How the Fuck-Off Fairy helped me fight fat-shaming

Guest post by Rebecca

Seriously, fuck off. (Photo by: Cate_DartfingerCC BY 2.0)
I am a member of a high-end gym near my work. It was the only one that worked for me, as far as location, and, let’s face it, I’m a sucker for the Aveda products in the locker room. When I go to the gym, I usually lift heavy, do some cardio, and stick to myself. It is “me time” at its best.

Recently, a personal trainer has been trying to recruit me as a client. When we first met, I told her my goal was to do a pull-up. I’ve been taking some aerial classes, but had plateaued, so decided to lift for a while and build some strength before going back. I told her what I’d been doing, and she was supportive. She made minor noises about how “slimming down” might help me lift my body weight easier. I understand physics well enough to know she is right, and mostly ignored the fat-shaming that was also present in the conversation.

Then this week, she sent an email about a group meeting. It was filled with assumptions about how we were all striving to lose weight and how she wanted a three-day food journal from us so she could help us to eat better. I sent her a note back indicating that I didn’t think I was a good match for her training. I thought I was letting her down gently.

This morning, at the gym, she asked me to talk about the small group training and why I wasn’t sure about it. I mentioned that I didn’t really want to be in a group that was focused on weight loss. She made another comment about how “trimming up” would help with my goal of doing a pull-up. That’s when the Fuck-Off Fairy showed up.

The Fuck-Off Fairy is a special kind of fairy. She shows up on the night of your 30th birthday, while you are sleeping, and waves a magic wand over you.

She comes to release you from the expectations that you should always be nice and polite and say yes to what other people want from you. She helps you see your authentic self, and how beautiful and fabulous that self is, and how the world will not end if you are true to you, rather than to others’ expectations of you.

The Fuck-Off Fairy teaches you to stand up for yourself and believe in your value. She gets that sometimes “fuck off” needs to be said politely and with a smile, but while delivering the message clearly. She is an important part of the coming-of-age process.

Although she typically comes at 30, some people are lucky to get their Fuck-Off Fairy visit at a younger age, others may have to wait a bit longer. It is worthy of note, however, that it is never too late for you to invite her to visit you!

Although she likes to serve women, the Fuck-Off Fairy does not discriminate on the basis of gender.

The Fuck-Off Fairy was sitting on my shoulder during my conversation with the trainer. I was able to stand up for myself and my body. To tell her that my goals were what mattered, not some socio-cultural perception about what my body should be. I explained how exercise, for me, is about enjoying my body and appreciating it — not beating it up or shaming it. I told her that I love what I can do, how strong I’ve become, and how I see improvement every day. I told her that my muscles are amazing, and what I can do with my body is incredible. And I said that I’m not working with someone who doesn’t think my body is perfect and beautiful as it is.

In the trainer’s defense, when I called her out on this matter, she immediately agreed with me. She sees that my strength is impressive and that her job is to help me meet my goals, not to make assumptions about what they are.

As I walked away from this interaction, I offered a little prayer of thanks to the Fuck-Off Fairy. I’m glad she’s part of my life!

Comments on How the Fuck-Off Fairy helped me fight fat-shaming

  1. OMG this is amazing! The Fuck-Off Fairy has begun to visit me, and I love her to pieces already. I’m finding, however, that my personal version of the Fuck-Off Fairy is pretty unfiltered at the moment. I’ve got to find a way to gussie her up for my professional environment. Is there a handbook for that? 😀

    • Her milder though no less effective friends the Nuh-Uh Gnome, Dismiss Pixie, Boot Goblin, Beat-It Genie, Hightail Mermaid, or Unicorn of Nay may be able to help. 😀

  2. Did she even bother to ask you WHAT your goals were before trying to jump in and help you reach them? Sometimes we forget to stop and ask. That’s a really important step. Don’t try to help someone just based on your presumptions of what *you* think they need.

    Great post. Love the FoF!

    • We’d had a brief chat about my goals. I’d talked about the skills I need to get better at aerial– strength and balance. I’d never mentioned weight.

  3. I loooove the fuck off fairy. Pretty sure I’m lucky enough to always have had her … but also not so lucky to always have had her. But meh, totally worth it.
    Most recent application – I just recently changed from a generic women’s gym to crossfit. When I cancelled my gym they asked why and basically I explained that the final straw was the sparkly prints of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn that went up in the corridor as part of the refit.
    The gym was already 50% machines, like 10 % bathroom 30% class space and 10% weights room – which was effectively the corridor into the rest of the gym so a super uncomfortable space to work in. And they were expanding the machines space and not changing the weights grr
    Anyway so I told them I was mad about the weights and how more machines aren’t going to help me.
    I told them that most of all I didn’t want to see those pictures of women in my gym who have probably never been to the gym before ever – that I go to the gym to get fit and strong not look good in a dress. I said that I wanted to see gym members pictured up there if anyone. I also told them I didn’t like the website which is all airbrushed clearly American stock photos (we are a Pacific nation so this is not representative)
    It felt pretty awesome 😀

  4. I’d like to think I’m getting better at this kind of thing, but I could really have used the Fuck-Off Fairy last week…

    I decided to treat myself to a high-end hair salon, because I wanted a nice relaxing experience and a good blow-dry as well as a cut. I only really wanted a bit of a trim though.

    But the moment I sat down, the guy was lecturing me about how I didn’t get my hair cut enough, how I shouldn’t be trying to grow my hair out, how I was a “blank canvas” and how he “wouldn’t let me walk out looking like this”. I couldn’t believe my ears! I very nearly walked out, but couldn’t find a way to do it.

    In a sense, I’m glad I stayed, because I did end up with a nice haircut, which was the overall aim, and he was ok during most of the appointment… but I am never, ever going back there, and I’m telling all my friends how rude they are. I just wish the Fuck-Off Fairy had been there to help me say: I’m not looking for advice on haircare. I’m not looking to be guilted into coming to your expense salon every six weeks. I am not looking to be told my current appearance is unacceptable to you. I’m looking for a relaxing hour of me-time. Fuck off.

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one with this kind of problem (guess I’m still waiting for the FOF) – I am getting better though, since my husband always maintains that I’m “too nice.”

    • Here’s the thing… now that you’ve identified how you want to respond, it will make it that much easier next time to respond in that way. It really is countering a long history of the social norming of women to be agreeable and think others know what is best for them. You can do it!!

      • Yes! You gotta know what you wanna say before you can say it. That’s the step I was missing, and it left me completely without words when I needed them to set a boundary. My friend gave me the “homework” on thinking about what I wanted to say (even though it was “too late”) because articulating makes it easier the next time around.

  5. I understand and agree with the idea of the article – it’s pretty normal to get the self-confidence to stand up for yourself as you get older, and the more so at 40, 50, etc. However, it’s ironic to me that this article was illustrated with a picture of a stick-thin fairy with twiggy arms and legs. Sends an odd message.

    • Although I agree– I just wanted to point out that fairy dolls are….. well generally non-existent in other forms and the fuck off fairy does not have to be plus sized. The message was for anyone/anything and although THIS particular fuck off fairy message helped with fat shaming the message was that EVERY body is perfect. There should be no shaming for ANY size or shape.

      • The method to my photo choice madness: I just chose the Creative Commons fairy photo with best bitch face. Regardless of body type, my vision of the “Fuck-Off Fairy” was all about the bitch face. 😉

        Though… if anyone wants to do a mock-up of what THEY think it looks like… by all means… hook us up with some art work!

    • I have to disagree. I don’t think the image sends an odd message at all. I see nothing wrong using a character who has (or for that matter being a human who is) “stick-thin with twiggy arms and legs.” This post, as Crystori pointed out, may deal with an example of fat-shaming, but the broader concept is that your “Fuck-Off Fairy” can help anyone with any-shaming. A person’s body type isn’t the issue, here. Feeling strong enough to stand up for yourself is — even if you have to defend your “twiggy” arms and legs.

    • People get skinny-shammed too. I work at a “health” food restaurant and got told by a customer that she could never become vegan because she didn’t want to get too skinny like me. By all means I am a healthy weight and not even close to being skinny like a model or skinny in a way that I look ill. I am pretty sure that Fuck Off Fairy would have sometime to say to that lady. XD

  6. My fairy came to visit while I was planning my offbeat wedding.
    We were walking down the aisle to Patrick Wolf’s “Magic Position” at the rehearsal and my Aunt (who had NO PART in the rehearsal) piped up with, “Are you REALLY going to play THAT?!”
    Without missing a beat or a step I replied, “Yes, and it’s AWESOME!”

    My fuck off fairy tends to come in the form of affirming how amazing I think my choices are for me. Last night at the grocery store I ate a granola bar while shopping so that I wouldn’t make bad decisions out of hunger. Instead of shyly handing the wrapper and apologizing for being hungry while shopping, I handed her the wrapper and said, “I ate this while shopping and it was delicious. I can’t wait to pay for it!” I got my food, she got a laugh. Everybody wins!

  7. I’m absolutely apalled at the rudeness of your trainers! I live in a small village close to Paris, with two low-cost gyms, and the trainers there are WAY more concerned with the techniques that you are using to exercise (so that you don’t injure yourself!) than with body image. I can’t even imagine the number of complaint sheets they would have to fill if they mentioned weight, size, fat or width in ANY way.

    Actually, this is not completely true. They do care about the size, weight, muscle and width of a very particular batch of clients – they are the unofficial gym for the local interns on the firemen brigade. They come in skinny, wearing bright green neon shirts, and a few months later they have to size up. But you can still hear the trainer screaming “If you lift that weight like you’ll waive an axe you will KILL yourself!”

  8. My fuck off fairy caused a career change.

    I left the dietitian field because too many people I was working with were concerned about weight and not health. I’m plus sized; I always have been- I always will be. That being said I eat mostly fruits and vegetables, usually raw, and little to no meat. I have to set a timer to eat because I will FORGET. I can’t process fast food so I can’t eat it. I’m allergic to corn syrup so there are SO MANY pre-made things that I cannot eat. I generally don’t eat a lot of wheat but I like rye bread every now and then. I eat what most people would consider an ideal diet- but I’m still plus sized. I weight lift, do aerial dance -pole and silks ftw-, and I run most mornings. I can see where trainers and dietitians get their idea that a small body is a healthy body, but I know quiet a few people in every size that are not healthy- size doesn’t matter. Yes, it can be a prelude to show that you have a health issue, but that is not always the case. (A trainer friend who is fairly young but in pretty good shape suffered a heart attack recently- her body and diet were great. My point is not to judge health by looks or diet. Underlying health issues can be completely hidden.)

    I hope everyone can find their fuck off fairy and stand up for themselves and their decisions. <3 It would be nice if there was no fat-thin-tall-short-gay-bi-straight-poly-it-doesn't-matter shaming. No shaming is good shaming. Well…. actually- you can shame your dog for getting in the trash. That's ok. Trash is a no-no.

  9. So that’s what she’s called! I have met the Fuck-Off Fairy a few times but she has yet to make herself a consistent presence in my life. I think at the moment she’s starting small and only coming to see me when I’m with people who don’t deserve any fucks at all and then we’ll work up to people who only need her occasionally.

    Also, hooray for you for telling the gym human where to stick it! Be happy and give precisely zero fucks about what anyone else thinks of your body.

  10. I first met my fairy at 14… I had been debilitatingly shy up until that point, I would regularly cry if a teacher even spoke to me and I didn’t have many friends (i was ‘weird’ apparently). My mum was diagnosed with cancer with a low survival rate and my family didn’t handle it well, I had to do a lot to support them. Something clicked. Life was too short for me to be scared of what anyone else thought, in fact my life had become very scary but I wasn’t scared, I discovered that I was strong. I started to say what I was thinking and I discovered that I was also funny (and weird, but in a good way!). This was an incredibly empowering discovery for me, the shy girl. I’m 30 now and when I tell people I used to be shy they rarely believe me. My mum survived and is amazing. I would not change my experiences even if I could, I love my fairy, she made it ok for me to be me. Even better she made me realise everybody is scared until they find their fairy and I have a lot of empathy with shy people! Find your fairies!!

  11. Rebecca, I run a body acceptance/HAES (health at every size) support group on Facebook and one of my members linked your awesome article there. I’m also a jewelry maker, and I would dearly LOVE to make a line of “FO Fairy” jewelry for folks to wear on days when they need a little extra encouragement to tell the world to FO when it comes to body shaming/weight shaming/other shaming. Would that be okay with you?

  12. I’m pretty sure I was born with the blessing of the Fuck-Off fairy because I have honestly never given a crap about what’s considered accepted due to my race, size, gender, tax bracket and so on. While I’m more vocal now (maybe she gave me a second visit when I turned 20) even as a young child when faced with these issues I’d always go on the defense and say “Why?”

    Obviously no one had a good enough answer lol.

  13. Yes! I’m 37 (but 23 on the inside) and the fuck-off fairy has only been a recent addition to my life. I think as women we have a much harder time telling people to fuck off – politely or not – because the majority of us are trained from birth to always be nice and put a smile on our faces and do what we’re told. So even though I have less fucks to give about what people think of me, I still really struggle with telling them so.
    Baby steps!

  14. Ugh. I *really* need the fuck-off fairy to pay me a visit when this guy in my office keeps talking about my miscarriage like it’s water cooler chat. Pls visit me FOF!!

    • Seriously- this is bullshit. You need to directly tell him to stop. Then if he continues, tell him you will address this with HR if he doesn’t stop.
      Then, if he still continues, go to HR directly. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200$.
      This is harrassment.

  15. The Fuck Off Fairy did not find me until later in life. My polite at all costs conditioning was pounded into me for too many years. I have enjoyed finding all of the areas in my life that can benefit from visits by the Fuck Off Fairy and her brother the “I Call Bullshit”Buddy. He has become more vocal in calling Bullshit on bad behavior and the sheer stupidity that seems to have become epidemic. Thanks for the smile today!

  16. Off topic of your fuck-off fairy but on topic to your pull ups- you could try working on your hand grip. I know I need to improve mine, I can’t take apart our juicer at work alone because my fingers can’t squeeze the machine still. The link gives some exercises to practice, which makes sense, because finger/hand grip is how people are able to do cliff climbing. Maybe take that up as a hobby too?

  17. How many fuck off fairy’s do we get? I’m 42 and I sure need one today for the assholes who think they are God to my existence at work today. 🙂 I hate fitspo people they can fuck the hell off.

Read more comments

Join the Conversation