A Girl Bullied Me on Instagram, in Russian!

Fat and ugly?

Fat and ugly?

I can’t recall how many times I’ve been called ‘fat’ and/or ‘ugly.’ By schoolmates, strangers, even by some people who were close to me. Back when I was a teenager, I was in the crosshairs of the school bully. He would approach me and just brush his palm across my forehead or grab my ID and exclaim in Tagalog, “you’re so ugly you look like a horse in your ID!” As Fate would have it, I was to be bullied again. This time in another language. Yesterday, a girl saw my photo on Instagram, reposted it without permission, poked fun at my lack of skill in reading Russian (see photo), and tagged it ‘fat’ and ‘ugly,’ among others.

I didn’t lose what my mom calls my ‘baby fat’ until my second year in college. So when I was a freshman, one time a group of guys called me ‘pogi‘ (handsome) because I wore baggy shirts and shorts and had a short haircut. I wasn’t doing anything to catch their attention but apparently, boyish-looking girls annoyed them. As a sophomore, right after I shed the extra weight, I beefed up because I took up Taekwondo and swimming. A common day, a usual routine, I was waiting for the photocopyist to finish making copies of our readings. Suddenly, these fratmen kept hollering (at me, I was sure of it) “Wow, macho!” I was wearing a sleeveless top so my toned biceps were exposed. It made waiting for my readings seemed like eternity. I mean, what can you do in that situation? When I finally looked like a girl and started wearing girly clothes (spaghetti straps and all that jazz), I became an easy target for catcallers. When I pass by construction workers, they’ll be whistling and ogling. Once, when I paid my fare to a tricycle boy, he didn’t let go of my hand. I had to pry myself away from him; good thing it was in a public place already. I almost shouted for help…

Many individuals silently suffer from bullying. We hear stories of kids not wanting to go to school anymore, and recently, of good persons being driven to depression (eg, the case of Christopher Lao) or getting physically abused all because of cyberbullying (a number of them even committed suicide; catch this news on CNN). It’s sad that people judge others severely or engage in mass mentality without knowing the psychological and emotional effects they have on those being bullied. In my case, it doesn’t matter how I look — fat, buff, slim, inverted — if others found me worth bullying, they will bully me. And they come in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of persistence!

I was class valedictorian in grade school and high school. I graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman. I’m an Intermediate 2 pole student. And yet I am bullied. You can say I’m used to it by now. When my pole buddy alerted me of the bullying of my pole picture, my initial reaction was that of numbness. Do you know that sensation, when your heart blocks yourself from feeling anything? Like it’s protecting you from potential harm. So I thought, I have been here before. This girl — who isn’t even pretty, mind you (and I’m saying this objectively) — was laughing at what she perceives as fat and ugly. Just because I looked different or abnormal (from her POV), she thought she earned the right to bring me down. I could easily ignore her since she is of no significance to me but this incident says a lot about society in general. (Watch this TED talk of a model who has great insight on the power of image.)

She also made me realize that even I myself have been guilty of bias. I was called a mean girl too, a couple of times or so in my life. I say things in jest or as innocent comments but we know that there’s always more color in words than we can see. Even when nothing is uttered, you can feel what the others are thinking. There’s this story I heard from someone in class; she went to another studio to try out a class there but she was received rather coldly. She was eyed from head to toe, looked down upon because she was heavy. If only they knew how good she is on the pole, they’ll be ashamed!

One of the reasons I love being a student at Polecats Manila is that they promote body acceptance and self respect. Add to that the environment that is very conducive to learning and of course the teachers and students who are very warm, friendly and supportive. Quoting from Polecats founder, Mommacat Christina Dy, “don’t let anyone dictate how you see yourself, ever.” Read her blog about her weight loss; it’s really nice and inspiring.

Pole dancing is not only an art, a sport, or a fitness regimen — it is a way of life. A kind that everyone is welcome to experience. To quote the man I look up to, John Lennon, “It doesn’t matter how long my hair is or what colour my skin is or whether I’m a woman or a man.” Peace and love.


31 thoughts on “A Girl Bullied Me on Instagram, in Russian!

  1. This story makes me sad. bully is never okay. 😦
    The Pole- girl in the photo is not fat or ugly. Pole fitness/ poledance is a wounderful sport that can help anyone to get in shape. For many, it is probably the only option they find to other classic sports.

    For me, Pole has always been about what I can do, not how I look or how I want to be like. I practice never to look good but to achieve the next difficult stunts. I really think itΒ΄s fun!
    No, you should never listen to haters. Know your own worth and love yourself.
    Greetings from northern Sweden πŸ™‚

    • Hello there Linda!
      I appreciate the kind words. You know I had someone take a photo of my Fang two years ago; I was thin then but I didn’t like how the trick looked (it was blurred because I was slipping hehe). I didn’t post it anywhere, just deleted it. That picture of my Fang here, I liked it because I was stable. That’s what is important to me. Never mind the tummy! Hihihi. I wish that girl soon finds out about the things that really matter in life…

  2. Don’t listen to them, what you’re doing is amazing! Just remember that the rest of the pole community is behind you, cheering you on every step of the way! Much love and respect x

    • Thanks for the pole love Gem! I have never been in a community as supportive as the pole dancers’ — and I’m truly grateful I got into this sport, and for my pole buddy who’s always on my side, Kelay Nodalo. Let’s keep on dancing! πŸ˜€

  3. Pingback: Pole Dancer Bullied On Instagram | United Pole Artists | Pole News

  4. I am so upset that someone treated you this way. Thank you for sharing your post with me, Ida! Bullying is a horrible problem but I’m proud and happy that you have great confidence and pride… especially in pole! We stand together. You have a supportive friend in me, too. πŸ™‚

    (Also, as a Filipino woman, I too haven’t lost my “baby fat” as they call it. LOL But it’s a part of me and that’s who I am!)

    – Leen Isabel

    • I was so excited when I read you’re a Filipina too! I love your comics. Grabe so funny hahaha! Reading all the comments on my post more than made up for the horrible thing that girl did to me. I’m lucky to belong to such a great community. And I am proud to say I AM PHAT! Pretty, hot, and tempting. Apir! ^_^

  5. Haters gonna hate. Don’t mind that foreign stick-insect back-stabbing slut. I’m sure that her fellow Russians are not proud of what she did to you. I know and have met a lot of friendly Russians. She’s just Russian trash.

  6. That’s one good read. I must have my girlfriend read this. She thinks she’s fat and ugly because some people tell her so. But I think she’s beautiful, even the baby fats, which I love to kiss.

  7. That is sad…it is so terrible how people treat others when they are doing something they love.

    I have lost friends through my journey of pole as people seem to keep closed minded and not see the difference to being a stripper.

    The best thing to learn is if you’re happy that’s all that matters. Other people will always try to burst your bubble because they aren’t happy, they are jealous or close minded and as long as you take that as a flying comment and nothing that sticks life will be a lot better. πŸ™‚

    Goodluck with your pole journey.


    • Thanks Monipole. Someday, pole dancing will be accepted by society and its practitioners treated with respect. It’s already a good start that we have a very supportive community. Let’s keep the pole love burning! (Btw, I checked the link to your site; I was only able to access it when I deleted the www on the URL.)

  8. What?
    Honestly I look at that picture and am like “who is the supposedly fat girl?”
    At my pole studio we’re a lot of different body types. It is THE thing that has made me accept my body, more than anything else.

    • Hi Gry.

      Pole has given a lot of us (girls and boys) a chance to be proud of ourselves and what our bodies can do. For me, it has also offered me a chance to be a dancer… something that I only dreamt of when I was in high school (again, because I was fat, I wasn’t in the dance group).

      When I tell other girls to give pole a try, most of them respond with “I’m too heavy; I probably won’t be able to carry my own weight” — then you look at them and they are like half my size. Or “I’m ashamed; I don’t want others to see my body” — when actually, they look quite alright and are extroverts even.

      I read in the news this ridiculous trend in YouTube, where teenage girls would post a video of themselves asking the viewers if they are ‘pretty’ or ‘ugly.’ Of course, knowing how callous some people are, they would hurt the feelings of the girls (others would leave such harsh comments as “go kill yourself you’re so unsightly”). How has society come to this?

      In this crazy world we live in, a number of us find solace and sanity in pole dancing. Our community has a lot of positive energy going around, which makes our time doing pole and loving pole really worth it.


      • Totally agree! I have a friend like that and I’m trying to explain all of this to her. She’s very sexy, too, so I think she could benefit in many ways from trying not just polefitness but also my studio’s poledance sessions.

        I don’t get why people would put themselves up for being shot down like that. You know it’s going to happen – many of the mean commenters probably didn’t even look very closely or just decided immediately to be mean without actually having an opinion on their looks. They just wanted to be mean.
        Of course, not saying it was okay if the girl was ugly, only that this kind of critique is the most non-constructive you can think of.

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