113 posts tagged advice
Thin privilege is not being told by your boyfriend that you’re callous and bitter because you think pretty girls have it easier. Thin privilege is not being told how difficult life is when you’re so thin and pretty that you’re literally “harassed” every time you go out in public by men who want to get to know you. Thin privilege is never hearing your own boyfriend tell you “You don’t discriminate against essentially anyone, but now you won’t sympathize with thin/pretty woman? Don’t be a hypocrite”. Thin privilege is never being told you don’t have the right to be unfriendly to strangers, because they aren’t talking to you because of your looks anyways so shut the fuck up and be nice.
(Reconsidering my relationship)(Mod note: this post highlights sexism and male entitlement. It’s important to remember that while thin women may have some things easier in life than fat women, all women face male entitlement, sexism and varying forms of sexual harassment. - Fatanarchy)
Personally — I think the decision whether to remain friends with this person and take on their education regarding fat issues (including myth-busting fatness and health) and the inevitable conversation about healthism, is entirely up to you. It’s no small task, to be sure.
In my personal experience, I’ve found the vast majority of people who care about me know when to stop grinding their axes. But there is the occasional person who won’t listen and/or will continue to thrust forward their backward thinking about size and health like they’re getting paid to regurgitate anti-fat propaganda.
And here’s something I’ve noticed: most of the people who just won’t let the matter drop have been or currently are in some way invested in healthism or the inferiority of fatness. They tend to be former fat people, currently dieting fat people, or self-loathing fat people; naturally thin people who believe all fat people must be engaging in certain ‘bad’ behaviors because if they can eat a whole pizza and not gain weight, then fat people must be eating two whole pizzas (these thin folks tend not to know many fat people intimately, and generally don’t have much imagination); fitspo-ish folks who believe that thin privilege is earned and therefore the discrimination fat folks face is deserved.
If you’re willing to put up with being the friend that educates a fatphobe, that’s totally up to whether you think this person is worth it, and whether there’s some hope they might eventually respond positively to what you’re saying.
I generally don’t find these kinds of interactions worthwhile. I engaged in them a lot when I was first coming into fat acceptance, both in RL and online, and it proved to be more frustrating than anything else. I found out that my real friends stuck with me after I gained weight, and my superficial friends dropped away. It sucks, and I’m still mourning some of those lost friendships, but I’ve also made a shit-ton new friends who ‘get’ fat acceptance and who value the entire package that is ‘me,’ inside and out. And cultivating those kinds of friendships is much more rewarding, IMHO.
(I don’t know if you’re fat or not, of course, but even if you’re a thin ally you obviously wouldn’t want to put up with a fatphobe unless you think they’ll eventually come around)
Maybe other TITP readers might have their own suggestions/advice. And I’m sorry you’ve peeled off your friend’s mask and found a fatphobe underneath, as it were. It’s even more shocking from someone who seems otherwise ‘with-it.’ It’s like when I encounter folks who believe in freedom of everything, except, oddly, freedom to be whatever size you are. I get this little mental jolt, like sucking on a brain-sourball. Brrrrr.
Thin privilege is not, when eating your only hot meal of the day due to a busy theatre rehearsal schedule and an early start having your request for seconds be followed by an in depth plan for your workouts the following week, (coming from a mother who knows you have 5 day a week varsity sports practices)
[tw: thoughts of self harm]
I have always been the fat kid in the family. My mom is a very small woman who after having three children was much larger, and dieted down to her pre-pregnancy weight when I was really young. Both of my sisters took after her side of the family – thin, small, conventionally pretty. My mother completely bought into the fat = bad mentality, so she always pressured me to “watch what I ate” and later, to lose weight. I don’t resent my mom for what she did; at the time, I too was desperate to lose weight, and was completely on board with her. I used to lie in bed and fantasize about just taking a pair of scissors and chopping my fat off. I did Weight Watchers, fad diets, exercise regimens, all under the age of 20. I felt very out of place and resentful – even under the healthist, fat = bad mentality, I always realized that if I wanted to be even half the size I was, not even society’s ideal, I’d have to diet indefinitely. How profoundly unfair, that vagaries of genetics would condemn me to a fate of rigorous dieting and intense exercise for the rest of my life!
Then, I discovered the FA movement. At first I was very skeptical – although I am much larger than my mother and sisters, I’m really more of an in-betweenie, and so I still had a ton of fatphobic baggage to wade through. However, what really decided me was reading the research, looking through this blog especially, that made me realize there’s no reason for me to diet forever. Even keeping health a personal priority – and I mean health quite outside healthist standards of muscle tone and body shape – there was no need to actively try and reduce my weight. And so I stopped. I stopped berating myself for having dessert. I stopped beating myself up about not going to the gym. And I’m trying to stop seeing my body as ugly and gross, and to stop judging other people’s bodies too.
Stopping dieting was easy; the thought patterns are a lot harder. I fit pretty tidily into the stereotype, since I love food, especially sweets, and dislike most kinds of exercise, so I always sort of accepted that the stereotypes were true. It’s taking a lot of work to work my brain around to a better way of thinking. But I’m doing it, and I’m challenging myself, and it’s good. It’s really good.
~~~This story has been a part of This is Thin Privilege’s International No Diet Day Celebration~~~
First, THANK YOU to the mods for sharing these stories, and dealing with the shitstain trolls. This blog has made me reflect on my very real thin privilege and what others have to go through. It has made me a better person.
There are lots of people I care about in my family that don’t share my privilege, one of them being my wonderful stepmom.
From middle school to college, my stepmom was an elite gymnast. Back in the 80’s (and probably still today), you were only considered serious about your elite training if you maintained that familiar, waifish figure of Olympic gymnasts. You know, the one where you don’t get your period for years after other girls. When she was 15, her gym brought in two coaches from West Germany who made life even more hellish. Because she was 3 or 4 pounds over 100, the coaches deemed her “the chubster” and made her run laps around the gym for the five-hour practice every day instead of letting her work on her routines. Their weight-loss advice? “Don’t eat.”
Naturally, being a teenager listening to adults who should know better, and of course wanting to DO the sport she loved, she took that advice.
My stepmom didn’t compete professionally after college (she was on American Gladiators though! Pretty rad), but went on to a sweet sports agent gig. Now she supports our family running a business teaching gymnastics to kids in daycare whose parents don’t have time or patience for those dumb gyms.
She has also gained more than enough weight to dispel her thin privilege. Dieting really adversely affects her mental health, because it brings her back to those ED days where adults she trusted just EXPECTED her to eat nothing. But she is extremely active, and of course her job has her spotting kids’ flips on the daily. She’s always the one encouraging ME to get off my lazy ass and go walking outside with her.
It’s just not fair. It’s not fair that people will look at her and assume she is sedentary or undisciplined, when she is one of the toughest people I know. It’s not fair that she is beautiful and takes pride in how she looks, and yet we have to search FOREVER to find cute clothes for her, because some bullshit designers decide that bodies shouldn’t be her size. It’s not fair that her prior athleticism has blown out her knees, but people will judge her for taking the elevator. She cooks my brother and I delicious healthy dinners, but people will probably assume she is eating something “wrong.” She is not.
I love my stepmom. She never talks about undergoing fat discrimination, never protests at the indignity of it all, but seeing the shit posted on here everyday — I know she has every right to do so. She has taught me an important lesson: judging someone based on their appearance is completely fucking stupid, because odds are, you don’t know half of their story.
~~~This story has been a part of This is Thin Privilege’s International No Diet Day Celebration. Want to submit your story? Details in this post.~~~
I remember this one time in my French class there was a couple of boys sitting around me. The one right of me begins his conversation with how much he hated fat people because it shows “how lazy they are and how they’re unwilling to workout to get in shape.” But he tells the boy that sits behind that he likes him because he’s “fat in an athletic way.”
It pains me to go to school to here these conversations that some of kids have because of how much they judge people just how they look. I sometimes don’t even want to go to school because I’m afraid of how people will judge me.
While I was watching some documentaries on Netflix I came across one about online dating. It started off being silly and funny like I thought it would be… Then it was switching stories and quoted “According to a recent survey… When meting someone from an online dating site, women fear meeting a serial killer.. Men fear meting someone fat.”
It left me thinking, as a fat chick myself, that I shouldn’t have to “warn” someone I am fat. But not talking honestly or at all about my body type would be misleading and could possibly attract the wrong type of person.
I was in shock over this. So I decided to put it out there for discussion.
Much love <3
Absolutely. I know exactly what you mean. And it doesn’t just cover dating- I am in the process of finding a band to sing for (or due to this issue, starting my own) and when meeting people online to discuss music tastes and talents, I know that I have to tell them that I am fat up front because there is a high likelihood that my body size and not my experience, study or talent will impact a groups choice to include me. -Fatanarchy
ATL • TITP
My first successful podcast? You decide. I take on the question of what to do as a thin person when your fat friend loathes themselves for being fat.
Sorry for the sound quality. And my many tangents.
My husband is 350 lbs. I am about 350 as well (I’ve lost a lot recently with morning sickness in early pregnancy) and and I feel like we have better sex than the rest of the world sometimes. I just got pregnant literally two days after taking my IUD out. But I digress.
My husband’s penis is a bit larger, but not by much.We’ve been having penetrative sex since date one. I remember on that date I hung off of the bed and he held my legs up. He is 6’4” which does help. But we can have sex in every position except both standing up. I just wanted the poster to know it works.
With him on top, my feet are usually on his shoulders.
Me on top, I sit up straight or lean back.
And from behind is literally effortless.
I think with the manuals our mod posted, and some practice, you can really get it to it. I’ve been sleeping with my husband for ten years and we’re on our second child. And I have a very happy sex life. So don’t lose hope!
Hi guys! Just to clear up any confusion Dr. Abigail Saguy isn’t a medical professional, she is a Sociologist at UCLA. Please watch the video before sharing it, trolls will be quick to say things like “she’s not a real doctor blah blah fartsounds” I’ve seen a few of my facebook friends being attacked after posting this video because they described the video as “Doctor stands up to fat shaming” while she is a doctor the mouthbreathers will call it misleading and discount her message entirely.
Mod note: Thanks for writing in, but Dr. Saguy doesn’t present herself as a medical professional in any way. And yes, you are “a real doctor” if you get your PhD. Haters are gonna hate, but seriously, “she’s not a real doctor” is a non-argument and I’m not going to give it any credence or warn my followers to change their behavior in any way because of trolls. Dr. Saguy is a brilliant researcher and was on top of how the obesity epidemic is a moral panic YEARS ago. She knows her shit. -ATL
Thin privilege is giving weight loss advice whenever someone mentions that they are fat, even if the fat person’s fatness is relevant to the conversation, which is not about weight loss at all. Thin privilege is assuming that 1) everyone who is fat does/should want to become thin, 2) anyone who is mentioning that they are fat is lamenting that fact, and 3) if someone is fat, their body is enough of your business that it is okay for you to, without being asked, comment on it and tell them how to make it different.
[tw: abuse, eating disorders]
This isn’t an example of thin privilege, but rather an account of how my experience has absolutely confirmed that thin privilege is indeed privilege in the sense that it is UNEARNED. I think this aspect of it is what a lot of people in our culture have a hard time getting through their heads.
I’ve always been fat (not very fat, but definitely fat). I can remember counting calories back in elementary school, and hating myself when I went over 1,000. 1,000 seemed like the biggest number in the world to fourth-grade me. I remember the summer before eighth grade, I lived off tomato soup and turkey sandwiches with exactly one slice of cheese. I remember returning from vacation with my parents after my sophomore year of high school, and them telling me that if I didn’t lose weight, I couldn’t go with them to Cancun the next summer. I remember senior year of high school, after I was accepted to the college of my dreams, all I could think about was that I had to be thin before I moved into my dorm. I remember fasting, and being guilty if I ate 500 calories for the entire DAY.
Where has all that gotten me? Thinner, yes (but still fatter than my younger sister, by the way, who was raised by the exact same parents and fed the exact same food that I was). Maybe I look a little more “acceptable” by society now than I did before I started restricting food, but I feel as though my body is rubber band that I have to keep stretched. If I relax my grip even a little, I will snap back to where I started (in fact, I have already experienced this snapping back action repeatedly, and re-lost weight several times throughout my life). Because where I started is my NATURAL shape. Right now I cycle between dieting/restricting, and bingeing/purging. It depends on the month, the week, or sometimes even the day. THAT is how I maintain this body. Nobody should want this. The reality is, our bodies will do almost ANYTHING to stay within a certain weight range, and the only way to combat this is through ABNORMAL, OBSESSIVE, DISORDERED, AND HARMFUL eating patterns. This is what it takes to “earn” thinness if you’re not naturally thin, and it is absurd that our culture oppresses people who don’t choose to engage in the aforementioned unhealthy eating behaviors. Fat did not cause my eating disorder/mental illness, society’s expectations of me did.
I would give anything to have a healthy relationship with food. I want to be able to eat what I want, when I want, simply because I want it, just like NATURALLY THIN PEOPLE DO, without feeling the urge to stick my fingers down my throat afterwards. I want to return to the size my body knows it SHOULD be without facing bouts of depression and anxiety. I wish I could let go and just live my life, but I’m slowly realizing that changing the way my brain works will be a lifelong struggle.
No, thin people do not earn their bodies, and fat people do not earn theirs. Our bodies know what size they want to be, what size is healthiest for them. It is grossly unjust that some people who simply follow their body’s cues are highly valued, while others who do the exact same are shamed and made to feel inferior. It is disgusting that society requires the latter to change their bodies when doing so is unnatural for them and largely impossible, unless you want to take me for example, someone with a severe mental illness who would give anything to go back and do everything differently.
My mom is using crutches right now, and everyone just assumes that it’s because she’s fat, not because she just had a knee surgery. Therefore people give her diet-tips even though she has a really bad eating disorder.
Thin privilege is my mom telling me to join Overeater’s Anonymous to lose weight, even though she has (multiple times) remarked that I eat less and exercise more and more intensely than she does.
Thin privilege is also saying that having someone track my eating obsessively and judge me what I eat would help me, even though I have told my mom that I’m on the edge of an eating disorder and my relationship with food is screwed up enough as it is.
Thin privilege is my mom never considering my exercise “good” for me, because I’m not skinny. If a skinny girl does the same things I do less intensely or with worse form, she tells me to imitate that girl, even if I explain what the girl is doing wrong (generally, something that would endanger my already-bad knees and possibly completely ruin them).
I’m going to open with the moral we’ve all heard a thousand times just to drive the point home: Do not let doctors ignore other possible explanations for a health problem and send you home with a prescription to lose weight. Countless doctors made me feel (1) bullied into losing weight and hoping the problem went away or (2) shame about going to the doctor’s office in the first place. Or maybe a better moral is: Do not be discouraged by fat discriminating doctors; search tirelessly for a professional that will give you adequate treatment.
12 or so years ago I was over 320 pounds and I developed sciatica. Over the next 4 to 5 years it got worse and worse and worse (even as my weight fell to about 270). The pain was agonizing. I could barely sleep, and during that time, I slept in a chair. Night after night. It was the only position my body could take and even then, during flare-ups, nights were often terrible for weeks at a time. Back then, I had medical coverage that required me to go to a GP first before I got sent for anything else. I would go to a new GP every season, and each time the response was the same: “Lose weight.”
Around 2006, I lost about 40 pounds quickly and then over the years I’ve continued to lose weight at a fairly slow but steady pace.
The sciatica eased, so I too believed that my weight was the culprit. But then other problems turned up. I would get burning sensations in my lumbar. Numbness in my fingers. Stiffness in my neck. Walking was always a little bit uncomfortable. But this wasn’t pain that would keep me up many nights, and now I could sleep in a bed (but I was tired all the time). So I avoided the doctors visits… over the years (having always been fat), I had come to associate doctors visits with feeling shamed and embarrassed. I avoided them whenever possible (I don’t remember the last time I had a checkup). But still, something was definitely wrong and in 2009, I went to my grad school health clinic. The doctor, looked at me (around 225 or so then) with an expression of disgust as I explained my symptoms. “You carry a lot of excess weight on your frame.” But this one at least prescribed some physical therapy. 10 weeks worth. (The physical therapist was so freaked out by how hard the muscles in my neck were, she would yell “Oh my god. Oh my GOD!” as she massaged me.) The 10 weeks of PT ran out without much improvement and I didn’t dare return to the doctor for this problem.
Today, I weigh 195 and I have barely any rotation in my neck (like I can’t turn and look at something without turning my whole body) with a seriously ugly case of “forward neck”. My neck and shoulders muscles are in a constant state of pain and tenderness. I can’t really bend over. I walk with a terrible limp. I went to an orthopedic surgeon last week (no GP screener for me! Thank you, Job.) who looked at my neck and immediately ordered scans. Turns out I have a ton of “calcification” on the joints in my spine (i.e. bones are growing on my spine where they aren’t suppose to). She ordered an immediate visit to a rheumatologist and physical therapy visits 3 times/week for a month at least.
I went to the rheumatologist and was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition (genetic) that has absolutely 0% to do with my weight. The progression is so bad, he tells me, that I probably was presenting with symptoms when I hit puberty.
If I had gotten the treatment I needed 12 years ago, I wouldn’t have a spine that is fused in multiple places today. In fact, my life would have been pretty normal, but for daily meds. Instead, I get to work with a physical therapist for an extended period of time to improve muscle strength to ease the pain… but 6 of the 7 bones in my neck are fused in one position (never mind the rest of my spine). No amount of massaging or weight training is going undo that.
Yes, thin privilege/fat discrimination is real. But more importantly, FAT PEOPLE, DO NOT LET SHAME OR DISCOURAGEMENT FROM DOCTORS STOP YOU FROM RECEIVING THE TREATMENT YOU NEED. Go to different doctors tirelessly until you find someone that will examine all possible explanations. You owe it to yourself to find someone that’s willing to do their job regardless of how you look.