The Best Responses To The Project Harpoon Facebook Page & That “Fat-Shaming” Viral Video

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If you have been spending any time on the internet over the past few weeks, you may have come across two viral stories related to body image. The first was an anonymous group calling themselves ‘Project Harpoon’ which took images of plus size models and celebrities and photoshopped them to look thinner. The second was a video made by Youtuber Nicole Arbour called ‘Dear Fat People’ where she proceeded to claim fat-shaming was a made up phenomenon to enable people of largers sizes to feel less bad about their weight.

Needless to say, both these stories were negative and did nothing to help or change the conversation about healthy body image. In Nicole’s video especially, she uttered one phrase which sums up what body bullies think they doing – hating and shaming people for their weight in order for them to feel disgusted in themselves and want to lose weight. Let’s be clear, and we’ve said this many times before, this does NOT work!

No one has ever hated or shamed themselves into becoming a better person. So rather than add to the hate and negativity, we wanted to share an article that contains the only successful way to body positivity – love!

Fighting hate with hate, and negativity with even more negativity literally gets us nowhere in this body image debate. Women have been used to being shamed for their bodies for many many years that these two stories should not come as a shock, but we’d be lying if we said it didn’t upset us. We thought we were finally seeing a tipping point in the media with all the body positive campaigns, messages about female empowerment, and loving yourself the way you are.

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And just because something has gone viral, doesn’t mean it is revolutionary. We should point out that both Nicole Arbour’s video and Project Harpoon haven’t done anything new or novel, in fact they are playing into the exact same system of shaming and narrow conformity that has existed for eons. They are part of the machine that obviously feels threatened by the amount of body positive messages and body love that is spreading far and wide amongst women across the globe.

There have been a myriad of responses to Project Harpoon, and the attack has been so swift that their Facebook page was taken down. That’s definitely a win, but let’s not assume there aren’t other groups out there just like them. What’s more important is the amount of messages promoting body love that counter act these negative ones, rather than just attacking them and getting them evicted from a social media site.

One plus size model from Canada who got the Project Harpoon treatment, Ruby Roxx, wrote an open letter on her blog to the PH people, thanking them for showing her she has the drive to fight body bullies.

“I am a strong, confident, plus model, who is PROUD of her body.  It has gotten me through 31 years, of health, sickness, pain, freedom, love and adventure.  My body and I have been through a lot together, and I will not let online bullies such as you make me feel bad about loving myself,” wrote the model, who is also the editor-in-chief of Beauty Mark Magazine.

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“The reason I fight you is for the thousands of women out there who aren’t where I am yet. Who don’t love their bodies. Some of the girls you photoshopped weren’t models or celebrities, but just everyday girls. They might not have confidence, but they posted that photo on a day they felt good about themselves, and you BUTCHERED it with your atrocious photoshopping, and made them feel bad,” she continued.

It is worth reading the full post all the way through, because although Ruby was clearly very angry and upset at this immature page, she is speaking on behalf of many girls and women and even men who don’t have the courage or confidence in their current weight. Ruby ended the post reiterating that love, not hate, is always going to be the most successful ingredient to loving yourself.

“The world has enough hate in the world.  Love ALWAYS wins.  Spread love, be kind, save a life by NOT bullying someone or suggesting suicide or self-harm because they don’t fit your small minded ideal.  Treat people the way you would want them to treat you, or your mother, or daughter, or girlfriend.  Imagine what a wonderful world this would be if we all treated each other with a little bit more love and support every day,” writes Ruby.

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Ruby also spoke to Global News in Canada about the whole incident saying she wants to use the opportunity to turn it into a positive experience, and why ignoring hateful messages isn’t always the answer.

Cyberbulling isn’t going to go away. If I ignore it, then I feel like I’m part of the problem and so I need to speak up about it and call these people out,” she said.

It was the perfectly balanced way to respond to such a horrendous publicity stunt, because that is essentially what Project Harpoon was. They are not trying to help anyone, they want attention and for all the wrong reasons. So it only makes sense that the army of body image activists come out in full force to respond showing society why supporting women in their body image journey goes beyond just the physical.

As for Nicole Arbour’s ‘Dear Fat People’ video, not only was the video taken down but her entire Youtube Channel suspended. It may be a small victory, but that doesn’t necessarily change the mindset of people like her who think going on a rant in a video gone viral saying nasty things about a topic she has no knowledge about is ok. And that’s the crux of this issue – changing the mindset, not just the landscape. When the mindsets of hateful people are changed, then we will start seeing the consequences of that in a positive way.

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One woman who has captured our hearts for her unapologetic confidence in her plus size body is activist and TV star Whitney Way Thore. She first came to fame by released videos of herself dancing in a studio to hip hop music, and the world went crazy seeing a larger woman move just as expertly easily as a size 0 dancer. She landed her own show on TLC called ‘My Big Fat Fabulous Life’ and has been a ray of light in a TV genre that is known to be filled with plenty of meaningless, negative messages.

Whitney was one of many who recorded a response video to Nicole Arbour, and when we saw it we had to share because Whitney is calm, beautiful, and shares the facts about body-shaming that essentially puts Nicole in her place. And thebest thing is, it all comes from a place of love. Whitney is not trying to hate Nicole, she is giving her some valuable insight that she clearly left out when she created her hateful video. Watch below:

The only way to fight body bullies is respond with love, share love, and keep spreading powerful messages of support, not hate. So we will happily partake in that. It does disappoint us when negative messages get such an elevated platform, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that the positive messages are out there and are more important.

British country singer Sasha McVeigh recently wrote a short essay about body image on her Facebook Page after becoming concerned with the amount of fans who constantly praised her for her looks and expressing how they wished they had her skin, hair, etc.

“I never want to make anyone feel inadequate with themselves. And I know it’s easier said than done because people, especially girls/women, always compare themselves to others. For some reason it’s how we’re wired. But the fact is, nobody is perfect, our imperfections are what make us unique and beautiful,” she writes.

“People will often try to bring you down, usually to try to hide their own insecurities. Magazines will always print articles about diets or people who are too fat or too thin because they know us women will eat that stuff up and believe it. But why should we let them make us feel inadequate?” she continued.

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The truth is we live in a society where it is rebellious to love yourself the way you are, and that stems from multi-billion dollar consumer industries such as fashion, beauty, diet and advertising who thrive on selling product and profiting off mostly women’s low self-esteem. To be confident with your weight is seen as counter-culture and goes against the ingrained messages we have taught.

What Project Harpoon and Nicole Arbour are doing is simply rehashing those negative systemic degradations in a different form – social media. What IS revolutionary is seeing women like Whitney Way Thore, Tess Holliday, Ashley Graham and many many more stand up and be proud to look different than the norm and give permission to millions of others around the world to do the same.

We think you get the idea and understand our message in all this. We will leave you with yet another positive body image message that proves love and support is the best way, the ONLY way, we will ever truly progress in our mindset about “acceptable” bodies. This woman stripped down to her underwear in a busy marketplace to make a statement, and what happened was the opposite of what she expected:


 

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