This is Thin Privilege

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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. 

I had a job last year, working as a cook in an Italian restaurant. My job was making the desserts; gelato, fancy cakes, mousse, tiramisu, and chocolate truffles. I enjoyed the work and I was quite good at it. We reused a lot of old containers to store things around my workstation, and they usually weren’t labeled, because whatever was put in them that day was used up by that night. I kept a good tally in my head about which container contained what, cookie crumbs, or decorations for various desserts. On any given day, I might have 20 different containers of components to decorate with, and I have to remember what each one has. 

One day, I made a new batch of 4 dozen chocolate truffles and put them in a container. There they sat for a few hours until dessert orders came pouring in. My boss came over to help me when things got slammed and fill orders for me. Suddenly, he needs truffles. I point out the exact container they’re in and he fetches it, only to open it and discover cookies. What on earth? But I knew the truffles were in THAT one. I’m so baffled, I open the next few on the shelf and come up empty handed every time. 

My boss starts screaming, “WHERE ARE THE TRUFFLES [MY NAME]?!” Again and again, every time I open a new container. I went through every container we had, and started going through containers that were in a different area, absolutely panicked. What happened to them, I know I put them here just four hours ago. “WHERE ARE THE TRUFFLES,” still going off a foot away, with my boss more and more enraged that they’re not where I left them. I’m confused too. 

My thin coworker walks up, with a container in her hands and gives it to me, “they were over there,” she says and points at her own workstation a good ten feet away. No explanation how they got over there, no apology, no nothing. Just that they were “over there.” and I never saw her or anyone else take that container over there. Finally, we get the truffles down and everything proceeds smoothly. 

Later, I excuse myself to the bathroom, but it’s occupied so I return to my station to continue my job and wait for the restroom to be free, when I overhear my boss tell the female coworker, “For a minute there, I thought [my name] had eaten all the truffles!” Coworker responds with, “With her body, I’d be worried too.” 

I was so shocked, hurt, confused and stunned, I spent an extra amount of time in the bathroom, wondering what had just happened. I’m good at my job, I don’t graze from my work, that’s cutting into my own wages and is quite literally, stealing.After my shift, and talking to a different co-worker, I find out that thin coworker stole the truffles from my station and was eating/stealing them for hours until we needed them. 

Yet, was my thin coworker ever accused of eating all the food from her workstation? From stealing food of customer’s plates? 

This is thin privilege, to not be guilty of stealing food when you are literally guilty of it, and I’m automatically guilty simply because I’m fat. 

I was later fired from that job, with the implication that a lot of food was going missing and that it wasn’t cost effective for them to keep me on the payroll. Thin coworker still works there to this day. 

Thin privilege is not having your body type put on display as something disgusting and repulsive

With the recent Steam video game sale, my boyfriend suggested we buy The Typing of the Dead: Overkill, because it’s supposed to be a funny game where you fight off zombies by typing in words. We did end up getting it, but after playing to the second level I literally can’t bring myself to even consider touching it again. 

The second level you play as two stripper girls (hooray sexualization in video games), and the strip club you’re in is being attacked by zombies. To escape, you have to find your motorcycle keys, which unfortunately are being held by the boss of the level, a stripper-turned-zombie. Sounds alright, right? 

It’s really not, and please skip this paragraph if you’re sensitive to really horrendous depictions of fat people. Since becoming a zombie, the stripper has transformed into a giant, slimy fat zombie woman, and the keys are stuck in-between the folds of her giant belly fat rolls. She’s portrayed as so fat and big she can’t even stand up and move around to fight, she just throws objects at the player without getting up. She’s still in her stripper bikini, but she’s shown as having every roll possible hanging out of it, with even one saggy breast flopping out of the top the whole time (way to hypersexualize while desexualizing at the same time). When you finally defeat her, you have to pull the keys out of her belly folds, and it’s depicted as this disgusting spectacle that they have to touch her at all, and that it’s a difficult task, like her stomach fat is consciously holding onto the keys, with a loud squelching pop when they finally come out. 

The boss of this level, as a fat zombie woman, is meant to disgust the player in every way possible. As a woman with a body type really similar to hers, it was unbearable watching the display they made in doing so. It literally got to the point where I had a breakdown and couldn’t continue playing at all. Fortunately I have an understanding boyfriend, and he hasn’t suggested playing it since. 

Thin privilege is not having your body and body type shown as being the epitome of disgusting, and too repulsive to even consider touching. 

Thin privilege is being able to play a video game meant to be fun and hilarious, and not have it specifically target you and people that look like you as the joke.  

Thin privilege is having your body type represented in video games, and not just as a hyperbolic representation of sloth/greed/gluttony/general disgust.

(Side note on this game as well: it also has some really disgusting displays of ableism. Please avoid this game at all costs.)

Thin privilege is never worrying about going to a train station, fairground, or sporting event where turnstiles are used.

Thin privilege is never having to sheepishly ask the nearby attendant if you can use the disabled entrance because you can’t fit through the turnstile.

Thin privilege is never having people mock you or laugh behind your back when they see you struggling to get through a turnstile.

Thin privilege is not having a mental schedule of when it’s “safe” to eat. 

Thin privileged is being hungry, but wondering if enough time has elapsed for you to be “allowed” to eat again. 

Thin privilege is not having to weigh how hungry you are versus whether or not it’s worth it to have to get food in front of your parents, and how likely you are to be harassed for it. 

This privilege is apparently being able to walk into a grocery store?

I was at the Union Square Food Emporium in NYC for the first (and probably last) time today and on side of the building opposite the subway entrance they have these bars on either side of the entrance and exit doors.

Clearly these bars are meant to keep people from taking the carts outside.  But they also, surprise surprise, make it difficult — if not impossible — for people with wide hips to walk through them.  I’m a relatively small fat myself, and even I had to squeeze sideways through these bars; I can only imagine what it’s like for people with even bigger hips than me.

[tw for eating disorders, maybe??]

I used to be on a really strict diet, or I guess it was more of almost an ED, where I ate

  • two bites of an apple (I threw the rest away)
  • a slice of vegetarian deli meat, a piece of lettuce and mustard rolled together
  • a single cracker with a quarter teaspoon of sunflower seed butter (I measured)

During the couple of months I ate like this, I really did not lose any noticeable amount of weight. I stayed fat (like a size 18) the whole time, and I did this for like 10 or 12 weeks. 

Soooo, I guess what I’m saying is that being fat isn’t necessarily caused by what you eat.

For a while I’ve been having knee problems, so naturally I went to the doctors to see if there was anything wrong. Well after a couple of fat shaming questions such as, “How long have you been obese?” and “Have you experienced any other health problems linked to your obesity?” He finally got to his “diagnosis” without performing any other tests and he told me that my knee pains are due to the pressure put on my knees by my excessive weight. 

First of all, it’s clear this doctor has never heard of health at every size. But I calmly explain to him that at my job, I’m on my feet 4 hours a day and also explain to him the concept of me being comfortable with my body and also explain to him health at every size. Then this fucker has the audacity to laugh and say, “Health at every size isn’t true, and if you keep believing it you will eventually get fatter and suffer a heart attack at a young age.” At this point I had had enough and politely told him to “Fuck off.” I immediately walked out of the office and cried in my car for half an hour.

Thin privilege is having doctors take the proper steps in diagnosing your knee pains.

I have to get surgery soon, so today I met with the surgeon for my pre-op assessment. I’m thin, and as soon as he walked into the room, he told me how happy he was that I’m “not a fatty”, and that it’s really not that much harder or dangerous to operate on fat people, he just hates them because his first love was a fat girl and she rejected him. I explained to him that this was not okay and directed him to this blog. Just goes to show how prevalent and dangerous thin privilege is! 

thin privilege is having the right to weight privacy as an actress

today I googled Rebel Wilson because I saw an interesting post about her family and I wanted to see if it was true. The first two things that came up when I typed her name was “Rebel Wilson weight” and “Rebel Wilson weight loss.” To compare, I googled Anna Kendrick, a thin actress with similar notoriety that starred in Pitch Perfect with Rebel Wilson and the first two things that came up where “Anna Kendrick twitter” and “Anna Kendrick snl.” Thin privilege is your weight and/or plans to lose weight not being the first thing people need to know about you

Thin Privilege is not having your body shape imply the ‘wrong idea’.

My name’s Jess, I’m 26 and a size 22/24.

My (very thin) sister-in-law has started her own line of fashion basics, something that piqued my interest as there aren’t many stores in my town that cater to my size. As a favour, I have spent weeks completing hours of (unpaid) branding and design work (I’m a graphic designer) for her and have been actively contributing to the whole process since the beginning. 

Now, all of that is fine and well. However, with the launch approaching she has started to become distant. My sister-in-law told me she was planning on having a group of her friends attend the launch wearing the line with the ‘launch day’ design (created by me). I asked her when she was going to receive the shirts we would be wearing (I wanted to find some cute tights to pair with it) only to be told that she was ‘sorry’ and that she didn’t want her potential customers ‘getting the wrong idea’ about her line.

..the wrong idea.

My body is not a fashion no-no. My body is not a negative association. 

After everything I had done for her, after all the time and unpaid work I had provided her, that is what she gives me in return.