This is Thin Privilege

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FatPhobia Can Wreck Lives

I’ve seen, firsthand, how this shit can really, really mess a person up.

FatPhobia and thin privilege have sort of been background radiation in every relationship I’ve ever been with, but it was never so prominent as it was with one particular one. She was significantly fat, and had been most of her life. She had gotten endless shit about it from her own mother…”you’ll never find anyone if you’re fat,” that whole awful rotted chestnut. Her mother used to be fat herself, until she indulged in some exceedingly sketchy-sounding surgery, and now she expected her daughter to follow suit. In complete spite of the fact that her doctor said she was in fine health. She was fat. She was healthy. You can be both.

Everyone she had dated till then had either been fetish-tastic or a polite fatphobe…had either liked her strictly because of her body, or strictly in spite of it. We were a breath of fresh air for each other. Then I made the mistake of introducing her to my own mother.

I have plenty of faults with her, but one of her good points was that she was always very open-minded about people who were somehow “othered.” She taught me to never make fun of other cultures, or people who looked or acted different…but apparently drew the line with a secret fatphobia that was unleashed that day. The introduction was more or less pleasant. The minute she had left, less so. Immediately, I was bombarded with questions and statements I would not have been asked if she wasn’t fat. “Did you know that’s how she looked when you met? Aren’t you just settling? Why are you doing this to yourself?” And my favorite: “You’ll be disappointed when she dies an early death.” She said that to me. To my face. It only could have been worse if she’d said it to hers. I know she would have been fine if I’d come home with someone of a different race. Of a different orientation. If I came home with a damn space alien. But her child dating a fat girl? Unacceptable. The insistence that her doctor had given her a clean bill of health—something I shouldn’t have even had to bring up—was flat-out ignored.

And said fat girl heard about it anyway, since I would tell her about these fights with my mother. I didn’t want to hide them from her. Perhaps I should have, or at least toned down the retelling, I don’t know. But now she had disapproval and shaming from two mothers. Eventually she would end the relationship, partly as a nuclear option to stop the unceasingly mounting tensions between her and my family, and it was there that things really went downhill.

We had gotten into fat activism during our relationship. We had both been vaguely aware of it beforehand. It was a source of strength for us. Her hurt and confusion post-breakup saw her break from that and begin to identify more largely with the fetish culture that often lurks at its edges. She began to engage in exceedingly self-desctructive behavior just to have someone’s, anyone’s, approval. When that finally went sour and her clean bill of health was no longer clean? Then her own mother finally had every weapon she needed to convince her daughter to become “acceptable.”

She’s getting her perfectly healthy stomach carved up to “fix” it and won’t hear anything to the contrary. And that’s heartbreaking.

Fuck fatphobia. Fuck it forever and ever.

And thank you, and others on tumblr, for still fighting a good fight. The world needs it.

No One’s Judging Me When They Probably Should

TW: eating disorders, weight loss, medical bias

I am thin. I never really realized what sort of privileges my weight gave me until I came across this blog. Thank you for opening my eyes.

I have struggled with EDs for nearly a decade now, mostly bulimia. I can go to the grocery store and buy 6000 calories worth of junk food and no one bats an eye. They SHOULD, because I am going to stuff myself and make myself sick, which is WRONG. But since I’m thin, I must be healthy, right? (sigh). I was recovered from my EDs until a few months ago, when I developed an unknown illness that causes chronic (unintentional) vomiting, forcing me on what is literally a starvation diet (saltines, bland soup, gatorade…yeah, that’s pretty much it), which triggered the bulimia relapse. Because if you starve yourself long enough, you’ll end up binging, especially with my history. Anyway, I lost 16 pounds in a month, vomiting every day at least once.

I expected concern, which I did get. But what I wasn’t expecting was the compliments. Even the backhanded “eat something” comments, I could tell were thinly veiled jealousy. And when I called my prospective boss to tell him I could not accept the job offer (too sick to work…or stand for more than a minute), when I explained my symptoms he commented that it was “quite the diet.”

I’ve been reading this blog for the past two days and I can’t help but shudder at the stories, particularly the ones involving doctors. My husband is pre-med and just turned in his application. I plan on sharing these stories with him in the hope that there will be one more doctor who treats patients as people. (He plans on becoming an osteopathic doctor. I’m not sure if anyone has had experience with these but they take a more holistic approach to health and I believe have a few more courses in nutrition. Maybe this might help? They have a D.O after their name but take the same tests as an M.D. to get their license.) I can’t help but be horrified at the idea of my eating disorder not being taken seriously or my illness and subsequent weight loss being encouraged if my BMI was higher.

I hope I’m not out of place submitting (though I know by default I kind of am). I just hope you know that, despite the flood of hate you all must get, you are slowly but surely helping people by spreading awareness. I plan on sending this blog to a wonderful former professor of mine in my teacher education program. She teaches Gender and Education, but the class covers sexuality, class, and many other issues that affect students. I hope she might carve out a spot in the class to discuss thin privilege and fat discrimination.

the societal challenge to end obesity among children, the number one nutrition-related problem in the US” <—- Actual text from federal research website. This sort of thing is incredibly common in research and the way researchers talk about obesity (when I am in the room, even) is still upsetting every time.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I’d rank things like, say, food insecurity a little bit higher on that list. 

And yes, I get that from a purely numbers-game perspective, there may be more fat people than people dealing with food insecurity (btw overlapping groups) but I think it shows pretty clearly how the US prioritizes these things. 

"If you send hate messages, they will be immedialty deleted." aka "I can't stand any form of critisism in the slightest manner becuase I know I'm wrong, but I don't want everyone else to see that." aka censorship. You are willing to censor anyone who disagrees with you.

Asked by
little-kitten-doll

You are more than welcome to create your own blog and talk about us all you want. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to have your “opinions” entertained by everyone regardless of the format. We have the right to control the content on this blog.

-FBP

I threw away my virginity to the first boy who showed any interest in me, to a boy who never wanted to know the real me. I never thought that someone would do that to me because I saw myself as undesirable. Why would a boy only want in my pants? I’m not physically attractive. If he likes me, he must really like me, for more than what I look like.

It’s been near 11 months since that night, and since he last spoke to me. 

And I don’t blame him. How could he want me? I’ve been haunted my whole life with “you’ll never catch a man by eating that.” “A boy will never like you, looking like that.” Hearing things like this your entire life from your mother and your sister takes a toll psychologically. I feel I am undeserving of love, romantic and platonic. I feel guilty for taking up space. I constantly apologize for things that don’t need an “I’m sorry.” I know how ridiculous and absurd my feelings are, nonetheless, I have these feelings and I have no idea how to stop. 

Thin privilege is being deserving of love, of physical intimacy, and of respect. 

I had a job last year, working as a cook in an Italian restaurant. My job was making the desserts; gelato, fancy cakes, mousse, tiramisu, and chocolate truffles. I enjoyed the work and I was quite good at it. We reused a lot of old containers to store things around my workstation, and they usually weren’t labeled, because whatever was put in them that day was used up by that night. I kept a good tally in my head about which container contained what, cookie crumbs, or decorations for various desserts. On any given day, I might have 20 different containers of components to decorate with, and I have to remember what each one has. 

One day, I made a new batch of 4 dozen chocolate truffles and put them in a container. There they sat for a few hours until dessert orders came pouring in. My boss came over to help me when things got slammed and fill orders for me. Suddenly, he needs truffles. I point out the exact container they’re in and he fetches it, only to open it and discover cookies. What on earth? But I knew the truffles were in THAT one. I’m so baffled, I open the next few on the shelf and come up empty handed every time. 

My boss starts screaming, “WHERE ARE THE TRUFFLES [MY NAME]?!” Again and again, every time I open a new container. I went through every container we had, and started going through containers that were in a different area, absolutely panicked. What happened to them, I know I put them here just four hours ago. “WHERE ARE THE TRUFFLES,” still going off a foot away, with my boss more and more enraged that they’re not where I left them. I’m confused too. 

My thin coworker walks up, with a container in her hands and gives it to me, “they were over there,” she says and points at her own workstation a good ten feet away. No explanation how they got over there, no apology, no nothing. Just that they were “over there.” and I never saw her or anyone else take that container over there. Finally, we get the truffles down and everything proceeds smoothly. 

Later, I excuse myself to the bathroom, but it’s occupied so I return to my station to continue my job and wait for the restroom to be free, when I overhear my boss tell the female coworker, “For a minute there, I thought [my name] had eaten all the truffles!” Coworker responds with, “With her body, I’d be worried too.” 

I was so shocked, hurt, confused and stunned, I spent an extra amount of time in the bathroom, wondering what had just happened. I’m good at my job, I don’t graze from my work, that’s cutting into my own wages and is quite literally, stealing.After my shift, and talking to a different co-worker, I find out that thin coworker stole the truffles from my station and was eating/stealing them for hours until we needed them. 

Yet, was my thin coworker ever accused of eating all the food from her workstation? From stealing food of customer’s plates? 

This is thin privilege, to not be guilty of stealing food when you are literally guilty of it, and I’m automatically guilty simply because I’m fat. 

I was later fired from that job, with the implication that a lot of food was going missing and that it wasn’t cost effective for them to keep me on the payroll. Thin coworker still works there to this day. 

Thin privilege is not having your body type put on display as something disgusting and repulsive

With the recent Steam video game sale, my boyfriend suggested we buy The Typing of the Dead: Overkill, because it’s supposed to be a funny game where you fight off zombies by typing in words. We did end up getting it, but after playing to the second level I literally can’t bring myself to even consider touching it again. 

The second level you play as two stripper girls (hooray sexualization in video games), and the strip club you’re in is being attacked by zombies. To escape, you have to find your motorcycle keys, which unfortunately are being held by the boss of the level, a stripper-turned-zombie. Sounds alright, right? 

It’s really not, and please skip this paragraph if you’re sensitive to really horrendous depictions of fat people. Since becoming a zombie, the stripper has transformed into a giant, slimy fat zombie woman, and the keys are stuck in-between the folds of her giant belly fat rolls. She’s portrayed as so fat and big she can’t even stand up and move around to fight, she just throws objects at the player without getting up. She’s still in her stripper bikini, but she’s shown as having every roll possible hanging out of it, with even one saggy breast flopping out of the top the whole time (way to hypersexualize while desexualizing at the same time). When you finally defeat her, you have to pull the keys out of her belly folds, and it’s depicted as this disgusting spectacle that they have to touch her at all, and that it’s a difficult task, like her stomach fat is consciously holding onto the keys, with a loud squelching pop when they finally come out. 

The boss of this level, as a fat zombie woman, is meant to disgust the player in every way possible. As a woman with a body type really similar to hers, it was unbearable watching the display they made in doing so. It literally got to the point where I had a breakdown and couldn’t continue playing at all. Fortunately I have an understanding boyfriend, and he hasn’t suggested playing it since. 

Thin privilege is not having your body and body type shown as being the epitome of disgusting, and too repulsive to even consider touching. 

Thin privilege is being able to play a video game meant to be fun and hilarious, and not have it specifically target you and people that look like you as the joke.  

Thin privilege is having your body type represented in video games, and not just as a hyperbolic representation of sloth/greed/gluttony/general disgust.

(Side note on this game as well: it also has some really disgusting displays of ableism. Please avoid this game at all costs.)

Dr. Andrew Novak isn't a real person. He's a fictional character cited by the satirical group The Onion.

Asked by
bachvevo

Thanks to all who wrote in about it. I think all of us were off tumblr for most of the day and didn’t see it.

Thin privilege is never worrying about going to a train station, fairground, or sporting event where turnstiles are used.

Thin privilege is never having to sheepishly ask the nearby attendant if you can use the disabled entrance because you can’t fit through the turnstile.

Thin privilege is never having people mock you or laugh behind your back when they see you struggling to get through a turnstile.

p1. i was wondering if you know anything about fat people and breast reductions? i feel really uncomfortable having such large breasts. they're like f cup or probably larger. i can't find comfortable bras. bras are painful. and all clothes look bad in them, but the clothes i prefer, the more masculine clothes (button down shirts, high necked tops etc.) look absolutely terrible. and recently i've been trying to dress more like that because i have this inexplicable urge to. i was a tomboy as a kid

Asked by
gentlenight

fatuglygeek:

thisisthinprivilege:

p2. i now realise it’s how i feel the most comfortable. i’m trying to come to terms with my sexuality and also kind of my gender which i’ve felt weird about recently and i’ve realised that these enormous boobs just complicate everything. i can’t go anywhere braless even at home. i really want to. but i dont feel like a trans man like i don’t want no breasts but like idk… anyway, not important. my question is this. i told my mum i wanted a reduction w/o mentioning gender/sexuality stuff and

p3. she got annoyed and said that if i lost weight then they might get smaller anyway. but the thing is i’ve always had big boobs. and i’ve gained weight and i don’t think they got much bigger. but what if she’s right? what if she’s right and i waste money on a reduction because as i get older i gain weight and they just get big again? do you know anything about this kind of thing? i know roseanne got a breast reduction and she was fat so…. but that’s like a tv show so idk. any advice? thanks

Yeah, I know some. I wear FF or G cups, and am planning on getting a reduction after I either have a kid or finally decide I’m not going to (because they’ll just get bigger again if I have a kid; these days they can preserve lactational capacity). I am, btw, a cis queer femme woman; it’s not just tomboys/butch women/trans men who want reductions.

First — and I’ll get to other considerations later, this is just about bras as an immediate stop-gap — if you cannot find comfortable bras, you are probably not being fitted properly. That’s because most places don’t do proper fittings, or often fittings at all. I’ll recommend to you what I recommend to my friends: Go to a nice department store that does fittings (Nordstroms, Macy’s, Dillard’s; DO NOT go to a Victoria’s Secret under any circumstances). Get a fitting. Tell your fitter you want sports bras or minimizing bras. If you can’t afford $65+ per bra, take notes, tell the nice woman you’re going to have to think about it, and get thee to the internet. (If you can at all manage it, but one thing at the store. It’s not her fault the bras are too damn expensive, and she needs to sell things to keep her job.) You can find a number of sites to get them at better prices, and even ones that will help you convert from a size in one brand to the appropriate size in another. Proper support for your breasts is very important, and can help prevent all kinds of problems.

Your mother is wrong. If you’ve always had big breasts, and they haven’t changed with your weight, they’re unlikely to shrink if you lose weight. (Mine never have.) Some people’s breasts do shrink as they lose weight, some don’t, but them not changing as you gain weight is a good predictor of them not shrinking as you lose it. You may have trouble finding a doctor who won’t tell you to lose weight, though.

More importantly, weight loss doesn’t work long term; even if you lost weight and your breasts shrank, you’d gain the weight back and your breasts would get bigger again. It’s not a long-term solution.

Even more important: It’s YOUR BODY. You get to make that decision. Tell your mother so.

If you are having back problems or serious breast pain, and you get a reasonable doctor, there’s a good chance you can get breast reduction entirely or mostly covered by insurance if you have it. Talk to your doctor.

Depending on your band size, you might investigate sports bras at Title Nine. Their cup sizes don’t go up to very large, but I used to get DDD sports bras there (still at size G) and found they made good minimizers when I was working in kitchens.

You can also investigate binders, which aim to completely eliminate the silhouette of breasts. Some people find them comfortable, others find them uncomfortable. For some people, it can aggravate acid reflux and other digestive issues. But you might find it worth it, especially as you explore your gender. They can be pricy, but there are a number of small charities out there that exist to help people get them.

If there’s a chance you might want a complete mastectomy later, you might want to wait on reduction if minimizing bras and/or binders will work ok for now, just because surgery kind of sucks, and keeping your number of surgeries down is usually a good idea. But it’s your body, and that’s your decision to make.

-MG

A note on bra fittings: I HIGHLY recommend the free consultation here: http://www.butterflycollection.ca/free-bra-size-consultation/ I had been wearing 42DDD, because that was all I could find in the store, and was always in pain, and none of my clothes fit right. When they told me I was a 40J, I was horrified, and convinced they were wrong, but bought a bra anyway. I have had SO MUCH LESS back pain, my clothes fit a million times better, and I have a much better idea of what my shape actually is because I can see my waist again. That site has no obligation to buy from them, and their fittings are very accurate. Hope this helps!

Thin privilege is not having a mental schedule of when it’s “safe” to eat. 

Thin privileged is being hungry, but wondering if enough time has elapsed for you to be “allowed” to eat again. 

Thin privilege is not having to weigh how hungry you are versus whether or not it’s worth it to have to get food in front of your parents, and how likely you are to be harassed for it. 

This privilege is apparently being able to walk into a grocery store?

I was at the Union Square Food Emporium in NYC for the first (and probably last) time today and on side of the building opposite the subway entrance they have these bars on either side of the entrance and exit doors.

Clearly these bars are meant to keep people from taking the carts outside.  But they also, surprise surprise, make it difficult — if not impossible — for people with wide hips to walk through them.  I’m a relatively small fat myself, and even I had to squeeze sideways through these bars; I can only imagine what it’s like for people with even bigger hips than me.