‘I wrote a viral article and was shamed by hundreds of men – it’s not okay’

Recently I wrote an article about his very ashamed after sex.

It was picked up by some major news outlets abroad, and ironically, I found myself embarrassed in front of hundreds of strangers. Especially men online.

Honestly, it’s the price you pay when you’re a female writer and share your private life. Strangers online will tear it apart and send you hate. But it is not an abstract hatred.

It’s never a simple “I hate you!”, but more of a “That sweater you love looks disgusting!”. They are often very detailed messages where a stranger tells me they think I am “fat” and “ugly” and I always feel self-conscious.

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Mary Rose Madigan
After writing a viral online article, I had an attack of horrific male abuse online. (Instagram/Maryrosem)

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When I wanted to be a writer, I thought my life would be like Carrie Bradshaw. I would live on cocktails and words. But instead I spend a lot of my time blocking out strange men who tell me my body is disgusting.

It’s hard not to take it personally, because it’s personal. Someone saw something you wrote online, it triggered something in them, and then they track down your social media to say really mean things to you, how could I not take that personally?

If you add in that I’m a plus size, there’s a whole new chunk of hate coming my way. My body is constantly being used against me.

Complete strangers report the meanest things you could ever think about yourself. Or worse, things you never even thought you were aware of.

Once a stranger messaged me to say they thought my arms were “rough”. I spent the next week wearing turtlenecks and feeling ashamed of them.

Woman working from home
Men online go so far as to harass me on LinkedIn. (Getty)

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I don’t like strangers on the internet having such a hold on me. Maybe it’s easier to handle if you’re more productive and known because you have someone to fill these posts for you.

But I am a one man team and there is no one to protect me from my DMs or worse, if they find me on LinkedIn. (Yes, they are serious about finding my LinkedIn.)

I try not to read these posts, but even going through them you understand the gist, and the gist is enough to make you feel awful.

I don’t think it’s a secret to being a plus size woman online, it’s not easy. I’d say that’s why so many famous women who start out with a plus size end up belittling themselves, because people’s comments and hatred are endless.

Rebel Wilson
Rebel Wilson has been praised for her great weight loss, and society loves her so much more now that she exists in a smaller body. (Instagram)

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Honestly, you only have to look at all the praise that both Chrissie Swan and Rebel Wilson have gotten since losing weight to realize that society prefers smaller women.

I’m aware that my existence in a curvier body is provoking a response and the fact that I have a public job means I always have to navigate this kind of online hate, but it’s damn hard and I stay in therapy.

Now there is the other side of the coin. Among the posts where men called me fat, there were also men who messaged me to tell me they loved my body or thought I was sexy.

Drawing of women.
“What I find most frustrating is that as a plus-sized woman, I am more often defined and judged by my size.” (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Maybe they were trying to be nice, but it felt more offensive than anything. I can’t think of any male writer who would have to deal with their bodies being discussed so widely.

I think what I find most frustrating is that as a plus size woman I am more often defined and judged by my size.

Good or bad, my body is always up for debate, and I’ll be honest, I want it off the table. I want to be able to make an article go viral without my body being mentioned.

I don’t know what the answer to this is. I wish my body wasn’t a conversation. I wish I could write my opinion, and my weight wouldn’t be used against me. That’s not too much to ask is it?

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