This is Thin Privilege

Scroll to Info & Navigation

This blog seems to have an adverse effect on me. When I peruse it, all I can see is what I'm missing. It inspires me to change the body I have in order to get thin privilege because I'm tired of not feeling good enough for the world. Can you help me?

Asked by

Perhaps it would help you to realize that thin privilege is not a good thing, it’s a bad thing: it’s the flip side of fat discrimination.

Those who seek to participate in the system and glorify in thin privilege are actively exacerbating fat discrimination. Fat or thin should be considered neutral descriptions of your body. When fat bodies are considered inferior to thin bodies, then privilege and oppression arise. By saying you want to change your body to gain thin privilege, you’re saying that you support the oppression of others (which is what makes privilege possible).

Profiting from privilege = profiting from oppression. You can’t have one without the other.

You have to understand that by privilege I mean unearned advantages. (We’ve debunked the myth of earning thinness several times on this blog.) Obviously if you create something and enjoy it, and are privileged in that you have it and others don’t, you’re not necessarily oppressing anyone. Privilege in the social justice sense is tied to systemic, institutionalized oppression — that’s state, private, and societal institutions.

Sure, many people covet privilege. I passed as thin for ten very formative years of my life, from ages 15 - 25. I miss how much easier it was to move through society in a thin body. How institutions on all levels favored thinness — from dating, to getting on a plane, to shopping, to applying for a job, to getting decent healthcare, to just being plain taken seriously. But coveting basic human decency and respect isn’t the same as knowingly using a system of oppression in order to gain privilege over others. That should be the takeaway from this.