rachel Moss, who – in my view – can barely claim to be human, much less a feminist.

  52. I saw a really great response here as well, really heartbreaking– http://rm.livejournal.com/1363590.html
    “I am sick to fucking death of dyke or lesbian or man being a way to call women ugly. I am sick to death of bitch and girl and pussy to call down the spectre of cowardice on men. And I am sick unto fucking death of transfolk being treated as if they are somehow unreal, temporary of spirit or the last of the circus sideshow.

    Our world is filled with the tyranies of the flesh. And the discussion of that extends well into the online sphere. Because of what I do and who I am, I deal with this day in and day out. In France, an agent told me, I would actually be beautiful. Loose five pounds. Get stronger. Practice more. A man would be taller. Laughter and a remark on the size of my shoulders. Sir at the bank because I refuse to lower my eyes when I make a request.”

  53. @LilahMorgan – I’m glad that Kit posted first, because she said exactly what I wanted to. Except that she was probably less annoyed in tone then I would have been, because I posted a lot of corrections and complaints about the OP in there last night (politely!), and pyrate jenny was a complete asshat back. I may have possibly posted a short rant about that on my journal. ;)

    FYI to people not in the know about those communities before this – I’m not sure that the fandom wank mods would appreciate being linked to that comm and post. There’s a lot of crossover in the people, so sometimes I forget too that it’s not an official affiliate. But the OP’d be raked over the coals if she had dared post that to FW, or its sister OTF_wank. Not cool, not funny, not a good post in general, and can I repeat not funny. She’s be eaten alive.

  54. People just had their real pictures of their time at a real event posted on-line

    Exactly. I don’t understand the contention that “real life” and the internet are somehow separate in this situation. (To be honest I don’t accept that they’re separate in most situations, because I’ve had “RL” relationships and friendships and everything else come from meeting on forums on the internet, and what I read/learn/witness on the internet affects my “real life” every day, and I think that’s true for a huge number of people. So it’s a false division most of the time.)

    But for this situation in particular…I mean: Rachel Moss is a real person, yes? The people she posted about are real people? These photos are of a real event? These people are really getting hurt by this? Those who think the internet is this magical separate place where nothing matters think, what? That the people who’ve been ridiculed by thousands of strangers for nothing more than existing are just going to switch off their monitors after and go back to their “real lives” as if nothing has happened? These ARE people’s real lives, and you don’t get to diminish what’s happened here just because she posted their pictures on Something Awful instead of her local shop’s message board. It’s just trying to take away people’s right to be hurt and offended by something that hurts and offends them. Thanks for playing, but no.

  55. Caitlin, see, if she had PRINTED OUT pictures of them, WRITTEN nasty captions on the back, and physically PASSED THEM AROUND to a bunch of immature dipshits, that would be real. But as soon as it’s on the INTERNET, it’s JUST THE INTERNET OMG.

    Because the internet allows you to pass nasty captions around to thousands of dipshits at a time. So, you know, clearly less harmful.

    (I mean, clearly that’s not what Kate meant. But apparently other people do.)


    (And, I know that’s not what Kate meant! Wasn’t aimed at her at all.)

  57. Risha, thanks for the clarification. I had no idea it wasn’t an official affiliate of fandom_wank! And once I read the comments carefully, I did see that a lot of people were making reasonable, thought-out replies, so I apologize if my post came off as a slight at any of you all (who I really appreciate taking the time to comment).

  58. (And, for what it’s worth, I’m ladyvorkosigan over there and have wasted a good deal of my morning commenting at length, so certainly don’t want to come off like I’m insulting all posters there.)

  59. LilahMorgan – No problem, and like I said, I wasn’t even really annoyed at your comment. (Especially once I saw your reply to Kat.) I am completely pissed at Pyrate Jenni, and I’m pretty sure that my tone is spilling over from that. :)

    At least she’s getting called on it pretty hardcore (with a few unfortunately exceptions). Goblin pretty much said what I was thinking.

  60. And I was wondering if that was you, but you’re not the only one posting those things. I actually need to get some work done today, so thank you for carrying on with it this morning. :)

    I’m pretty sure it’s obvious that I’m risha, by the way. :)

  61. That said, I’m rather surprised by the tenor of the unfunny business post; I assumed any post made about this at either F_W or UB would come down on the side of the con-goers.

    But the congoers were FAT WOMEN, everstar! That negates absolutely everything. Fat women have no right to privacy or dignity.

  62. But the congoers were FAT WOMEN, everstar! That negates absolutely everything. Fat women have no right to privacy or dignity.

    Damn it, I always forget about that part of the rulebook. Thanks, Meowser. :P

  63. Hm, I just realized that my old high school friend is in the chemistry program at UW-Mad….with Rachel Moss! I emailed her to get the scoop….

  64. What’s also disturbing me is that a few so-called feminist bloggers have condemned Rachel Moss and people like her on the grounds that they might be vilifying someone who is fat due to “genuine illness”. But presumably the rest of us who are fat by choice (due to our non-stop consumption of baby-flavoured donuts) are perfectly acceptable targets? Really? WTF?

  65. Oh mans, there are wankas who are also shapelings? AWESOME. (I’m onaga on JF, but I don’t read unfunnybusiness because I would blow all my Sanity Watchers points before noon.)

    I find it really funny that commenters are on the various posts calling the authors hypocrites for calling out Moss. It’s not the same thing at all. Augh.

  66. Nomie: I’m resisting the urge to run around in the UB post saying, “Pardon me, but I couldn’t help but notice that you look just like Kate Harding.” (I’m… well, guess who I am on JF. Ha.)

    What’s really bugging me about the people who are all, “OMG DON’T PICK ON RACHEL” is the fact that they’re assuming the people who were at the con are the people who are attacking her offline, when everything I’ve seen says that’s not the case. In fact, the original post makes that exact mistake, and although several people have pointed it out to the author, she hasn’t corrected it yet. Sigh.

  67. I feel I should point out that I’m not actually a wanka, just a generalised lj fangirl who rocks over there when necessary.

    I find it really funny that commenters are on the various posts calling the authors hypocrites for calling out Moss. It’s not the same thing at all. Augh.

    I know. I had this whole post ready to go on that and then I thought better of it ’cause the whole thing’s a mess. Racism, homophobia, ableism and outing people as gay/trans in an intolerant nation =/= posting someone’s frigging NAME on the internet. (Especially since she apparently had it in full on her nametag at the convention this whole thing’s about.) And I’ve seen several people mention that the only people who HAD access to her personal information (i.e. her address) were her fellow SAers, so it presumably must have been one of them who made it public.

    Hey, it turns out that when you cross people who’re only friends with you because you’re all mean-spirited bastards, guess what? They turn on you too! I’m pretty sure the rest of us learned that lesson aged approx 12. But yeah, “poor Rachel”. I’m sure the people in her pictures who were just minding their own damn business are crying into their teacups for her.

  68. Hey, it turns out that when you cross people who’re only friends with you because you’re all mean-spirited bastards, guess what? They turn on you too! I’m pretty sure the rest of us learned that lesson aged approx 12.

    Seriously. Didn’t she even read Blubber?

  69. Usually, when I find out about yet another attack on people that don’t fit the “default” model, I sigh, feel mentally exhausted, get depressed… instead I read Lesley’s post, felt uplifted and felt even more assured of my choice to join the feminist, FA community.

    What happened was awful, but you guys seriously rock.

  70. My friends! Goddamnit. Those are MY friends! How dare she.

    I hadn’t realized I wasn’t angry enough until I recognized people I love. But everyone she attacked has people who love them and I should be just as angry about what she did to them.

    Fuck! I am so angry right now.

  71. I know this woman IRL, she was in my graduating class in high school. Somehow that makes me even sadder.

  72. I just want to expose those a**sholes at the SASS forums even more by stating that they’ve begun to mine my blog for posts — especially the post that got mentioned in the Carnival Against Sexual Violence (about the torment and abuse I suffered through childhood and beyond). They post the OP whole in a thread, and proceed to just mock it.

    I don’t really give a crap — doesn’t bother me, I had a terse rebuttal post on my blog that was a pic of a dude giving the finger. But what about other people who’re more sensitive than I am?

    Oh, I also noticed the angryblackwoman’s av being used there, by someone who commented in one of “my” threads.

    They’re just a bunch of like-minded cowards who sit in their hidey-hole of hate and snigger at all the “others” who walk by. Sick, sad, and unoriginal. We can’t waste our energy on places like this — they are what they are, and there will always be these cesspools of hate reacting to any unpopular movement. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, yanno?

    Thanks for the post.

  73. About half of the original post was copied over to a forum called “SASS: The Something Awful Sycophant Squad,” and while I couldn’t read the whole thing – it was just far to disgusting – in the section where she rants about FA blogs and how it’s “one of the stupidest types of almost entirely online-only activism there is,” she says:

    Their heroes, from whom they get most of their data, are Gina Kolata and Sandy Szwarc, whom I know very well are themselves paid by companies such as Coca Cola, to disseminate information to gullible people that doctors are evil people trying to take away their precious, normal fat.

    Does anyone know if there’s any truth to that at all? From everything I’ve read about both Gina and Sandy, I haven’t seen anything to indicate it, but I thought I’d run it by y’all because I’d like to be prepared with a response in case I run into the same contention from someone else.

    As for the rest of what I did read – oh my gods. My heart goes out to anyone whose picture she posted or who she commented about – and anyone else hurt by her postings. I didn’t read far enough to get really upset, but I could tell it was only going to get worse. Its such a shame there have to be such hateful people out there.

  74. Well, she’d better hope it IS true, and that she has the evidence to back it up, because you can be sued for libel for a statement like that if it’s false, even if it’s “just the Internet.”

    I’ve never seen a hint of evidence that Gina Kolata was ever on the take from corporate interests of any kind. I seem to recall that Sandy Szwarc might have had some commercial clients at one time, but none of them is sponsoring JFS. And if you read the articles and books they write, they heavily quote people who are completely legitimate researchers, not corporate shills. So regardless of what you think of them, or their politics, it’s not like they’re making it all up off the top of their heads.

  75. Yeah, I’d be pretty surprised if they’re being funded by corporate interests – especially given how much of an emphasis Sandy makes in her posts of being aware of what corporate interests a researcher might have. I’m not as familiar with Gina’s work, but other than this one particular comment, I’ve not heard anything negative about either of them, really.

    I sent a note to Sandy letting her know what was being said and telling her that if it is true, I’d like to know since I’ve referred a number of people to her blog – and that if it *isn’t* true, that I thought she should be aware of it in case there’s anything she wants or needs to do about it.

  76. Another thing is, why on earth would Coca-Cola give a rip about the fat-acceptance movement? Diet Coke, I gather, now outsells regular Coke, or at least is very close to doing so. Their sales are not going to go through the roof if people reject diet products; far from it.

  77. While I think it’s possible that junkfood companies are trying to fund FA in some way or another (although I have no idea if they actually were), I really do think it would be counterproductive for them to do so. I mean, as it is, not only do they make money from the inevitable “rebound” phases of dieting, they make even more money by marketing things like 100 calorie packs of their regular product for twice the price. HAES would be a nightmare for them financially!

  78. not only do they make money from the inevitable “rebound” phases of dieting, they make even more money by marketing things like 100 calorie packs of their regular product for twice the price. HAES would be a nightmare for them financially!

    Not to mention, nothing’s so attractive as the forbidden. If HAES ever catches on, people might start to notice that a great deal of junk food tastes like ass.

  79. Since I’d asked here, I thought I’d update – as noted above, I did write to Sandy, and she responded that she has not, nor has she ever been, paid by Big Food or any “industry,” which is what I expected.

    I hadn’t thought about the matter from the perspective mentioned above, about fat acceptance being potentially counter-productive to junk food companies. That’s an interesting thought…

  80. Sandy is not being paid by ANYONE because she will not bow down or sell out & she insists on doing the hard work, getting the real truth, debunking the lies, & trying to help us understand how we are being marketed to & manipulated, so she is unemployable. She has been constantly attacked & vilified & has received death threats. She is struggling to survive right now & does this only because of her conviction that people deserve to know the truth & to be able to own our bodies & live in them as we please without fear or guilt. If there were any actual, honest, accurate research out there telling you that eating a certain way or exercising until you drop could help you live longer or that body fat poses any ACTUAL threat to anyone’s health, believe me, she would tell you so! We all need to remember that between the diet industry, the drug companies, now insurance companies, & the idiots in government who take too many donations & listen to too many lobbyists, a LOT of people have many BILLIONS of reasons to try to promote an imaginary “obesity epidemic”. It would be a hell of a lot easy for Sandy to go along & quote the party line, it would sure as hell be profitable, but she has more courage & more principle than virtually anyone I have ever known. She has a great deal to say…more than enough for several books…but unfortunately she cannot find anyone with the guts to publish her. And I am very saddened that so many people question the honesty & integrity of a woman who daily fights to pay her rent or put food on her own table because she is trying to help the very people who doubt her.

    She is the best friend I have ever had in my journey to body acceptance & total belief in fat rights & someday I hope many other people will realize the same & also realize that some who are often praised as being so fat-positive & so much a part of the movement are not. I am nearly 59, so I doubt that I will see any real progress in fat civil rights in my lifetime, & our status as pariahs seems to become worse each day, but one can hope…if not for me, then perhaps for my baby granddaughters, one of whom is even now being raised by my fatphobic, food-fearing son to one day likely have a serious eating disorder & who now is most likely not really getting enough food, particularly enough fats & sugars, for her optimal growth & development.

    And as this topic should illustrate, people will hate & fear anyone who is different & try to discredit & humiliate those who dare to be strong & independent, & many will do whatever it takes to silence those who tell the inconvenient truth, especially those who cannot be bought off.

  81. (Although you can take Sourcewatch with whatever grain of salt you want — the reason I linked them is because I could not find another active source of her former bio. I personally think they’re full of bullshit about the idea that Coca-Cola would “benefit financially from easing the consumers’ fears of calorie intake, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, Type II Diabetes, and the possible consequences of obesity,” because, like I said, their best-selling product is diet soda.)

    P.S. According to the CEI link on Sourcewatch, fat-hater (and Sandy-hater) Mi**** Fu****o belonged to the exact same think tank that she once did, so for him to claim that Sandy is in the fat-acceptance business for the corporate kickbacks is particularly risible.

  82. Just to interrupt with one tiny positive outcome from this whole mess, there’s a lovely picture in the SASS thread of a lady (the bodacious masseuse?) dancing in what I now know to be an Igigi gown. It looks great on her and I’m glad something brought that dress and that picture to my attention, even if the circumstances weren’t the best.

  83. I just realized that sounded a bit too much like “thank you for the shopping tip, internet assholes!” which is not what I intended. What I intended was “thanks for the beautiful picture, internet assholes (and uncredited subject), it made my day.”

  84. Oh, that picture of purplefrog is wonderful! Its particularly wonderful because first you see all the pictures of her taken with the eyes of hate, with her face and personality whited out and replaced with cartoon scribbles —

    and then you see her! Beautiful, vivacious, alive! The dress is lovely, but it doesn’t “make” her beautiful — it frames the beauty that is hers all along.

  85. Well, As far as bodacious masseuse, they made a gif out of it and several other nasty pics.
    Nothing is sacred..
    DEFINITELY Sanity Watching UNfriendly.

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