This is Thin Privilege

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On appropriation

So, you recognize that appropriating AAVE is problematic, yet have no issues marginalizing those groups with diagnosed PTSD by appropriating (and misusing) “trigger warning”? I mean, that is a slap in the face to those of us (fat or not) who have been victims of violent crime, been to combat zones, assaulted, etc and have diagnosed PTSD with actual triggers and flashbacks. Hearing someone talk about diets is NOT a trigger, it’s just something you don’t want to hear. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE. For the record, I’m smallfat, (5’9” 250) a combat veteran and a rape survivor. I get triggered by piles of garbage on the side of the road because insurgents would hide IEDs in piles of trash. On a convoy , we got hit and I lost 50% of hearing in my right ear…and my best friend. He bled to death with shrapnel in his neck. So yeah, garbage by the road is a huge fucking triggger . hearing someone say the war in iraq was a mistake, that’s not a trigger, just something i am offended by. there’s a difference and i think it’s quite insulting to misuse the terminology that we vets (and others) use to communicate with each other, about our experiences and in our subculture.


I’m thankful for the work you’ve done while in the service and I hope you are getting the help you deserve. That said, it is incredibly harmful for anyone to tell another person what is or isn’t triggering to them. To tell another person what experiences are “enough” to warrant PTSD, especially when the DSM now defines dealing with stigma as a root cause of PTSD and that there are varying degrees. You don’t get to decide what is enough to find something is triggering to another person. I don’t get to decide that either. What is really harmful is when people try to create acceptable reasons for struggling with mental health or disability and building barriers to others who aren’t “struggling enough.”

This is particularly true when you are ignoring that many eating disorders occur as the result of trauma, due to stigma and many normal experiences that fat people deal with. Chance of relapse is a real issue people deal with and seeing weight loss or fat shaming comments can make it worse.

Also, just because you are a fellow fat person does not mean your experience is the experience. It goes not negate the experiences of other fat people including the moderators of this blog.


PS. Appropriating AAVE is racist. You shouldn’t have used that as a jumping off point to talk about trigger warnings. Derailing is harmful.

Yesterday I had lots of carbs and calories. I felt completely digusted with myself so I downed 3 laxatives. I do it a lot and regret it. I wanted to know if you or anyone else as this problem or something similar? And what are some ways to deal?

Asked by

[trigger warning]

I think the important thing to remember is that food does not convey any moral value onto you. It’s just food. Eating more or less doesn’t make you a bad person deserving of punishment, or a good person deserving of rewards or the best things in life. 

Think of someone you consider a good person, who you would never call “disgusting.” An example for me is my mom. Now, imagine that person eats a heavier lunch than usual. Are they now “disgusting,” or do you consider them as awesome as you did before? 

One of the hardest things I learned in my recovery from an eating disorder and trauma after an abusive relationship is that the person I need to esteem the most in my life is myself, and that esteeming myself does not fit with punishing myself. It was an especially hard lesson for me because I grew up in New England, where the concept of Puritanical self-persecution-as-goodness still lingers.

First of all — do you agree that it’s wrong for society to place moral value on food and weight?

If so, why do you want to extend society’s prejudices to yourself? 

The #1 person who needs to care about you, and overall be fair and just to you, is yourself.

I understand that eating disordered behaviors are difficult to overcome. Spend some time every day thinking about all the good things you like about yourself that actually convey moral value. These are the only things that matter. Societal messaging often says the opposite, that the only things that matter are image, or perceived moral value based on wrong-headed ideas of morality (like food/health/body morality). Society is harsh, and unfair, filled with prejudices and false beliefs. You’re the only one who can save yourself from its bad effects. You need to be the general of your army, the top fighter for your cause. It doesn’t mean you’re actively fighting all the time. It just means that you put yourself first, all the time. And you can only learn to do that little by little, day by day, and sometimes only with help (like good friends, family, or a therapist). Good luck!


Note: the ideas about EDs in this piece are entirely reflective of my own experience, and aren’t meant to be generalized. If you find something valuable in here, awesome. If you don’t, don’t take my words as authoritative. 

Wow I am just so so happy this exists. I have always struggled with my weight, constant ups and downs ranging from 90 lbs to 200 (something my family likes to call the "roller coaster") and have grown up in a house full of thin people who -real shocker- criticize my every food intake and outfit and pant size until I'm nothing but I pile of eating disordered ridiculed rubble. I can relate to so much on this blog, it makes me feel so much less alone. Thank you.

Asked by


Thank you for the message. <3


Thin privilege is not having people assume that your eating habits are disordered.

I am fat, but I don’t eat huge amounts of food in one sitting. I have repeatedly been accused of doing so by friends and family despite them having no evidence to support their accusations (other than my weight which “obviously” means I eat like a pig). My mother has even gone so far as to accuse me of having binge eating disorder which is really hurtful and completely untrue. Yes, I’m fat. No I don’t hoard huge amounts of food and eat them as soon as I’m out of sight of everyone.


Mod note: The importance of this post is understated. I think the “but why are you fat?” question, with the expectation that it must be behavioral/chosen while thin people can be thin naturally, impacts fat people all the time.

I’ve been around people who have sat with me at every meal, and in classes or study the rest of the time, and would still say things like how they didn’t know how I ate when they weren’t around.

Uh, exactly like how I ate when they were?

I know I’m lucky in that I’ve recovered from my restrictive eating disorder and don’t have problems eating in front of other people what I determine is right for me to eat in the amounts I determine are right. It’s possible that the expectation that fat people must be engaging in some kind of binge-type behavior behind closed doors is partly fueled by fatphobia and an eating-disordered culture, where most people (especially women) have restricted their intake at some point of time and have consequently experienced or given into the urge to binge brought on by starvation. So people have the tendency to project that behavior onto fat people who appear to be eating less than or differently than they’re expected to eat.

Note further: this isn’t to say that all fat people eat a certain way, or should, just like it isn’t saying all thin people eat a certain way, or should. I don’t do the good/bad fatty thing. Eat whatever you feel is right. Forget/too busy to eat often? I get it. That’s what cereal is for, amirite? Want to eat only smoked salmon and kale chips every day? Sweet! Like to go out to eat every night? Go you!

Food is food. It’s fuel, pleasure, and sometimes just the thing that makes the hunger pangs go away. It has no inherent moral value. Eating some kinds of food instead of other foods does not make you a better or worse person. The current cultural narrative does however support the inherent morality of food, that eating Paleo, low-sugar, low-fat, or low-cal makes someone a better person than everyone who doesn’t eat that way.”


*The morality of food is one of the primary tenets of Healthism, which for those who don’t know, is the cult of pseudoscientific health doctrine that would have its followers believe that if you exercise X minutes a day, eat the ‘right’ foods, and engage in other behaviors, that you can avoid most of the diseases of aging including diseases present in your family history.

[TW: eating disorders, shaming people with eating disorders, fat shaming]







I need help understanding this.

I noticed on a image board I go to, it seems the people with eating disorders have built a clique, and every once in awhile will post a thread dedicated to their despise of fat people. Then if someone goes in there, and tells them to accept all bodies, and discuss fat acceptance they don’t just get angry they get upset.

I don’t see why it’s so frightening that fat people that they don’t know personally in real life, are happy and healthy? Is it a threat to their inner mantra that they must be thin at all costs, that being thin is the only way to be healthy? It seems as if they need to hate fat people, or else they’ll have to realize their obsession with being thin is a waste of time or a problem.

I’m wondering about this, because one person got so mad they asked the mods to ban them for a month. I do not want to make anyone’s eating disorder worse, but I also don’t see why they can’t keep their hate clique to themselves. I don’t see why eating disordered people feel as if fat acceptance is a personal attack on them and their lifestyle.

Alright, look.

First, I support fat acceptance, I think thin privilege is real, and I’ve had anorexia for about eight years. I’ve even written about fat acceptance and how it’s helped with my recovery. So I’m not the opposition.

But this is a fucked up post.

Eating disorders are mental illnesses. The people you’re complaining about are legitimately ill, and regardless of intent, fat acceptance feels like a personal threat to them. That doesn’t make their fat-shaming behavior okay, but calling a group of sick people a “hate clique” is disgusting.

This “hate clique” is just as affected by fatphobia and body-shaming as anyone. While “the media” is obviously not the sole cause of eating disorders, the normalization of fat-shaming and prizing of thin bodies does not help. Many of us suffer from massive amounts of internalized fatphobia—I say internalized because, regardless of our actual weight, we often perceive ourselves as bigger—and are more likely to lash out at proponents of fat acceptance because of it.

You are under absolutely no obligation to help eating disordered people (sorry, “hate cliques”) see the light, but if you do want to engage with us, you need to do it in a more respectful way. This post is not a good start.

WOW what the fuck did TITP just call mental illness a “lifestyle”?? Jesus fucking christ.

Also TITP, those of us with eating disorders do not have eating disorders because we want to be healthy, we have eating disorders BECAUSE THEY ARE A MENTAL FUCKING ILLNESS and we all know that eating disorders are not going to make us healthy, but do the exact opposite. 

I support fat acceptance & body positivity, but I will not support anyone who attacks, hates, and shames people with mental illness. 

Seriously, the more I think about this post the more pissed off I get.

Wow. Just browsing through my old likes and getting angry all over again about this.

Bolded for emphasis because I think the word internalised gets forgotten in these discussions. People with EDs don’t tend to hate fat people, since their perception of other people’s bodies is generally not affected (at least not to the same extent). People with EDs usually hate themselves or are terrified of their own fatness, and that is more symptomatic of how fatphobia functions in society (misogyny and control of women’s bodies). Put another way, EDs are most often exaggerated manifestations of the self-hatred foisted on women in a patriarchal society. They aren’t a ‘hate clique’. They are a mental fucking illness. And they most certainly aren’t a ‘lifestyle’. So let’s stop with that ableist bullshit, shall we. 

And yeah, I also want to reiterate how lifesaving fat acceptance can be for people struggling with EDs - especially those who want to stop hating their bodies but don’t know how.

Urgh, just so mad about this post. So mad. 

Wow, I thought TITP was better than this. The sheer lack of understanding of EDs here is just incredible.

These comments are spot on.

I apologize that the post in question got through the queue. As someone who once suffered from an ED, I know very well that it isn’t a ‘lifestyle’ and would never condone such. 

I apologize that I haven’t been as on top of the posts at TITP as usual due to personal life changes. And I’m very sorry for this offensive post and everyone it hurt. The original will be taken down. 


(via thatfeministqueer2-deactivated2)

Thin privilege is having your eating disorder recognised as legitimate.

(trigger warning: eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, seriously terrible parenting, weight talk)

Thin privilege is not having your eating disorder ignored for eighteen months by your family because “you need to lose the weight anyway.” Thin privilege is not being told by your mother who is aware of your eating disorder that she doesn’t want you to “blow up huge” like you used to be when you recover.

This is a long one, apologies.

When I was twelve years old I was fat. At 5’2”, I was 187lbs. I’m also asian - Japanese, specifically. Not only was I mocked and harassed mercilessly for my weight anyway, but I also suffered the added shame of being a “fat Asian”, because stereotypically all Asian women are thin and beautiful, like my mother, like my sisters. But I wasn’t, I was fat. I was taunted at school, taunted at home, and it got to the point that I was genuinely considering killing myself because I felt like I was shaming my family by being as fat as I was. They were embarrassed of me and I was embarrassed of myself. Twelve years old, and considering suicide because of my body.

Instead, I turned to the internet, and as a naive pre-teen was unfortunately sucked into websites that promoted disordered eating habits as a “lifestyle” and a sure fire way to get the body I desperately wanted. So I started skipping meals, counting calories, obsessing over every little thing I put in my mouth.

Within 5 months, I had lost 65lbs. Regardless of how fat I was, I am entirely aware as an adult how extremely unhealthy it is for someone - especially a child - to drop that much weight in such a short amount of time. Everyone of course noticed, but I was praised for it. I was eating less than 600 calories a day, sometimes going a day or two without eating anything, and everyone was telling me “well done, well done!” 

My disordered eating escalated.

A month later, I was 115lbs. I was now thirteen, 5’3” and had dropped 72lbs in six months. While at the time I thought I was hiding it well, looking back my disordered eating habits must have been glaringly obvious to my family. And still, nobody said anything. I began to feel unwell, shaky, tired. But I still had it in my head that I was “too fat to have an eating disorder”, and that my weight loss was a good thing, a great thing. 

Finally, when I was fourteen and a half, I was taken to a doctor. My mother’s exact words were: “I am concerned she may in danger of getting an eating disorder.”

At this point I weighed 86lbs.
I had expressed illogical fears to her that “weighing over 100lbs is too fat” and her response had been “for a girl of your height it’s a bit chubby, yes.”
My mother had been aware of my disordered eating for most of the time it’d been going on. She’d let me refuse meals. She’d reassured me the thinner I got, the better I looked.
I had been starving myself for eighteen months, and she only had then decided to take me to a doctor because I’d gone from starving myself to an “acceptably thin” weight to “too skinny”. On the drive home from the doctor’s, my mother said that I would probably be sent to a therapist, maybe a nutritionist, and they’d help me eat properly. 

She said: “You’ll maybe gain a little weight, doesn’t make you have to blow up huge again. You need to learn to control yourself.”

That tipped me over the edge.

I did not listen to the therapist. I did not listen to the nutritionist. I was so absolutely terrified of gaining weight and “blowing up huge” again that it lead to the thought of having to eat “too much” sent me into disassociative states of panic.

I got worse. A lot worse. 

In 2011, aged 18 years old, weighing 61lbs, I suffered heart failure and spent 10 months in hospital.

I’m now 20, working on recovering, but I am plagued with health problems, many that I’ll never be rid of. Osteoporosis, weak heart, weak organs in general, chronic anaemia. I will never be able to have children.

I lost my entire teenage years, my social life, my education, my health to an eating disorder that I developed because other people made me feel like being fat was the worst thing a person could be. That the only way my parents could love me, that anybody could love me, is if I was thin. It was better to be so thin I could barely stand than it was to be chubby, fat, overweight. 

I still battle every day with my body image and my weight. I still wish every day that at twelve, someone had come along, given me a hug, and told me that it was okay to be fat. That fat could be beautiful. That thin does not mean prettier, or healthier, or better. I wish someone could have told me that at twelve, and I could have believed them. 

Can we get away from saying "people can say x about fat people and they would never get to say that about black folks or women"? Mental illness is quite often used to excuse atrocious behavior towards all identities and I think its possible to point out the seriousness of fat oppression without erasing other forms of harm. Besides that though, I would also say its ablelist to say your mental illness makes you bigoted (or violent or hateful). It perpetuates fucked stereotypes about mad folks.

Asked by

You are right, people attempt to use mental illness to excuse all forms of bigotry and hatred, just as they use all kinds of other things, like age and upbringing. I’m sorry, I missed that in the last submission, being a bit distracted. I’ll add a note to that effect.

I don’t think it does say that mental illness is what causes the bigotry, though.


Re: I need help understanding this

As someone who is anorexic and has body dysmorphia, I can assure you that those people fat-shame because they’re bigoted, not because of their mental illness. Saying that an eating disorder makes sufferers hate fat people is like saying schizophrenia makes sufferers hate asians - absolutely ridiculous.

I was a little surprised by this post because my own experience with the eating disordered community so far has shown me only body-positive messages and I have met a lot of people with EDs who are firm believers in HAES, but that is probably because most of the ED blogs I follow on Tumblr are in recovery. If the fat-shaming you observed was in a thinspo or pro-ana forum, just keep in mind that these people most likely do not actually have eating disorders, and if they do they are most definitely not representative of the way most eating disordered individuals feel towards fat people. 

Mod response:

The post was, of course, an anonymous submission, so we can’t know all the details, but the description is of a general-topic board, and certainly many fat people have encountered precisely this behavior from people who say they have eating disorders out in the world, although I’m glad that there are many ED-focused communities that are body positive. And, just as we can’t know all the details about the specific situation, we have no way of knowing whether or not the particular fat-phobes there actually have EDs or not.



No, having, as one of the symptoms of your mental illness, a distorted view of your own body still does not justify being horrible about other people’s bodies.

No, having a mental illness does not mean no one can criticize your cruelty and bigotry. We’re not talking about failure to understand and follow social norms here, we’re talking about people being actively cruel, and continuing to be cruel when their cruelty is pointed out.

[tw: eating disorders, exercise addiction, ]

[tw: eating disorders]
A just society is one where you’re not being slowly pushed into an eating disorder from the age of 13.
It’ss not having your boyfriend of over a year not realizing you’ve been bulimic/EDNOS the entire time you’ve been dating him, until a week after you move in together.
It’s not having to know that his friends tell him he should be okay with it, because “Dude, remember she used to be so fat?”
It’s not having your friends thinking its okay that you work out 6 hours a day, because “you look great! I wish I had time to do that.”

I was the fattest girl in my class in middle school. Hell though, I wasn’t even fat, I weighed 123 lbs, but I was constantly ridiculed by all the guys.
And it HURT. Because when you’re 13 it doesn’t occur to you that its OKAY to be fat, it doesn’t occur to you that the opinion of those guys shouldn’t even matter.
So when I turned 15 I started “dieting”, I started telling myself it was okay to go to bed hungry , it was okay to stick my fingers down my throat until everything I ate came up. I told myself it was perfectly fine as long as I didn’t do it to often, as long as I was in control of it.
I internalized the hate for my fat, I saw it as something to be rid of.
I went through various periods where I was bulimic, where I exhibited anorexic behaviors, where I went on “healthy” diets with lots of exercise.
Lots, and lots of exercise.
And that’s what clicked in my mind. Exercise couldn’t be unhealthy right? I mean, exercise is good for you. That’s what the tell you in the media/ in the doctor’s office/in school. Exercise is great and you can never get enough of it.
They don’t tell you about over training. They don’t tell you biking 9 miles a day is excessive and unhealthy, because hey, weight loss is always good right? They don’t tell you running ‘till you puke is bad, hell, jillian michaels will stand on the biggest loser every night and tell you its a great thing.

And you’ll believe her.
And one day your boyfriend will come home and find you going on your 13th mile on your indoor cycle, crying while you throw up into a bowl because your legs are burning and you can barely feel them and you think you might pass out and you’re worried you won’t make it to 14 miles.

And all your friends and all his friends will think its fine because fuck at least you’re skinny now, and thats what matters.

And when you wake up the the next day to find that you’re boyfriend has thrown all of you’re exercise equipment out, you’ll break down in the middle of the living room floor begging him to bring it back, and you’ll sit there in the floor babbling to him about it while he holds you because its completely irrational for you to want it so badly and you know it, and when he tells you don’t need it  you’ll just sit there repeating “please please please”.

And If you’re lucky you’ll get better.
And if a thousand other girls who are out there getting teased for their weight are lucky, they’ll never have to deal with what you’re dealing with.
But lets face it, most of us are shit out of luck.

following my post

Hi, I’m sorry if my post upset people, I didn’t mean to present EDs as a choice, more as something that happened (perhaps my brain chemistry did play a part, I’ve been a depressive too and it runs in my family) however I do think that the amount I was shamed as a vulnerable teenager during very formative years definitely played a part.

I’m not sure if there is a connection between EDs and autoimmune conditions, it was suggested to me that an ED could be a trigger and this seemed to make sense to me, but I actually cannot source any evidence for this, so I may have been wrong, if so I’m sorry. I think there are millions of triggers for autoimmune things.

Thin privilege is having your eating disorder taken seriously.

Being told to eat instead of praised for losing up to 12 pounds a month.

Being able to get treatment without being worried that because you’re fat, you can’t possibly have a problem.

(I’m now a size 4, but was a size 14/16 at the end of 2011. I wanted to lose weight before law school, and I did. But until I got down to my current size, no one, not even my family who were aware of how little I was eating and my obsessive workouts, seemed at all concerned. Instead, they praised me for doing it so quickly. Even though I was starving to the point that I missed periods, and it’s still not back to normal, and would get dizzy every time I stood up).

"But you’re not fat, you’re beautiful!"

A few years ago I was suffering terribly of EDnos (Anorexia subtype). No one had noticed, because I didn’t look like a skeleton. I was thin, but not ‘unhealthy’ looking. The thing that made me decide to recover was a friend. I having an awful body image day and I broke down crying in the school changing rooms, screaming that I was too fat. (Please bear in mind that I said “too fat”, not just “fat”. Fat, to me, was not a bad thing for someone to be) My friend sat down next to me and hugged me and said to me “But you’re not fat, you’re beautiful!”

Something clicked in my mind. I’d seen fat people, beautiful fat people and WISHED I could put on some weight without hating myself, because those fat people looked drop dead gorgeous. And then I realised.. Why can’t I be fat and beautiful?

I recovered after a year and a half of therapy. I am now an ‘average’ size, I’m neither fat nor thin. I am actually attempting to get pretty toned up during the summer this year. I’m healthy, I’m happy. My thoughts are healthy now. But that thing my friend said will stick with me forever. A person can be fat and beautiful! One can come with the other.

Thin privilege is being accepted as beautiful, regardless of personality, just because you’re thin. Thin privilege is fat people having to have a good personality just to be accepted as beautiful.

(I really hope this made sense, I have a learning disability and can’t put things into words very well) xoxo

Fat Anorexics




Some: But fat people can’t be anorexic, the DSM says so.
Others: But what if the DSM’s wrong? It’s been wrong before. Many times. Disastrously so.
Some: It’s not wrong this time. Fat people aren’t anorexic. The idea of fat anorexics is laughable.
Others: Can’t fat people — and in fact, many do — exhibit the same behaviors as anorexics (like hating their bodies and starving themselves)?
Some: It’s not the same.
Others: Why not?
Some: …
Some: …
Some: Fat people should hate their bodies. Fat people are icky and deserve to starve!
Others: There it is.

While overweight people with eating disorders can, and most certainly do, in my opinion, exist, they are more likely to exhibit signs of bulimia than anorexia. 

There is more to anorexia than just hating your body, as that trait is a common link between the two main eating disorders classified in the DSM IV-TR. While there are different types of each, anorexia has two main classifications: restricting and binge/purge. Bulimia has purging as it’s main type, but also “non-purging” which includes fasting or exercising.

Restricting is the type most commonly associated with anorexia, exhibited primarily through drastic reduction of nutrion intake and/or specific rules one sets up for oneself around when and how to eat. Binging and purging also exists as an anorexia trait, as it does in bulimia, the difference being the degree to which an individual exhibits obsessive and/or compulsive behaviors. Anorexia suffers, particularly of the restricting type, are very much obsessed with rules they create for themselves and compulsively act

There is also difference in the root thinking, most times: bulimia stems for the fear of becoming overweight or obese, where as anorexia often roots itself in the idea that one already is.

The DSM does currently use weight as way to differentiate between the two disorders, though. Bulimia is said to occur in normal to above-normal weighted individuals, whereas anorexia presents as under-weighted.

While the DSM 5 is about to come out, I could type up the DSM IV-TR diagnostic criteria if anyone wants. 

Disordered eating doesn’t always occur within the guidelines set out by the DSM, in fact most people exhibit disordered eating patterns that could fit the criteria for all disordered eating. The fact that they make one of the criteria for being diagnosed as anorexic a specific body size is the main point of the post and a lot of criticism from fat activists. I’ve also never come across any literature that has shown fat people are more likely to be bulimic that doesn’t rely on the DSM to deny fat people that diagnosis, though just doing a quick search of research available I wasn’t able to find any.

So as far as I know there has never been a study to try and find out what percentage of fat people have a specific form of eating disorder. Most researchers incorrectly assume all fat people partake in bingeing and purging or focus on fat people with BED, which reflects the lack of studies and how fat phobia / stigma impacts research. That can be for numerous reasons, the researcher is interested in BED for personal reasons or grant funding for research for fat people with eating disorders wants the research to focus on BED specifically.

Fat people can and do often exhibit all of the criteria for being diagnosed as anorexic but are misdiagnosed because of the restrictive nature of the DSM. The fact that a person is fat does not disqualify them from being anorexic and a preoccupation with being fat, when you are fat, shouldn’t either. Just imagine the uproar if every person who fit all of the criteria for anorexia except they stayed at what was considered to be a normal weight was misdiagnosed.

Most people who die from EDs do so far before that weight classification is met, which is the main reason the DSMs diagnosis criteria in incredibly harmful.