This is Thin Privilege

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[tw: fat-shaming, fat hate, possible eating disorder, anxiety]

 

(I’m typing this on mobile, so I apologize for any mistakes. Also, this may be a real wall of text. I can’t really tell, but sorry if it is)

 

I’m going to start out by saying that I am a small fat (5’4” at 112 lbs and around 125 lbs when this happened) and I acknowledge the fact that I have got a bit of thin privilege, but it doesn’t come too far into play here. A few months back, I was out with my S.O. of the time, and just to be clear, we’d gone as a couple and weren’t with a group or were even remotely near anyone the his ultra-ego would want to impress.

 

That being said, there was a bit that should have given me some warning. He had been poking fun at some fairly heavyset people, which I called him out on. After a couple of times, he stopped and I ignored the fact that the problem was likely still there and he only wanted to shut me up.  

 

Denial, I’d call it.  

 

Another thing to be clear on would be that he is (and was) very, very thin, tall, and fairly muscular.  I’d already had various problems with anxiety due to feeling inferior. Like I didn’t deserve to be with him. And I suppose that is true, in a way. No one deserves this treatment.  Now. Back to my experience.

 

Several minutes had passed I had calmed down quite a bit. It seemed like a normal outing now. This did not last long.  We had been talking and joking, like any young couple would when he brought up weight again.  I was very upset and distraught by this time, so I told him to stop, yet again. This time, instead of brushing off what I said, apparently he decided to tell me what he actually thought of me.  He called me fat, straight up, to my face, while we were on a date.  

 

Normally this would not have bothered me, but I really cared about his opinion at the time, and I was already worried so this pushed me over the edge.  I had what I’m assuming was an anxiety attack that night, and I looked so bad that I was asked by several people if I was alright.  I looked like I was about to pass out.  

 

I was not alright.  I had body-image-related problems in the past, but this was the most they’d surfaced in a long time. I spent the next three months trying to lose weight with diets, fasts, and other godawful methods. I focused only on my weight and “how fat I was”.   I still had major body image issues and had virtually no self esteem until I found this community. I am currently rebuilding my self-image, all thanks to the amazing words of you all. Thank you TiTP.  You may have saved me from myself.  



Thin privilege is being able to go on a date without having an anxiety attack and three months of hell as a result.

 

paper gowns

Thin privilege is being able to fit into those paper gowns at a doctor’s office. My doctor herself is incredible, a wonderful person who has never questioned my weight (other than an initial “You’re over the weight the chart says is healthy, but it’s not affecting your health at all. If you have any questions about weight just ask”). However, when going to her recently for a physical and pap smear, I couldn’t cover myself with the paper gown I was given. It left my back and butt exposed, and the plastic tie that was supposed to keep it closed couldn’t even reach around me. I’m so glad I’m comfortable with my doctor because I can’t imagine having half of myself exposed in a medical situation if I wasn’t. Physicals are stressful enough.

(This is my first time submitting, so I really hope I don’t screw it up)

Thin Privilege is being complimented without your weight being brought into it. 

From the end of 2011 until Sept of 2012 I worked as an English teacher in China, while I did indeed experience a lot of fat-phobia and comments from strangers over there, the main issue was the dirty environment and conditions. As such, I had to leave China before my year contract ended because I was suffering severe stomach problems and hair loss. I made many friends over there (among the foreign teacher population of the city) and kept in contact with them after coming back to the states.

When I arrived home, I found that I was suffering from complications with my diabetes (type 1.5), but, also parasitic infection and arsenic poisoning. As I tried to work on these problems, I was never consciously trying to lose weight, I tend to fluctuate quite heavily between size 14-18 and have always done so since I was first diagnosed with diabetes at 12. Anyway, as I started to get treated and started taking many things for my ailments, including many herbs, supplements, etc I started to lose weight, I think while in China, I had stayed kind of a steady 16-17, but I dropped more into a 14-15 range after being sick for a while.

Anyway, I’ll get to the point, after I had started to recover and feel better, I posted a picture on facebook, with my thinner and pale looking face (only a face shot), again my purpose had nothing to do with weight loss, I’m not on some quest to drop to a small size or anything. I had someone who I considered to be a good friend, a kind man I’d met in China, message me kind of out of the blue and say “You are looking so beautiful, I knew that if you lost weight, you’d be a man killer” 

I found this surprisingly insulting, and as stated I believe that thin privilege is being complimented without your weight being part of the compliment. 

Fat Shaming Fridays tw: fat hate/ abuse

Ok, I like to visit a site called funnyjunk because their front page is filled with, usually, funny content. But recently, a new trend has started on FJ; Fat Shaming Fridays. Every Friday there are multiple posts abusing and making fun of fat people, all for the sake of “luls”. Stay away from funnyjunk.com! I have completely stopped going on the site and have deleted my account.

[tw: fat hate]

Thin privilege is not having to see posts like this http://thetolkiengeek.tumblr.com/post/91466624258/coldwinterrose-spoken-not-written on your dashboard. Post that are riddled with false concern for the “health” of “obese” people. Post that have lines like “People become obese for many reasons, and not all of those are necessarily their fault. Some of them are even mostly outside of their own control, and those people deserve sympathy, not hate.” No I don’t deserve your hate or sympathy and who the fuck cares why I’m fat? It’s none of your fucking business. And posts like this hurt even more when they come from people who follow who post wonderful feminist and anti-racism commentary. Look, I love your blog, but if you continue posting fatphobic propaganda I’m gonna have to unfollow you.

thin privilege is not having your body type treated as a “worst case scenario”

(disclamer: I am not fat and I am not trying to speak for fat people. I just wanted to share my observations)

I turned on the tv the other day and the channel was set to TLC. The show Sister Wives on, and even though I don’t really like it I watched it for a few minutes because whatever, I was bored. This entire episode was concerning how one of the wives had been trying to lose weight, without much success (I have to point out here that she wasn’t that fat to begin with, but I do believe the is the largest among the wives) Apparently after a while of attempting to diet/exercise, she had ended up gaining instead of losing weight. Her personal trainer was being VERY rude to her at her weigh-in, saying things implying that she was a failure, didn’t care about her body, etc. What shocked me most was during the interview/commentary afterwards, she was very upset and said something along the lines of “I wonder how long I will keep this up before I finally give up and accept that I will always be fat and nothing will change that.” She said this in a way meaning that to accept her body the way it is would mean failure, that thinness is the only option for her. I thought that was extremely harmful and turned off the tv after that. 

To start, I’ve been reading your blog on and off for a while. I wanted to say that it disgusts me how many stories I’ve read that talk about doctors focusing on weight as the major problem for most/all medical problems. As someone who plans to go into Physical Therapy, I wish I wasn’t almost done so I could change my major to become a GP. So then, I’d have a chance to be able to help diagnosis medical problems. I hope that eventually our medical system can be overhauled so that we actually focus on fixing problems, rather than trying to just promote unnecessary weight loss with little explanation or advice.

ED tw

Thin privilege is not only getting complimented after you starve yourself.

I had EDNOS up until last year. I lost a ton of weight due to starving myself and I was miserable. People complimented me left and right, encouraging me to lose EVEN MORE weight than I already had, giving me tips for how to lose more weight, telling me I looked good.

My parents ignored it altogether. My friends encouraged me and didn’t say a word when I threw my lunch away at school instead of eating it, and they laughed when I called myself fat and disgusting.

It couldn’t believe it. I waited and waited for someone to tell me, hey, you look fine, you should stop losing weight or you’ll end up hurting yourself. That never happened. In the end, I took it upon myself to realize that I was hurting myself, and I’d never be able to please these people.

Basically, if you’re fat, any means of losing weight is good to thin people. Even when your meds take away your appetite, causing you to eat less and lose weight. Even if you starve yourself. Even if you throw up everything. It’s all going to be encouraged.

i’m hella obese. 5’ 6” and 219, down from 280. i never thought i was treated badly… until i lost weight. now people actually talk to me. my ‘friends’ are more active in my life than they were before i lost weight. sales attendants actually hold a conversation with me in stores like XXI and A&F now, whereas before I didn’t get a hello when I walked in. idk my point but thanks for having this blog here xx

FatPhobia Can Wreck Lives

I’ve seen, firsthand, how this shit can really, really mess a person up.

FatPhobia and thin privilege have sort of been background radiation in every relationship I’ve ever been with, but it was never so prominent as it was with one particular one. She was significantly fat, and had been most of her life. She had gotten endless shit about it from her own mother…”you’ll never find anyone if you’re fat,” that whole awful rotted chestnut. Her mother used to be fat herself, until she indulged in some exceedingly sketchy-sounding surgery, and now she expected her daughter to follow suit. In complete spite of the fact that her doctor said she was in fine health. She was fat. She was healthy. You can be both.

Everyone she had dated till then had either been fetish-tastic or a polite fatphobe…had either liked her strictly because of her body, or strictly in spite of it. We were a breath of fresh air for each other. Then I made the mistake of introducing her to my own mother.

I have plenty of faults with her, but one of her good points was that she was always very open-minded about people who were somehow “othered.” She taught me to never make fun of other cultures, or people who looked or acted different…but apparently drew the line with a secret fatphobia that was unleashed that day. The introduction was more or less pleasant. The minute she had left, less so. Immediately, I was bombarded with questions and statements I would not have been asked if she wasn’t fat. “Did you know that’s how she looked when you met? Aren’t you just settling? Why are you doing this to yourself?” And my favorite: “You’ll be disappointed when she dies an early death.” She said that to me. To my face. It only could have been worse if she’d said it to hers. I know she would have been fine if I’d come home with someone of a different race. Of a different orientation. If I came home with a damn space alien. But her child dating a fat girl? Unacceptable. The insistence that her doctor had given her a clean bill of health—something I shouldn’t have even had to bring up—was flat-out ignored.

And said fat girl heard about it anyway, since I would tell her about these fights with my mother. I didn’t want to hide them from her. Perhaps I should have, or at least toned down the retelling, I don’t know. But now she had disapproval and shaming from two mothers. Eventually she would end the relationship, partly as a nuclear option to stop the unceasingly mounting tensions between her and my family, and it was there that things really went downhill.

We had gotten into fat activism during our relationship. We had both been vaguely aware of it beforehand. It was a source of strength for us. Her hurt and confusion post-breakup saw her break from that and begin to identify more largely with the fetish culture that often lurks at its edges. She began to engage in exceedingly self-desctructive behavior just to have someone’s, anyone’s, approval. When that finally went sour and her clean bill of health was no longer clean? Then her own mother finally had every weapon she needed to convince her daughter to become “acceptable.”

She’s getting her perfectly healthy stomach carved up to “fix” it and won’t hear anything to the contrary. And that’s heartbreaking.

Fuck fatphobia. Fuck it forever and ever.

And thank you, and others on tumblr, for still fighting a good fight. The world needs it.

No One’s Judging Me When They Probably Should

TW: eating disorders, weight loss, medical bias

I am thin. I never really realized what sort of privileges my weight gave me until I came across this blog. Thank you for opening my eyes.

I have struggled with EDs for nearly a decade now, mostly bulimia. I can go to the grocery store and buy 6000 calories worth of junk food and no one bats an eye. They SHOULD, because I am going to stuff myself and make myself sick, which is WRONG. But since I’m thin, I must be healthy, right? (sigh). I was recovered from my EDs until a few months ago, when I developed an unknown illness that causes chronic (unintentional) vomiting, forcing me on what is literally a starvation diet (saltines, bland soup, gatorade…yeah, that’s pretty much it), which triggered the bulimia relapse. Because if you starve yourself long enough, you’ll end up binging, especially with my history. Anyway, I lost 16 pounds in a month, vomiting every day at least once.

I expected concern, which I did get. But what I wasn’t expecting was the compliments. Even the backhanded “eat something” comments, I could tell were thinly veiled jealousy. And when I called my prospective boss to tell him I could not accept the job offer (too sick to work…or stand for more than a minute), when I explained my symptoms he commented that it was “quite the diet.”

I’ve been reading this blog for the past two days and I can’t help but shudder at the stories, particularly the ones involving doctors. My husband is pre-med and just turned in his application. I plan on sharing these stories with him in the hope that there will be one more doctor who treats patients as people. (He plans on becoming an osteopathic doctor. I’m not sure if anyone has had experience with these but they take a more holistic approach to health and I believe have a few more courses in nutrition. Maybe this might help? They have a D.O after their name but take the same tests as an M.D. to get their license.) I can’t help but be horrified at the idea of my eating disorder not being taken seriously or my illness and subsequent weight loss being encouraged if my BMI was higher.

I hope I’m not out of place submitting (though I know by default I kind of am). I just hope you know that, despite the flood of hate you all must get, you are slowly but surely helping people by spreading awareness. I plan on sending this blog to a wonderful former professor of mine in my teacher education program. She teaches Gender and Education, but the class covers sexuality, class, and many other issues that affect students. I hope she might carve out a spot in the class to discuss thin privilege and fat discrimination.

the societal challenge to end obesity among children, the number one nutrition-related problem in the US” <—- Actual text from federal research website. This sort of thing is incredibly common in research and the way researchers talk about obesity (when I am in the room, even) is still upsetting every time.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I’d rank things like, say, food insecurity a little bit higher on that list. 

And yes, I get that from a purely numbers-game perspective, there may be more fat people than people dealing with food insecurity (btw overlapping groups) but I think it shows pretty clearly how the US prioritizes these things. 

I threw away my virginity to the first boy who showed any interest in me, to a boy who never wanted to know the real me. I never thought that someone would do that to me because I saw myself as undesirable. Why would a boy only want in my pants? I’m not physically attractive. If he likes me, he must really like me, for more than what I look like.

It’s been near 11 months since that night, and since he last spoke to me. 

And I don’t blame him. How could he want me? I’ve been haunted my whole life with “you’ll never catch a man by eating that.” “A boy will never like you, looking like that.” Hearing things like this your entire life from your mother and your sister takes a toll psychologically. I feel I am undeserving of love, romantic and platonic. I feel guilty for taking up space. I constantly apologize for things that don’t need an “I’m sorry.” I know how ridiculous and absurd my feelings are, nonetheless, I have these feelings and I have no idea how to stop. 

Thin privilege is being deserving of love, of physical intimacy, and of respect.