Creepy dudes forced this fatshion blogger into retirement

The question of sexual consent is huge for anyone involved in a real-life relationship. But for one blogger from Tumblr’s “fatshion” community, the problems with being a plus-size blogger weren’t just terrible fashion and misunderstanding from outsiders—it was that men from outside her readership kept “sexualizing” her fatshion photos without her consent.

Writing earlier today on xoJane, a blogger named Bronny Zigmond explains how “Creepy Dudes Made Me Stop Fatshion Blogging.” While at first she heard only good things from the community around her blog, Fat Aus, Zigmond slowly realized that many men looking for free porn would take her pictures and repost them to sites fetishizing “Big Beautiful Women.” Zigmond notes:

I was really surprised and a bit horrified by this. Before I saw these forums, I saw blogging as a medium that was for women. I only really imagined my readers to be other women who wanted to see cute outfits, I wasn’t trying to attract men and I felt like these men were sexualizing my images without my consent.

When Zigmond started posting to Tumblr, the situation worsened, thanks to Tumblr’s much-publicized swaths of porn blogs. Zigmond regularly saw her photos being reblogged for what she dubbed “porn or jerk-off Tumblr accounts”:

These were blogs run by guys who would use their Tumblr as their personal jerk-off folder. They would reblog photos of naked fat women, fat women in porn, and then also photos of me wearing the new cute dress I’d just bought from Top Shop. Often they would even include detailed comments about what they wanted to do to me sexually.

Tumblr has long been a source of controversy for the ease of which it makes sharing photos, devoid of any reference to their original context. To Zigmond, the sexualization of the images she shared was invasive and creepy—especially when some of the men from such websites began coming to her blog and leaving “admiring” comments.

Zigmond believes that the fact that men were reblogging the pictures and linking to them so that she would find them was a way of sending her a message that they regard her as an object for their viewing pleasure:

I can’t think of any other fat girl fashion bloggers I know who haven’t experienced at least some level of this, of men completely ignoring and disrespecting the context in which you have shared these photos of yourself, and showing no respect for you as a human being.

Zigmond states that while she ceased blogging for a time because of the intruders, she now only posts things she things won’t interest viewers who come searching her blog for potentially sexual content.

I started blogging because I wanted to inspire women and now the thing I think about the most when posting outfit photos is “How likely are these photos to turn on some creepy guy and make him desire to tell me about it?”

So far, the commenters to Zigmond’s article have pointed out that the issue she faces isn’t just limited to the fatshion or fashion communities, but to anyone who posts pictures of themselves anywhere on the Internet.  Some Tumblr postings, for example a cosplay photoset which was reblogged to a “BBW” Tumblr, court the ongoing controversy about whether women who dress up for themselves are simultaneously inviting others to look and appreciate what they see. Others seem to come straight out of Creepshots.

As technology advances, it becomes harder for individuals to control how their photographs are spread across the Internet—or what they’re used for. 

But on Zigmond’s blog, at least, there will be fewer photos to share.

Photo via fat-aus.com

Aja Romano

Aja Romano

Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.