Writer Sarai Walker claims London fat-shamed her

Writer Sarai Walker

Evening Standard:  Writer Sarai Walker, who pens novels about women and weight, has described facing a barrage of nasty comments from Londoners about her appearance while living in the capital.  Her new book Dietland  is about a 21 stone woman named Plum, who lives a lonely life in Brooklyn and is constantly dieting.

She said that while living in London for seven years, on and off, strangers would often say horrible things to her face about her weight.

The California-born writer blamed London’s apparent fat-shaming culture on women’s bodies being constantly on display in phonebooths and tabloid newspapers across the capital and described the city as like “a red-light district”.

Comparing London to her native US, she said: “We have fashion magazines with scantily clad women but you don’t see those kind of porny images in public as much.  I felt part of the reason I got harassed in London was because there were messages everywhere that women’s bodies are public property.”


Number 1, I’m calling bullshit on this drama queen’s claim that people said horrible things to her face about being very, very fat.  And number 2, I’m not going to sit idly by and let the apathetic people of London be slandered like this.

I’ve got to question whether Sarai even left the hotel, given that her photo from the Guardian interview was taken in her room, and she seems to have some Dominos pizza sauce still on her cheek.  Because she sure is bullshitting us.

Anyone who’s lived in London knows that the absolute best thing about London is that no-one gives a shit about you whatsoever.  You fall over and land on your teeth on a busy street, no-one laughs at you – they’re too busy keeping on walking.  If you’re on a bike and side-swiped by a bus driver, the driver will give a cursory glance as to what that bang might have been, while the passengers keep on with their phones to keep the bus to its timetable.  You fall under a train to your death, the passengers in the delayed train behind you will groan that you’ve made them late.  Our current Mayor is a floppy-haired buffoon, and our future Mayor will either be a bus-driver’s son or a guy who never rode in a bus ever.   Women give hummers in Hyde Park in broad daylight, and no-one cares.   You can take a shit on the footpath and as long as you don’t get in anyone’s way, no-one will bat an eyelid.  Billionaires walk around and no-one notices them.  A Londoner’s default volume is ‘mute’.

In London, we just don’t give a shit about you – fat, skinny, drug-addled, pisshead, black, white, grey, gay, trans, non-binary, rich, poor, dumb, smart, ugly, hot.  There’s tubes to cram into and traffic to get stuck in, and the last train to catch to Radlett.  We don’t have time to give a shit about you.

Yeah, you’re fat.  21 stone is certainly fat, and you do look like a large plum.  But quit the bullshit about how people tee off on you because you’re fat.

Now, what they might have done, is use it as an adjective after you’d done something annoying, like just toss your pizza box out into the hotel hallway, or refuse to pay for your meal because their wasn’t enough of it, or because Waitrose didn’t have your preferred Family Size chocolate bar flavour for hotel delivery.  Or you stood on the left of the escalator at Holborn (is 21 stone wide enough to take up the whole escalator?).   That, I get.  But I’m telling you, there’s no way anyone in London gave enough of a shit about you to come up to your face and tell you you were fat.  You must have pissed them off some other way.


Author: Max Smith

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