Shut Up Gary
I am often asked, "Who is Gary?" and why did YLLAM start hastagging our posts #shutupgary?
A "Gary" (or the version for women is now GaryAnna) is synonymous with any fitness-related bro douche-baggery. Gary is a guy who leaves unsolicited feedback on your posts. Gary believes women exist to be sexual servants to men. Gary probably benched 450lbs in high school, before he tore his shoulder, and was on the football team. He thinks bench arching is bad, women should stick to cardio and toning, and muscles are "gross" on women.
In 2019 I posted a story about YLLAM and why the page existed on my personal Facebook page. A man named Gary, who incredibly was on my friends list, shared my article, along with the caption,
"Severe drug abuse! A woman or even a man doesn't look like this from just lifting weights. What a joke. It takes a mega rich woman with connections to get this stuff. It needs a gender check and I'm not volunteering!"
When confronted, he stuck to his story, called me more names, referred to me using dehumanizing language (calling me "it" which I find particularly heinous). Because I was "friends" with Gary on Facebook, I was able to learn a bit more about him while he continued to attack me (the irony, the article is literally about NOT attacking women on the internet...).
This is Gary and his unicycle. And this is Gary's YouTube page.
Gary appears to have spent some time competing in the sport of Strongman, but was not particularly successful. Which is one of a few reasons lashing out at a woman who received attention for the sport was a natural first choice for him. He ended up not only blocking me on Facebook, but deactivating his account entirely to start a new one.
After I uploaded these stories to the Instagram account, Olympic weightlifter Sarah Robles (@roblympian) was the first to use the hashtag #shutupgary. Sarah has been the consistent target of hateful comments for years as well.
And so, Shut Up Gary was officially born. We made a lot of jokes about his ridiculous comments, photoshopping out the word "Strongman" and replacing it with "Steroids"...
And I mean a lot of jokes....
Gary wasn't the only one to leave nasty comments for me.
Here's Carl's valuable input:
I messaged Carl and asked him which features exactly he was referring to, he responded that because of my "short hair" (my hair is actually long but in a bun to keep it out of my face) and my "jawline" it was clear I was becoming a dude.
Carl ended up apologizing to me and saying that he "didn't think I would ever see it" so he didn't think twice about attacking my body on his Facebook page.
There were just over a thousand comments left on my article that asked people to simply be kinder ("if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.") Here's a sampling:
- You are a man what the hell
- Get over it, you are obviously not going for the princess look, people are going to have comments about that
- Eyeliner and lipstick would probably help
- Women will have to stfu and deal with the comments
- I'd still hit it
- And I am sure you don't show off that testosterone filled, supplemented body?
I ended my article asking the world for more kindness, and while I can't say that's happened :-) I can say an entire army of amazing people have stepped up to defend women made victims of this hate, and more are willing to speak out against this unwarranted, ridiculous nastiness online.
This is You Look Like A Man, and we're not going away.
Oh, and Shut Up Gary.