Do you “come and go” from these communities? This is for you.
Scrolling through feedist networks and forums, a common theme rings out as people discuss their experiences: those who serially delete their profiles only to return again within days, weeks, or even months, are not appreciated and avoided at all costs. At the very least, they are not trusted. Spoken about with disdain and dismissed.
Those who serially delete their profiles generally fall into three categories:
- Not ready or able to be fully present and authentic in the community. In short, these people are ashamed or afraid of or confused by their desires and what that means for their lives. This does not mean they have bad intentions but are not yet prepared for the consequences of their actions.
- Abusers, manipulators, and others actively seeking to objectify people. These are the cheaters, the incels, and everything between. By and large they also experience intense insecurity as those in the first category but they choose to target others to let out their bad feelings.
- Victims and others escaping those in the second category. These don’t count and won’t be part of the discussion today.
The two types are more of a spectrum and they are not mutually exclusive although most tend lean heavily toward one or the other.
If they delete because they’re unavailable, what’s the big deal?
One may think it’s not a big deal and scratch their heads as to why so many that remain present and active in the community get frustrated by this behavior. But… it’s really not that easy.
Those of us that remain active in the community do so specifically to build relationships. That could be friendships, networking, romance, casual, or even just our relationships with ourselves—as many of us who are fat simply need support and camaraderie from others with similar experiences and feelings. Serial deleters who waltz in and consume us like commodities; our attention; our time; our energy; our emotions… are taxing.
The frustration comes less from the fact they disappeared without warning and moreso the knowledge that we can’t stop them from doing it. They can and likely will do it again… and again… and again. It’s one thing if a person is upfront that they are only there for a brief chat or otherwise indicate their ephemeral lifestyle in early conversations or on their profiles, but the vast majority do not do this.
We already live in a world that literally wishes death upon fat people. The fat kink space is already phobic and toxic, and it’s an extra layer of piss icing on a shit cake when people pretend to care about you only to disappear without a trace. There is especially something painful about hitting it off with someone, believing they have any interest in you as a person only to demonstrate they won’t even treat you like one in the end. No two ways about it, it’s a form of objectification and fetishization that benefits no one in the long run.
And the truth is that they really aren’t anything special or unique. We already have a word for that: ghosting. Serial profile deleters are ghosts.
We have to have thick skin (literally…) to exist in this world, and most can understand that ghosting is not about the ghostee but the ghost-er. But it does not mean there is no impact on the person left behind: regardless if someone is a category 1 or 2 ghoster, the message they send by treating people in this way is that they are not even worth a simple send-off. It leaves the ghostee wondering if they were just a figure of entertainment, lust, and fantasy, or if the ghost was just too scared to admit they are facing their collective internal and external fatphobia and seeing us as actual human beings for the first time.
It sucks and it hurts, every single time.
Uh oh… I think I’m one of those. What do I do?
Well… stop deleting your profile. I can’t know your particular situation and won’t pass moral judgment. I’m personally a believer that if they want to, people can change and that poor behavior does not necessarily mean they are a bad person. I’ll err on the side of cautious optimism that if you’ve made it all the way here, it means that perhaps you know this is not the best course of action and want to correct it.
Here are some actionable things you can do:
- Get out of whatever situation you’re in that prevents you from being present and available. Trust me—we’ve seen it all. We know when you’re sneaking around on a partner or hiding the fact you have a kid. We know. If you truly feel as though that this is what you want, you absolutely deserve it. But if something is stopping you from being able to pursue it, such as an unsatisfying relationship, those fleeting moments typing sweet nothings in private messages will not give you that freedom to be yourself. You deserve better, your partner or family deserves better, and we deserve better.
- Be honest. There isn’t a single way you can hide what’s going on. We will know. One way or another. There’s a difference between not sharing personal details for the sake of anonymity, vulnerability, and privacy, and then there’s hiding a huge detail like whoopsies, forgot to tell you about my partner I’m deceiving!
- Re-establish yourself as someone trustworthy. If you’re cheating on a partner to poke around here, it’s never innocent. You’re also communicating ahead of time to this community that you’ll deceive them, a group of people that are regularly used, deceived, abused, and objectified by our own insiders and the rest of the world. You will have to invest heavily with the community, be transparent, and basically change your behavior. That’s a genuine apology.
- If you feel as though you must flee: consider simply deactivating notifications and clearing out your profile, but don’t delete it. We all need a break sometimes or just taper off as other things about life sweep us off in its current. That’s normal and okay. Personally, when I have those moments, I simply indicate on my profiles that I’m on a break or hiatus and will send off a message to a few friends. I log out and forget about it for awhile until I’m ready to return.
That’s a lot…
I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. I’m just saying that if you are more of a category 1 feedist ghoster, it’s in your best interest to recalibrate your modus operandi. Your individual comfort and thoughts simply don’t change the fact that you are using people by deleting and leaving without warning and that it does impact them. Do you want fat, fat-positive, and feedist people in your life? Then stop treating them as disposable. Stick around long enough and people will want you in theirs, too.
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