Perhaps one of the few things more head-scratching than commenting on a stranger's body without invitation is commenting on a stranger's body while they're working out. In case you didn't already know, people of all shapes and sizes can, and do, exercise. Apparently, this was lost on a man who body-shamed fitness blogger Julie Ana Kim while she was at the gym.
In a post to her Instagram page on Monday, Kim recalled an incident during which a man came up to her and began commenting that he was "proud" to see her there.
What began as a seemingly benign comment, she wrote, gave way to some backhanded comments.
"He proceeded to tell me how brave I was for being my size and still coming to the gym," she wrote. "And KEPT talking and had to stop himself from calling me fat."
To add insult to injury, she also wrote that he used his hands to "motion how big I was while saying he himself couldn't imagine coming to the gym while being that big."
What made things even worse, she said, was that she had been having a particularly bad week.
"I've been super bloated and feeling bigger than usual and down on myself, and then this man just makes me feel like absolute shit," she wrote. "I wish I could say I was like fuck you and kept on with my workout. Instead I just smiled in shock until he left and cried in the bathroom."
Comments like this, Kim said, is why she initially felt anxious going to the gym or exercising in public at all.
"I was always scared to workout at the gym for this reason," she wrote. "That people would judge me. Everyone is at the gym to better themselves and become healthier so PLEASE refrain from going up to someone and belittling them. I honestly don't think his words came from a good place, I can't explain the way he said it to me. How do you practically call someone fat to their face and think that it's encouraging?"
However, it won't deter her from going to the gym and living her life.
"I refuse to let this deter me from going to the gym," she continued. "I've learned to love going to the gym and it's my happy place and it will continue to be. FUCK WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS OF ME. I know why I'm there and I know how much progress I've made."
Kim's story is heartbreaking — it's never okay to comment on a stranger's body, no matter where you are. While we've made great strides in body-positivity in recent years, backlash against plus size people still happens, and we still have work to do when it comes to accepting people of all shapes and sizes.
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