This is Thin Privilege

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I really like the Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire) series. Currently, I’m on page 100 something of the second book. It has its issues, but I really do like it, as I haven’t liked a series in a while. However, the fat-shaming that goes on in these books makes me sick. I have yet to find a character who was not made less of a person for being fat.

A character, named Samwell, is called ~grossly fat~ many a time and is made to be the reason that he is not a fierce warrior or brave. It couldn’t possibly be that he just prefers knowledge over killing and was coddled by his mother—he’s just too fat to be worth anything. And, although he is given the same portions as everyone else to eat and walks up and down the same ridiculous amount of stairs as everyone else, he is seen desperately huffing for air at the end of them, while others magically are breathing as though they were just sitting (which is fucking bullshit).

The fucking king of the realm, Richard, who was once a mighty warrior is portrayed as an irresponsible drunkard, but only because he’s fat. And, he let himself go. If he were ~super fit~ (aka not fat) like days of old, he would be an awesome king.

A character named Lord Janos, who is fat, is not a good man, but of course it’s made worse because of his size; he is seen as a disgusting social climber, but not describing how extra villainous he is for daring to be fat. His sons, who you really know nothing about, are made fun of and called worthless because they are fat. Because, obviously the only reason you can’t fight or be fit or ride a horse is if you’re fat (it seems to be a trend).

Another character, a woman, you never even meet. Littlefinger constantly mocks her and waxes on committing suicide and other drastic things than go have dinner with her and her mother. Because, surprise, fucking surprise, she’s fat and how tragic it is that’s she’s fat, how dare she. Actually, any woman in the book who is fat is treated horrendously. And, there has yet to be any fat woman character that has any significance. (fatphobia and sexism all in one go!)

Even characters who can battle or do things just as well as thin characters are mocked for their size and claimed unattractive for it.

It just really makes me sad and frustrated and angry that I can’t have one character with a body size similar to mine in a book I like without them being portrayed as awful people just for that.

Thin privilege is being able to immerse yourself in a fantasy book and have characters you can relate to. Having characters you can admire. Have your body type looked upon as beautiful. Having your body type not even really brought up, because a thin character is more than their body type—because a thin body ~is a good body but fat isn’t~—and thin characters can be deep, multilayered  people.

Thin privilege is not having to seriously think about dropping a book series because of the ridiculous amount of shaming and hate on your body type.

(mod note: I just wanted to mention that there’s intersectionality here, in that PoC are also woefully underrepresented in fictional fantasy worlds, and women are regularly shifted to secondary or stereotypical roles -ATL)

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Notes

  1. sailorshadow reblogged this from sugarkat
  2. etooz said: I agree with most of what you’re saying, but Samwell is actually developed pretty well as the series progresses. He’s a favorite of mine.
  3. everythingrhymeswithalcohol reblogged this from sugarkat and added:
    YES! I was wondering…how does he feel about himself?
  4. sugarkat reblogged this from everythingrhymeswithalcohol and added:
    This is George R. R. Martin: He’s not exactly a slender fellow. Which makes one wonder what’s going on in his head. He’s...
  5. missatomiccake said: Sad considering both the author and the author’s wife are fat. You think they’d be more understanding of what it’s like to be fat.
  6. miscellanii said: Really, I can agree with the other points (just note that the king’s name is Robert, not Richard), but Sam’s character isn’t all about being fat. Maybe it’s brought up more than it needs to be, but there’s more to him.
  7. locsgirl said: The fat bashing is in the TV show, too. Now, I love the TV show, but at the same time I cringe at the sexism and fat bashing in it.
  8. apollostowel said: Yes, but Samwell is a true loyal friend, and he sees himself as a coward, but he really is brave. It takes bravery to stand up to Jon Snow and tell him he’s wrong. It takes bravery to convince others to do the right thing. No, Sam is actually brave.
  9. gypsie-rose-lee said: Well in fact in asoiaf books what may be taken for sexism or discrimination is a way to denounce. Characters are often made fun or ridiculize for their sex or shape but Martin always show how wrong the society is for treating them like that