A report on an anti-fat, anti-trans Wiscon report

Mandolin pointed this out to me: Rachel Moss, who attended Wiscon this weekend, posted a mean-spirited con report on the Something Awful forums. Moss’ con report consisted of photos of fat, female attendees, their faces covered by crude frowny-faces that Moss had drawn in, and text mocking the attendees.1

Moss has since posted an apology on her livejournal, and convinced the Something Awful administrators to remove her post. Rumor has it that Wiscon is considering banning Moss from attending future Wiscons. (Wiscon is an exceptionally fat-friendly convention.)

Although Moss’ post is no longer on Something Awful, the first half of her post was posted without her permission on “The Something Awful Sycophant Squad” forums – don’t click that link if you’re easily triggered by fat mocking. It’s not just Moss’ original post that’s bad; the people at the SASS forum searched flckr for more photos of female Wiscon attendees to make fun of. It goes on for four pages (and growing?).

Three things I take away from this:

1) It’s all about keeping deviant bodies in line.

Although the primary focus of Moss’ post is anti-fat bigotry, she seamlessly transitions into anti-trans bigotry, writing about a trans speaker on a panel:

“He” is a non-op transgendered person…a person who looks like a woman, talks like a woman, likes men, but says that I AM A MALE AND YOU WILL REFER TO ME AS SUCH. It’d be easier if he/she just drew on a beard or something. Geez. Try harder. [...] The transgendered she-he says that she-he brightens her day by walking through the park, sticking her-his fingers into flowers to use to pollinate other flowers that she-he likes.

Then, later in the SASS thread, the SASS posters mock photos of a disabled Wiscon attendee.

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.

2) The anti-fat, anti-trans fairy strikes!

Rachel Moss’ apology, while apparently heartfelt, reminds me a little bit of Michael Richards and the racism fairy. Moss writes:

I was upset about completely different things which were completely unrelated, and my expression of that was DISGUSTING.

I find Moss’ formulation odd, because she views her post as an expression of “completely different things which were completely unrelated.” I don’t doubt that she was upset about unrelated events, but what she posted was, in fact, an expression of sneering, ugly bigotry. No matter how heartfelt Moss’ apology, it isn’t worth much to me as a fat person, or as someone with trans friends, unless Moss acknowledges that what she did was anti-fat, anti-trans bigotry.

3) This kind of shit does real harm.

Speaking from my own experience,2 Moss’ kind of anti-fat bigotry does real harm.

A while back, Sadly, No! posted a photo of a right-wing science fiction writer tabling at a con, making fun of how fat he is. Like that right-winger, I table at conventions, and that Sadly, No! thread – and thousands of similar lame clichéd jokes3 – have invaded my consciousness. Although I’d prefer not to, I know some people will sneer at me just for appearing in public. I feel I can’t wear casual t-shirts to cons (even though that’s what most of my friends wear), because fat people are so easily seen as “slobs.”4

This is an additional barrier that fat people have to overcome. Some fat people sail blithely through it, and damn I envy those fatties. For some fat people, it’s a problem that keeps them from appearing in public, leading them to give up social contacts and important career networking. Most, like me, are somewhere between. Every time someone mocks fat people – and mocking the fat people at science fiction and comic book conventions is commonplace – it’s another data point telling fat people yeah, maybe they should stay home; yeah, they don’t dare dress like their friends because horrid, unruly fat bodies must be covered; yeah, it’s true, they are deviants. And it’s wrong.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, Kate Moss has removed her apology and issued a statement of non-apology. She also released a “I’m not sorry” statement, but she’s now removed that, as well.

UPDATE 2: Tempest writes:

I was scrolling through the thread and looking at the pictures and, instead of being ashamed that I associate myself with such people (horrors!), I couldn’t help but think of how beautiful all those images are. They are pictures of beautiful women of all sizes smiling, having fun, loving where they are and what they’re doing. These are the poeple I go to WisCon to be around. And nothing those half-brained monkeys on that forum say can make me feel any different. You wanna call me out as a fat loser? You go right ahead. But it’s plainly evident that I not only have more class than you, I also have a better life and better friends. All the evidence I need to support that statement is my lack of time spent on the internet trolling for pictures of people I don’t know in order to make fun of them for arbitrary reasons.

MORE UPDATES!

Lesley at Fatshionista responds beautifully. Here’s a sample:

Take my picture, and post it online, in as many high-traffic spaces as you can muster. Identify me if you want. By name, by location, by employer. Surround that picture with vitriolic commentary about my body, my femininity or lack thereof, my perceived sexual habits, my self esteem. Laugh, and laugh, and laugh, that gut-rattling laughter of unmitigated cruelty, that laughter that comes from laughing at people who don’t know you’re laughing at them, who were going about their lives and made a target simply for not falling, unseen, unremarkably, into culturally acceptable slots – people who are targets simply for failing to be invisible. [...]

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.

And a wonderful response from “Purplefrog26,” who is one of the people whose picture Moss posted. It’s got a great photo of her, too.

And BadgerBag, whose photos appeared in the SASS thread, tries to find a way towards solidarity with Moss. Which I think is damned impressive of her to try — although Moss certainly isn’t making it easy.

  1. Although Moss obscured faces, she didn’t white out the people’s name badges. []
  2. Although I’m fairly certain that many disabled and trans folks have similar stories to tell. []
  3. See: “The Simpsons,” Comic Book Guy. []
  4. Actually, I am a slob. But that’s not because I’m fat. Woody Allen once said something like “It’s true I’m a Jew. And it’s true I hate myself. But the two aren’t related.” []
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64 Responses to A report on an anti-fat, anti-trans Wiscon report

  1. 1
    Charles S says:

    a disabled Wiscon attendee.

    The awesome badgerbag, I believe, who has several posts up on this ugliness (including a post in sympathy for Rachel Moss for her long running struggle with anorexia and bulimia), plus a bunch of posts on interesting stuff from Wiscon.

    From her post in sympathy:

    This is an illustration of how the people who hate us often are us, and need our help.

    Commenting on the SA assholes mocking her:

    Then another bit cracked me up, under a photo of me and the birds of prey last year, some dude commented, “Is that cripple under the impression that a Wonder Woman T-shirt constitutes a Wonder Woman costume” Hallo… dumbass… I was ORACLE.

  2. 2
    Etana says:

    i am so glad you wrote this. This is by far the most thoroughly researched and thought-out post to this situation I have come across. The ablism, fatphobia, and transphobia in her initial post aren’t all that surprising on a meta level, but coming from one going to Wiscon it’s rather daunting.

    That aside, may this disgusting interwebs ploy remind those of us with Othered bodies and selves that no, we don’t leave our homes anonymously and yes, we are always on parade. What I’m proud of is that those Othered bodies were out there doing what they wanted, dressing how they wanted, and unapologetically making change in their own groove.

  3. 3
    Kevin Moore says:

    Good post. It is really unfortunate that Moss chose such a destructive and hateful form of criticism, and it seems to arise from self-loathing almost as much as from socialized forms of phobia. While reading the Moss’ post I came across several worthy targets of criticism – especially the New Age stuff – that she would have been better off focusing on – though with a more constructive frame of mind. Yet what seemed to irk her more were the positive affirmations (and, admittedly, “room full of win” is awkwardly phrased), just the sort of thing that grates upon the mind of those who hate themselves.

    This is an additional barrier that fat people have to overcome. Some fat people sail blithely through it, and damn I envy those fatties. For some fat people, it’s a problem that keeps them from appearing in public, leading them to give up social contacts and important career networking. Most, like me, are somewhere between. Every time someone mocks fat people – and mocking fat people at science fiction and comic book conventions is pretty damn common – it’s another data point telling fat people yeah, maybe they should stay home; yeah, they don’t dare dress like their friends because horrid, unruly fat bodies must be covered; yeah, it’s true, they are deviants. And it’s wrong.

    FWIW – I’m glad you manage to overcome this and make it out into public, anyway. I can think of a few other people I know who have been disempowered by these fears, and it has indeed hurt them socially, compounding their self-loathing and depression. And what they often don’t know is that their friends miss them. The same would certainly be said of you were you to not show up at a future Stumptown or comics party due to these fears.

  4. 4
    Katie says:

    I like this post. I’m glad you wrote it. I was reading it, though, it it struck me as a little weird that you’d use the word “lame” in a derogatory way under #3. From the reading I’ve done recently it seems to be one of those words that disability activists have been working on getting people not to use pejoratively…

    I feel like I only talk about language on this blog, but what can I say? I’m a language nerd…

  5. 5
    Silenced is foo says:

    Welcome to the new millenium. Have you picked up some hatred at the internet? It’s the latest thing. All the cool kids are doing it.

    Seriously, every decade tears the previous decade’s taboos to shreds. Last decade’s taboo? Hatred. So now it’s “in”.

    That being said, those panels did sound like they’d be really, really dull and repetitive… most activist groups, good-and-bad, suffer from having vocal advocates who sound like broken records.

    On the other hand, is it weird that, while looking through the photos that other SA comments were posting and mocking, I couldn’t help but think “damn, that looks like a really good time, wish I’d been there.”

  6. 6
    Rachel says:

    I wonder how Rachel would feel if someone were to go to an eating disorders conference or support group and covertly take pictures which they then poorly edited and posted for the world to see along with nasty, scathing editorializing on each photo.

    I can only hypothesize that Rachel’s actions are a result of her eating disorder and innate fear of fatness. Perhaps she also envies these fat people who, to her, don’t appear to have the destructive control issues she herself battles each day with her disorder. But while I sympathize and empathize with Rachel as a fellow eating disorder sufferer myself, I caution folks to also not dismiss her culpability beneath the rug of mental illness. Her actions held significant and very real harm for not only the people whose photos she posted, but for a great many more people, fat and thin. She needs to be held accountable for her actions. Mental illness should not be used as a justification to hurt other people.

  7. 7
    Mandolin says:

    “That being said, those panels did sound like they’d be really, really dull and repetitive… most activist groups, good-and-bad, suffer from having vocal advocates who sound like broken records.”

    I have no idea, because I didn’t go to those panels — but some of the panels are really, really good. It depends on who you get as panelists. And also who you get as a moderator. (This Wiscon, the first time I was *on* a panel, drove home for me that a moderator’s most important job is to know when to say “shut up.”)

    Some other highlights from that thread:

    A picture of a Muslim Wiscon attendee wearing a t-shirt reading “This is what a radical feminist Muslim looks like” with a caption suggesting the dipshit wants to cut off her head.

    A picture of the same woman, this time placed next to a photograph of two women, suggesting that the Muslim woman is going to circumcise them.

    I know who all of those women are, and it’s galling to see their photos used in this way.

    Also, note that even though the peoples’ faces are obscured, many of the nametags are apparent.

  8. 8
    Mandolin says:

    I wonder how Rachel would feel if someone were to go to an eating disorders conference or support group and covertly take pictures which they then poorly edited and posted for the world to see along with nasty, scathing editorializing on each photo.

    I know this isn’t what you’re saying — but these two groups definitely overlap. I am a fat person who has had a lot of struggle with bulimia and anorexia.

    And Rachel’s post is AMAZINGLY triggering. If I’d caught it last year? I would definitely be throwing up and limiting calories to a nonsustainable level. If I’d seen it as a high school student, or as young as that poor nine year old she mocked?

    Well. It’s not like I had no other triggers in the world. But, really, fuck this woman for adding to them.

  9. 9
    Vidya says:

    I now think I never should have clicked on the link. I was prepared for run-of-the-mill fatphobia, but not for the I-can’t-avoid-taking-it-personally attacks against fat vegans and people with fibromyalgia. Geez, what a hate-filled person.

  10. 10
    Acheman says:

    This. This. This poster on the tube, greeting me at the top of an escalator this morning.

    I am reconsidering my decision to get out of bed.

    Good post, though.

  11. 11
    The Rotund says:

    I don’t think she’s sorry at all. In fact, her apology is screened and there is this posted in her lastest public entry.

    http://hypersurfaces.livejournal.com/240287.html?thread=1089439#t1089439

    Hello? I didn’t apologize because I’m not particularly sorry to most of you, especially now!

  12. 12
    Mandolin says:

    Aw, is the poor asscrab upset that people contacted her work? She harrassed people, followed them around, photographed them without their permission, and put up those photographs in public places *without the identifiying information removed* — in fact, the photographs contain information not only identifying people by name, but their LOCATIONS as well.

    She has severely given up any right she had to privacy.

  13. 13
    Silenced is foo says:

    I think it’s pretty clear – she’s just another forum goon who gets off on picking on people. She took it down to keep her fat out of the fire, and nothing else. I think the only reason people are trying to make anything else of this is that she’s a woman, which is unusual for a forum goon.

  14. 14
    Ampersand says:

    I like this post. I’m glad you wrote it. I was reading it, though, it it struck me as a little weird that you’d use the word “lame” in a derogatory way under #3.

    Thank you for pointing that out; my bad. I’ve edited the post.

  15. 15
    fillyjonk says:

    Just FYI: She’s not sorry after all. Heartfelt, all right!

  16. 16
    Daomadan says:

    Glad to see this is being picked up. Great analysis. As someone already pointed out above, badgerbag has some great things to say.

  17. 17
    Silenced is foo says:

    @fillyjonk

    In the interests of accuracy, I feel obligated to point out that she did apologize for this line:

    “Feminism is making progress, because Moondancer’s son is a little pussy who gets beaten up by his sister and takes it.”

    But yeah, the rest, she hasn’t apologized for.

  18. 18
    fillyjonk says:

    Oh, and now I see that Amp already noted her statement of non-apology.

    It’s too bad that her name is so common, because she may well be right that contacting UW about this constitutes harassment. But wouldn’t it be great if this popped right up in Google when she was seeking academic employment?

  19. 19
    Malcolm says:

    It wasn’t until I read the comments here that I found out that this troller is not sorry for her behavior at WisCon or thereafter or on the Internets.

    This kind of behavior is galling, I know, because I catch myself wishing that the hand(s)/appendage(s) of god/goddess/gods would just come down and smack her upside the head for having the temerity to be so absolutely corrupt.

    And at this point it’s nearly impossible to get out from under the weight of feeling like the whole thing is so unjust because she gets to get away with being a complete asshole.

    But I recall that I had this problem 10 years ago (or more) with an acquaintance with a similar problem: a lot of anger, a lot of self-righteousness, a lot of pain, and a lot of lashing out.

    You know what the worst punishment was for that acquaintance and for this one too? That they have to live with themselves. I don’t mean regret, though I do think regret is an important part of self-improvement (but I am at the same time not holding my breath that this will happen in either case).

    It’s more like how heaven or hell is the company of other people, depending on how you approach it. Even if this one never actually feels regret, she gets to keep company with herself. Even if it never bothers her that this is so, it buys me out of having to ever make conversation with her.

    And that’s enough for me. Not having to be bothered. Not having to keep company of one more troller, one more undirected angry person. That’s worth it, even if I never get a real apology, even if I can never feel like I reached an understanding with that troll.

  20. 20
    ladyjaye says:

    My blood is boiling upon reading about what that woman has done (I have far more vitriolic thoughts regarding her, but I’m trying to remain civil)…

  21. 21
    Silenced is foo says:

    The saddest part is the fact that she is just medium-awful in the spectrum of assholishness of the blogosphere. Read that SASS thread and you’ll see her calling them out for crawling through the wiscon photo archives and posting extra crap, particularly for being mean-spirited about kids (apparently she does have limits to her nastiness when it comes to children).

    Basically, she’s out there saying “I can be a judgemental asshole for giggles, but this far and no farther, and anybody who crosses the lines that I’ve drawn are wrong and evil!”.

    So she’s also a raging hypocrite (albeit a hypocrite in the defense of others, not herself), thus losing the respect of her fellow misanthropes.

  22. 22
    kiji_kat says:

    It would appear that the “statement of non-apology” mentioned in the first update is no longer available.

  23. 23
    Sheelzebub says:

    As soon as I saw that she posted on Something Awful, I knew what was coming. That site is rife with /b/wanks.

    Oh, and I clicked on the SASS forum link–she’s apparently a member of 4chan as well. No shocker there that she posted a self-hating, misogynistic, fat-hating screed. Consider the source–these morons and the /b/wanks from the internet hate machine are walking cesspits of bigotry.

  24. 24
    Sheelzebub says:

    As soon as I saw that she posted on Something Awful, I knew what was coming. That site is rife with /b/wanks. That and the chan boards (of which she claims to be a member) are cesspits of bigotry.

  25. 25
    fat fu says:

    OK – I obviously have my opinions about her. But she’s getting letters to her boss and anonymous physical threats by people who apparently know who she is. And – whatever she’s done – she must be frightened. And she’s young, and I don’t know what her life is like. So I’d rather leave her alone. (BTW whoever’s fucking doing this shit: STOP IT).

    I think the way this has played out is more worth talking about (esp. the SASS board – which brings up this fantastically reactionary and extreme misogynist/racist/homophobe/fat-obsessed/rape fetish subculture that’s shown up in the past in other contexts – Shakesville had an invasion of them at one point.

    It does seem to be a culture of its own. The Shakesville invasion was driven by Opie and Anthony fans. Is this coming partly out of hate radio?

  26. 26
    Mandolin says:

    But she’s getting letters to her boss and anonymous physical threats by people who apparently know who she is.

    She should be getting letters to her boss. Did you miss the part where she followed people around, harrassed them, and then posted pictures of them on the internet without their permission and without identifying information removed?

    As for physical threats? Obviously, that’s not okay. If she wants to post what she’s receiving, maybe I’ll believe she’s actually getting them. But even if she is, little convinces me that she’d be getting them from the people she harrassed rather than her fellow trolls on something awful trying to stir shit.

  27. 27
    fat fu says:

    No, I got all that. But she’s one person who we don’t know much about. And going after her personally isn’t going to change the culture.

  28. Pingback: Why does Rachel Moss hate your fat (/trans/disabled) body?

  29. 28
    Stef says:

    Thanks for this post. I really think the phrase “body fascism” is accurate and useful. I will be borrowing it.

  30. 29
    Kate Harding says:

    Since I wrote this post, Kate has removed her apology and issued a statement of non-apology.

    Kate?

    Fat Fu, I just added a note about the physical threats on my post about this, but frankly, I don’t have a problem with people telling her boss about this. I don’t care how young you are, if you’re dumb enough to post pure hate on the internet, you ought to learn that you’re ultimately damaging your own reputation more than your target’s.

  31. 30
    fat fu says:

    Kate – the boss letters? Yeah, I dunno. I wouldn’t do it. But I guess they aren’t what’s going to get her anyway. It’s the Google Search.

  32. 31
    Ampersand says:

    Kate –

    Whoops. “Moss” led my mind to “Kate Moss,” hence “Kate.” I’ve fixed it. :-p

  33. 32
    Sheana says:

    Fatfu – I can appreciate your sentiments. However, I did – sort of? – know Rachel. She added me on Livejournal several months ago, posted somewhat regularly at Seeworthy with comments. I commented on her LJ, she commented on mine. I was under the impression that, even if we weren’t friends, we were friendly. Now, in her post at SA, I read that she was only on my flist, only reading my private entries, only commenting at Seeworthy to get material for her fatphobic trolling.

    So yeah, she’s not just some anonymous asshole. She’s an asshole who manipulated me, who lied to me, who used me, and then who trashed me and my work once she’d gotten her kicks out. Although I personally haven’t contacted her boss, I’d have no qualms about doing so. Somebody like this should not be in a position where their research/academic pursuits are validated by the academy, and if the program she’s in chooses to ignore this blatant bigotry, then it tells me, not only about her values in going there, but about the program’s values, and the larger values of the University of Wisconsin. Were I at the conference/a student there, I’d contact her advisor, the department chair, the dean, the ombudsperson, and the president of the college. Personally, I think anything less is condoning this kind of behavior.

  34. 33
    Meowser says:

    Kate – the boss letters? Yeah, I dunno. I wouldn’t do it. But I guess they aren’t what’s going to get her anyway. It’s the Google Search.

    Her current bosses are probably not going to think to Google search her unless they are tipped off to what’s going on. At the very least they should know if she used university property (computers, Net access, etc.) to harass people. She had no respect for anyone else’s privacy when she did this, leaving up access via their con badges to their personal information, so if word of this leaked out to her bosses I would not feel bad for her one bit.

    Threatening her with violence is going way too far, of course, but like Mandolin says, I wouldn’t put it past someone on SA to pose as a fatty while threatening her in order to make us look bad. Though I of course don’t know exactly who is in our lurker base, I cannot imagine in a million years that a Fatosphere blogger or a participant in the Fatshionista LJ would be doing that sort of thing.

  35. 34
    Frowner says:

    I will delurk to point out, though, that this whole thing will follow Rachel Moss when she’s looking for work–especially if she wants to work in academe. I’ve worked with plenty of grad students and supported a number of faculty searches, and let me tell you that–regardless of any search committee’s feelings about transgendered people or fat issues, even if they’re incredibly transphobic and total body fascists–anything like this would be a simply ridiculously obvious red flag. I suspect even corporate would hesitate, and they’re probably more assiduous about googling.

    She comments somewhere, right, that even though she’s in a “hard science” people might still be upset by her creepy remarks–let me tell you, the human resources department at any university would absolutely flip their collective lid. They’d be thinking about the possibility that she’d harass someone, get sued, use university property inappropriately, even harm a fellow employee. And academics would look at all this and think that she’d be extremely unpleasant to work with. Stalking people? Taking photos without permission? Posting obscene comments about those people on a blog where her own name is obvious? Any HR department who sees this stuff is going to counter-recommend at the speed of light.

    Plus, I wonder how her adviser thinks about her after all this…I’ve seen several letters of recommendation that made it very clear that people were awful to work with, and I’ve seen one absolutely brilliant candidate’s resume put aside directly because of a letter like that. In fact, that might be why it’s worth writing to UW–what she does reflects really badly on the school, she doesn’t have even the sense to be an anonymous asshole, and it sure looks like her adviser hasn’t made clear to her some of the basics of a career in the sciences or she just hasn’t listened.

    I suspect that the career gods will take some serious vengeance on Rachel Moss.

  36. 35
    Julia says:

    That being said, those panels did sound like they’d be really, really dull and repetitive… most activist groups, good-and-bad, suffer from having vocal advocates who sound like broken records.

    Well, like any panel it depended on the panelists. Many of them were really awesome and inspiring. Some of them were really frustrating.

    You can check out some panel write ups here with the knowledge that a horrible stomach flu hit the convention and many of us (myself included) are still recovering from that and haven’t finished our write ups.

  37. 36
    Genevieve says:

    I swear, the people at SASS are the most bigoted body fascists I have ever come across.

    And I echo the idea that this really really makes me want to go to WisCon someday. Everyone looks to be having so much fun. Except surly Rachel.

  38. 37
    Daisy says:

    Is this the Ann-Coulterization of society? I think so.

  39. 38
    fat fu says:

    Meowser and Sheana – truuuuust me I feel every bit of the loathing and disgust for what she did. And Sheana – I didn’t know that she did that to you. I TOTALLY understand where you’re coming from.

    But I’m just not comfortable making the fight against hatred about going after individuals. Esp. when it’s a small, unimportant person whose life and problems I don’t understand. And in this case, what I’m guessing was some dumb kid who wanted to sit at what she thought was the cool kids’ table. (The weakness SA preys upon).

  40. 39
    Elizabeth Twist says:

    I clicked on the link, looked through the pics and only sort of read the haters’ commentary. All I can say is that WisCon looks like a kickass party! Now I wish I’d attended.

  41. 40
    Jackie says:

    I like to think I’m one of those people who sail through these issues. I think a key part of it, is not giving a damn what people think. Which I know is very difficult for alot of people to do. I also realize that the people who are sick enough to hurt others like this, are the ones who are really tragic. That I should be glad I don’t have to life a life, where I hurt others for sport.

  42. 41
    Rachel E says:

    Thank you, and HELL, YES.

    fillyjonk wrote: It’s too bad that her name is so common…

    Noooo kidding. As another Rachel who has attended WisCon (but not this year), I wince every time someone mentions her by just her first name.

  43. 42
    Anonymous says:

    You’ll understand why I’m anonymous when I say this.

    When I saw RM’s LJ username, I realized I knew her. She’s a 4channer and posts to the LJ group 4chan. Here are a couple of her posts just to illustrate: here, here, here. If she posts to 4chan proper we’ll never know, but it’s quite likely.

    She’s clearly had a long history of griefing and trolling. If she’s on 4chan and has all these “trolling skills” then she’s likely been part of some of the real-life harassment some 4channers join in on. I think she was involved in the harassment of a girl known as “Martini-chan” (link goes to ED, probably NSFW). On the LJ 4chan group last summer, someone found Martini-chan’s personal info and posted it with instructions on what to do to harass the girl. I can’t be certain because the post with personal info was deleted of course (to cover their tracks), but I am pretty sure I saw hypersurfaces (aka RM) join in the harassment of that lady.

    She’s been up to these shenanigans online for quite some time and, in my memory, is someone who took it to real life before this WisCon issue. If contacting her employer, school, or naming her publicly stops her now before it goes any farther, then it’s worth it.

  44. 43
    Genevieve says:

    I write about this on my blog and what do I get?
    Some asshole from SA commenting saying “lol you were raped.”

    The human race needs rebooting.

  45. 44
    Synthetic Phylum says:

    @Genevieve;

    That is sooooooo screwed up.

    Not only does the human race need a reboot, but the faulty sectors that say things like that need to be sterilized.

  46. 45
    Celia says:

    SASS is the worst place.

  47. Pingback: WisCon, fanacademia and internet drama « Queer Geek Theory, and Related Wanderings

  48. Pingback: Meta post about the Wiscon troller

  49. 46
    Paul says:

    I’ve been following this for sometime and the comments above seem to me like collective internet psychosis. She did something. Had it pulled down and now she is the target of persistent internet bullying? Bizarre. Its all about power. Now, as a community, you will stop at nothing beyond crushing her, humilating her and making sure she remains absolutely unemployable? Isn’t this harrassment of the ninth degree that you accused her of?

  50. 47
    MLH says:

    {Paul Writes:
    June 2nd, 2008 at 12:37 am

    I’ve been following this for sometime and the comments above seem to me like collective internet psychosis. She did something. Had it pulled down and now she is the target of persistent internet bullying? Bizarre. Its all about power. Now, as a community, you will stop at nothing beyond crushing her, humilating her and making sure she remains absolutely unemployable? Isn’t this harrassment of the ninth degree that you accused her of?}

    The woman went out of her way to harass, ridicule, and endanger (referring to the transfolks) several people solely because of their appearance and/or feminist stances, among other things. I have zero sympathy for her, and aside from the death threats, she’s getting what she gave.

    That being said, the very people (if that’s what you wish to call those cretins) she tried to “entertain” with her trollish nonsense turned on her, posting her phone number online and are, most likely, the ones sending her death threats. They eat their own. Take it up with them, because so far I’ve seen the side that she hurt venting in reasonable ways for the most part. And, yes, contacting that cretin’s university and/or workplace was reasonable as far as I’m concerned.

  51. 48
    Paul says:

    From what I understand people actually broke into her office and vandalised it, threats have been made over email and phone, her boss contacted numerous times and other employers. I’m sorry, that was totally uncalled for. It seems to me that there has been alot of white washing — I’m not saying what she did was ‘acceptable’ it wasn’t. However, continuing this tirade of hate makes everyone who is involved just as liable.

    I think that there has been a white wash, I think the first post by ABW was understandable but totally irresponsblein that she started a mob action (in fact requested it) and then back pedalled it immediately claining that the others were responsible. I read the thread on SASS and found no reference to her claims that the people on SASS were responsible. I also find ABW stirring and continually stirring this up ‘for stats’ for advertising money a digusting manipulation of people who were originally hurt by RM’s post.

  52. 49
    Paul says:

    I would like to thank Alas for letting my views be heard as I’ve posted something similar on ABW site and the comments have been moderated. Great job on the blog and I look forward to reading it for many years to come.

  53. 50
    Julia says:

    Paul where have you heard people broke into her office? I’ve been following this closely and haven’t heard that at all. I looked at her LJ, no mention of it. Checked google and google news, no reports. Also, if it did happen what makes you think it was feminists/WisCon attendees who did that? When she had her thread pulled from SA, those members turned on her and mocked her viciously for “giving in.” The same thing happened in SASS. Members of SA/SASS have posted Rachel’s home phone number, home address, etc. Not members of the WisCon community or other feminist or size acceptance communities.

  54. 51
    Paul says:

    The news of her office being vandalised and Wiscon notes and papers being strewn all over her office — is on the original SA thread and also on the Wikipedia DRamatica as stated by Rachel herself along with mentions of numerous phonecalls to her and her boss — however — she did refute that her family had been contacted so I’m inclined to believe it. Regardless of who posted the information — it had been used possibly by both people. Rachel realises she messed up but really — this whole thing has made me MORE queasy than RM’s original post which was wrong but she took the necessary steps about it and handled her original immaturity with maturity.

    I don’t think RM did right by any means but really enough is enough. This is just an example of ‘king mob’ in action.

    PS. I don’t know RM at all nor do I participate in the SASS forums. Just had to leave that note in.

  55. 52
    Silenced is foo says:

    @Paul – Encyclopedia Dramatica is good for the lulz, but isn’t exactly a reliable source.

  56. 53
    Paul says:

    No, I do realise that. She actually commented on this in the edit discussion of the article and she commented in the SASS forums. I don’t think she put it on her live journal because she is trying to get on with her life which is actually the best and most sensible option for involved!

  57. 54
    Silenced is foo says:

    Ah, from the edit page:

    “”"
    1. Write shit about fat people on SA
    2. Fat people blackmail you to take it off SA
    3. SA complies
    4. Fat people post your dox and call your boss anyway
    5. Fat people find your work office, break in, and leave crap notes scribbled on WisCon pages
    6. SASS picks it up
    7. 40+ pages of funny (also, mutilated things), more horrible than SA would have ever allowed
    8. Front page of ED
    9. …
    10 PROFIT

    You guys rock. -R.
    “”"

    Of course, being a wiki, there is no guarantee that it is, in fact, her.

  58. 55
    Paul says:

    She also posted on the SASS thread (I think last page of messages). In my mind, did she suffer yeah? However instead of attacking back she is just getting on with her life. I thought she handled the situation well. If that happened to me I would be heading into anxiety meltdown.

    I do think its her, it was pretty much unobtrusive and if she was looking for attention she would be using her blog to ‘battle’ back and discuss it in detail.

    A friend of mine used to post on a music board, he got into a few online arguments (nothing major or no trolling just heated debate) and the person he was arguing with phoned his work and complained that he was posting porn and nazi imagery online!!!

    I do think the interface of screen and real life is easy to forget and also easy to forget that for some — who feel anger at a situation and then release it normally there are people who are reading the same thing and misinpreting it completely.

  59. 56
    Ampersand says:

    Paul:

    1) It’s odd that you keep complaining that people don’t drop this subject, when as far as I can tell this thread went completely quiet almost 48 hours before your first post here. Since you restarted this thread, 60% of the posts have come from you. If there is anyone here who is refusing to drop it, it’s you.

    2) I think I know why ABW banned you, and I entirely approve. Let’s review how you chose to introduce yourself to a new blog community:

    I’ve been following this for sometime and the comments above seem to me like collective internet psychosis. She did something. Had it pulled down and now she is the target of persistent internet bullying? Bizarre. Its all about power. Now, as a community, you will stop at nothing beyond crushing her, humilating her and making sure she remains absolutely unemployable? Isn’t this harrassment of the ninth degree that you accused her of?

    Let’s see: You accuse us — not some individual posters, but us “as a community” — of “psychosis.” You’re probably not aware that many of the people here object to mental health and illness terms being used as insults; but you certainly must have been aware that you were being insulting.

    You then imply that we’re lying when we say that, for us, it’s about standing up for ourselves and against bigotry (aong other things); no, you’ve consulted your magic mind-reading powers, so you can say “it’s all about power.”

    Now, as a community, you will stop at nothing beyond crushing her, humilating her and making sure she remains absolutely unemployable?

    What in my original post (which I’ve seen no sign that you’ve even read) would you say is an example of this, Paul? Who here has said this? Back it up with a direct quote, please. In fact, unless a majority of posters here have said something like this, it’s unfair for you to use the phrase “as a community.”

    I don’t want her to be “crushed” forever. But I do want her to feel awful about what she did, because perhaps then she’ll not do it again.

    Isn’t this harrassment of the ninth degree that you accused her of?

    Yes, because responding to someone’s hateful attack is exactly the same as an unprovoked, bigoted attack on people based not on anything they did, but on bigotry against them.

    Can you even see how incredibly rude your first post was, Paul? How it painted us all with the same brush, as if we were the Borg? How it took absolutely none of our concerns seriously, accused of of being power-mad psychotics and of acting in bad faith?

    I don’t get the impression that you often take responsibility for your own actions, Paul, but I could be wrong. But here’s the truth, Paul: That you got banned from ABW is entirely your own fault. Act like a troll, get banned like a troll.

    3) As for threats of violence and vandalism — no one here has approved of that. Neither has ABW. Neither has anyone in the fat acceptance community, that I’ve seen. I’m sorry that there are criminals and assholes treating Rachel Moss like that, but that doesn’t mean that we, we who haven’t vandalized her, we who haven’t threatened violence, are obliged to shut up about our legitimate concerns.

    4) No one here has said she should never have a job again. But I think that she should have an extra burden of showing that she can treat fat and trans people fairly before being hired to any position where she’ll have to deal with us in a way that requires objectivity to do the job properly (including being a professor supervising and issuing grades to students). Fat and trans students have a legitimate interest in being taught and graded by someone who isn’t extremely bigoted against them. Why do you find that unreasonable?

    5) Now, personally, I don’t think people should call her employer. But I can at least see that there’s another side to that issue. It’s easy for people who haven’t been lifelong victims of bigotry — either because they’re not in a marginalized group, or because for whatever reason they have the good luck to not encounter bigotry or be bothered by it — to say to targets of bigotry, “be calm. Be reasonable. Let it go.” Because for you, this is an isolated incident, not part of a lifelong pattern of mistreatment.

    6) Why is it wrong for ABW to note that she’s gotten high traffic? And her comment about making some money was pretty obviously tweaking the nose of the hateful folks who have been making fun of her (among others). It’s not endearing to me, how you bend over backwards to give Rachel Moss the kindest possible reading, while simultaneously not giving ABW the slightest benefit of the doubt.

    7) How would you say that we have “misinterpreted” Rachel Moss’ original post, pray tell? Read my original post; how did I “misinterpret”?

  60. 57
    Paul says:

    You know what? I actually don’t care about this that much to get into a big fight about it. Good luck with your life and I hope you are happy.

  61. 58
    Ampersand says:

    Best of luck to you, as well.

  62. 59
    Paul says:

    Thank you.

  63. 60
    Crissa says:

    I was just at a Sci-fi/Fantasy con and while doing some Regency period dancing, I was thinking about how neat it was to see people from many walks of life and many different body types all interacting and having fun. Tall, short, lumpy, fat, skinny, it didn’t matter. Costumed or not. Though some of the costumers were wonderful.

    Even my spouse, who usually dances more than I, but was slowed by a broken toe, was not dismayed.

    I don’t know where the SA goons come from… Ugh.

  64. 61
    Daran says:

    I do want her to feel awful about what she did, because perhaps then she’ll not do it again.

    You might wish to reconsider that.

    Firstly the desire that someone who has hurt you feel hurt themselves is a very basic instinct. Notions such as deterance tend to be more rationalisations than genuine rationals.

    Secondly it’s likely that ‘feeling awful’ is what lead her in the first place to lash out at those she associated with those feelings.