This is Thin Privilege

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Before I lost 65 pounds, I wasn’t allowed to talk about food

About a year ago, I lost 65 pounds in rather drastic ways. When I was big, I couldn’t talk about being hungry or about loving food because I instinctively knew how people would perceive that. It’s like they look at you with ‘well that’s why you’re like this’ written all over their face. Like you should do everything but bring attention to your size and being honest about wanting to eat does that. Whereas guys love a ‘skinny girl’ that ‘likes to eat’ they find a ‘bigger girl’ that likes it too lazy and weak-minded, because she should obviously deprive herself of what she wants to be smaller.

Soon as I lost weight, I felt comfortable making jokes like ‘oh I’m craving an apple and maybe 5483 chicken wings’ and people found it funny or guys claimed to love how honest I was, or that I liked eating. But it’s not like I’ve forgotten anything. Those were the same guys that made me ashamed and sometimes paranoid about going for seconds, or even saying I was hungry. I’ve seen so many chubby girls that normally enjoy their food claim otherwise in public to appear thinner. It’s sad. The public perception of your size should not dictate what you’re allowed to enjoy, or your cravings and need. Because after all, what people forget is that even ‘fat people’ need to eat.

Thin privilege is being allowed to want to eat as much as you want, and whatever you want, without having your honesty about it regarded as a shameful taboo. 

I made a horrible mistake

[tw: fat shaming, diet and weight loss talk]

I recently moved back home for the summer where among my friends diet culture is pretty entrenched.  We’re all very good friends, and everyone is very caring - no one fat shames anyone else (most of us are at least smallish fat), no one passively aggressively suggests dieting to anyone.  Everyone is supportive of each other, whether they’re on a diet or not.  But dieting strangely served as a nice social bonding activity.  Me and one girlfriend would try out diets together, suggest tips and share stories, and I honestly found it fun back then.  Ultimately we never lost any weight, but it made me feel girly and normal to be trying to lose weight, I guess.

I moved away about a year ago, and got really into social justice and discovered this blog which changed my entire perspective on food and my body.  My focus now is just to get my disordered eating under control and figure out how to have a normal relationship with food.  But now I’m back for the summer in this dieting culture.  I often do things I’m not really into just to be social or get to hang out with friends.  Watched a football game with a friend and enjoyed her company and some beer.  Went out for karaoke and had a blast listening to my friends sing.  So I didn’t really think too much about it when these friends invited me to join a game called “DietBet.”  Basically you pay around $30 and if you lose 4% of your body weight, you win some more money.  I now felt pretty impervious to any diet schemes and knew from the beginning I wouldn’t be anywhere near capable of losing 4% of my weight.  With that in mind, I thought I would join just to be social and have fun, and maybe I could be a good, fat activist influence on my friends.  And then I got this email on the first day of the game:

Yes, looking at myself is just so painful.  Every time I pass a mirror or an old photograph I get these awful piercing cramps that can only be explained by the pain of my fat.  It hurts me to even exist.

I just can’t even—  I should’ve known better.  And knowing this is the same email all of my beautiful, fat friends got makes me cringe.  I’ve requested my refund from the DietBet group, and I will never make such a naive mistake again.

[TW: Weight loss]

I’ve lost 7% of my bodyweight in the past month due to malnutrition- my pay got cut recently and I’ve barely been able to afford food, and it’s even more difficult because of my allergies. 

All my friends have been telling me is how good I look, asking what my secret is, and congratulating me. None of them have made note of the fact that my hair is significantly thinner, or that I can barely stomach anything more than a cookie. Nope, the only thing of significance, to any of them, is that I’ve lost weight. 

Oh, and as a bonus- the one friend to whom I confided in about my pay cut and the resulting lack of grocery money just said “Wow, so it’s a really cheap diet, too? You should share it with me, I need to lose a few pounds before my vacation.”

hey! I'm hoping I explain this properly, but if not, bear with me. I was thinking of an idea for a store where every girl is measured with measurements more like how men have it, with different sections of the store dedicated to those sizes. Like there's a short-skinny area where a certain point is your "perfect fit" and in either direction, it's looser or tighter depending on personal preference. My question is this: would that kind of separation make anyone uncomfortable?

Asked by
smoldemort

Thin privilege is being able to speak your mind without worrying that people will ridicule you for your weight because they don’t agree with you.

Earlier today, a girl that I am friends with on Facebook posted a picture set of screen grabs from the show “my 600 lb life”. (If you haven’t seen or heard of it, it’s a show that follows around  super obese people who have decided to undergo weight loss surgery. They’re followed for a year, pre and post-op) The screen grabs were from a particularly controversial episode in which a woman was bedridden and ended up making lots of excuses about why she was still eating like crap after surgery, and not walking, and not losing weight. 

Anyways, this girl on Facebook posted the link to the screen grabs and said “This is disgusting. Thanks to the ‘health at every size’ movement, these people think they’re healthy, too.” I immediately was angered by her comments and by the comments of the people who responded, chiming in with colorful language and derogatory comments. I started to formulate a response, saying that this woman CLEARLY doesn’t believe that she’s healthy, or else she wouldn’t have sought out this surgery in the first place, and then to respond to the comments of how thin privilege doesn’t exist, as I know firsthand that it most CERTAINLY does. 

I am not a thin person, if this hasn’t been made clear yet. I’m a size 26/28 in most clothes and i’ve been fat most of my life. I live the reality of watching thin privilege happen every day when people make comments about what I’m wearing or eating, when my doctors refuse to treat me and just tell me to lose weight. I know this exists because I live it. 

However, my profile picture is a photo of me and my beautiful best friend at her baby shower, and it’s a full body picture of the two of us, where you can clearly see what my body looks like. So instead of stating my opinions, I just decided not to say anything, knowing that no matter what I said, the response back would always be something to the tune of “just another disgruntled fatty. Lose some weight, fat ass!” I know that may sound silly, but it’s what happened. I’m just so used to shame, and it hurts.

Thin privilege is not being afraid that your Facebook profile picture will undermine your values and opinions. 

TW Eating Disorders, Body Policing

Thin Privelege is working really hard and overcoming an eating disorder, one which your mother KNEW about, and yet, when you put on some weight your mother says you’re out of control.

I’m a US size 6 now.  I’ve probably put on about 45 lbs in the 2 years since I decided to stop being sick (after being hospitalized for it).  

Side note: I’d like to thank this blog…. You make me feel like I’m doing the right thing trying to beat this, and you’re helping me to not listen to my mom.  To accept my body.  Thank you.  It’s helping me to be less sad and mean to myself. 

Thin Privilege is not feeling obligated to risk your mental health to please your parents

   [TW: abuse, eating disorders, weight loss, body policing]

Hi, I recently found this blog, and I wanted to share something that happened to me.

   I’ll start off by saying that I’ve always been big. I’ve always been tall for my age and I am fairly stocky and muscular despite my height; I’m a big girl in pretty much every sense of the phrase. When I was about 11 years old, my parents separated. The divorce that followed was tumultuous, messy, and something no 11 year old should have to go through. This caused me a lot of grief and stress, so I took comfort in food. Middle school was when I started gaining a lot of weight, and I hated my body as a result. I would daydream about waking up one morning and realizing that all the fat had disappeared overnight, and now I was skinny and pretty like the other, more petite, girls. But this never happened; I have been chubby ever since.

   Once I got to high school, I started to accept my body a little more. I decided that, unless my weight was directly affecting my health, there is no reason to worry about it. I was much happier after I adopted this attitude, and I felt like I had finally made peace with my body.

   However, this didn’t last for long. In the spring of my sophomore year, I was 5’9”, 15 years old, and weighed 196 lbs. I felt fine and I wasn’t experiencing any health problems related to my weight. I was even on the swim and water polo teams at my school. But my (thin) parents suddenly decided that my weight was negatively affecting my health and making me feel like crap, even though I had never even mentioned my weight to them. They sat me down in this weird intervention and told me they were going to put me on a dieting program. They said they were concerned about my health and they told me I would feel much better once I lost weight. I didn’t want to do it, but being reminded of the years of hating my body made it so all I could do was cry and reluctantly agree to it. Looking back, the whole thing involved a lot of manipulation and coercion, despite their good intentions.

   We went to the center for this weight loss program (it’s a well-known one, but I won’t say the name), and after weighing me and measuring my height, they determined (using BMI) that I needed to lose 46 lbs. Long story short, I ended up eating nothing but frozen microwave meals from this company for the better part of a year. I became miserable and depressed. I missed my dad’s home-cooked meals. I hated not being able to eat what everyone else was eating and I felt excluded. I began to hate my body again, too. When I stopped losing weight as rapidly as when I started and my weight plateaued, I felt like a failure. It didn’t help that I was also dealing with undiagnosed depression and anxiety at the time. People kept asking me if I felt any better after losing 20 pounds, but I didn’t feel any different physically, I just felt worse mentally. It got to a point where, after meals, I would think about going to the bathroom and forcing myself to vomit. I never actually did, fortunately, but I thought about it all the time. It scared me.

   About 8 months in, my dad told me he could no longer afford to buy the planned meals anymore, and I stopped the program. This may have been true, but I think he also sensed how unhappy I was. I am now going on 17, I have not been on a diet since, and I am so much happier. Since then, I sought treatment for my mental problems and am learning to accept my body again. I’ve probably gained all the weight back, but I don’t care. I much prefer the feeling of being able to order a milkshake unapologetically and without feeling like a sinner (This is partially thanks to the body positive movement on tumblr. And people say “sjw’s” don’t accomplish anything…). I’ve realized the diet programs are bullshit and they profit off of people who have been taught by society that they won’t be loved or valued unless they are skinny. My problems haven’t disappeared, but leaving the toxic “dieting culture” behind was a great, big step in the right direction. However, it still makes me fucking livid that I was pressured into doing it in the first place, by people who care about me.

i don't know if you want to keep this private but i actually lost a whole bunch of friends because of being fat and trying to build up fat people; someone insinuated i said rude things about thin people then someone called out that person and their privilege and now everyone kinda hates me?? i think that's a good way to explain thin privilege because thin approval is more important to people than fat safety or comfortability

Asked by
freakishfrollic

So I don’t really think this is thin privellege but I know your followers are used to getting hate for their size and was wondering if they could help me

Just to paint the scene. . 
I’m an ”average” sized girl 5 foot and slim I suppose.
My boyfriend is a big guy… like 6’4 and over 300lbs. 
I of course find him attractive and awesome, but people are always making fun of him even to his face and I’m not sure how to handle it.
My own parents call him ”tubby” when he’s around, I know he laughs along but I’ve asked them not to.
It seems like everyone who meets us wants to make comments about our relationship based purely off his weight, and I know you probably think I’m just being whiney but it actually does upset him. 
My friend out right asked me ”so do you have a fetish for fatties or something”, and she couldn’t seem to understand that I genuinely found him attractive and loved his personality without it being a fetish.
He recently told me he wants to go on a diet, I asked why and his reason was because he is sick of other people laughing at his weight, other people trying to flirt with me and talk down to him.
He’s genuinely the best guy I’ve ever ever ever ever ever had. Everytime someone says something I ask them not to but damn nobody ever f*cking listens.  I don’t know what to say anymore.

I don’t want my guy to change because other people make him feel like he is the problem when the fact of the matter is THEY are the problem making him feel like crap.

So anyway I’m not even sure if my question is how can I make him feel more comfortable or if I just need some sassy come-backs when people are being horrible… I don’t know, I just hate seeing him being miserable because other people think they’re better.

This is my first time posting something like this, so hopefully I’m doing it right! Anyway, I’m not really “fat” myself  (my BMI is about a 26), but I am against body-shaming and I truly believe in loving people for who they are and not judging people based on how they look.  However, I have some friends who are not like this and I see how thin privilege and fat-shaming really plays out.  It is plain bigotry.  Anyway, I tend to find that guys my own size or guys who are super thin often are too much for me too handle because I can constantly read what is going on in their minds.  One day while I was at work this guy came in, who I am now dating, (let’s call him Bill) comes in.  Immediately I was attracted to him.  He’s larger.  However, he’s also really smart.  He’s interested in many of the same things I am.  He’s a true gentleman.  He’s mysterious.  And he definitely knows how to treat a lady.  However, dating him we have faced such discrimination.  I’ve been called a “chubby chaser.”  My friends always make comments about how “He must have a lot of money.” I’ve even gotten comments from some real assholes about how we should not be allowed to marry because of the risk of reproduction.  I can be myself with him and he can be himself with me. I feel beautiful and loved and as if he would do anything for me.  

This is just the stuff my “friends” and “family” say to me.  When we are out in public I see strangers stare.

Thin privilege is getting to be a couple without question.

I've done searches and looked around, but I haven't found anything to help that isn't tinged with fatphobia (sometimes Google sucks). Do you know of any good resources to help a thin person with zero experience of fatphobia write a fat character in a novel? The heroine of my novel's fat and I really, really don't want to fuck it up.

Asked by
sergeant-thundershield

I had a post about this a while ago

Basically, every character has three considerations: Internal motivation, history, and present context. A person who has been oppressed and/or discriminated against might find each of those considerations affected by her oppression.

Her internal motivation (what are her goals? What makes her act, love, run, sit, dream?) might be skewed because she has been told she can’t or shouldn’t do certain things, or that she should value passing and gaining privilege more than the goals that privileged people get to have. You need to determine how (or how not) and why her internal motivation has been changed due to her membership in an oppressed group.

Her history has certainly been affected, which itself might be the reason her internal motivation was changed. Build that history. Has she been sheltered from fatphobia and only when, say, entering college experienced it? How did that affect her? Was she bullied for her weight her whole life, and to what extent? 

And finally, there’s the present context. What kind of fatphobia does she have to deal with (or not) now? Why? Who leans on her the hardest, and to what extent is damage being inflicted upon her? 

Now, it might sound like in order to write a fat character you have to make her fatness the focal point, but that’s not what I’m saying here. Maybe she’s an opera singer, and her unusual voice and style is the focal point. Maybe her fatness won’t even come up in the narrative but a few times. But don’t make her the fat unicorn who has never come across any fatphobia or is blithely unaffected by it — it’s unrealistic and will make the character ring hollow to a reader. Perhaps her story is one of aftermath, occurring after she’s come to terms with how her fatness is denigrated by the culture. Perhaps she comes from a culture that does not denigrate fatness and has been newly placed in one that does. Whatever her context, she deserves one, as any character who is a member of an oppressed group deserves one. 

I hope this helps somewhat.

-ArteToLife

Blog/moderator updates, and a note on submissions

Hi all,

I just wanted to note that those of you who have noticed that TITP isn’t taking submissions at the moment are correct — we aren’t. 

Why this is: Mainly, because the moderators are too busy at the moment. I’m starting a PhD program, and the other mods are also too busy to carry the moderation load without all three of us chipping in a significant amount.

It actually takes a lot of time and emotional resources to moderate TITP. We get a lot of stories here that cut right to the quick of the fatphobia in people’s lives, stories about trauma, death, and persecution. Often these stories are long — which isn’t a bad thing, a story is the length it has to be, as writers like to say — but which necessitates some serious time to moderate them. Answering questions and making original posts takes longer. And when there are trollwaves even tangentially related to fat issues, we usually get blowback spam that takes some time to kill. 

We’re still publishing posts, but of submissions that were sent in quite a while ago. We will certainly open to submissions again sometime in the future, but it is unclear as it stands when that will be. 

Thanks for reading, and for making this blog what it is today. 

ArteToLife

Don’t forget I’m too busy writing my thesis after collecting all the troll messages we got from May of 2013-2014! The trollwaves are being utilized. :)

FBP

My Apologies

First, I want to start off by saying that I was raised by two parents who are both in the medical field. My dad is a doctor while my mother is a nurse. I was brought up to believe that fat = unhealthy and that somehow being thin makes a person better than a fat person. 

I know now that is no longer the case. For months I have constantly stalked this blog and read through so many pages of posts that I am now beginning to understand and accept that it’s not okay to shame someone because they are bigger. Coming from a few years ago this is a huge step for me and now I cannot help but admire this blog. It causes me to think about an idea that I never truly thought of before. 

This blog as helped me accept other people’s bodies whether they choose to be fat or not. Thank you so much for opening my eyes.