You will not be surprised to learn that this outrages some people. They are terribly upset that she isn't properly ashamed of herself and she's gotten several hyperbolic reactions bemoaning how she's going to destroy the world with her sluttiness or something. Part of their condemnation surrounds how Jacyln is not willing to give up searching for love while enjoying her sexuality. People can't seem to get that you can do both at once are are launching into her for her naivete, I guess. Doesn't she know she'll never get a man that way? Doesn't she know she'll only be horribly sad? Why isn't she crying? Hasn't anyone told her to be ashamed?
The attitude actually started feeling very familiar to me. This is what fat people get, too. "Why don't you feel ashamed?" Often, we get attacked by people who just can't process that we aren't ashamed. Or worse yet, think the problem is that no one told us to be ashamed. In spite of the fact that Jaclyn clearly talks about confronting this specifically in her article, people still act incredulous and insist she must not be aware of how sad she is and they ought to tell her so she knows to cry. They think if they just shout louder, we'll learn the error of our ways. And at the least, no one else who hears the shouting will make our mistake.
They want to redefine us for their benefit. Jaclyn talks about her positive experiences, so they just keep insisting that she's really horribly sad. Its pathological, but they naturally feel entitled to do this. Indeed, they feel smug about it. Like they've obviously proven her wrong simply by saying she is actually sad and ashamed. Fat people get that, too. If trolls bother to recognize what we are saying, they just insist its all a lie. We secretly know they are right and are horribly depressed over our lives. This is an especially insidious line of attack because it preys on our self-doubt. That is their key to introduce self-loathing. Because we are putting ourselves out there and making ourselves vulnerable. This manner of trolling seeks to take advantage of that. Having feelings of vulnerability are normal, though. Being brave is tough work and Jaclyn is pretty damn brave. I know from my own experience that self-doubt is normal. Healthy, really. I think a lack of it would strike me as somewhat pathological. Confidence doesn't mean not having those nagging questions. That is something our attackers will try to exploit, though. They want to use those normal anxieties to infiltrate our psyche and expand those anxieties. Multiply those doubts. Its a supreme act of disrespect .
Another similar attack are the death threats. No, not in the form of "I'm going to kill you". But they are still saying that if you disagree with them, you will die. Having casual sex? Don't you know that will kill you!?!? Fat? Don't you know that will kill you?!?! They use these impersonal threats as a form of intimidation. Again, as much to us as anyone else listening. They invent these extreme stakes that aren't really true as a means of scaring people into going along with them.
So, I keep babbling about what I'm learning as a fat activist in seeing how people are attacking Jaclyn for her own outspokenness, but that's not actually why I wanted to post about it. Sadly, I don't just need to draw parallels between slut shaming and fat shaming. The people attacking Jaclyn have shown that the two often go hand in hand. This is all about her attackers expressing ownership over her body, and they are just as judgmental about how that body looks as how she chooses to use it. They shame her for having sex and then turn around and shame her for not being someone they want to have sex with. While the lead condemners aren't making these fat shaming remarks, its illuminating to me that they aren't shunning them either, even as they get horribly infantile. The name-calling is disgustingly petty and immature, but because people think fat people deserve to be called names, supposedly civil people rarely find much offense with off-topic fat shaming. They might tut-tut it at most, but rarely even that. They don't seem to have much of a problem with it at all.
Fat acceptance is about more than fat. Fat shaming is a tool in the toolbox for many different kinds of oppression. It may not be something lead shamers will get their hands dirty with, but they sure don't care much when others do. Mocking someone for being fat is never okay. That includes the more limited times progressives do it, too, but the predictability of this coming up in reactionary assaults on feminism, civil rights, gay rights, etc is alarming. These kinds of oppression always get interconnected. We aren't just fighting for ourselves, but we're fighting to blunt a favorite attack against women, gays, African-Americans and others who stand up for themselves. Hate is rarely confined to one thing at a time.
I know I didn't really stay on track there, so for supportive articles that stay on topic, check out Not a Dirty Word and Pandagon.
UPDATE: More people supporting Jaclyn more eloquently and directly than I did. Jessica Valenti offers a devastating take on how the aggressively personal nature of the attacks is self-serving and self-promotional by the attackers. Particular "damn right" going to:
I also think it’s incredibly important that we not forget the personal and professional downfalls of being an unabashed feminist online. When we’re called whores, attacked and mocked online – those posts follow us forever. We take the hit so others don’t have to.Damn right. (Emphasis hers, btw) Much love to Jaclyn and all others who expose themselves to speak out. Its not easy and you have my complete respect.