This is Thin Privilege

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The echo chamber of hate; or, that Les Miz post.



Thin privilege is being able to see people of your own body type in Les Miserables.

Like, really. It’s my favorite musical, but there was not one single even remotely overweight person in the whole movie. 


Bullshit. The reason there were no fat people in the film wasn’t because “everyone in Les Miz was starving and/or had TB!”

For your perusal, here’s selection of illustrations from the book that include fat or chubby people:

The Comforter

Friends of the A B C

The Paving-Stone


The Bishop and the Convict

I urge you to look through the illustrations yourself here

So why has the schoolyard-violent text on this image, based on a wrongheaded assumption about the composition of body sizes appearing in Les Miserables, been reblogged thousands of times?

In my opinion, the popularity of this stupid, bullying, and incorrect image has nothing to do with the righteous anger of people who just can’t believe that starving people can also be fat (which displays a remarkable misunderstanding of the human metabolism and the biological responses to famine). Even though not everyone in Les Miz was starving, or a peasant (teenfeminist points out that Fantine was the only major character that was starving throughout the film). And there was at least one character (Madame Thénardier) who was specifically written to be fat and wasn’t portrayed as such in the movie.

This photo has nothing to do with “how dare fat folks not understand that everyone was bone-thin and consumptive during the French Revolution*,” and how terrible must “those whiny fatties” be for ignoring true problems like hunger and war in favor of their “petty fatty problems.” I’m sure no more than a handful of people who have reblogged this photo give a honest shit about that.

What the mass reblogging of this image is about is how angry people are when fat people demand any space in a society that hates them.

The real message on this image should be: “How dare you speak up against not being included TV and movies (even when someone with your body size is written in as a character)? How dare you remind me that fat people exist, the fat people I hate so much I wish I never had to see one again? I want to punch you for that, fucking fat ass shit rag!” 

I can see this schoolyard-violent image being reblogged a few hundred times if it was really just mocking a perceived misunderstanding of the history and social composition of the French Revolution Paris Uprising of 1832*. Maybe. That’s a stretch, though.

But the reason this has been reblogged thousands of times has nothing to do with how hilarious it is that someone has apparently misunderstood the social composition of the Paris Uprising of 1832 (which of course, isn’t hilarious, even if true).

The reason this has been reblogged thousands of times is that a fat person is daring to speak up against being made to feel invisible in the modern culture, history, and even from a book in which a fat person was specifically written in as a character. 

Fat hate’s a powerful thing. And this image has proved that no matter the thousands of posts on This is Thin Privilege that have outlined the deep and broad oppression of fat people, fat haters will latch onto the tiniest bit of perceived upper hand in the least important post of the lot in order to discredit the entire movement.

Because this isn’t about truth, or speaking up against a bunch of “whiny fatties on the internet.” This is about a society seeing through hate-drunk goggles only whatever apparently reinforces their disgust of and sense of superiority over fat people.


* a reader notes that Les Miserables took place during the Paris Uprising of 1832, (which was preceded by a period food shortages and crop failures), not the French Revolution.

(via paisleybee)


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