This is Thin Privilege

Scroll to Info & Navigation

Thin privilege is being taken seriously when you have a PhD

I got my phd from Princeton and now I teach classes at Harvard. I teach classes on health and obesity and I am a big advocate for HAES. my goal is to stop fatshaming around campus and rid the world of that plague. 

But when I tell people about my research, they don’t believe me. They think that I’m making it all up. Sometimes people at the coffee shop will ask to see papers as if I just carry a million papers and science experiments around with me everywhere I go. 

And yet, nobody ever asks thin people for evidence. Nobody ever wants them to carry around a bunch of research when they’re just getting coffee. It’s fatshaming. 

Thin Privilege is to have people believe what you say, even if you’re qualified to say it.

Avril lavigne - Hello Kitty

I don’t know if you guys have heard Avril Lavigne’s new song Hello Kitty…

In the beginning of the song it mentions “Like a fat kid on a pack of smarties”

I always thought Avril was better than that :( 

What is your opinion? Am I overreacting or is it fatphobic?


That line is just one small aspect of the whole video being horrible. Racism, cultural appropriation, fat phobia etc. The line itself is just play off of the phrase “like a fat kid on cake,” and was pretty boring / unoriginal…like the entire video.

I’m still surprised that she is a year older than me but still is trying to act the exact same as she did when I was in high school.


Thin privilege is being able to buy confectionery and other sweet things at the supermarket and knowing that the cashier won’t take it from your bag when you’re not looking.

This has happened to me three times this year whenever I go to a certain supermarket in town and meet the same cashier.  The last time it happened, I made sure I checked my bags before I left and then marched right back in, demanding why I’ve always been defrauded by her.  And she gave me the most astonished look, and said that I shouldn’t be eating such things and that she’s ‘saving my life.’ 

Like, she didn’t think that what she was doing was theft or illegal in any way.  In her mind, she was saving the fat girl from the dangers of a few bars of chocolate.  And I’m completely sure that she does it to other fat people that shop there too.  I’d stop going to that place but it’s the only local supermarket in town that sells the type of rice that I like eating.

[tw: fat shaming, abuse, ableism, fat discrimination]

Thin privilege is thinking it is some how acceptable to post this horribly hateful, ableist fat-shamey facebook status:

"I’m anti-alcohol shaming. You should all be ashamed of yourselves, he can’t control that he drinks, an who are you to say his lifestyles is wrong. He’s born with natural liver-pickling and it’s a hereditary trait. It’s beautiful and you should learn to accept it.

(that’s how you sound when you bitch about fat shaming)”

This is what I logged on to facebook to see staring back at me the other day. By the time I saw this status, 8 people had liked it and a few people had gone back and forth making cruel fat-shaming jokes such as “fat people will go dry their tears with chicken nuggets” and a photo of a fat woman surrounded by food saying “It’s not the 13,000 calories she eats a day, it’s genetics.”

As I was already worked up over a fat-shaming incident I had experienced earlier that day, I immediately commented, calling the op out for using people with alcoholism as a prop to fat-shame other people. We went back and forth for a while, him trying to claim that obesity and alcoholism were both diseases that had similar affects on people while I said that you can’t compare the two as they are very different situations and it is insulting to both groups of people to do so.

Eventually I ran out of spoons when some other asshole decided to chime in and tell me, “Boo hoo,” and “Fat people are a disgusting plague upon the earth.” I ended my part by saying that they were hateful assholes who’s gross opinions did nothing but hurt other people and deleted my original “friend” off of my facebook.

I haven’t had any backlash from it although we have quite a few friends in common. The op is a notorious ass who loves being a sexist, ableist, fat-phobic douche. The oddest part about it is that he is quite fat. Internalized fat-phobia? 

It’s mind-blowing to me that people think they can just get away with saying this horrible shit and then actually see support from their community in the form of “likes” and comments. 

Thin privilege is going shopping for a wedding dress and not just receiving satisfactory customer service, but leaving with the dress of your dreams.

[tw: fat shaming, fat discrimination, fat hate]

I know it’s FML, but the way this woman was treated is nothing short of appalling. If you ctrl+f and search the username (DarthVerona) in the comments, you’ll see she responded to clarify some things, including the fact that the women just looked her up and down, didn’t even size her, before telling her nothing would fit her and asking her to leave. (Really, read the first comment she leaves, it’s heartbreaking.) She also said that she was just not going to buy a dress.

She is getting MARRIED, and she’s not getting a dress for it. Because those fat shaming bitches made her feel so bad about herself that she decided it would be best if she didn’t try to get one.

I am glad, however, that many of the comments were posted in outrage against the shop and support towards the woman. She just left another comment stating she called some other stores and is thinking of maybe making her own dress.

Thin privilege is speaking openly about body positivity and being respected and taken seriously, unlike a fat person being ridiculed because ”obviously they’re making excuses for not losing the weight.” I was bullied into losing weight and developed an eating disorder. It disgusts me that my opinion on body positivity is somehow more valid than it was when I was fat.

About the do-you-want-thin-or-fat-kids thing

I’d love my child either way, of course. But as a fat person, I figure there will be a certain number of fat kids out there, and if someone’s going to have one, it’s far better that it be me than a thin person who’ll fat-shame the kid, not make sure the kid doesn’t have to deal with fat-shaming messages, etc. IMO, as a general rule it’s better for fat kids to have fat parents who have a good understanding of thin privilege and fatphobia. 


Mod response:

I would agree if fat people were in general more accepting of fat bodies than thin people. But internalized self-loathing imposed by a fatphobic culture can be even more toxic than the kind of fat bias exhibited by someone who has never been fat. Just ask anyone who ever had a fat parent who centered their whole lives over whether or not they were “good” or “bad” that day (regarding food/exercise), put off vacations until they looked a certain way, monitored their kids’ body sizes/eating/exercises because they didn’t want their kids to have to go through what they were/are going through, and so on. 

Anecdotally, the most fat-accepting parent I have is my naturally very thin stepmother. Some of the most fat-accepting friends I’ve had were naturally thin — there was something about how they could eat and not exercise and still be thin that made the idea of me doing nothing to “stay fat” very natural to them. 


[tw: abuse, fat phobia, eating disorder]

Thin privilege is being worried about if you have an eating disorder.

I never ate right, I eat maybe one meal a day and for two weeks, I didn’t eat. I lost twenty pounds. People congratulated me.

I had been malnourished, and I was weakened to the point of exhaustion when I walked to class.

Of course, it was assumed I was lazy. I’m was actually stronger than most of the student body. 

Not to mention my doctor telling me that I /had/ to lose weight.  She didn’t care about my state of health, she was “worried” about my “obesity.” I’m 180 and 5’3”.

The only person who mentioned that I should eat /more/  was my therapist.

Even the church I went to had people passively saying I should work out or do this or that.

I did.

That’s thin privilege.

I was talking to my university halls’ resident tutor (like a DA) yesterday and we were both talking about our weight since we both had insecurities about it (I’m short and about 140lb, I wouldn’t put her as more than 20lb bigger than me if that). She mentioned the last time she went to the doctor for a sports injury completely unrelated to her size and how he’d said to her “you’re not the thinnest patient I’ve had today” and “I can’t say this because you’re a woman and you’d get offended by it, but if you were a man I’d say you were fat”.

Dancing again!

This is a healthism story with a fortunately happy ending. 

I’ve always been big, but over the past few years, pain has taken over my life and I’ve gotten even fatter.  A very large fat.

Every doctor I’d been to had been dismissive about my pain, and especially of the pain in my feet.  ”It’ll get better if you lose weight” is probably the most common result of a doctors visit for me.  ”How can I exercise when I hurt so much and feel so awful?” seems to puzzle doctors.  

I finally fired my GP last year, although it costs more to use anything but the clinic at my workplace, my new nurse practitioner is worth every penny to me. I finally got up the courage to ask about the pain after she’d been seeing me for more concrete things for a few months and she listened!  Last month, I got a referral to another rheumatologist and, guess what, I’ve had some kind of inflammatory arthritis for the past 5 years!  

I’ve been on prednisone now for about a week and, even though I’ve got bronchitis, I can’t help but to get up and dance around every so often on my feet that look like feet instead of swollen pink blobs.  I can walk to the bathroom without crying in agony! My hands also look more like what I remember with fingers instead of sausages and I can see my knuckles and open bottles, etc.!

I’m so happy, but I’m also angry at my old doctor for blaming everything on my weight and causing so much suffering.  I’ve still got plantar fasciitis and that probably is my weight, but it really doesn’t bother me much compared to whatever else was going on in my foot joints.  

I’ll go back next week for my official diagnoses, but all it took to make me feel better was this common drug.  They also tested me for some other common things and found out I was anemic and low vitamin D. 

This blog was the thing that gave me the energy to switch doctors, the courage to bring it up again with my new nurse practitioner and the confidence to feel that I deserved to be helped despite what others thought about my weight.  Thank you and this goofy nerd dance is for everyone else who shared stories about their doctors!

I was referred to a rheumatologist for a genetic condition, and when I arrived at my appointment the receptionist barely glanced at my chart and told me to go sit in waiting area C.  I went over and sat in the seating area she told me, and sat right under a sign that said “Dietician.”

Five minutes later a nurse came over from waiting area A and said, “There you are. Your doctor is over by waiting area A,” and showed me to the doctor’s office for my appointment.

The receptionist had taken one glance at me and assumed that I was there for the dietician, never even considering that I might be there for some reason other than losing weight.

A question (sorry to submit, but I don’t have tumblr)

I have a friend who is engaged and gay. She and her partner were discussing children and the prospect of a child’s future as a gay/straight adult. Although she would of course accept and love her child regardless, she hoped for a straight child so they would not endure the ridicule, heartache, and oppression that she has faced as a fat-bodied gay woman. This is more of a question for the mods (or whoever wants to answer really) if you were to have children, would you wish them to be fat or straight-sized? I know ideally we would live in a world where fat people are not oppressed, but if you had to have a child with thin privilege or one who is adorable and fat yet ridiculed, what would you choose? I think this is worth considering in the current social climate, gay parents wonder if their child will be gay, biracial parents wonder what “race” their child will identify with, what do fat parents think?


I wish for a world that doesn’t oppress gay kids/adults and privilege straight kids/adults, where passing for white doesn’t convey privilege, where random strangers don’t sit next to my white cousin in a clinic and berate her for marrying and having children with a black man (happened to her last week), or where being fat in a public school means you’ve got a good chance of being physically and emotionally abused by your peers and teachers, etc.

While I understand the compulsion to want your children to pass for a member of a privileged group because it will be easier for them, hoping that they will pass sets you up for disappointment if they don’t, when really, the child has absolutely no control over the social soup they’re born into. 

Instead of saying, “I hope you pass,” I’d prefer to say, “I’ll brave all the slings and arrows of the world to love you.”

In my particular case, if I were to have a fat child I would do my best to not send that child to a public school, because public schools are incredibly toxic for fat kids at present. It would take me having the means to have them schooled alternatively, where I could monitor the messages my child is getting, whether they’re being bullied, etc. Not everyone has these means. I’m only speaking for my particular (childless and not planning to have children) situation. 

I might be naive. But that’s my take with the information I have at this present moment.