This is Thin Privilege

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There is no obesity without fat people. By saying obesity is a disease, you’re saying fat people are diseased, which is a tiny semantic leap from saying FAT PEOPLE ARE A DISEASE.

Are you concerned yet? Because you should be. One of the main markers of the kind of moral panic that leads to violence and second-class citizenship (at best) is the characterization of a group of people as diseased for possessing a certain characteristic or set of characteristics. It’s called dehumanization. This has happened throughout history to many different groups, from the relatively mild “mods & rockers" moral panic, to far worse atrocities. 

Don’t believe that fat people are being subject to rank dehumanization? Fat people are told to mutilate their healthy stomachs to become thin. When they do, far too many die or suffer terrible consequences demonstrably worse than any conditions correlated with fatness. Fat women are told they shouldn’t get pregnant, which is a shame-based form of social sterilization. Fat people are rarely portrayed positively in media, if they’re portrayed at all, a direct method of dehumanization.

And now, the AMA says fat people are diseased.

A terrific read on the cultural history of fatness, including the framework for it being a moral panic and how deep the roots of fat stigma go, is reviewed here.


(edited for generality, because a definitional quote I’d used as a source was drawing a comparison I hadn’t intended to draw -ATL)


Low-grade bitching.: The malnutrition epidemic of the 1910s.


100 years ago in the United States, public health officials, along with doctors and home economists (early dietitians), declared an epidemic of malnutrition among schoolchildren of the day.

They instituted programs of weighing and measuring the children, providing nutrition education to families, and even encouraging the children to compete against one another to gain weight.

As it turned out, the tests used to measure for malnutrition were inaccurate, based largely on an index of height and weight that did not take heredity into account, as well as very subjective judgments about skin colour (i.e. “rosiness.”) There was no epidemic of malnutrition at all.

The more you know.

Source: Revolution at the Table by Harvey Levenstein

Wait, this seems familiar somehow. Isn’t there an ‘epidemic’ being shoved down people throats today? Most often with good dollops of panic stricken dire warnings, and common knowledge folk lore? Can’t seem to remem- OH YEAH!!….

Oh yeah, that one where a moral panic largely based on an average fourteen pound weight increase (women) and 16 pound weight increase (men) over 23 years largely attributable to an aging population quitting smoking en mass and the long-term effects of yoyo dieting has turned into a policy cash cow.

Meddlesome nannies, line up to wag your fingers at parents while you experiment on their children in the public school setting, yet again.

Where are you on the global fat scale? (TW: fat stigma)

Thin privilege is this calculator, and the way that it is written, and everything about it.  And it’s also the fact that someone feels the need to tell me that I am literally larger, and that’s bad thing, than 97% of all of the other humans in the world.

(mod’s note: I inserted a screenshot for those who don’t want to go through the link. Also note that there are no fat people in the crowd, which is sadly hilarious.)

Thin privilege is never being denied entry to public transport due to your body type.

Thin privilege is being able to read a book, watch a film, and see a TV series that has people of your weight as main characters.

Thin privilege is being able to assume everyone has your body type unless specified otherwise.

Thin privilege is not cringing when you hear the words “uniform” or “free shirts” because you know they won’t have one in your size.

Thin privilege is being able to go swimming without people overtly ridiculing you due to your body type.

Thin privilege is never having your body be automatically associated with sexual deviancy.

Thin privilege is seeing characters in fiction whose body type is not their defining characteristic.

Thin privilege is not having others see you being hurt as humorous due to your body size.

Thin privilege is not having others assume you’re sickly.

Thin privilege is not seeing advertisements telling people to avoid anything possible to stop their body looking anything like yours.

Thin privilege is seeing your body type depicted as sexy without it being niche fetish material, or being accused of “promoting unhealthy lifestyles”.

Thin privilege is not having people act like your partner is being charitable or making a sacrifice by dating you.

Thin privilege is being able to go to a restaurant, café or other eatery without being overtly ridiculed due to your body type.

Thin privilege is not having clothes stores charge you extra due to your body type.

Thin privilege is being able to call yourself fat without anybody thinking anything of it.

Thin privilege is not having you liking your body being seen as something bad.

Thin privilege is not having strangers believe your medical history is public domain.

Thin privilege is being able to talk about fat-shaming and having your opinion valued more than those who actually experience it.

Thin privilege is having people be likely to believe you are disabled, as opposed to “just being lazy” or assuming the disability has to be caused by your body type.

Thin privilege is not having people disbelieve you’ve been sexually harassed because they think no one would ever sexualise your body type.

Thin privilege is being able to have impromptu clothes shopping, purely for leisure.

Thin privilege is not having all your successes ignored because “fat” is synonymous with “unsuccessful”.

Thin privilege is not being accused of abusing your child due to your, or their, body type.

Thin privilege is, if you are another minority, having that minority’s equal rights groups include members of your body type.

Thin privilege is not being fired from your job due to your body type. And if you are, thin privilege is having it be recognised as illegal.

Thin privilege is not having people grab your body parts and telling you to “lose all that”.

Thin privilege is having long-lost friends be interested in your life, as opposed to whether you have or haven’t lost weight since they last saw you.

(submitted by modsquare)

(blog author’s note: there are a couple points in here I find problematic. I just wanted to point out that you can have your children taken away from you if they are too thin, that very thin people are often seen as sickly, and that body/body type should be ‘body size’ in all cases. However, I still thought the submission made a lot of fantastic points and wanted to publish it)