[tw: depression, talk of self harm]
thin privilege is the fact that my best friend and i both got caught self harming in high school at the same time. she was sent to therapy and allowed on anti depressants. i was told i need to lose weight and go outside more.
Well, again, can’t they ask actual fat people about their actual experiences? Fat women can tell you there’s a compounding of discrimination when you’re both a woman and fat. Just because sexism was being investigated in the experiment as well as fat discrimination (unless you’re trying to say they didn’t care about the fat discrimination, just the sexism) doesn’t make it inoffensive to wear a fat suit.
If they wanted to do an experiment they could hire two actors (one fat and one thin) who are portraying the same character and who otherwise look similar, then let the experiment run.
Also, wasn’t the experiment also about lying on profiles and playing out a huge anti-fat stereotype in the online dating world? There are WAY too many variables for this to be an ‘experiment.’ It was a schtick.
Thin privilege is going to an allergist and being told to lose weight. I am a small fat, a size 18, about 215 pounds, 5’6”. I have an hour glass figure, so i still have a relatively small waist. I’ve always had allergy issues my entire life. Sinus infections, colds, etc. all year long. About two years ago, i started getting intense sinus infections every four weeks or so. I went to an immediate care facility and they suggested i get allergy tested. I go to this doctor and he does a blood test. The blood test comes back negative. He’s explaining to me the results, and *politely* tells me losing weight would help my breathing problems….. so I go to another allergist who actually does a skin test, and lo and behold, i’m allergic to everything under the sun. He gives me a treatment plan, and never once even mentions that i should lose weight. most people wouldn’t consider me fat, even though i am ‘overweight.’
The appeal to fairness and equity is of course logical. Most thoughtful people agree that discrimination just isn’t okay and should not be tolerated. However, appeals to fairness have proven surprisingly uncompelling to most people when it comes to fat rights. The main reason appears to be that most people believe that fatness is a personal choice, a result of poor lifestyle habits, and that individuals deserve to hold responsibility for their choice. After all, the argument goes, if fat people want to escape discrimination, they should just lose weight – and thinner people should not have to absorb the costs of someone else’s fatness, whether it’s about sitting in a cramped seat or the taxes incurred from health care costs. In effect, this attitude often justifies more discrimination, with the belief that the unfair treatment may motivate people to lose weight.
~Linda Bacon, co-author of Body Respect, at the 2009 NAAFA conference
Oh, btw, such discrimination is more likely to make someone fatter, not thinner (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oby.20891/abstract)
I don’t even care if discrimination makes people fatter. Discrimination is wrong period. All people deserve their humanity.
Talking about my fitness, exercise, nutrition, and my own body journey doesn’t magically imply in any way shape or form that there is anything wrong with fat, with eating what you want, and living however you damn well please. There is not a single should in that entire post and talking about diet/weight loss/whatever does not instantly equate to fat shame.
Seriously, sit the fuck down.
Your post implies that there’s a correlation between loving yourself and weight loss, and it centers weight loss as the main way you are measuring your success with your lifestyle changes. It is awesome that your were able to make positive changes to your diet/lifestyle; however, weight loss is not and SHOULD NOT be the primary indicator of health and happiness.
I understand that your post was just trying to talk about your personal experience, but your narrative was very similar to the one used by the weight loss industry and fat shaming in general. Your post makes weight loss the focus by saying, “I started out at x weight, now I’m at y weight,” and then going on to declare in bold text, “I lost 35 pounds by learning to love and take care of my body.” What does that say to people who are working on loving and taking care of their bodies but are NOT losing weight?
The before and after pictures also send the message that adopting healthier habits = weight loss, and that being skinnier means being happier. But the fact is, thinness is not the same as health, and there is no way to tell how healthy a person is just by looking at them. Showing “before and after” pictures is a technique used by pretty much every company in the weight loss industry, whether they are selling gym memberships or dangerous diet drugs. I could show you before and after pictures of when I lost around 35 lbs. - I was thinner and “healthier looking” by some people’s standards. You know how I lost the weight? Bulimia. I weigh 60 lbs. more than I did then, but I’m a lot healthier now.
You have chosen to be an educator and put yourself out there in widely used public forums like tumblr and Youtube. You may have only been trying to talk about your experiences, but people are going to look to you for advice. They are going to take your success stories as suggestions for how they can improve their own lives. If telling your story perpetuates the same messages as our fat-shaming culture, you are doing a disservice to your audience. And when that happens, we are not going to “sit the fuck down.”
All of this commentary.
Fuck you, Laci Green, for perpetuating the same bullshit we deal with every day.
And this is why her fat shaming video didn’t mean shit to me.
Oh everyone fell all over that damn video like it was some amazing, special fat accepting piece of awesome… and I just shook my head.
Firstly - I am sick of videos of young, white, cis, able-bodied women with bodies that are easily considered “normal sized” with a WHOLE lot of privilege telling us to just love ourselves and everyone falling over themselves to say how awesome it is. How about we see some of the same reaction to very fat, older, trans, POC or PWD people who have been essentially banging on about the same subject for YEARS. Oh wait, they’re TOO fat, TOO “weird”, TOO old, whatever.
And now to see this crap coming from Ms Green just rubs salt into the wound.
There’s a lot to be learnt out there about privilege and diversity.
Oh Laci Green, thanks for nothing. Kiss my mega fat arse.
stoat-s replied to your post “I’m curious and I’d like to get your opinion on it, but if it’s not…”
His weight gain was intentional, just because he felt like doing it. And he lost the weight for the same reason
If he wanted to get fat, then why the hell was he fat-shaming? What an asshole.
I’m curious and I’d like to get your opinion on it, but if it’s not relevant to you or you don’t have any feelings about it, no big deal. I was wondering how you feel about Rob McElhenney’s rapid weight gain (and later, weight loss at an equally rapid and likely unhealthy pace), how he himself addressed it in such a negative light on Its Always Sunny, and if you think the fat-shaming is justified or ok if he’s the one making such inflammatory jokes and references about weight? Like do you think he’s allowed to fat-shame himself for the sake of comedy? Thanks.
I have never seen It’s Always Sunny, and don’t know who Rob McElhenny is. His rapid weight gain and loss might be due to any number of things. The gain may have been caused by a health problem, and the loss by treating that problem, and indeed that’s a fairly likely scenario. But I would not care to guess what his actual health status is, now is it my business.
Fat-shaming is never, ever justified, even when one employs it against oneself. Any fat shaming implies that fat is always a bad thing to be, and saying to others that fat is a bad thing to be has the effect of fat-shaming them, too, no matter how it’s intended to be directed.
Fat-shaming is not good comedy. Good comedy punches up, not down, and shaming or insulting a disprivileged group is always punching down. When you laugh at punching-down, you are participating in oppression (and we all participate in oppression sometimes, our own or someone else’s, voluntarily or not; all we can do is try to avoid it as much as possible, and the first step to doing that is to be aware of how it happens).
1) How come you always make a big deal of me using the elevator, even though we’re on the third floor of the building?
2) How come you make comments about what I eat and when I eat?
3) Why do you think it’s a good idea to ‘inspect’ my lunch whenever I order out to eat?
4) Why did you reduce my performance review marks based on my ‘indifference’ to how I look? In the thirteen months since I got this job, my weight has never ever hindered my work in any way.
5) Why should my weight be part of my appraisal at all? Why isn’t it enough to be judged on how well I perform on the job and all the ideas I’ve brought in so far?
6) Why do you think it’s appropriate to email me links on the latest fad diets during the day?
7) Why did you think that drawing up a contract for me losing weight was a good idea? And worse, saying that you were going to email it to the head of Human Resources to be part of my employee profile?
8) Why aren’t any of the other young women on our floor - all of whom are at a ‘socially acceptable’ weight - being treated like this? How come it’s okay for them to use the elevator, and eat what they like and be judged on their job performance and not have their personal appearance being brought into it at all?
Oh, wait. I think I know the answer.
#1. Never be seen eating in public.
#2. If you must eat, make sure it is uber-healthy yet tasteless. Never eat anything that is fattening, sweet, or tasty in any way.
#3. Exercise daily to the point of vomiting. This cannot be fun exercise like dancing or skating (who wants to see that!). It must be boring and miserable.
#4. Never be seen exercising in public; you must only exercise in your own home. We don’t want even the possibility of seeing a little fat jiggle. If you break this rule, we reserve the right to call you names and throw trash at you.
#5. You must be on a diet at all times. Preferably, you must be paying for it in some way. We need you to keep supporting the 104+ (Canada & the US) billion dollar diet industry. Yes, we know that you will only gain the weight back plus more. That is part of our plan!
#6. Take diet pills. They may give you a stroke or damage your heart, but you will lose 2-5% of your weight as long as you eat right and exercise as well. Of course, you will gain it back the minute you stop taking the drug.
#7. If a diet does not work, go have your stomach amputated or squeezed (weight loss surgery). You might die of complications. You will be 4x more likely to kill yourself than the rest of the population. If you don’t die, you will most likely have long-term complications and nutritional deficiencies that will reduce your quality of life significantly. You also have an excellent chance of becoming an alcoholic. Oh, and 80% of you will regain the weight.
#8. All your attention, your money, and your focus must be on the fruitless task of losing weight at all times. Nothing else matters. You should never have a life until you succeed at that, no matter that 95% of you will fail and that those who succeed where likely thin folks losing some weight they had gained.
#9. Wear dark, shapeless clothing for which you must pay outrageously. No bright colors or stylishness of any kind.
#10. Never wear anything that lets your flesh be seen. No sleeveless shirts, no shorts, and definitely NO BATHING SUITS!
#11. Never be seen having a good time with friends in public. We want to believe you are sitting home miserable. We certainly do not want to see you laugh.
#12. Never imagine that someone could want you romantically. Love is not for the likes of you. If you do get into a relationship and they happen to be abusive, suck it up and be happy someone bothers to interact with you in any way.
#13. If you break rule #12 and end up in a relationship, never show affection in public. This is especially true if your SO is fat.
#14. If you have children, they must eat perfectly. If they are fat also, we may come take them away.
#15. If you are a fat woman and you get raped, be glad for the attention.
#16. Work daily to blend into the shadows. Never remind us that you are there. We don’t want to see you.
#17. Never expect to have friends. If you do have friends and are female, accept that they might keep you around to make them look good. If you are male, make them laugh, fatty.
#18. Either be very quiet or jolly. Never, ever let us see you angry or upset. Take how we treat you and stuff it.
#19. Never pursue a higher education. If you break this rule and do, don’t you dare complain about accommodations. So what if you class does not have a desk that fits you?
#20. Never pursue a professional career. We don’t want to see the likes of you in our courtrooms or our offices. You won’t be able to find fashionable professional clothes anyway.
#21. Never complain when you are denied a job because of your looks.
#22. If we deign to employ you, never expect to receive the same pay as your coworkers; just be happy that we gave you a job.
#23. Never expect to get a promotion. We could not reward a fat person for anything.
#24. Go to the doctor often. The doctor will tell you that anything wrong with you could be fixed by losing weight. Never complain or speak up in response. Pay your money, hang your head in shame and get out.
#25. Never tell a thin person that thin shaming and fat oppression are different. Never point out that thin shaming is part of the hatred of fat. Never note that thin shaming is calling people names while fat oppression leads to lack of health care options, lack of job options and lack of acceptance in society.
#26. Never tell feminists or diversity advocates that fat belongs as a protected condition. You should not be protected, because you could change it if you really wanted to, fatty.
#27. Never be an academic that focuses on fat studies. We won’t publish your work, even if it is rigorous and well-written. We will keep you from tenure-track jobs. If you do land one of those, we just might deny you tenure.
#28. Never succeed at anything. If you do, we will point out that it doesn’t really count since you are still fat.
#29. Never stand up, stand out or speak up in any way. This would be glorifying obesity. We can’t have that.
#30. Whatever you do, NEVER become a fat activist and point out that society treats fat people unfairly. How dare you question our abuse and oppression of you!
A great tongue-in-cheek list by Lonie.
Why does anyone think that we care whether we’ve hurt their feelings when they’ve just come into our inbox with a load of shit?
If you don’t care about other people’s feelings then don’t get ass chapped when no one gives a fuck about yours lolololol
How about reversing that? We don’t go into the inboxes of other people just to be insulting and rude. Why do people who come into our inbox and say things that are insulting and rude — whether deniably so or not — think that we ought to care about their feelings?
In particular, I wrote that post when someone showed up in the inbox saying things that are actively harmful to people, told them that the blog had already discussed that topic several times and they should look it up, they insisted that they had just been giving us information and demanded to know why I would hurt their feelings like that, I THEN got rude back, they complained again, I told them to go away, AND THEY KEPT MESSAGING US. So I hit ignore and posted to make the point.
Trolls and haters turn up, make a show of not giving a fuck about how we feel, and then get mad because we hurt their feelings. Maybe they shouldn’t get their asses so chapped? Because I don’t see you being shitty about them getting upset.
this is where thin privilege intersects with male privilege. this is where fat girls are reminded that no place is safe: that nerd culture, which is supposed to stand for acceptance of people who are intellectual and non-athletic and different, still employs the same double standards that the rest of the world does. men are allowed to be fat. women are not.
my bazinga shirt was custom made, i shouldnt have to do that in a world like this :/ fat phobia is real
Well, I feel that if you’re above a certain size and you’re a woman, the sex of the shirt you buy doesn’t matter. I mean, I buy men’s t-shirts anyway, because I don’t like many women’s clothes, but the only difference in unisex and women’s clothes is the cut, and how it fits, now if you’re fatter than XL in ladies, odds are you’re not going to have a very good hip to waist ratio and your boobs aren’t going to be very… Noticeable (I know this isn’t always the case but a lot of the time it is)
Basically of you are really that fat your shape is going to look the same in either shirt.
This is nothing to do with privileges, it is simply a case of logic. Fatter women won’t really need fitted t-shirts, it just wouldn’t be flattering.
So, because you have a particular shape, all fat women must? There are no hourglass fat women? No fat women with much larger busts than waists?
I hate to fucking break it to you, sweetheart, but your shape and experience are not fucking universal. Hell. I’ve got a big belly, and I still look a hell of a lot better in a women’s shirt than a men’s, on the rare occasions when I can find them to fit.
Your experience is not universal, and you are utterly full of shit.
[continued - diagnose themselves with Anorexia. That’s so dangerous and so so insulting for people struggling or recovering from anorexia]
People forget that the DSM was created by PEOPLE through what they have constructed as a disease and is only a guideline to follow to get a diagnosis. It isn’t something that should be followed to the letter or used to exclude people, especially if you are considering that much of our medical knowledge is socially constructed. In our society we believe fat people shouldn’t be fat so they haven’t acknowledged that fat people can have an eating disorder let alone anorexia due to the belief fat people should lose weight no matter what.
The guidelines wouldn’t even fit MOST thin people who have anorexia as everyone doesn’t fall into the weight range needed for the diagnosis if someone were to follow the DSM completely. Also, the weight range the DSM mentions is only ONE part of many that form a diagnosis. People can die before they get to that weight range or lose their menses. The physical damage done to people’s bodies can happen at any stage, particularly damage to the heart when someone isn’t getting the right amount of calories or nutrients. That has NOTHING to do with the amount of subcutaneous fat someone has.
What’s insulting are people who need to call us “obese” and feel so threatened by fat people acknowledging they too have disordered eating and have the same symptoms as thin people who are anorexic. We’re not taking anything away from anyone else with that diagnosis except challenging the narratives and language around anorexia. The very use of the word “normal” when describing what weight range people should be in ”85% of normal” needs to be deconstructed. Who’s normal? Is it “normal” on a BMI chart? Is it normal based on the individual? I’m 250 pounds. If I lost 25% of my body weight by starving I would still be considered “obese” and doctors would look it over as a positive thing. Instead of what it actually was, a massive weight loss that would be categorized as anorexia if my body type was included in the construction of how things like the DSM give guidelines for a diagnosis.
So anyone who finds it insulting that people with mental and physical health problems are attempting to get their issues fixed needs to find something else to complain about. Everyone has the right to good medical care and to not have their problems be brushed off as positive. Doesn’t matter what weight they are.
Oh and to answer your original question, yes. I’ve not only read the DSM but I’ve taken graduate level coursework that deconstructs and challenges the very basis of how they diagnose conditions. The DSM is regularly challenged by researchers and doctors as it is only a guideline (and again is socially constructed).
There are really so many problems with the DSM criteria for eating disorders - everything mentioned above, the huge groups who get left out and labeled under EDNOS, the high level of overlap and transition between different diagnostic categories, etc.
IIRC, they were discussing removing the 85% of body weight criterion from the DSM-5, but ended up making a new subtype under EDNOS (now OSFED) for “atypical” AN. There is research indicating that a BMI cutoff isn’t well supported in terms of differentiating groups of people who experience symptoms differently:
- McIntosh et al., 2004
- Fairburn and Bohn, 2005 (this talks about how many people who didn’t meet the criteria for AN or BN would get thrown in the EDNOS category - which accounted for something like 50-70% of people in treatment for eating disorders - which is unhelpful for both treatment and research purposes)
- Ekeroth et al 2013 (pdf) - this shows more striking differences in terms of behaviors/symptoms between the two subtypes of AN (restricting and binging/purging) than between AAN and those groups.
Honestly, as a clinical psychologist in training, I kind of don’t give a shit about a diagnosis after it’s made. Diagnoses are more important for insurance companies than for effective treatment in many cases. I’m much more interested in, and have been trained to do, solidly conceptualizing the client’s constellation of behaviors and thoughts that are leading to distress and impairment, what’s evoking and maintaining those behaviors, and working with them to change those patterns. Not quite regardless of their weight/BMI, because that is a factor that will likely impact how those behaviors are reinforced by their environment, but taking it into account only as applicable and not based on weightist stereotypes.
Also, you could have said the same thing about people who don’t menstruate (cis boys, post-menopausal women, etc) and AN under the DSM-IV - “you can’t have amenorrhea, so please stop encouraging your followers to diagnose themselves with AN!” The DSM changes, sometimes, very slowly, to address these kinds of limitations and concerns as people who experience their impact advocate for change.
Great response. The issue with insurance is important when the barriers make it so people who are diagnosed as EDNOS get less treatment / coverage than AN. Most insurance companies offer far more support, inpatient treatment etc, for people with AN and very little for people with EDNOS. So that creates huge barriers even if they are able to find a practitioner who isn’t concerned with the guidelines.
The DSM used to include homosexuality as a disease. It’s far from infallible.
Yep. It also currently states that if someone is depressed for longer than 10 days after the death of a loved one they can be diagnosed with major depression. So we’re only allowed to mourn for 10 days.
Also, wanted to note the National Institute of Mental Health withdrew support from the DSM-V because they found the manual relies too much on “symptoms” and not on laboratory testing or actual research. Not to say that the DSM is not valuable but much of their guidelines are based on social constructions and not on research, whereas they should be finding a safe middle ground between the two.
They actually got rid of the grief exception for DSM-V.
Yes, they removed the bereavement exception that use to require people to wait 2 months before diagnosing Major Depressive Disorder after the loss of a loved one. Now there is a two week (not 10 day) requirement.