This is Thin Privilege

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Thin privilege is speaking openly about body positivity and being respected and taken seriously, unlike a fat person being ridiculed because ”obviously they’re making excuses for not losing the weight.” I was bullied into losing weight and developed an eating disorder. It disgusts me that my opinion on body positivity is somehow more valid than it was when I was fat.

Thin privilege is being able to easily find many specialized medical devices that work for you and fit your body for a relatively affordable price.  

I have a genetic condition that seriously damages my joints, and when I had a new and alarming symptom I asked all my friends who have the same condition what they do to cope with it.  They all recommended a certain kind of brace, which can be found in most pharmacies and all over the internet for an average price of about $25 in straight sizes.   When I went looking for one, I could only find one website that sells a truly plus sized version and it costs about 80 bucks.  My only other option would be to have one custom measured and made by a doctor’s office, which would cost more than I even want to think about.  

In freshman year a group of my new friends and myself went to get some coffee. The girls were talking about their current relationships, and it turned out almost all of them were seeing someone. I didn’t even get to say anything,  when the only single girl automatically turned to me, rolled her eyes and said: ”Well, it looks like we’re the only ones single here, huh?”.

The thing is, I’ve been in a great relationship for six months then (and still am, three and a half years later), but she never had to ask or listen to me. I am obviously bitter and single, just because I look a certain way.

About the do-you-want-thin-or-fat-kids thing

I’d love my child either way, of course. But as a fat person, I figure there will be a certain number of fat kids out there, and if someone’s going to have one, it’s far better that it be me than a thin person who’ll fat-shame the kid, not make sure the kid doesn’t have to deal with fat-shaming messages, etc. IMO, as a general rule it’s better for fat kids to have fat parents who have a good understanding of thin privilege and fatphobia. 


Mod response:

I would agree if fat people were in general more accepting of fat bodies than thin people. But internalized self-loathing imposed by a fatphobic culture can be even more toxic than the kind of fat bias exhibited by someone who has never been fat. Just ask anyone who ever had a fat parent who centered their whole lives over whether or not they were “good” or “bad” that day (regarding food/exercise), put off vacations until they looked a certain way, monitored their kids’ body sizes/eating/exercises because they didn’t want their kids to have to go through what they were/are going through, and so on. 

Anecdotally, the most fat-accepting parent I have is my naturally very thin stepmother. Some of the most fat-accepting friends I’ve had were naturally thin — there was something about how they could eat and not exercise and still be thin that made the idea of me doing nothing to “stay fat” very natural to them. 


I've been having very painful back pain, I've never had back pain like this before and I'm afraid if I go see a doctor they won't help me and just tell me to loose weight. But I can't even workout or hardly walk because of the pain. Any advice?

Asked by

My advice is that you should see a doctor, but go with someone else who supports you, and go unwilling to accept the “lose weight” blanket treatment. If your doctor suggests that, ask them what they would advise for a thin person who was experiencing the same problems.

Back problems can be any number of things, muscular, internal, etc. I know nothing about you. But remember that you are entitled as a person who is the client of the doctor (you hire them, you pay them, etc) to have your problem addressed. If you need tests, you should get them. If you need physical therapy, you should get it. Etcetera etcetera. 

A doctor-patient relationship isn’t exactly “the customer’s always right,” because you hired them as a specialist. But think of hiring a doctor the same way you would hire a tax accountant. You might not have the specialized knowledge a tax accountant would have, but you wouldn’t let them treat you like an inferior client, give you bad service, and withhold services they would give to someone else who merely looked different. You’d fire them and hire someone who is competent (or whose bias doesn’t cloud their competence). You should treat your doctor (and hairstylist, and other skilled servicepeople) the same way. Yes, be respectful of their expertise, but don’t think because they have more education/experience than you in a particular area that it grants them the ability to treat you like crap or deny you the kind of basic care they would grant their other clients/patients.

Hopefully this helps.


I just wanted to thank you for this site.  Before this site, whenever I dressed up I had always worn undergarments that were very constricting to help conceal some of my size. It made it hard to breathe, impossible to eat, which I was told was a good thing, as it would help me lose weight if my internal organs were so compressed that it was painful to even sit down, let alone eat or drink anything.  Today, I wore a dress with nothing under it but my undergarments.  And you know what?  I looked beautiful.  Thank you for helping fat people feel free to wear whatever we want and to own our beauty, instead of letting a society obsessed with size take that away from us.

I used to love The Simpsons when I was little but it wasn’t until I recently bought the DVDs that I realized just how hateful and fatphobic the show could be. Off the top of my head, here are a few examples:

- Homer, who is a large man himself, often says “No fat chicks!”

- In The Springfield Files, Scully makes Homer run on a treadmill in the guise of it being an important test, but she really just thinks he should lose some weight. She then says that his flab jiggles “like a lava lamp”.

- In Homer’s Triple-Bypass, Dr Hibbert gives Homer a fat analysis test by making his belly flab jiggle and seeing how long it takes to stop. It doesn’t stop jiggling at all, and Dr Hibbert tells his nurse to “cancel his 2:00” appointment.

- In the episode The Last Exit to Springfield, Lisa notices Bart is putting on weight and says, “Hey tubby, want another pop-tart, tubby?”

- In the episode Treehouse of Horror I, the aliens Kang and Kodos abduct the Simpson family, but Homer is so fat that the tractor beam cannot carry him up to the spaceship, so the aliens turn on multiple tractor beams just to get him up there.

In the episode Treehouse of Horror VI, Homer disappears into an alternate universe and Patty and Selma joke that he “disappeared into fat air.”

- In the episode Love Is A Many Strangled Thing, Homer boards a boat and there is a sign at the door that says, “Weight limit: One Precious”

- In the episode Donny Fatso, Fat Tony dies of a heart-attack and is replaced by his cousin “Fit Tony”….who then becomes “Fat Tony” when he stops exercising and starts eating lots of junk food.

- In the episode Bart After Dark, Mr Burns reveals that he hates being outdoors because “there are too many fat children”.

- In the episode Lisa On Ice, Homer makes fun of an 8 year old boy for having breasts, then chases him around the locker room while laughing. The boy then says, “Don’t make me run, I’m full of chocolate!”

In the episode The Homer They Call, a man says to Comic Book Guy, "A fat, sarcastic Star Trek fan…you must be a devil with the ladies.” This isn’t the first time Comic Book Guy has been mocked for his weight.

- In the episode Brother Can You Spare A Dime, a doctor is confused when it is revealed that Homer has 104% body fat. The extra 4% is then revealed to be the fatty foods that Homer smuggled into the doctor’s office.

- In the episode Lisa The Simpson, Lisa is terrified that she will lose her intelligence and envisions what her life will be like if she was dumb. In her vision she is as an obese redneck who needs a “prying bar” just to get off the couch.

In the episode Springfield Up, Homer insists he is fat because he has a glandular problem. The tone of this scene implies we are meant to laugh at Homer here.

- In the episode Sweets and Sour Marge, the town attempts to create the biggest human pyramid in the world but they fail when everybody falls down due to their immense weight. It is then learned that Springfield is the fattest town in the ENTIRE WORLD, which leads Marge to sue the  local sugar company for making people fat. (Because obviously the only way people can be fat is due to sugar, right? Ugh)

- In the same episode, we are introduced the Cletus’ cousin Dia-Betty (get it? Diabetes!) who is morbidly obese and a parody of Bonnie Grape from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

(According to the DVD audio commentary, this episode came to fruition when the writers decided to compile a list of fat Simpsons characters and realized that the list went on forever. But why should the characters’ weight even matter? It’s a nice change to see a show where the majority of the cast is fat, even if it is only a cartoon show. It really sucks that the writers had to make a big deal about it.)

- The episode King Size Homer is probably the worst example of fatphobia. Homer strives to gain lots of weight so that he can claim disability and work from home (which is a problematic concept to begin with). When Homer goes to the cinema, they won’t allow him inside because he’s too big for the seats. When Homer goes shopping, the only clothes that fit him are mu-mus and ponchos. When Homer works at home, the neighborhood kids laugh at him and mock his weight (and we’re supposed to be laughing WITH them, because it’s “funny” that Homer can’t get up to yell at them for mocking him!) When Homer inadvertently  puts the Nuclear Power Plant in danger, he tries calling his boss to alert him to the situation - but his fingers are too fat to dial the number. He then tries to get into his car and the tires collapse under his weight. He then hijacks an icecream truck and gorges himself on the icecreams while driving to the Plant.

 - In the same episode, Bart fantasizes about becoming so fat he has to wash himself with a rag on a stick.

I could probably think of more examples. But those are just a handful of gross examples of The Simpsons joking about or flat-out mocking fatness.

[tw: abuse, fat phobia, eating disorder]

Thin privilege is being worried about if you have an eating disorder.

I never ate right, I eat maybe one meal a day and for two weeks, I didn’t eat. I lost twenty pounds. People congratulated me.

I had been malnourished, and I was weakened to the point of exhaustion when I walked to class.

Of course, it was assumed I was lazy. I’m was actually stronger than most of the student body. 

Not to mention my doctor telling me that I /had/ to lose weight.  She didn’t care about my state of health, she was “worried” about my “obesity.” I’m 180 and 5’3”.

The only person who mentioned that I should eat /more/  was my therapist.

Even the church I went to had people passively saying I should work out or do this or that.

I did.

That’s thin privilege.

I was talking to my university halls’ resident tutor (like a DA) yesterday and we were both talking about our weight since we both had insecurities about it (I’m short and about 140lb, I wouldn’t put her as more than 20lb bigger than me if that). She mentioned the last time she went to the doctor for a sports injury completely unrelated to her size and how he’d said to her “you’re not the thinnest patient I’ve had today” and “I can’t say this because you’re a woman and you’d get offended by it, but if you were a man I’d say you were fat”.

Thin Privilege is:

*Having serious hip pain and not being told, “You’re just fat and lazy, and everything would get better if you’d just go for a walk once in awhile!” 

*Finding out your hip pain is actually caused by sciatica and not being told, “You’re just fat and lazy, and everything would get better if you’d just go for a walk once in awhile!”

*Finding out you actually have a torn spinal ligament and a hernated disc which is causing the sciatica and the pain, and not being told, “If you weren’t so fat and lazy, and would just go for a walk once in a while, you wouldn’t have this problem…

But here! Let me, your naturally thin relative, tell you all about how I had the same exact problem when I was your age, and how awful it was!”

Thin privilege is never having your employment agency blame your weight as the reason you are unemployed.

A few months ago I was forced to quit my job because all the heavy lifting was starting to give me back problems. My employment officer (I think that’s what they’re called?) was not very happy when she found this out. According to her, ANY job is better than no job…even if that job causes you physical harm. But I digress. I recently had an appointment with them to catch up and let them know if I’ve had any luck finding a job. And half-way through the appointment, she asked me: “Have you been….having any health problems?” I was confused by this question because it came out of nowhere, and is none of their business to begin with. I said no, and she went quiet for a while before finally saying, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but have you thought about losing weight? It might help you get a job faster.”

Excuse me?

Thin privilege is being able to go to the store and buy 10 bags of candy without the clerk smirking and muttering under her breath “i can’t believe this fatass is going to eat all of this.”

Actually, for your information, I eat candy very rarely. That candy? Was for Easter  Baskets and the candy basket at work.

I just realized that whenever people ask me why I’m vegan/vegetarian (I used to be full vegan but I eat eggs now), very often they also ask if it’s for health reasons, without waiting for my answer.  At first I barely noticed it; then I was like “huh that’s weird people keep asking if it’s for health reasons and nobody ever asks if it’s for animal rights;” now I’m beginning to think people are assuming it’s for health reasons because why else would I be a fat vegetarian? Or they think fat people only make food decisions based on losing weight and not like, ethical concerns or anything.  

I also am not sure how to respond, if this really is because people are trying to reconcile the existence of fat non-dairy vegetarians—I’ve been saying that no, it’s for ethical reasons, but now that I’m realizing this is probably a microaggression I kind of want to point that out without actually being like “NOT ALL VEGANS/VEGETARIANS ARE TINY OK AND FAT PEOPLE CAN BE HEALTHY!” Just because often this question is coming from people I’m meeting for the first time, who are well-meaning and completely unaware of how offensive/prejudiced that question is.  It’s also tricky because I feel like I have to counter fat stereotypes in addition to vegan stereotypes (vegans are militant, judgmental extremists, etc). 

Have any other fat vegans/vegetarians had that experience?  Am I being paranoid? Or is this just another instance where “health reasons” is code for “to lose weight?”  And if you’ve had that experience, how do you handle it? Do you try to draw attention to that assumption? Do you let it go?  Are you incredibly frustrated about people acting like fat vegans/vegetarians don’t exist and want to vent? This happened to me last weekend and now that I’m realizing there’s a pattern this (and how I’m not supposed to exist in general) is bothering me.






Favorite Characters - Vladimir & Sophie

god Sophia had a double chin and bingo wings and a booty like a shelf and she was still hot as fuck. and Anastasia was hot. and the empress was hot. All the ladies were pretty but totally different sizes and ages and things were wonderful.

Sophie wasn’t just on screen to be fat and funny. She was depicted as actually DESIRABLE. I was a little stick of a child when this movie came out and that definitely effected my views of beauty. As a much thicker adult it still means a lot to me now.


It made me SO happy to see a lady who wasn’t super skinny still being portrayed as being sexy and desirable…

We need more movies like this…with characters like this, who aren’t just treated like walking punchlines because of their bodies…