Lindy West gets an apology from one of her nastiest trolls

I enjoyed this episode of This American Life. Just pointing it out for anyone interested in the same issues.

Lindy’s troll, by the way, was motivated by a combination of misogyny and internalized fat self-hatred; he at the time was trying to lose weight and found Lindy’s fat-acceptance advocacy intolerable.

Lindy says at one point that she’s the first person she’s ever heard of to get an apology from a troll. I’ve heard of other cases, but they were all people who were brought by to earth by the public revelation of what they’d been doing (see, for instance, Margaret Cho: attack of the stupid racist misogynists). This is the first time I’ve heard of a troll apologizing without being, at least in part, motivated by not wanting their hate mail exposed.

This entry posted in Civility & norms of discourse, Fat, fat and more fat. Bookmark the permalink. 

3 Responses to Lindy West gets an apology from one of her nastiest trolls

  1. 1
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    It wasn’t just about weight, though that played into it– the troll resented that Lindy was happy and courageous.

  2. 3
    closetpuritan says:

    Doug S., that was also excellent! In the wake of the Chait conversation, and others, it both demonstrates the power of kindness and shows how difficult it is, and why it should never be an obligation to respond to unkindness with kindness.

    There’s an article version by Lindy West of her experience.

    I also thought this post by The Militant Baker was on target.

    I recently watched “Philomena” and the speech by Sister Hildegarde at the end to the effect of “I feel no remorse! I was sexually continent!” reminded me of the way that people react to self-accepting, happy fat people. It’s related to sunk costs and just world theory, I think. They cannot bear the idea that all the effort they’ve put into being thin was for nothing–and if they were doing it primarily in order to feel beautiful or to get respect or be happy, a fat happy person surrounded by loved ones makes them feel like it was for nothing. Similarly, a woman “getting away with” breaking the sexual rules when you’re following the rules feels deeply unfair–you should be rewarded for your good behavior, but if the rule-breaker is treated the same as you, you are not being rewarded.