A Fun Conversation

I stand up to bullies. Online, and in real life. Sometimes people respond to that by saying ‘Oh, you’re just perpetuating the drama!’ That’s fine, if they don’t like it they can go somewhere else.

The reason I stand up to bullies has very little to do with getting likes or blog hits.

I stand up to bullies for my daughters.

Because they are on the cusp of entering adolescence, and they are going to come face to face with bullies and body shamers, and they don’t have the cognitive awareness yet to see bullies for what they are: insecure, jealous, hateful people who need to tear down others to feel better about themselves, who need to rationalize their own dysfunctional thinking by criticizing those who have a healthy sense of self worth and a healthy way of approaching life.

I stand up to bullies, and TALK about standing up to bullies, so that when my daughters are bullied, I can say ‘Look, see what people say about me? And see how it isn’t true? And see how it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself, because I know they are really talking about themselves and not me? You can respond that way too!’




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I’ve written a couple blog posts about stuff like this:

Be You

Bullying, Body Shaming and the Unbearable Powerlessness of Douchebaggery


92 thoughts on “A Fun Conversation

  1. There is not much contradiction – you put a lot of effort in caring about your body(so “well cared for”) -is it not? , while don’t try to pay attention how your face look. Indeed “Delicate bone structure, large bright eyes,” is the correct description. You could look absolutely stunning, but choose not to, it is my main point. “Full cheeks” is an exaggeration. Please, look again at the picture #3 you referred as a demonstration of femininity. I feel upset looking at the women who spent a lot of time and effort taking care of themselves and choosing to look less beautiful than they could. Thank you for letting me to express my frustration.

    I didn’t mind at all to participate in that conversation, as you probably noticed, I had some build-up of steam to take of my chest. I regret, however that the explanation from where my point of view was coming may not sound kind.

    • I don’t find made-up faces beautiful. I find them garish and fake. I have a lovely, healthy face with healthy skin that I take care of and pay attention to. Why would I want to hide it behind a layer of paint?

      If another woman wants to present herself that way, it is her body, and if she enjoys it I think that’s great. It’s not a look I enjoy, so I don’t choose to adopt it. I do not go around making fun of women for wearing heavy makeup. I respect that they have different aesthetics and preferences, and don’t tell them ‘you would be so much more beautiful if you took off some of that makeup so we could actually see your pretty face’. Because chances are, SHE feels more beautiful the way she is and in the end, my opinion does not matter at all, as it is her body and her face.

      • I hardly use any make-up myself – I am a brunette with pink cheeks, adding more color would be indeed garish. There are some make-up applications that don’t make face brighter and more garish, but fresher. I guess you could experiment more with your body %, where it would go when increased. It is possible , it would make your face looking more fresh. Unfortunately, after 45 yo fat leaves face even more, and more easily gets situated in the middle-body. One of my friends even choose to inject some fat back into her cheeks when she turned 47, which sounds too extreme.

        People usually do what they like, not what others prefer. However it think that It if you pay attention not on separate features of your appearance, but on the whole picture, you could look more fresh, beautiful and stylish without looking vulgar or garish.
        I guess all

        • I can’t believe you are picking on my cheeks. This entire conversation is insane. You really think your opinion on my body matters, and that I would change something to please you, don’t you?

          I think your behavior is tacky and low class.

      • Women who wear make up look garish and fake?


        Why do YOU care so much, though, about how pretty/feminine some women choose to look? Is their appearance hurting you somehow?

        Why do you find it garish and fake? I’m truly curious?

        More seriously … I’m also curious why you feel that that’s a viewpoint that should be publicly displayed on a blog that tries to encourage positive body image and understanding.

        • Ah, now you see, the difference is that I didn’t single out any specific individual. I expressed my distaste for a certain look, not for a certain person. I rarely do that, but considered it fitting here. '?

          • So, someone can say:
            “I find people who eat ice cream disgusting and lazy.”

            But they can’t say:
            “I find Jane disgusting and lazy because she eats ice cream.”

            Am I understanding you?

            • People can say whatever they want. It’s odd that so many people interpret me disagreeing with them as ‘You aren’t allowed to say that’. You’re allowed to say anything you please. And I’m allowed to express my opinion on what you said, and on you for saying it.

    • The message I am getting from you, after all this, is that it is actually MAKE UP that you equate to femininity. My facial structure is feminine, by body is feminine, but the reason you consider me robbed of femininity is because I don’t wear makeup.

      Does that mean that at the end of the day when you take your makeup off, your femininity is gone?

      What a sad way to live.

      I base my self worth on who I am as a person, not the makeup I put on and take off my face. I express my femininity through my actions, through the way I care for the people I love, the way I support other women in my life. To base those things on makeup or clothes? I can’t even imagine the emptiness I would feel inside if makeup and clothes were my gauge of femininity, self worth, and beauty.

    • Cutting to the chase, it’s very simple: You criticised Go Kaleo’s appearance in a public forum and got found out/called out on it; I’m sure you didn’t consider that she would see it or you wouldn’t have been so tactless.

      Instead of endlessly rationalising your lapse in good manners, it would be easier and more mature to just say “I’m sorry; I was thoughtless.”

      We all make errors in judgement from time to time, but hopefully, we learn from them.

  2. The Russian lady who posted her point of view said nothing wrong or offensive. Since when is it “bullying” to post a thoughtful and articulate comment expressing your opinion, especially in response to something you read in a public blog? I would kindly suggest to all you shrills chomping at the bit to call her a “hater” to stop, put aside your own prejudices and insecurities for a minute, and re-read what she wrote without assuming she had any negative intentions.

    The way I understood her is that she finds value in feminity, more in the classical sense, plain and simple. When she looks at GoKaleo and women like her with fitness obsessions, she feels sad not because she is insecure or has psychological issues or wishes she were more like them (more on that below). Rather, she feels that by choosing to focus so strongly on physical fitness these women might be losing something else that she personally values strongly, that being her own sense of feminity.

    If you read her comment carefully, she never said that no woman should become a fitness nut because she disagrees with that choice. No, she just said that for her, personally, she would not do it, and went on to explain why, in what I thought was a reasonable and thoughtful comment.

    Feminity is a complex thing. As many have pointed out already, there is not a single definition that fits everyone. Feminity is not simply about physical fitness or one’s personal sense of beauty. It also involves how a woman connects socially with other women and men, how she takes care of herself, how she thinks, how she speaks and acts. Clearly the Russian lady has her own sense of feminity, and ALL SHE DID was express her view in that regard.

    Before you go off and lynch me as well, it goes without saying that everyone is free to make their own choices. If you want to go and take fitness very seriously, make it the center of your life, publish a blog about it — nobody can stop you. Nobody ever said “you can’t do that”. All this lady said was, “That is not for me, let me explain why.” Considering you are writing about your life choices on a public blog, she was pretty well within her rights to do that.

    What I have a problem with, what makes me sad, is that so many people piled onto the “she’s just insecure / she’s just a hater” bandwagon. Since when is anybody who expresses a differing opinion automatically insecure or a hater? Calling somebody insecure, accusing them of having “disordered thinking processes” (source: GoKaleo’s comment above), or making personal attacks of any kind on the basis that they disagree with you is not fair or constructive. It is absolutely not acceptable. It is bullying.

    And by saying these sorts of things, GoKaleo, you became a hypocrite. You barely finished explaining how anti-bullying you are, and then you turned around and bullied someone. Why? Because they dared to disagree with you. I hope your daughters will not learn from this example.

    • I bullied her? By expressing my view on comments she made about me? I am responding to her actions. Defending myself. This is not bullying. This whole ‘Go Kaleo is a bully for defending herself and other poeple’ thing is utter bullshit. And you KNOW it’s bullshit. You’re trying to frame me as the bad guy.

      “Clearly the Russian lady has her own sense of feminity, and ALL SHE DID was express her view in that regard.”

      (no, she told me I am inappropriate.)

      And yes, I hope my daughters learn to defend themselves when people tell them they are wrong for being who they are. I will be very proud of them if/when they do.

      • #1 – You say, “I am responding to her actions. Defending myself.”

        Defending against what? Nobody attacked you. I read through the Russian lady’s comments again to make sure; there are no attacks against you. You are picking a fight where there isn’t one. This woman expressed an opinion that you don’t share, but you responded as if it were an attack. Why?

        (Well, honestly, I think I partly know why. If I were jacked up on testosterone and rage from excessive exercise, I would probably interpret a lot of normal things as personal attacks, and respond accordingly. Been there, done that.)

        #2 – You say, “I bullied her?” Yes, you did, when you falsely set her up as the bully, and then attacked her as if she were one. Among other things, you said she has “disordered thinking processes” (direct quote), which is an unprovoked personal attack. She made no personal attacks on you. Yet you deliberately misinterpreted her language, and cherry picked particular phrases to quote out of context, in an attempt to make her look like a bully and generally a bad person.

        In addition, the woman pointed out that English was not her first language. Instead of taking this into account and trying to understand what this person was really trying to communicate, you shallowly latched onto specific words and turns of phrase that native English speakers would not use, and tried hard to read negative intentions behind them, just to make her out to be some kind of internet demon.

        You need to re-read the comments carefully, without the prejudice that this person may have bad intentions. She presented her opinion in a reasoned and thoughtful way. There are no personal attacks and certainly not any kind of bullying. She even said she accepts there are all kinds of people out there with different standards, and that she’s alright with that. Are those fighting words? Does that sound to you like something a bully would say? This seems like it could have been the opening to a healthful interaction with someone from a different background but with some interests in common with you. Sadly you chose to pick a fight and attack her character and intentions, instead.

        #3 – You say, “she told me I am inappropriate”. No, she didn’t. She didn’t even use the word. Didn’t even use a phrase that could be interpreted as such. She did use the word “appropriateness” in a different context, but you seem to be trying your damnedest to twist that into something it’s not.

          • Ok… And as simple as that, the discussion is over, right?

            I mean, after you call someone a troll, you don’t need to address their arguments? Right?


            • Oh sorry, I stopped reading after that because I was laughing too hard.

              It’s hard to twist someone’s words when you post a screenshot of their actual post. Yes, the poor innocent russian lady, I was so mean to post her actual words (that she posted on a public forum) and hide her identity and let people interpret her exact, actual words exactly as she wrote them.

              Where’s the freaking eyeroll smiley when you need it?

              • Hey, likte I said, I’ve been there. I’ve experienced the effects of excessive exercise. Your reaction to Russian Lady is over the top, and it reminded me of how I used to get when I was exercised out.

                Yes, you posted screenshots. Then you added a commentary about bullying, indirectly calling Russian Lady a bully and accusing her of “hate”, without showing us your basis for saying these things. One would gather that you didn’t like what she said, but you never said why.

                A simple request:

                Can you point to a specific thing she wrote that would qualify as “bullying” or “hate” in the generally accepted sense? Either in her original comments (which you posted as screenshots) or the response she wrote here.

                • In other words, ‘Russian Lady’ was just sharing her innocent opinion and Go Kaleo is a mean old bully who exercises too much, how dare Go Kaleo respond defensively to being referred to as freakish, strange looking, inappropriate and unattractive.

                  Your opinion on the matter of ‘Russian Lady’s’ opinion is duly noted Yayo.

      • Let me clarify the issue for you:

        My problem with the Russian Lady who posted is her giving the impression that everyone should care about being pretty, or thinking that all females need to look attractive.

        Go back and read her post again.

    • There’s a difference between expression a personal preference and passing judgement. Saying “I see women pursuing fitness goals that prioritize muscle and that’s not what I want” is different than saying “Those women who are focused on gaining muscle look bad and I think they are unfeminine”. It’s fine not to want a certain look or to pursue your own aesthetic or health goals but it’s not ok to disparage or question or cast aspersion on those of others (if they are not putting themselves in danger), especially if you don’t even know them personally.

      And if you DO criticize someone else’s path or appearance in public, like on the internet, don’t be surprised if other people push back and provide their own input. You dish it out, you be prepared to take it. Amber did not start a fight, but when someone brought on to her, she didn’t back down…that’s the difference between bullying and standing up to bullying. The inability to see the difference is not blindness or innocent “just asking questions (JAQing off), it’s willful.

      • The thing is, I don’t think Russian Lady was disparaging.

        Keep in mind, English is not her first language. The phrases, choice of words, spelling and grammar all indicate that. I have immigrant friends from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Czech, etc. who speak in a similar style. Sometimes their choice of words sound harsh on the surface. In my experience that has never been the intention. If they want to be harsh, you will know because words like “idiot” and “moron” and worse enter the conversation.

        All she is guilty of is sharing her opinion. It is quite explicity in her comments that it is SHE who sees the world is this way, and she even says that there are different standards for beauty and feminity. At no point did she say EVERYONE has to think and feel her way.

        Because of this I think it is absolutely ridiculous how all of these vultures are overjoyed to jump on her and call her a hater, a bully, accuse her of mental problems, and worse.

        • She was disparaging and you know it. Language and cutlure is no excuse.

          If sharing her opinion in the manner she did is fine (and it seems like that’s what you are saying), then me and my readers sharing our opinions are fine too. Either neither is bullying, or both are. If you want to say we’re bullying her, then we’re bullying a bully. Fuck yeah! Bout time someone did!

          Maybe I should link all these ‘vultures’ to the site I screen capped Russian Lady’s posts from. They can learn some lessons in vulturing from the masters.

          • Please… if you would just point out some specific things that Russian Lady wrote that you thought were:
            (a) personal attacks directed at you,
            (b) bullying, or
            (c) hateful.

            If she really did say such hateful things that were intended to bully you or others, then this should take no time at all. Please.

            • Why yes. “Freakish’, ‘strange appearance’, ‘completely robbed of femininity’, ‘less attractive’, ‘intense displeasure at seeing…’, ‘my sport-club acquaintances look like they gave-up on everything…’, ‘disfiguring clothes’.

              All of these are offensive and derogatory comments. Some of them are about me, some of them are about other women. I am just as offended by the comments made about other women as I am the comments made about me.

              I understand that you do not consider them offensive. It stands to reason that if you are fine with her opinions on the appearance of other women, then you surely must be fine with my (and my readers) opinions on the behavior of ‘Russian Lady’. My opinion is that she is childish, superficial, catty, and is exhibiting a thought process that is disordered. Being emotionally affected by the way someone else dresses in not mature or healthy.

              I’m sure you will also be fine with my opinion that your pot shots about my ‘exercise obsession’ (which are objectively ridiculous) belie a deep sense of guilt, and a desperate need to rationalize your own inactivity. Just my opinion! '?

              • Thank you.

                So, next, why do you insist on ignoring the context in which Russian Lady used these words, which you cherry picked from her text?

                Is it because she quite explicitly limits the scope of her statements and clearly identifies them as her own reaction or opinion, not fact, which would cause your case against her to collapse?

                You appear to be trying to get us to buy into a classic fallacy. Your conclusion (“Russian Lady is hateful and is a bully”) doesn’t follow from the evidence. In fact you haven’t provided any evidence. Cherry picking words and phrases out of context doesn’t count as evidence; that’s a straw man.

                I know what bullies are. To accuse someone of being a bully is quite serious. From someone with your online profile I expected solid evidence backing up that kind of accusation.

                  • We have a policy at work that no one says anything in an email, that they aren’t comfortable to saying to someone’s face. I wish the internet was this way. I find it very unlikely that anyone, no matter their culture, would walk up to Amber and say to her, “I think you are unattractive.” “You are not pretty.” “You are freakish.” “You are unfeminine.” This would be unkind. Flat out mean. It is very different than someone saying, “I don’t find muscular women attractive.” That is abstract. Not personal. Not mean. People may disagree, but it isn’t personal and mean. And adding the words, “it’s just my opinion,” doesn’t make it any less unkind. That’s a lot like, “no offense, but…” My son is twelve and in middle school and we have conversations about this. I tell him that you can’t take away the meaness by adding or starting with, “no offense” or “I don’t mean to be mean, but.” It’s still mean. In other words, bully behavior. I don’t know about anyone else, but I personally have no interest in reliving 7th grade. Once was enough thank you. Yet many people feel the internet is somehow a great place to relive their mean girls years. And that is sad. Amber, bravo to you for sticking up for yourself. You once brought up the snarky comments flying around the internet about Ashley Judd. And she defended herself rather than ignoring them. And you know what, it worked. I rarely hear those comments anymore. Good for her. Good for you.

        • Let me guess…you also don’t believe that someone can be racist or sexist unless they specifically use the n-word or say the words “I hate women”. The disdain for GoKaleo’s appearance drips from the text, and ESL is a red herring; Russian Lady clearly writes well enough to get her point across and better than many internet commenters who are native speakers. You seem to be engaging in a lot of mental gymnastics to try to find a way in which the actual screencapped words have some hidden innocent meaning that only you can see. Perhaps you recognize your own behaviour and judgement of people’s appearance in Russian Lady’s words and are trying to rationalize that “it’s just an opinion.” I have a few opinions about you, but I know well enough to keep them to myself and not post them on the internet.

          • You bring up some interesting but unrelated points. But the key issue that you (and everyone) are avoiding is that GoKaleo jumped on Russian Lady, accusing her of being a bully and saying hateful things.

            Read Russian Lady’s comments carefully. They are not judgments, in the form of, “These women are ugly and that is wrong.” They are opinion statements in the form of, “This is how I react when I see people who do this.” She even goes on to recognize that these are not logical reactions on her part, and then talks a bit about how the human psychology related to interacting with individuals that are very different than oneself.

            So, please, help me understand how she is a bully and/or a hateful person.

            • Completely related. You seem unable to grasp the concept of text and subtext. She criticized Go Kaleo’s appearance, which she is free to do. Go Kaleo spoke back to that criticism as she is also free to do. Somehow you assert that speaking back is the greater offense. Interesting. I wonder how well that works for you when you are the target. '?

    • I think her comments go way beyond personal opinion or difference of preference. She used the word ‘freakish’ on a very personal level. She wasn’t speaking abstractly. She spoke specifically of Amber’s appearance in a way that was unkind. I don’t think anyone has to put up with unkind comments of such a personal nature. How is that different than calling someone a fatty? We all agree that is unkind. I hope anyway. And so were the words of the Russian woman. And Amber should speak up for herself and for all women who might find themselves in this situation. When it’s personal and derogatory, it just isn’t acceptable. And defending oneself against this sort of thing isn’t bullying. That thinking kind of scares me. It’s like shaming someone into silence.

  3. I don’t know what ever happened to manners. I really don’t. I would have very serious words with my child if he talked about someone’s appearance this way.

    • As would I. In fact, my kids HAVE made comments like this about people’s appearance (and they got a serious talking-to from me about it). It is a very juvenile way of thinking and viewing the world.

  4. I just can’t help questioning whether Amber’s critic is an actual adult, because that is some juvenile thinking right there. Whoa Nellie.

    • I wish I could say that I thought only juveniles exhibited juvenile thinking, but my experiences with news comments linked up to Facebook accounts have taught me otherwise.

  5. Could it be generational? That’s something that the baby boomer (and a little younger) generation seems to say at times — these odd needs to compare and disapprove. I’m not making an excuse, merely trying to figure out why it would matter to someone else so much, that they have to make a public comment about it. I personally like self-expression in all its forms. I have my own preferences, like anyone else. But prefer to enjoy people as they come, rather than attempt to classify them into a category.

  6. I agree with Ally, her age explains her body/gender representation policing and her lack of self-awareness about how dumb she sounds. I think most women on the internet are more progressive (or I at least hope so). But her insults say more damaging things about her than you. Those who don’t tolerate variations from the norms like her are usually strongly conformist, going about their lives trying to be like everyone else and stay “normal.” Kind of sad and boring. Whereas those of us leading “spicy” lives get to appreciate way more beauty, revel in the differences that exist, and fan kickass blogs like yours '?

  7. I can be on Facebook multiple times a day and I’m never bothered by grammar and spelling. It’s a social thing and people get fast and loose with language at parties so it makes sense. But when you’re going to go after someone and say they look like a freak, well, then I start to get a little judgmental because if you’re going to attack someone, you need to come correct, know what I mean? One of my favorite things about you is that you are absolutely you. I understand that since you talk about being active and loving yourself you are going to be a huge target for people who want to objectify you for many reasons. This woman’s perspective is the one I find sad and common. She is not happy with herself right now and has an ideal of how she would like to look. She cannot imagine how anyone who doesn’t fit her ideal can achieve her goal, which is to love herself and be good enough in her own eyes. That is the gut feeling = the cognitive disconnect between you being your ideal and not her ideal.

    • I often wonder if people who post stuff like this publicly realize how insecure it makes them look? To those who have moved beyond this kind of thinking, at least. I say often, if you spew hate you attract hateful people. So you end up surrounded by hateful people, who affirm your hatefulness. And then your whole life is hate.

      • I choose to believe they are unaware because I need to sleep at night and I don’t want to be up all night thinking about people knowingly being so onerous.

  8. Freak? Really? I think whomever mentioned the generational piece above, is correct. Things are changing and this school of thinking will soon be extinct.

    • I don’t know if it’s all generational…I know plenty of older people who are very accepting of others’ individuality. True, lots of my older relatives frown on my deviation from social norms, but not all of them, I have one aunt in particular who cheers me on enthusiastically. But then, she’s a bit of an oddball herself. '?

      I think it’s more of a way of thinking. Rigidity in conforming to rules of social interaction, perhaps it is a lack of imagination or creativity? Feminine = long hair and pink clothes, period. Feminine = the way a person looks, and nothing else.

      • Actually, it isn’t generational. I’m 57, have super-short hair (have for decades), some tats, and a husband who really loves me. There have always been men who have found me attractive even though I don’t look ‘girly’. The interesting thing is that lots of people think I am European because of my ‘do, my clothing, and the style of glasses I wear. I also get a lot of affirmation about my hair cut and my overall style from African Americans. It appears that in AfAm culture, a wide variety of women are considered attractive, and the hair can be super-short or long.

        I think Amber is lovely, and ITA with her observation that it is more a way of thinking–conformity to a societal norm. That isn’t always tied to an age cohort.

  9. Wow my take on this she is actually speaking a truth for herself is that you are doing something threatening and ‘ugly’ because you are not filling the traditional idea of female attractiveness with is a ‘girly’ femininity. You are being an individual which for her is threatening and jarring. It’s okay to get fit but not if your “femininity” goes out the window. It’s like you have forgotten your prime objective – to be appealing to men. Foolish, scary, bad woman! The thing is that she doesn’t understand that there are very many men who love this image of women that is less traditionally ‘feminine’. The thing is, femininity should be defined what what women like and do and not some fake outmoded cultural ideal

  10. wow, it was sure nice of her grand-daughter to log her into the Internets so she could make a posting on a website on the world wide web.

    jeez. I can accept this from my 92 year old grandfather but she is not that old and has many decades left on this planet. yes, there is some leeway for generational prejudices but this woman is NOT that old.

  11. How very…odd. Perhaps that person would benefit from reading “The Beauty Myth” or some kind of feminist 101 reading on gender performance, for the love of glod.

  12. You look fine to me. I am 55. I am not sure where this woman is coming from. Also don’t know why it is her business. I don’t like the way everyone looks or the choices that they make for themselves when it comes to their hair or clothing, but I have the good breeding to keep that to myself unless I have been asked for an opinion. I really think there are a couple of underlying issues with the writer. Personality disorder might be one of them. Low level of education, i.e., poor writing skills and language usage. Parental neglect starting at a young age, etc. She may also have been isolated in a regional culture that is espouses these views. I think you answered wisely without striking back out of emotion.

  13. I have always found it interesting that people feel they have the right to tell you what they think of your appearance, often under the guise of trying to be helpful. As a girl who has also rocked the super short haircut in the past, I had many men tell me they prefer women with long hair and every single week I had women tell me they only wish they could have short hair. I found this odd since it begged the question.. who’s stopping you Of course you can! But they must bow to the societal pressures of what a feminine woman looks like, even though they secretly wished they had my easy to maintain hair. Men would even attack me in fits of road rage and scream dyke at me, which seemed lame. That’s the best you could come up with? To attack me for my haircut?
    It’s good to challenge someone’s views to get them to ask why they feel like that in the first place…. they might even realize these are values passed on from elsewhere.

    • When people (men specifically) tell me that my appearance doesn’t meet their approval, my usual response is ‘Good, then I don’t have to deal with you hitting on me.’

  14. It always bothers me when people talk about the femininity of other women. Feeling like a woman has nothing to do with how other people perceive you, and it has everything to do with how you perceive yourself.

    I had long hair for quite a long time, and I very recently cut it really short. I had short hair when I was younger, and I often got mistaken for a boy (because I also wore boyish clothing, too). It didn’t bother me. Now that my hair is short again, I actually feel MORE feminine than I did when my hair was long. I feel very attractive and sporty. I feel strong and sexy. I feel more feminine with, what most would consider, a less feminine hair style. Why? Because it’s just the way I feel!

    It’s so frustrating to me when people talk about women abandoning their femininity in pursuit of fitness, especially. A woman can be strong and able to care for herself, able to accomplish physical tasks. She can have visible muscle definition, a short haircut, and wear little makeup and still feel like a 110% feminine woman! It’s up to her, not to anyone else how she feels about herself. Femininity means different things to different people, and that’s the beauty of it.

  15. Hello, GoKaleo,
    As your opponent in that entertaining conversation, I would like to thank you first for the preserving my on-line identity, it was really nice.
    It is true, it is amusing to read guesses about own personality made in a web-universe.
    I guess, you understand without my reassurance that I had no intention to bully you because my comment was on a blog which I (wrongly) assumed you was hardly reading.
    In case anyone is curious – no, I had no emotional trauma, my mom was always supportive, I was never abandoned/abused by a husband or even a boyfriend. My degree is a Master in Industrial Engineering, I also a part-time artist on commission, in my eyes stylish haircuts more often look better than a long hair hairstyles, I don’t like pink. Actually , an expensive haircut is my main self-indulgence. My grammar is not perfect most probably because English is my second language which I started to learn only at 32 years old, when my husband decided to move from Russia to Canada.
    I am a life-long exercise enthusiast. Probably, my comment was mostly fueled by my year after year observation how often women in my sport club change their appearances for the worse while improving their muscles. I have been a member of the same exercise facility since my family moved in that city I live in now at 1999. I love female beauty as a person with an artistic eye. There is definitely more than one type of a beauty, for example, many african-american females look very stylish with extremely short hair , but many of my sport-club acquaintances look like they gave-up on everything except % of their body fat and building muscles. Believe me or not, but after 50 I started to appreciate subcutaneous fat more, especially on one’s face.
    I don’t think everybody should try to fit a Hollywood Standard (I don’t), it is more about appropriateness and aesthetic. We keep sending messages with our body language, and our style of visual presentation is a big part of it. The worst of it – we don’t process body language with our logic.
    It is polite to behave like you ignore other people appearances, and of course it is what I do in a real life, but inside me I can’t help to be not sad when I see a heavily tattooed person or somebody in disfiguring clothes.

    • I’ll just respond to comments as you made them.

      1.” my comment was mostly fueled by my year after year observation how often women in my sport club change their appearances for the worse while improving their muscles”

      It is your opinion that their appearance changed for the worse. It is not fact. Some people undoubtedly think they changed their appearance for the better, most importantly the women in question themselves. It would probably do you well to learn the difference between opinion and fact.

      2. “I don't think everybody should try to fit a Hollywood Standard (I don't), it is more about appropriateness and aesthetic.”

      Who gets to decide what is appropriate?

      3. “inside me I can't help to be not sad when I see a heavily tattooed person or somebody in disfiguring clothes.”

      two things here:
      -you absolutely should not be affected on an emotional level by the way someone chooses to present themselves. This is not healthy, at all, in indicates some very disordered thinking processes.
      -‘disfiguring clothes’? I’m not even sure what to say. This comment is extremely offensive. What if a woman doesn’t want to display her figure, and chooses clothes that in your opinion ‘disfigure’ her? This makes you sad? Is it her responsibility to dress to please you?

      I am not a particularly ‘feminine’ person, I’m opinionated and outspoken and have a tremendous sense of justice and fairness. My ‘lack of femininity’ is not an endocrine disorder (as I’m sure Wooo would like to speculate) as I am healthy and fertile, and have the exact same waist-hip ratio as Wooo: .7 (although mine is natural and not a product of plastic surgery), which is by all objective measures ideal. I ‘lack femininity’ because that is the personality I was born with. And there’s nothing wrong with it. I dress and carry myself in the only way I know how, the way that expresses my personality. I’m not ‘trying’ to portray an image, I am being myself.

      When you say that my appearance isn’t appropriate, you are saying that my personality is not appropriate. Do you really believe that this is ok?

      And finally:

      “I had no intention to bully you because my comment was on a blog which I (wrongly) assumed you was hardly reading.”

      What WAS your intention then? Gossip? Were you trying to gain favor with wooo? Trashing people behind their backs is bullying.

      • “I am not a particularly 'feminine' person, I'm opinionated and outspoken and have a tremendous sense of justice and fairness.”

        In my family of 7 sisters and one brother, those qualities are considered the essence of femininity. '?

        • Elizabeth – by Go Kaleo’s quotes around “feminine” I think she meant that she was often not regarded as feminine by many people or by common cultural standards; but she indeed considers herself feminine in her own right – and chooses to define femininity as an individual thing for herself. Go Kaleo, if I’m putting words in your mouth and I’m off point, please correct me.

          And I do agree with you on your statement, very much so. '?

      • Oops,
        By not checking what was going on I missed a lot of the fan discussion! Sorry for the delay in my answer!

        So the question is who are to decide what the beauty is? Actually, I think like I am asked why I feel that a beauty is desirable and an aesthetic is important in my eyes. I don’t know exactly why we humans crave a beauty. Why a house with a view is more expensive than the one without? We can try to convince ourselves that it is more safe and economical not to have tries and bushes around our houses, and keep telling our children that identical boxed-shaped jammed together concrete houses are more practical and it could prevent people to be judged based on the type of their housing (“trailer trash” is a very offensive expression, as I learned from reading what others write), but on a gut level people like a view and they love beauty. May be it is not a perfect example. Indeed, why do people value an appropriateness of houses in their neighborhoods, and pay attention on visual atributes?

        Come on, people gossip and pay attention on the appearance of others because it is human nature. You said ” you should not be affected on an emotional level by the way someone chooses to present themselves. This is not healthy, at all, in indicates some very disordered thinking processes.” Well, it is delusional to think that the people who surround a person are not affected at all by the way that person’s chooses to present herself/himself. People are wired to get more information from the messages sent through a body language than by verbal communications , if you don’t believe me (and why you should?), ask anyone who trains people in sales, and I bet that politicians go through some diligent training in sending the right type of non-verbal signals. Here is why dress-codes exists. Understanding of a body language does not depends on thinking, it is originated in so called “guts”. Gut could be unreasonable, and what it tells us is a not logical, but a product of our sub-conscience. Sometimes “gut” tells us something important.

        No, I didn’t express my critic about the unnatural in my view preference of muscles definition over the feminine look in order to please Wooo, I was thinking about it (indifference to aesthetics) for a while, and just let my thoughts out. I like and support Wooo, but she is more than 20 years younger than me, fit by age to be my doter.
        I don’t think you are unhealthy, Kaleo, and it is obviously your choice how much you value a muscle definition. Why I can’e express my opinion somewhere (I could be opinionated too) when I think that in my eyes your value muscle definition too much? And to report that sub-concisely it put me off? I guess, if I came first with my opinion on your blog and tried to influence you and bully you into different behavior, it could be characterized like a bulling.

        • Please, continue to express your opinion! I never said you weren’t entitled to do just that. Just as I am entitled to have, and express my opinion about your opinion. '?

          Thanks for sharing your perspective, it’s very illuminating as to how you (and people like you) engage with and perceive the world and the people around you.

          • BTW, I am not a Wooo’s representative, as well she doesn’t necessary share every one of my opinions about different subjects. I have no medical background, and she doesn’t go to a gym.

            • And yet you both (along with several other of wooo’s disciples) discuss my ‘masculine’ appearance, and the endocrine disorders that may cause it, near daily. But an objective look at my pictures reveals an extremely curvy and aesthetically feminine shape. Conclusion: you guys are jealous or blind.

              • Unlike Wooo, I don’t understand well hormonal issues, and I don’t remember commentinging that you have a disorder. I was telling about my subconscious reaction on your image without any attempt to speculate about a medical reason. Among the pictures you presented here https://gokaleo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Screen-Shot-2013-09-11-at-8.53.26-AM.png
                the right one (the only one where it was possible to see the whole image) out of three illustrates quite well the point of our disagreement . You see it as an extremely curvy and feminine, from mine point of view it looks like the picture of a women who doesn’t pay attention on her whole image, especially on her face. Looking like a tired teenager is not the best for you good face features. I was glad,however, to see you in a clothes that compliment well your body. The photographer also made quite a good job. Probably , he also decided that not including your head in the pictures would make images more feminine. It is what I observed among females in my sport club who achieved very low % of the body fat – face looks emaciated and tired,. No, I am not jealous, as am getting older, I appreciate more things I used to take for granted – the roundness of cheeks, the glow of a skin, low legs and arms looking not like they are made out of wires. Time is flying, there is a chance that in ten years you would understand me more.

                • This is so bizarre to me. I cannot imagine criticizing how someone looks. We all have opinions about physical appearance. And we all have different tastes. But it is inconceivable to me to be so unkind as to offer critical, unbidden commentary of such a personal nature. If my young son did this to someone he would hear it from me.

                  • Ok, Linda, it is indeed a high time to stop that unkind conversation. I was asked why I had my opinion. Probably, it was a mistake to answer.

                    • No, lets continue the conversation, I think it is remarkably enlightening.

                      The mistake was saying such nasty things about me in the first place.

                • I see. So it’s actually my emaciated and tired face that you have a problem with, and not my body? That’s so interesting because just a few days ago you said “I had a lot of opportunities to observe young women losing their face attractiveness along with losing fat, however GK’s face looks normal’. This is what’s known as ‘backpeddling’. Would you like to take a few moments to collect yourself and try to come up with a way to rationalize these two clearly contradictory statements?

                  There is nothing wrong with my face. In fact, objectively, it’s quite feminine. Delicate bone structure, large bright eyes, full cheeks and lips that haven’t thinned with age, clear healthy skin that shows minimal signs of aging. Subjectively, I’m actually quite attractive. ‘Emaciated and tired’, ‘looking like a tired teenager’, these are derogatory and objectively false. A closeup of my face, unphotoshopped, completely bare of makeup, is right there in the sidebar. Everyone can see how off base your comments are.

                  I’m amused that you think wooo understands hormones. Have ever seen her back up her rantings with scientific evidence? Neither have I. She relies on big scientificy words and ad hominem attacks to support her crackpot theories, but far better minds have calmly and easily obliterated her claims. Take her rhetoric on leptin. I’ve seen her claim more than once that exercise reduces leptin levels, but in fact exercise at WORST has a negligible effect on leptin function, and probably is modestly beneficial as it improves leptin sensetivity. Do you know what DOES have a profoundly negative impact on leptin levels? Carbohydrate restriction. The body of scientific evidence that supports this is massive and incontrovertible.

                  If you’re basing your healthcare decisions on wooo’s crazy rantings, you’re gonna have a bad time. Good luck with that. Her entire blog is a desperate attempt at validating and rationalizing her painfully obvious eating disorder.

                  PS: you know what I consider unfeminine (not to mention unhealthy and immature?)? Ripping apart other womens’ appearances behind their backs.

                  • I put my answer here, because there is not much horizontal room upstairs. As I commented earlier, my initial comment was my reaction on your previous blog picture. Sorry, if it sounded unkind – it looked there like a tough and tired teenager boy. When you started to discuss my opinion with me , you comments were with different avatar which is your blog picture as I see it now – the one which looks like a well-proportional normal female face .
                    In one of your comments here you placed 3 pictures where you thought you looked very feminine, while I disagreed – I saw the same strange in my eyes combination of well cared for body and the too tired boyish face. It is exactly what makes me silently fume when I look at some fellow sport-club goers. It surprised me more so , because the pictures looked like there were arrange to be made, you were nicely dressed, the photographer did a good job choosing angle of view, but judging by how your face looked, it was not important for you even during the photo-session.
                    The discuss here the different approaches to aesthetic, I hope. I would not ever criticize anything a person has no control about, like leg shape, or results of some illness.
                    I read couple times your opinion on the subject of healthy eating, and what you said doesn’t correlate well with my experience, especially after I turned 45, while LCarbing works for me health-wise and it keeps me from the regaining the lost weight. I also like how it feels to exercise when keto-adopted. There are a lot of opposite diet recommendations on a web nowadays,I tried different approaches during my life-time, and it is reasonable to stick with something what I know works. Even my family doctor ,impressed with the results, put LC in my chart as a preferable diet in case if I ever need a hospitalization. I have been always physically active, especially after 35 when it became my way to control an asthma, but after 45 yo (well before I started to participate in theWooo blog) I discovered that only LCarbing served my purposes.

                    • I’m confused. Do I have a normal well proportioned female face or an emaciated tired looking teenage boy’s face?

                      And, is my body well cared for, or is it robbed of all femininity?

    • If you are really sad when you see someone who has lots of tattoos or is wearing clothing you find unflattering, you may want to consider seeking therapy for that. I mean it. You can have opinions about the way other people look but to actually have emotional reactions to it, where you are sad about it or you feel the need to trash their appearances on the internet – it’s not healthy.

    • Here is a newsflash: you’re a bully.

      Your concern with people’s appearances is strictly that: YOUR concern. It’s clearly an issue of importance to you.

      The fact that you use YOUR issue to diminish the message Amber is sending to others who are IN PAIN over their own lack of self-worth speaks volumes about you as a human being.

  16. Good for you, Amber. Bullying is a such a widespread problem, and it’s not always like it is on TV, wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end of the hour. This is a real life, day to day issue that you are living and committed to, and that’s so inspiring.

    I also find that it’s important to stand up to bullies, both in person and online. I get crap for it from people who think I’m not being “nice”, but honestly, I care less and less about that as time goes on. Some things need to be addressed, and if I am not willing to speak up, then what good am I doing noticing the problem?

  17. Pingback: They aren’t your choices to police « The Lotus

  18. I’m not surprised to hear the original commenter is from Russia. The upbringing over there is quite different from what we call Western Countries. In the area of the former Soviet Union, they actually still penalize homosexuality, and women rather spend their money on their looks than for example decent furniture, because sitting on the floor isn’t that bad comparing to not getting married. There is only one acceptable format of being a woman and being a man – Everything else is officially bizarre or freakish, even though this is the 21st century, not Middle Age.

    Let us just be happy we don’t have to grow up (or you raise your kids) in such environment!

    • Ok, I can sort of see this, although I know several Russian women who don’t seem to fit this description. In fact one of them is a client of mine who’s goal is to be more muscular than me!

      We’re in America now, though. This kind of thing doesn’t really fly, or at least it shouldn’t fly.

  19. Girls, internet is the place where people place their opinions. I hope you all had fan in expressing yours outrages. Wishing that no one would dare to talk behind your back is a fantasy.

    • I’m under no illusion that people won’t talk behind my back. But when they do, they should be prepared for me to screen cap it and post it on my blog with commentary. '?

      • ok, I tracked it down and looked at the links in the posts about you as well. it appears that you have been made the poster child for the carb-eating/ vegetarian online crowd and the real issue is that your perceived ideology feels threatening to ideology of the paleo/LC crowd. because the way your body looks is why you were made this poster child in the first place, the way your body looks is therefore considered fair game for discrediting your perceived ideology. is this the gist of it? (sorry, new to this site and trying to catch up '?

  20. You are amazing just as you are. The nature of online interaction promotes negativity and judgment among many. Keep doing what you’re doing; I love that you don’t care if you’re conforming to stereotypical gender standards, and that you stand up for yourself when someone imposes these socially constructed norms onto you. Love your blog!

  21. Hi Amber,

    I had something sorta similar occur just today while I was at an airport bar. I’m a mid-20’s Caucasian hetero guy and I dress pretty non-descript. Clothes, beyond being form fitting, I couldn’t care less about. Same with hair but for the last month I’ve been rocking a undercut, first time I’ve ever actually had a hairstyle that wasn’t just shaving/buzzing it all off or just letting it grow until I got sick of it. I originally just did for a character in a short film but have kept it since I’m digging it.

    Anyway this obese, drunk, middle-aged southern guy who I was having a pleasant enough convo with at the bar out of nowhere I asked my about my hair. Why I had cut it that way!? Did I not realize that it was odd? He drunkenly explained it was unusual and implied it was something a punk kid would have. He then was essentially asking my to justify my haircut. An undercut. In California. Anyway I calmly asked him why it bothered him, what exactly made him feel the need to react so negatively to it.

    His response: “It’s different, I don’t know. It’s not normal” And then he went on about he wouldn’t hire me if I applied at his company. He gave me a few drunk BS apologies yet continued to press the point in which I didn’t take the bait. At that point the bartender and and manager joined, trying to explain to him that’s not odd and just a hair style. I kept my cool, he left, clearly embarrassed and I got some apologies from the staff.

    Now this doesn’t compare to the innumerable incidents of prejudice and harassment in which gay, trans and anyone really who deviates outside the “norm” with their appearance and behavior are subjected to on a daily basis.

    Would it comes down to do is that my hair (so trivial I’m still stunned that happened) or in you case, your physique/face is perceived as a THREAT to sociocultural standards (or more specifically, the way in which women are expected to dress, look and act). It literally feels like disrespect to that individual or society at large. Different is bad. Different is considered unsafe. It causes discomfort, anxiety and at the core a violation.

  22. How do you decide what’s worth standing up for?

    I read a Tim Ferriss article where he was saying that most people doing worthwhile things will attract their fair share of both fans and haters. At first he found himself ignoring his fans because he was so worked up and emotionally invested in defending himself against the haters and getting into big debates with them. Later he realized that he could simply not respond to the haters, the haters would then move on and troll somewhere else, and he could spend his time having conversations with the people he’d positively reached instead.

    I read another blog post by Bret Contreras about women and weightlifting and he got a TON of negative comments, despite his blog post probably genuinely being well-intentioned. He responded to the few positive comments and ignored the negative ones, which just further infuriated the people trying to get their point across: “dude you’re accidentally being a feminist and we find it very offensive.”

    So I try to ignore the trolls/bullies but address the genuine criticism.
    Do you think there’s value in standing up to them? Or does that just give them a few more hours of entertainment and eat up your time?

    Then there’s also the possibility that they don’t really deserve harsh judgement shot back at them. It’s very hard to tell where people are coming from and what shapes their views, especially online.

    I went to a barbecue once where I only knew a couple people and, as I was being introduced around the room, a big burly 30ish year old man shouted: “Your hair is hideous. I don’t know someone would ever do that. You look like a woman. Hah!” (I have long hair.)

    The room went silent and the 20 people there all stared at me waiting for a response.

    I wanted to lash out and put him in his place. I wanted to SO badly. I’m not an androgynous guy and my masculinity actually really means a lot to me. I certainly don’t think being feminine as a guy is bad, but it’s not what I personally aspire to be. The statement hurt me, it was obviously meant maliciously, and my blood was boiling.

    After seeing red for a second I decided that this wasn’t the time for it ' this was an engagement party. I decided to take the approach I take online ' I finished introducing myself to the guy whose hand I was holding and awkwardly tried my best to smile confidently.

    Later on that night the father of the guy (in his 60’s) came up to me and sincerely thanked me. It turns out his son had something similar to Aspergers and struggled a lot socially.

    He told me that most people treated his son cruelly and bullied him, especially when he made insensitive comments like that. (It’s easy to be a bully when you’re coming from a place of self-righteousness, right?)

    Is there ever a time for turning the other cheek?
    How concerned do we need to be about becoming bullies ourselves?

    • I don’t respond to 95% of the hate I get online.

      I do respond sometimes, and it’s not really to defend myself, as much as the haters want to twist it into ‘Go Kaleo is all upset now’. I respond, and talk about it, so other people can see it for what it is. There are lots of people reading silently. Young people, who don’t have the cognitive skills yet to see this stuff for what it is. People like my daughters. I talk about it to highlight the mind games, the dysfunctional thinking, the manipulative tactics these people use. So when others run into it in day to day life, they can see it for what it is, and not take it personally like i did for a long time, and like I see others do.

      Some people think I shouldn’t talk about it. Oh well. If they don’t want to read me talking about it they can read someone else’s blog. '?

  23. Pingback: Reference Page: Go Kaleo | Gregory Taper

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