1934 posts tagged fat discrimination
[tw: eating disorders, mentions of food, fat shaming from family members]
So this post on your blog made me think a lot, and it really upsets me. Because of how much fat shaming and fat phobia encroaches on our lives, and my own.
I’ve been overweight since I was about 8, and as someone who might be labeled by society as overweight but not quite obese (my mum has called me obese once before though), it’s a mental struggle everyday to be around a school community of girls who never miss a day without at least one voicing out their guilt for eating so and so, or eating this much during a meal; to have an otherwise wonderful friend who won’t stop talking about the fat in this food, why that food is ‘bad’ or unhealthy, to the point that I can’t believe she’s into health and fitness in a healthy way (though I don’t think she has any eating disorders, as she states all this in a very scientific, matter-of-fact way, like she does with everything else.)
The journey in body positivity is a tough one. With all these fatphobic messages being bombarded around me, I can’t have a meal without checking and checking, is this too much? Will my friends remark, to me or behind my back, that I’m having this much dessert? And while I tell myself to only control my eating for the sake of healthy, non-fatphobic fitness, I can never stop hearing the voice that body polices me whenever I want to have more.
And then there’s my mum. While her concerns for my health may actually be genuine, she sees obesity the way society sees it, as I saw it before discovering this great blog: as a disease, ugly, unnatural, behavioral. I love her, but she body polices me, warning me more than once not to gain weight in boarding school or else, making fun of my stomach rolls, forcing me not to take a second helping at the dinner table like I’m a naughty child. Pressures me to go on diets with her. The amount of fat shaming that comes out of her mouth can be appalling, whether remarking at celebrities gaining/losing weight, people on the street (she’d lean towards me and in that oh-my-gosh tone, say “Look how fat that woman is”). All in front of me, to me, reminding me, intentionally or not that for my body, I am a lesser being. Very rarely have my mum or dad chastised my siblings for eating more than advised, and when they do, they are twice as receptive to reasons. (Though I can say with assurance that I don’t hate my siblings for it.)
I don’t know whether I have compulsive eating disorder, though I’ve just started wondering if I have had, and still do. When I feel depressed, my first reaction is to think of eating, only to feel a dull guilt when I do so afterwards. And yes, to prove what was said in that post, being told I’m fat or listening to fat shaming and fatphobia only makes me want to eat more. Because I can’t care anymore, I’ll never win, even if I slimmed down and people loved me more for it, it will only be because of my body. Not the person, not my own human identity.
And while I’m gradually finding it easier, I still can’t look at photos of me with my family, with my (slim) sister and brother, and think that I look just as good as them. I spent my later childhood and earlier teens believing I was a shame of the family for not being thin and/or fit, and I don’t believe it didn’t contribute to my pre-teen depression in some way.
This sick mentality needs to stop. Awareness that the “thinness is the natural form, obesity is a behavioral thing and is only caused be overeating” mindset is wrong is so important, and so necessary. Fat is not intrinsically bad, and thinness does not equate healthiness. People should be happy to have the body they wish, fit or not, without this fear of fat that for some, is leaving us hurting and dying inside.
My friends make comments all the time about my body type, before laughing, and I’m expected to find them funny. I’m nicknamed “the fat bitch” by them, and when I confront them about it, they say I’m being oversensitive, and it’s just a joke. lately, after watching The lord of the Rings with them (In which hobbits have more than one meal a day, and also eat “second breakfast”) I was told that due to my weight, I must eat “second breakfast” (When in fact, I only eat toast in the morning.)
thin privilege is not being seen as a joke by your friends, and by society, because of your body type.
Thin privilege is when the news reports on “the obesity epidemic” while showing video footage of random fat people on the street.
Sure, their faces are usually blurred out, but I wouldn’t want images of my body being shown on a hateful fatphobic news report. Especially without my permission!
Thin privilege is not reading a damn Wiki entry on economics and having the lack of desire to change your body paralleled to “not [caring] enough about [your] future selves” and compared to procrastination, addiction, and not saving for retirement. Fuck’s sake. From the Wiki entry:
One common way in which selves may differ in their preferences is they may be modeled as all holding the view that now has especially high value compared to any future time. This is sometimes called the immediacy effect or temporal discounting. As a result the present self will care too much about herself and not enough about her future selves. The self control literature relies heavily on this type of time inconsistency, and it relates to a variety of topics including procrastination, addiction, efforts at weight loss, and saving for retirement.
That’s an entry about dynamic inconsistency in behavioral economics. Because that’s precisely where you expect to find anti-fat bias, amirite?
Edited to add: Oh and look, I found a paper that argues for government intervention into “obesity” using market-failure arguments. So for those of you out there who want to be informed activists, pay attention to economics. Specious market-failure arguments are often used as weapons against the disprivileged. -ATL
[tw: weight loss]
I was watching the nightly news on NBC, and a story came on about a Canadian study about healthism in medicine. It excited me to see, but then the story took a turn for the worst.
The story completely denied the existence of medical fatphobia (while naturally demonstrating it—no small irony) and then went on to body police all fat people by claiming that HAES is “unscientific” or some other crock of typical healthist B.S. Naturally, it told everybody to “shave off a few pounds!” as if weight loss wasn’t dangerous enough as it is, and even more so when taken up based on such little reasoning.
I have been fat my entire life, and this is what health is for me. It is my natural body type, not a “myth” like the story claimed (I shit you not). If even the nightly news continues to select horrible, biased studies and trotting out bogus doctors to denigrate my body type, I don’t know how I’ll cope with the constant stream of body policing.
(Please excuse typos I’m on mobile)
So one night I was having a very rough night with my own personal body image issues and was quite upset and posting on my own personal blog about thin privilege and just general venting as a coping mechanism. The next morning I wake up to a thin friend of mine who posted this. She also screen capped it and posted it on instagram.
Thin privilege is not having to worry about when you get upset about your body your friends will tell you everything is equal and everything is fine as a response to your issues going through life as a fat person.
Thin privilege is not having friendships ruined because of your body and how you feel about it.
Thin privilege is not having friends make triggering and spiteful posts on social media to shame you for your body and your body image issues.
Thin privilege is not understanding your fat friend’s daily life experience as a fat person and possibly being inconsiderate and insensitive about these issues and ignoring/denying your privilege.
Thin privilege is not having to skip class because your college gym instructor decided it would be brilliant to use calipers on everyone. Thin privilege is knowing that you will not be ridiculed and jeered at by your partner who has to measure your fat in all of its glory.
This happened to me for the first time today (or it’s the first time I noticed) I was on the way to a friend to use her washing mashine, because mine broke. Living in Germany I don’t get that much fat shaming as compared to other places I guess. I usually donÄt think much about the way I look, as long as I like my clothes. I know that I am fat and that there is now way of dressing that could hide the fact so why should I try to look thiner than I am. But now I do.
I was just sitting there a little lost in my own thoughts when I noticed a group of girls (maybe aged 16-18) looking at me and giving the phone with my picture around. I know it was my picture because I could see it.
I looked at them and they didn’t even look guilty or something. As if they had every right to talk about my appearence, simply because they didn’t like it. All I could do in that moment was to get up und grin at them, because I didn’t want to hit them in their stupid, ignorant faces.
I still don’t know what to feel, but I know that I will question my looks the next days, whenever I leave the house.
Thin privilege is not being the souce of amusement when you are in a public space.
TW: healthism, fatphobia, transphobia
Thin privilege is being able to participate in LGBT activities without being called disgusting, or having ‘allies’ complain you don’t fit into their ‘norm’ of what they would expect from a trans* person.
I was participating in a local drag show, to raise awareness for LGBT health issues, and was talking to some very nice young people who were more than accepting of everyone and everything there. It was so refreshing, until I had one man tap me on the shoulder, and begin to berate me for the speech I had given (while in my best get up) regarding equal health practices for all, regardless of their sexual or gender identification, or the shape of their body. Thanks to this blog, I had some amazing stories to share, that shocked so many people into rethinking about how health professionals should treat people.
He went onto say that not only should trans* people be treated as though they have a disease that needs to be fixed, but that I was disgusting for assuming that everyone should have equal access to health care! In trying to rebut his statements, deciding not to give a single fuck about how he felt at the time, he smacked the drink out of my hand, smashing glass all over my feet. As he laughed, some lovely security guards ever so gently threw him out of the venue.
What was worse, was that some people thought he was being treated unfairly, and began to continue to talk about healthism and dieting, making quite a few of the more accepting people feel very uncomfortable, and making one beautiful trans*woman cry. Apparently they only want skinny trans* people to gawk at.
A sign of thin privilege and a thin-centred culture is how my “activity” drops when my queue (which is currently set to post 22 times or so during the night on my blog that focuses on alternative fashion) runs a cycle of pictures predominantly of plus-sized people.
Thin privilege is my great grandmother just having surgery the night before the doctor come’s in and tells her that her having health problems causing her to not taste foods very well and making her not hungry and basically causing her to not be able to eat enough food to keep strength is a ” good way to lose weight ” .
Thin privilege is being able to jog whenever and wherever you want to. In order to avoid the ridicule and stares I get when I go running, I only run at night. I prefer to go out very late or when it’s raining because there will be less people out. However, my neighborhood is heavily patrolled by the police at night and I worry that I might get stopped because they might think I am running away from something. Because why else would a fat person be running through the neighborhood at night? Surely not to get exercise! It’s sad because most people don’t believe me when I say that I exercise often and I enjoy running. It’s also sad that privileged thin people are always saying that fat people should exercise, but when we run in public we are mocked. The hypocrisy sickens me.
In addition to the Plan B pill link that was shared earlier,
Thin privilege is having medical tests be open to people of your size and researched for people of your size.
The reason we don’t know if a larger dose will be safe or harmful and the reason that they didn’t know that the dosage wouldn’t be effective on larger bodies is because it hasn’t been tested yet. In fact, some medical testing centers will reject candidates for not being ‘healthy’ (AKA not having a ‘normal’ BMI) so they’re not even ATTEMPTING to test and see how medications work with larger bodies.
[tw: third party weight loss, third party dieting, fat shaming]
Thin privilege (and class privilege) are being able to say, “If I can do it, anyone can.”
Thin privilege (and class privilege) are the ability to afford and sustain oneself on a vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, “paleo” or any such diet and then insist that it would be the best option for another person.
I have no intention to lose weight and I am perfectly happy with my dietary habits - which, not that it’s anyone else’s business, are balanced and healthy. I am not always happy with my appearance, but who is? I have bodily integrity and I assert my right to do whatever the fuck I want with my body, whether it pleases other people or not. I do not care who finds it morally or “objectively” disagreeable (i.e, faux health concern).
When my vegan, raw diet, organic-eating thin friends brag in front of me about how they lost 10 pounds from their already thin frame by cutting this or that out of their diet, and they feel SO much better, etc, and then turn to me and encourage me to try the same? This is what I hear: ”You’re fat. I lost a few pounds doing this, and I think you need to lose a few pounds, so I assume you need to lose a few pounds. I can afford the necessary materials for this diet, and I am willing to partake in this lifestyle, so I assume you are on the same page.”
It is not just that I can’t afford to eat strictly vegan, or organic foods (although I couldn’t even if I wanted to). I don’t want to eat that diet. I don’t want their dietary morals imposed on my body. I don’t want to hold myself to the standards they hold themselves to.
This is my body. My fat body. I am perfectly fine with it, and I will put my foot down to exercise my autonomy over my OWN body.
The assumed “audacity” and “apathy” I must possess in order to refuse such lifestyles is non other than thin privilege.
•Obese individuals are highly stigmatized.•Neural markers of obesity stigma extend beyond affective evaluation of bodies.
•Diminished neural resonance with obese individuals’ pain.
•Information regarding the causes of obesity modulates neural signatures of stigma.
And from the abstract:
During fMRI, normal-weight female participants observed short clips depicting normal-weight (NW) and obese (Ob) models experiencing pain. Importantly, participants believed that half of the Ob were overweight due to a hormonal disorder (HormOb) and ignored the cause of obesity of the remaining models (Unknown obese models; UnkOb). Analyses of hemodynamic responses showed reduced activity to the pain of Ob compared to that of NW in areas associated with pain processing and early visual processing. The comparison between the two Ob conditions revealed a further decrease of activity to HormOb’s pain compared to UnkOb’s (and NW) pain in the right inferior frontal gyrus, an area associated with emotional resonance. Our study demonstrates that stigma for obese individuals can be observed at implicit levels, and that it is modulated by knowledge concerning the etiology of obesity, with the seemingly surprising result that obesity due to disease may result in greater stigmatization.
Oh look, fat discrimination and ableism, intersecting and magnifying each other! Though it’s a depressing result, it’s a good illustration of the effects of stigma reinforcing itself, and that intersectionality is definitely a thing.