Unwanted Attention

Online harassment - that's a no from me

I started my blog as a way of sharing my style, helping plus size babes find rad clothes in their size and sharing my self love journey in the hopes that it might help others. For the most part, it’s been amazing – I’ve shared my life with you, you’ve shared yours with me … but there is one part of the online world that I really hadn’t counted on. It’s one that, to be quite honest, makes me never want to blog again.

I really appreciate all the awesome babes who take the time to send me DMs and leave comments on my blog and social media; talking about where to find awesome plus size fashion, celebrating their style wins, sharing their self care routines and what life is like as a fat babe. I love the great community we have and I think it’s really great that we get to talk about these things and share our experiences. But then, there are the guys. Some of the guys that message me and comment on my page, oh boy.

These blokes send me pictures of flowers, pictures of themselves, pictures of their dicks. They leave comments like “you’re so sexy”, “mmm, yummy”, “marry me beautiful”, “wanna fuck”. Sometimes they send me messages saying “hi” over and over. They post weird Facebook stickers like the dog that licks the shape of a heart (honestly, what the fuck is up with that?), they tell me how they think I should dress so I’ll be more sexy, they tell me what they want to do to me or sometimes they just send me porn clips. They DM me telling me I’m their dream girl, saying hello or asking if I’m single, and then I get called a snob, a bitch, a slut when I don’t respond.

Online harassment: this is what my inbox looks like on a regular basis

Welcome to my inbox

This doesn’t happen every now and then, it happens every single day. I block around 100-200 men a day (if not more) who do this and I can’t remember the last time I went an entire day without having to deal with this kind of shit. Last night I had one guy leave me a number of comments and private messages on my Facebook page, after I’d already asked him to stop, so I blocked him. He then proceeded to email me, comment on my blog posts and track down my personal profile and message me there wanting to know why I had blocked him. How many times can you ask someone to leave you alone? Spoiler alert: he continued to message me after this.

Online harassment - Shawn Gipperich. This was the tenth message I received from Shawn in an hour.

This was the tenth message I received from Shawn in an hour

I’m not alone in this – I know many other bloggers who get a constant barrage of bullshit from men, especially plus size fashion bloggers. On Facebook, on Instagram, via email … it just never seems to stop. Most notably my friend Rachel, who wrote a great post about her experience with getting messages from one such man, aptly titled Being a Woman on the Internet and also known as the day she spent her birthday tracking down a sexual predator. They’re not just friendly hellos, these are men who sexualise me and think that seem to think I owe them my time and my attention.

Guys, this space isn’t here for you to use as a dating service or to chat with women. I’m not here to chat with men, and when you leave these comments and messages, it’s taking time from doing my job to respond. The same as if you went into an office and said the same things. I mean, are there guys messaging ASOS and Countdown and Sony like this or is it just something that I’m expected to have to deal with because I’m a woman on the internet?

It’s not only bloggers and public figures that get these messages either, guys seem keen to comment on women’s bodies and try to slide in to their DMs on the regular. It’s gross and it needs to stop.

I’ve been told that I should be grateful for the attention. That it’s part and parcel of being a “public figure”. I’ve been told that they’re just being friendly, do I have to be such a bitch? They’re only kidding around, can’t I take a joke? I’m sorry, but no. I’m not responsible for teaching these guys how to behave appropriately toward others, and in case you were somehow mistaken, no – this kind of behaviour is not okay. The people who do this are no better than men who cat call women and harass them on the street, except they do it from behind a screen. When they get called out on their behaviour, they make out like we are somehow the bad guys and they the victims.

Online harassment - Rod Rowland: This is why we can't have nice things

This is why we can’t have nice things

There’s not a whole lot I can do about it either, because Facebook’s only option for page owners is to block users from the page – I’m not able to report messages when they have dick pics and the like in them, I can’t report harassment until it happens on my personal account (and even then I’m often told “We reviewed the content you reported and found that it doesn’t go against our Community Standards”). At least on Instagram I can report the messages and block the senders.

Honestly, this kind of thing makes me want to shut down my social media and my blog all together. I feel alone, intimidated, harassed andΒ angry. I’m angry that they make me feel this way, that they invade the space I’ve created to share something I’m really passionate about with you. Sometimes I’m tempted to switch off the messaging option for my page, but as my experience with Shawn has shown me the constant messaging will just move to email, blog comments and messages on my private account.

I’m not really sure what I’m going to do at this point. I guess I wrote this because I want anyone else who gets messages like this know that they’re not alone, that they don’t have to put up with it and it’s okay to block people who are making you feel uncomfortable – whether you’re a blogger or not! For now, I’m going to be pretty handy with the block button.

Have you ever received unwanted messages like this?

34 Comments

  1. September 19, 2017 / 7:21 am

    This is so annoying. I totally feel you. I deal with these crap men on Instagram. It’s very scary too sometimes. One of my friend saw my picture that was listed on instagram on an adult site, it was reported and taken down. But It took weeks for me to get over it. I was so upset and unwell and I kept away from the most passionate thing in this world to me which is blogging. And, sometimes I just feel like there are a bunch of people who sit anonymously to harass girls. They leave absurd comments on public post and blog and literally follow everywhere. I wish they all get blocked by social media too. And, there is this another set of people who write emails to the official blog ID pretending to be PRs. so scary.. I know you are a super strong girl and we all support you. I hope you let it go all of these from your mind and be that rocking chic girl that you are <3

    Renji Anooj

    • September 20, 2017 / 8:22 am

      Sorry to hear that you’re dealing with this too Renji, it makes me so angry that some men can be so gross and disrespectful πŸ™ Super scary that people pretend to be PRs! I make sure I research who people are and if their company is legit before giving out any of my details, it’s a weird world out there! xx

  2. Danielle Nicholas
    August 20, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    This is disgusting Meagan! Ugh, just FUCK OFF with your entitlement Rod and all the others!! They expect you to be grateful that they are sexually harassing you, because they say other people would laugh at you? Well mate, I would laugh at YOU if you weren’t so disgusting.

    • August 22, 2017 / 9:31 am

      Right? Such a gross entitled attitude

  3. July 30, 2017 / 5:55 pm

    Oh GOD YES, I get so sick of this crap! Even dudes who start out seeming supportive turn creepy so quickly, and when you tell them you’re done with their shit, they’re all “But how am I supposed to know when I’ve pushed the boundaries too far if you won’t tell me?!?!” How about you stop pushing AT ALL dickfeatures! Why must every interaction with a woman be some kind of testing of boundaries??

    • July 30, 2017 / 9:10 pm

      YES! I’ve gotten to the point where I won’t reply to messages from guys anymore, because more often than not they turn creepy. It’s so disappointing.

  4. July 23, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    Oh Meagan! Yuck! Just yuck. I think it’s so hard when you’re rocking along through the world with the great attitude you have and then BOOM! Have to be reminded of these creeper douchebages! So sorry to see teh frequency you have to deal with this too. For me, I’m super fortunate that I’ve never received any of this kind of attention or any unsolicited pics. Seems very rare and unique though compared to my other blogging and social sisters out there

    • July 25, 2017 / 11:09 am

      I hope you never have to deal with this Kate! It’s not something I’d wish on anyone, it makes me feel so yuck.

  5. July 23, 2017 / 7:36 am

    I feel you, and it sucks. I don’t have to block as many men as you do, but they still make their presence felt every damn day. F*ck men and their entitlement issues. <3 to you.

    • July 25, 2017 / 11:08 am

      I always love reading your replies to men who comment on your IG, you’ve got a real way with words!

  6. Cass
    July 22, 2017 / 11:24 am

    This is seriously FUCKED up and I am SO sorry you have to deal with it. Wouldn’t it be great if you could target your page especially on FB so they creepy AF dudes cant’t find it, but also FB should be doing something about this sort of harassment. But I know you and you are super strong and there are so many awesome babes who support you. I would hate for you to shut this thing down just because of them – tell them to fuck off, delete and block. We got you!

    • July 22, 2017 / 2:14 pm

      I’ve found that a lot of the guys come from similar countries so I’ve started blocking my page from those countries and it’s helping! I’ve only had to block about 30 guys today which is a MASSIVE difference and infinitely more manageable. Unfortunately it means that any awesome babes who are in those places and legitimately want to visit my page can’t, so not the best solution. Thanks for your support Cass xo

  7. July 22, 2017 / 8:48 am

    I’ve had this in my clothing page, it does feel stink. So I wrote a note in my page letting my group know this was happening. I stopped posting for a couple days then thought nah, u guys suck and ur not changing what I do. Then I block their asses. I don’t even bother engaging. We got ur back Megan, just keep blocking.

    • July 22, 2017 / 10:19 am

      you wouldnt believe it, I posted some lingerie for sale and some guy messages me, then tells me he has fetishes, then immediately tries to vid chat me. So ive blocked him. Seriously annoying.

      • July 22, 2017 / 2:15 pm

        Ugggggh gross! I’m sorry to hear you get this too Careen.

  8. Samantha
    July 21, 2017 / 6:50 am

    Meagan; that’s so horrible

  9. Deb
    July 20, 2017 / 10:56 pm

    I hate that you have to put up with all that shit everyday πŸ™ I really appreciate you putting up with it as I love your blog and being part of a community xx

  10. Kama Scarf
    July 20, 2017 / 10:46 pm

    Omg it is insane how many men you have to block each day I had to read that like twice, you wonder what goes through their minds it’s like they think their entitled or something ?? Aren’t we (all your followers) lucky that despite all the above you still keep on facebooking and posting. Thanks Meagan πŸ˜ƒ

    • July 20, 2017 / 11:23 pm

      The sheer number is really overwhelming but I’ve been shown a couple of things that might help minimise them. I love what I do so much that I refuse to let those guys scare me off.

  11. July 20, 2017 / 10:17 pm

    This makes me so so so mad. I was a part of a gossip group on Facebook and nearly everyday there would be a post about guys who couldn’t take a hint and leave people alone. It’s honestly disgusting, and you aren’t the first blogger I’ve seen very nearly or even actually leave blogging because of it. It makes me so sad because you are amazing and to know that you have to deal with this bs daily is mind boggling. Especially since the one thing my mother has drilled into my head is if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face then don’t send it on the internet, actually my mum has drilled heaps of advice into my head, if you don’t want everyone to see it don’t send it on the internet, never assume anything you send via the internet is safe etc etc The fact that some people just don’t even consider that kind of thing is infuriating.

    Sorry for the massive ramble. I wish there was someway I could be your secretary and could screen this bs for you, if there is anything I CAN do to help so you don’t leave then please let me know, because you are honestly a massive inspiration to me and I would hate to think that something like this could break you.

    • July 21, 2017 / 9:20 am

      Your mum sounds like a pretty smart woman, those are some good pieces of advice. Thanks Jaimee xo

  12. July 20, 2017 / 8:22 pm

    as the feminine male i am, i so hate that you have had comments & dm’s like you have from men.

    though i’m not 100% male, it still does piss me off that you do get bothered by the men that comment they way they do

    though i’m aware it does happen, it’s awesome that you wrote this post.

    even though it must be so annoying, i hope that you don’t let it get to you, as ur an amazing chick & personally i’m glad that i found your blog

  13. Michelle
    July 20, 2017 / 8:19 pm

    Wow that is just soooo many. You poor thing. I can’t even imagine how overwhelming it must be.

    Your response to Shawn is spot on to the point and polite. SO polite… how do you not lose your shit!?

    Years ago when I worked in a lingerie store, men would often ring up and seem to think we were a sex line… just ew.

    WTF is WRONG with these people!?!

    • July 20, 2017 / 8:48 pm

      The bonus of being behind a computer is that I have time to take a breath before I reply to people. If I went with my first response, it wouldn’t be nearly so polite, trust me!

  14. July 20, 2017 / 7:27 pm

    Thank you for posting this and I am so sorry that you are being harassed in this way. It’s the sort of shit that sadly seems to go with being a woman in the internet world.The more we speak up about it the more we make it unacceptable and shine the light on the misogynistic system we live under.
    I’ll be sharing this post on my biz page. and let’s hope these guys get shamed into stopping.

    • July 20, 2017 / 7:30 pm

      Thanks Caitlin, I think speaking up about it is important because just like with bullying and abuse, shame and fear can keep us isolated.

  15. July 20, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    Oh lady, you know I feel you! It sucks that creepy dudes feel so entitled to women generally and most of the bloody internet!

    • July 20, 2017 / 7:26 pm

      That’s the word I needed, entitled. Why do men think they are entitled to so much from women – to their bodies, their time, their space? SO OVER IT!

  16. July 20, 2017 / 7:02 pm

    I used to be active on a page years ago that was intended for people to make online and pen friends around the world. I met some lovely friends but finding them amongst the messages from males offering everything from marriage to casual sex, wanting money for whatever reason and some just being downright disgusting made me give up in the end.
    I really can’t fathom what gives guys the idea we want these messages and offers or that they have the right to send what they do. Sadly I could name the countries about 90% of them are from too. Seems to be an accepted thing among some cultures.
    Personally I did not even read nor respond to any of them as that encourages them to keep trying. I’d just push the delete button immediately

    • July 20, 2017 / 7:08 pm

      I’m so sorry you had that experience Carolyn ❀️ I’ve noticed a trend in some of the places these men are from as well, and Facebook offers Pages the option to restrict people from certain countries from being able to view the page so I’m giving that a try to see if it helps. I do get it from guys all over, but if I can minimise it then it makes it much easier to deal with.

      • July 21, 2017 / 10:21 am

        I found it best to just laugh at how desperate they sound and move on. Don’t let them get to you or take it too seriously cos then the losers win. Good luck and I do hope you don’t give up πŸ’œ If it does get to you maybe there’s an option of having someone screen the messages first and delete the crap?