1257 posts tagged fat discrimination
NEW VLOG. Thin Privilege.
This month, Melissa A. Fabello for Miss Representation, discusses thin privilege — what it IS, but also what it ISN’T. So what are some examples of thin privilege? And how can being thin be used against you? Find out.
I also find it annoying that the vlogger gets irritated by people pointing out her thin privilege. That’s what happens when you have privilege. Deal with it, or don’t claim to be an ally. Acknowledging your thin privilege doesn’t mean from then on you’ll be perfect at recognizing every instance of your privilege. When a fat person is saying, “Hey, why are you, a thin person, talking about fat oppression/thin privilege without acknowledging all the work done by fat people on the subject?” then you flubbed, and you need to deal with it or stop talking about this shit and expect to be respected by the fat rights community. And if you don’t care about being respected by the fat rights community? Then you aren’t a fat ally, and you aren’t “body positive.” So there’s that.
Further: I’m sick of thin people being the spokespeople for my fat issues. It bothers the fuck out of me that thin people are taken more seriously than fat people regarding fat issues, especially if we dare to talk about our own fucking health or our own experiences of discrimination. Don’t believe me? Read this (and soak up some delicious irony while you do).
So yeah, if you haven’t guessed already, I’m taking serious umbrage to this video. But continuing on.
The vlogger goes on to conflate thin privilege with beauty privilege.
No. Hell no. They’re two separate things. “Ugly” thin people are still privileged over fat people in general. There isn’t a UI (Ugly Index) used to deny medical procedures and immigration to “ugly” people. There isn’t an explicit “War on Ugliness.” There isn’t a “Let’s Get Beautiful!” program being run by the White House. Airlines don’t have “Person of Ugly Appearance” policies. “Ugly” people aren’t being blamed for world hunger, global warming, and the collapse of the global economy. Yes, beauty privilege is a thing. But thin privilege is not a subset of beauty privilege.
Yes, modern beauty standards have conflated being fat with being ugly. But that’s a side effect of fat discrimination and oppression, not its main driver.
And no, the “tables” are not “being turned” against thin people. Guess what tiny percentage of the population still dominates the entire fucking media, including movies, magazines, tv shows? If you answered “The thinnest percentage of the population!” you’re right! Gold star. And you know what? That state of affairs isn’t changing yet, and it’s not going to change any time soon, if ever. So come back when the tables have actually “turned.”
Also — “Bitch, slut, spoiled” — are thrown around with respect to fat bodies, too. Google “fat bitch,” “fat slut,” and “greedy fat chick” for me. I’ll wait.
Fat people are seen as universally mean, “easy”/desperate, and greedy/lazy/overindulged. I’ve heard of the “mean girls” phenomenon in high school, and we can get into a deep conversation about this, but IMHO sexism (namely, the rank objectification of women, in this case being acted out in the exaggerated way teens often employ as they’re learning to navigate their world) is what drives this phenomenon. Not “thin-shaming.”
Further, further: You mention two “thin-shaming” phrases I’ve heard: “real women have curves” (which is, again, backlash, not thin-shaming in a vacuum), and “only dogs like bones” (which seems like backlash from folks who like women who are routinely policed to only find thin women attractive). I hear these talked about a lot by proponents of skinny-shaming theory.
Do you know how many fat-shaming phrases there are out there? I’ll give you a hint: When I was a kid some relative of mine had an ENTIRE BOOK of fat jokes. An entire book. An. Entire. Book. That was before the so-called “obesity epidemic.” I mean, for fuck’s sake, there’s like an infinite number of “Your mama’s so fat” jokes ALONE.
These “thin-shaming” phrases are a drop in the fucking ocean of what fat people (and other marginalized groups) experience. Yeah, they suck, and let’s talk about where skinny-shaming comes from: Fat oppression and the privileging of thinness produces envy of thin privilege, which (regrettably) can be expressed as jealousy and misplaced blame of random thin people for fat hate and oppression. But let me be clear: “thin-shaming” is a product of thinness being privileged.“Thin-shaming” — in modern times and especially in the Western context — doesn’t exist without fat hate.
(as an aside: shaming needs to have some kind of cultural stigma associated with it, some societal OOMPH to move out of the realm of “insult” to “shame.” That is, “shame” isn’t defined by the reaction, it’s defined by the action. Being thin, even extremely thin, isn’t culturally stigmatized. So insulting someone’s thin body is many things, and can result in a thin person justifiably feeling bad, but “thin-shaming” is not a standalone phenomenon and thus does not merit a phrase that compares it to societal discrimination)
Continuing on: the last two minutes of the 6 1/2 minute video are dedicated to this whole overblown concept of “thin-shaming,” with thinly (ha!) veiled blame being placed on fat acceptance blogs being too zealous or something. Which, as explained above, is not where “thin-shaming” comes from.
I’m really uncomfortable with how this feels like the victims of oppression — in this case, fat people — are being blamed for reacting to the hatred they endure all the fucking time. “Thin-shaming” — to the extent that it exists — is not the fault of fat acceptance or body positivity blogs. Also: VENTING IS NOT SKINNY-SHAMING. You don’t have a whole fucking culture pointing the dogs of fat war at you. Yes, thin people get shit, especially thin women. But while thin and fat women are both subject to sexism, fat women have an intersecting point of marginalization which greatly exacerbates the sexism they endure. I would love for thin people to acknowledge this more generally, but I think the universe will go inert before that happens.
In conclusion (tldr;) — This video annoys the fuck out of me. I take umbrage to its defensive tone, and especially that it’s a thin person talking about thin privilege without acknowledging that fat people who experience the lack of thin privilege every minute of their damn day are much better equipped to talk about thin privilege than she is.* A thin vlogger takes it upon herself to define HER OWN PRIVILEGE, set its boundaries, then go on a “thin-shaming” spiel for 30% of the video. I’m not impressed.
In short: This video is thin privilege.
*A marginalized group, by its lack of privilege, is always better educated on privilege than a privileged group, who regardless of how hard and long they ally aren’t entirely aware of just how much of their life is made easier by their privilege. This is why marginalized folks tell privileged folks to shut the hell up and let them speak. Not because we hate you. But because 1) your voice is already too damn loud anyway, and 2) we know more about this shit than you do.
Thin privilege is being provided the required uniform for your job at no cost to you, while your plus-size coworkers are being charged $2.00 for their uniforms because “larger sizes cost extra.” Excuse me, but when you’re willing to shell out forty bucks for each employee’s uniform, the extra two dollars don’t matter. It’s just petty. And bringing it up in the middle of a staff meeting is extremely inappropriate and basically gives the entire staff permission to openly ridicule fat workers. And “you should be glad they even gave you the job,” is never, ever okay to say.
I fucking hate when magazines have “best and worst beach bodies”, aka a chance to fucking body shame and fat shame people. Just once I want to see someone buck the system and parody that shit- put every confident, beautiful, person of /every size/ on the ‘best bodies’ page and then have a ‘worst beach bodies’ page and have it be BLANK.
Thin Privilege is having one of your best friends like a guy and see him give off signals that he may too, only to find out from one of his guy friends he wants someone who is “athletic” that he could “do sports” with, someone who is “fit”, which is code for not fat apparently. As if fat women can’t do any of those things, as if the only way to know if you’re fit is by your waistline…disgusting.
I’ve noticed many a submission going into TITP, fat women decrying their lack of desirability due to the immense amount of societal fat hatred. I’ve also noticed many people going on the complete opposite direction, saying that fat individuals shouldn’t rest their entirety on being desired. I feel that line of thinking is flawed in the basis that humans are social creatures and wanting to be in with some form or another shouldn’t be completely discarded.
But on the other hand, we must be very careful about what we deem as ‘desire.’ The recent TITP post struck a chord with me:
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.
It struck a chord because the poster is both right and wrong about thin/’pretty’ women. (I put ‘pretty’ and ‘attractive’ in quotes because attractiveness is heavily sociologically influenced and is highly subjective)
She is right that sociologically speaking, individuals who are deemed ‘attractive’ and are thin DO get unfairly treated better than their fat (and thus deemed less attractive) counterparts.
She is right to be angry about a system that tells fat women to just shut up and be grateful that anyone looked her way because fatness is a fatal flaw that eliminates desirability.
She is right to be angry at her boyfriend for his refusal to empathize with her feelings of unattractiveness and her desire to be seen as attractive within the societal structure.
But she is absolutely and positively 100% wrong for completely dismissing the complaints of thinner/’attractive’ women with regards to harassment.
She is wrong to dismiss the feelings of thinner women with regards to how unsafe they feel when men harass them under the guise of ‘compliments’
Street harassment is not complimentary in any way or form. It is male entitlement forced upon women under the guise of ‘adoration.’ Many times, women cannot reject these advances without fear of compromising their safety.
Tourmalineunndine gives a very poignant point when she states:
Fat women in general are socialized to be ashamed of themselves and their fat bodies. So when the rhetorical fat woman hears a thin woman complaining about male harassment, that is a thing that she is often totally shut out of. It’s really hard to see how male attention is bad when it’s what you want most in the world. Not saying they’re right (because it IS totally male entitlement being forced upon women, and I agree with you 100% on that). I’m saying that hating male entitlement is a hard sell for women who would love to have someone pay them attention.
And I agree. It is indeed a hard sell for fat women when we have been essentially programmed, via the mass media and societal conditioning, that our bodies are disgusting and undesirable.
But just as we expect empathy and understanding for our issues with fat hatred, that empathy needs to be extended to our thinner counterparts.
Sexism is something that no woman should be subjected to, whether it be fat hatred based or otherwise.
I was stopped by an employee at a gym while leaving the gym. It ended up being a 45 minute long conversation. It started out with him asking me about my workout routine. When I told him about the training that I do, he said that I was “wasting my time” and that I’d never “get better” doing what I do. It turned into even more of a rant about the “obesity epidemic” and the issues that it causes. When I told him that I loved my body the way it was he flat out told me I was LYING! Then, he asked me if I ever stood in front of a full length mirror naked and noticed what I didn’t like about myself.
There’s more to it. So much more. A compilation of contradictions and a reflection of his brainwashing. I ended on the topic of respect because I was not going to get him to believe that fat doesn’t mean unhealthy. So, I told him that I hoped he spoke to thin people the way he spoke to me and that he needed to be more respectful to his overweight customers. I also emphasized that society should change its views and not be rude to others instead of making fat people feel guilty about the way that he looked. He said that this point-of-view glorified obesity and that he shouldn’t respect fat people because we “don’t respect people who urinate in public” (yes, he was really making this comparison).
I tried. Thin privilege is having people believe you when you make reasonable, logical arguments. Thin privilege is not being harassed by the employees at the gym. Thin privilege is being able to report this type of abuse and be taken seriously.
In his original post, which can be seen if you scroll all the way down, he states support for Bloomberg’s body-policing soda ban and rationalizes this because he was once *gasp* TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE POUNDS. What he doesn’t mention is that when I took his class he was drinking a twelve-pack of coke per day. He now has eleven and twelve year old children writing concerning statements about how “sugar kills.” I think I’m going to be sick.
[tw: eating disorders]
Thin privilege is not visiting your nan and grandad with your family and when your nan offers to make sandwiches for everyone having to deliberate whether you can have one.
Thin privilege is not having your grandad tell you that even though you’re hungry that you shouldn’t have a sandwich though everyone else is.
Thin privilege is not being told by your grandad that you should starve yourself because that’s the only way you’ll lose weight.
Not sure if you guys have seen this, but… In Defense of Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO Mike Jeffries
Adding fuel to the flame: Weight is an inflammatory, politically incorrect topic and people go to great lengths to avoid the word “overweight” or be perceived as sizeists. Jeffries biggest offense may be less his prejudices and more his unfiltered honesty; he broke the social contract: You’re not supposed to say these things out loud.
(mod addition, bold mine)
What? Where? What is this magical world that avoids saying shit about fat people? Because Googling “I hate fat people” gets over 500K hits, and “I don’t hate fat people” gets 100K hits. That’s five times more hatred than people who are willing to openly state they don’t hate fat people (the “great lengths” this article author might expect from someone trying to avoid sizism — yanno, showing basic respect for a fat person’s humanity).
It’s also telling this article is on Yahoo Shine’s “healthy-living” page. What does “healthy living” have to do with whether or not a retailer sells clothes above a size large? Answer: nothing, of course! Healthism is (among other things) a cover for hating fat people, plain and simple.
(For the record I am a slightly well known BBW fetish model who has just broken into the scene)
While my size is large I consider myself healthy and fit as I regularly exercise (walking, swims for example, and I walk around and move alot when cooking my meals).
I was appalled when recently I went to see a doctor for a checkup and was informed that I would be immobile if I “continued to gain weight in the way that you are now”, and that I’m sending myself to an early grave with a sneer. I am very much mobile and have been throughout my weight gain and cannot see that changing anytime soon with a couple of extra pounds. I told him this and he went on a rant completely putting me down and my lifestyle. He even called in a second, what I assume was a doctor or nurse, to join him in the put downs, humiliating me completely. I just nodded while this was going on and when it was over went into the washroom, cried and left.
I’ll be changing doctors soon.
Thin privilege is the disgusting search results for “cute fat girls” and the widely held belief that one can either be cute OR fat and never both.
Thin privilege is a local rock radio station being able to regularly air offensive bites such as:
“Girls: Why is it that the heavier they are, the easier they are to pick up?”
before giving the name of the radio station. The station is 105.5 The Vulcan in Birmingham, Alabama, by the way.
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)
[tw: abuse, healthism, eating disorders]
Thin privilege is not having to change GPs because yours not only judges you harshly and openly on your nervous breakdown, but also criticizes you for putting on weight and therefore being “in poor health”… while she knows full well you have just stopped making yourself throw up.
I don’t know what to tell a doctor who thinks it’s healthier to have a potentially life-threatening eating disorder than to put on weight and who tries to convince a patient (me) that she has automatically developed Type 2 diabetes, a high blood pressure, and a high level of cholesterol for that reason while it’s completely unsupported by tests.