This is Thin Privilege

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Thin privilege is being able to buy confectionery and other sweet things at the supermarket and knowing that the cashier won’t take it from your bag when you’re not looking.

This has happened to me three times this year whenever I go to a certain supermarket in town and meet the same cashier.  The last time it happened, I made sure I checked my bags before I left and then marched right back in, demanding why I’ve always been defrauded by her.  And she gave me the most astonished look, and said that I shouldn’t be eating such things and that she’s ‘saving my life.’ 

Like, she didn’t think that what she was doing was theft or illegal in any way.  In her mind, she was saving the fat girl from the dangers of a few bars of chocolate.  And I’m completely sure that she does it to other fat people that shop there too.  I’d stop going to that place but it’s the only local supermarket in town that sells the type of rice that I like eating.

I live in Paris at the moment, a city where everything's very tiny and fat-unfriendly to begin with, but that's not what I wanted to tell here. There's a lot of poverty here. Many many homeless people. And the other day my (fat) friend started talking about how phony most of the beggars are because some and I quote "are pretty fat!".... this really bugged me but I didn't want to lecture her since I benefit from thin privilege and she herself is fat :/

Asked by

Fictional fat sci-fi YA protagonist!

An early YA science-fiction series, Animorphs by K.A. Applegate, had six protagonists and one of them, Cassie, was fat. The first twenty or so books were updated and re-printed a couple of years ago, and all the originals can be found pretty easily at thrift stores or on ebay. 

Cassie is treated respectfully by the series, she’s mentioned a few times to be fat but not described as constantly eating or treated as ugly. She’s the team’s “moral compass”. She and another character, Jake, have a romance subplot that’s treated respectfully and is very cute. She’s the most skilled morpher of the team and successfully performs BRAIN SURGERY on another character. What I’m saying is she’s a great character. You can buy all the Animorphs books here.

(NOTES: I wouldn’t give the books to anyone younger than twelve, as some parts are pretty disturbing. Also, the book covers portray her as average weight. She was only mentioned as fat a few times.)

I work at a bakery, and yesterday my boss pointed to a customer and said “unfortunately I just sold that fat lady a cheesecake. She shouldn’t be buying that” (indicating she would have rather a thin person bought her product, as if they are more entitled to shopping at her bakery). Then she went into all the reasons that person must be overweight: eating habits, thyroid problems, etc.

Thin privilege is being considered a more valuable customer, as well as not having your body and health analyzed every time you buy something. 

tw: abuse, ED talk

Thin privilege is not feeling that your mother’s love is conditional depending on whether or not you work out.

I’ve always been a bigger gal, and when I was around 10 or 11 years old, my mother would look at me in disgust and say, “You need to start doing sit-ups/working out.”

This continued on for many years, and once I started to lose weight, she seemed to be happier around me and wouldn’t say any negative things about my body as much, minus a few times when she would tell me I “had enough food” at dinner. For my brother, however, she would not say anything, even when he was chubby, because at least he was a lot thinner than me.

Hearing her negative comments all my life has caused me to feel extreme guilt when I eat. For a few months this year, I would eat once a day or less and work out vigorously to make the guilt go away, and of course, when I went home from college for break, she and my father both commented on how “good” and “thin” I looked. Neither of them know that I’ve been seeing a counselor for my depression, anxiety, and you guessed it, an eating disorder.

I have since told my brother, and he confessed to me that he had also been starving himself for a month or so and that’s why my mother always makes sure he’s well fed and buys him food all the time.

Thin privilege is not thinking that your mother cares more about your brother’s well-being just because he is a lot thinner (and a foot taller, I might add, which makes him appear leaner) than you.

[tw: fat shaming, abuse, ableism, fat discrimination]

Thin privilege is thinking it is some how acceptable to post this horribly hateful, ableist fat-shamey facebook status:

"I’m anti-alcohol shaming. You should all be ashamed of yourselves, he can’t control that he drinks, an who are you to say his lifestyles is wrong. He’s born with natural liver-pickling and it’s a hereditary trait. It’s beautiful and you should learn to accept it.

(that’s how you sound when you bitch about fat shaming)”

This is what I logged on to facebook to see staring back at me the other day. By the time I saw this status, 8 people had liked it and a few people had gone back and forth making cruel fat-shaming jokes such as “fat people will go dry their tears with chicken nuggets” and a photo of a fat woman surrounded by food saying “It’s not the 13,000 calories she eats a day, it’s genetics.”

As I was already worked up over a fat-shaming incident I had experienced earlier that day, I immediately commented, calling the op out for using people with alcoholism as a prop to fat-shame other people. We went back and forth for a while, him trying to claim that obesity and alcoholism were both diseases that had similar affects on people while I said that you can’t compare the two as they are very different situations and it is insulting to both groups of people to do so.

Eventually I ran out of spoons when some other asshole decided to chime in and tell me, “Boo hoo,” and “Fat people are a disgusting plague upon the earth.” I ended my part by saying that they were hateful assholes who’s gross opinions did nothing but hurt other people and deleted my original “friend” off of my facebook.

I haven’t had any backlash from it although we have quite a few friends in common. The op is a notorious ass who loves being a sexist, ableist, fat-phobic douche. The oddest part about it is that he is quite fat. Internalized fat-phobia? 

It’s mind-blowing to me that people think they can just get away with saying this horrible shit and then actually see support from their community in the form of “likes” and comments. 

TW: weigh loss talk

I am on the smaller side of the fat spectrum, but living in a city where going to the beach is an important part of our sociabilty and growing up with a father who adores to body police any woman in his life (and who put me in Weigh Watchers when I was 10 years old) I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable in my body and nowhere did I feel more uncomfortable than in a gym. But it has been years since last put foot in one and this month I decided to try again and get myself a Gym membership. I used to take pilattes classes (which I loved because the teacher and my colleagues were amazing people) but I can’t really afford it right now as it is so much more expensive than traditional gym places. So, the first step was to do an evaluation. I knew they were going to weigh me (which I dislike) but I thought they were also going to do things like measuring my heart rate during exercise, see how my flexibility is doing and thing like that. But no. They just measured me, weighed me, asked me if I has any diseases and told me my percentage of body fat is really elevated and that I need to loose 10kg. And that was after I told them loosing weigh wasn’t my goal. That I just want to improve my overall cardiorespiratory fitness and find a way to relieve stress. 

Oh, and my husband, who is really thin, also joined the gym and did this evaluation thing. And guess what? They treated him SO much better and were way more careful with him about any issues he might have because his left shoulder is a little lower than his righ one (mine is too but they didn’t care)  

Thanks God I am at a point in my life I can just ignore this kind of stuff and go ahead do my exercise because I know it is good for me and makes me feel less anxious. Had this happened a few years ago I would probably have just given up on the whole thing.

Thin privilege is being taken serious when you state what your fitness goals are.

(Please forgive any mistakes, english is not my native language)

I just need to vent because none of my thin friends would really see the harm in this.
So, I went to an appointment to my psychiatrist today, as I do about 3 times a year, just to check up and see how the medicine is working. I’ve been seeing her for a little over 10 years, and she’s always made it clear that she doesn’t want to prescribe me any more medication that could make me gain weight.
Now I’ve always suffered from anxiety, and I’ve been prescribed Klonopin twice in my entire life. The first time, I “abused” it (I would take 2 instead of 1), and the second time I used it correctly and it really, really helped my panic and anxiety attacks (I go through episodes, I don’t need to take Klonopin daily, only when I feel my anxiety getting out of control).
I’m also a recreational marijuana user, and I have never had a bad experience smoking and taking Klonpoin; I never got too drowsy, out of it, or anything. It was absolutely okay. And my doctor strongly refuses to prescribe me Klonopin ever again because since I am already “addicted” to marijuana, I will obviously become addicted to Klonopin.
ANYWAY, Today, my doctor asks how my anxiety has been. I say awful, because it has been. I ask if she can give me ANYTHING to help with my anxiety, and of course she goes down a huge long list of everything BUT the medication I know helps me.

Then I ask if there’s anything I can take for weight loss.

God forbid she prescribe me something that I KNOW FOR A FACT HELPS ME because I smoke a little bit of pot, but oh lord, if I mention wanting to lose weight she’ll loosely prescribe me something that has absolutely no benefit for me whatsoever.

Mod comment: Get a new pdoc. Please. Yours is AWFUL. Also, there are lots of other great anxiolytics to try.

Celebrity quote (Jennifer Lawrence)/Thin Privilege Is…

Thin Privilege is a picture of Jennifer Lawrence quoted as saying “I’m considered a fat actress. I eat like a caveman. I’ll be the only actress that doesn’t have anorexia rumors! I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I’m invincible. I don’t want little girls to be like, “Oh, I want to look like Katniss [from the Hunger Games], I’m going to skip dinner!” being re-posted all over Facebook by my skinny friends.

Here’s the thing. If I said I wanted to look like Katniss, I would bet money on the fact that a few people would tell me to eat less/skip dinner sometimes. She is not fat and I am tired of her being pushed to the body acceptance forefront when she is, in fact, an ideal hourglass shape. Also, the “I eat like a caveman” part really stuck with me because of the recent discussion here about thin girls saying they love candy/food getting very different responses than fat girls who say the same thing. Here, her supposed eating habits are celebrated; if a regular fat person said they ate like a caveman (even in the same light-hearted  tone), they would be opening themselves up to criticism. That is because she does have thin privilege. 

Are there actually any scientific studies that show that pain and higher weight are actually connected? Like proper peer reviewed stuff? All I can seem to find is a bunch of "obviously" and "everyone knows" statements. Where is the science?

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Logically, greater weight does put greater downward pressure on the joints. It’s just an effect of gravity, a mechanical wear-and-tear issue. However, that still doesn’t justify 1) denying treatment to fat people who experience pain 2) suggesting weight loss, which doesn’t work for a significant amount of weight in the long run, as a preventative measure.

Bodies wear out, some faster than other due to various reasons. Medical science is so backwards that instead of concentrating on cheaper, more effective, more reliable therapies/treatments for this wearing-out process, which are accessible to all bodies, the narrative is instead, “Just try to become one of those bodies that wears out the least quickly.” For most people it’s not possible to change your body that drastically, and for people with chronic diseases/injuries/etc that make them wear out faster, it’s patently silly. 

We are not in an age of medical enlightenment. The science of the body is still incredibly backwards. We are barely beginning to understand the genome. We know even less about preventative measures for largely hereditary traits. 

Here’s an article that talks about the relationship between osteoarthritis and weight:

It finds a correlation. The suggestion of weight loss before surgery at the end is, as noted for the reasons above, not one that I support. I also suggest that you check out the article’s references.

The problem here isn’t that some conditions  are correlated with higher weight. The problem is the 1) abysmal treatment of fat people by medical professionals, 2) the #1 go-to treatment of “weight loss first,” which can be incredibly harmful to patients who are in pain, especially, since it denies them the near-immediate relief that would be offered to them if they were thin, and is a measure with a stunning 5% success rate in the long term, 3) the slow-moving research on joint replacements that are stronger and lighter, and other treatments for fat people that don’t include “weight loss,” because giving fat people access to the same kind of treatments thin people get is considered to be “glorifying obesity” by the popular culture. 

There could be an economic reason that medical devices standardized for higher weights aren’t being made, but given that there’s a demand for these devices and they’re not even being made available at a higher price, there has to be more to the story. Perhaps the regulatory burden is too large, or the approval process is too cumbersome, or the market is not competitive enough. But those are structural issues that have nothing to do with the inherent economic viability or technological feasibility of making devices that are standardized for higher weights. 

The system is broken, not just a little, but fractured in many places. And fat people are bearing the brunt of the failures of a broken system, at least in this case. It’s not an uncommon story — underprivileged groups tend to bear the brunt of the social and structural problems of their time. The people in power don’t want to change the status quo, so they scapegoat a popular target so people don’t notice where the true problems lay.


Thin privilege is getting the “at least you’re not fat as well” speech from doctors.

I’m a naturally thin person who suffers joint pain and stiffness as a result of developmental hip dysplaysia (DDH). For the past six months or so I have also been underweight as a result of another medical condition.

Every time I see a doctor about my hip pain I get a little speech about how it will all be OK because I don’t weigh much so it won’t get worse as quickly as it would in a larger person. (I have no idea if this is true or not, it’s just something I get told a lot. Even if it is true, weight loss would not fix the underlying issue and treatment would still be needed.) Of all the doctors I have seen since being diagnosed, all but one have mentioned my weight in this context.

I also hear similar things from other people with my condition. Every time I’ve spoken to someone else with DDH in person they have either commented on my weight, or mentioned that doctors have commented on their weight.

I hate to think how this would play out for someone who is considered to be “too large” by doctors. It’s taken me twelve years to get even the promise of treatment and I wasn’t asked to do anything difficult or impossible before other options were considered. Good luck to anyone who has been asked to lose weight as a “treatment” for DDH or related conditions. I hope you find a doctor who takes you seriously and doesn’t get hung up on weight loss.

Thin privilege is going shopping for a wedding dress and not just receiving satisfactory customer service, but leaving with the dress of your dreams.

[tw: fat shaming, fat discrimination, fat hate]

I know it’s FML, but the way this woman was treated is nothing short of appalling. If you ctrl+f and search the username (DarthVerona) in the comments, you’ll see she responded to clarify some things, including the fact that the women just looked her up and down, didn’t even size her, before telling her nothing would fit her and asking her to leave. (Really, read the first comment she leaves, it’s heartbreaking.) She also said that she was just not going to buy a dress.

She is getting MARRIED, and she’s not getting a dress for it. Because those fat shaming bitches made her feel so bad about herself that she decided it would be best if she didn’t try to get one.

I am glad, however, that many of the comments were posted in outrage against the shop and support towards the woman. She just left another comment stating she called some other stores and is thinking of maybe making her own dress.

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.