This is Thin Privilege

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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.

Fictional fat sci-fi YA protagonist!

An early YA science-fiction series, Animorphs by K.A. Applegate, had six protagonists and one of them, Cassie, was fat. The first twenty or so books were updated and re-printed a couple of years ago, and all the originals can be found pretty easily at thrift stores or on ebay. 

Cassie is treated respectfully by the series, she’s mentioned a few times to be fat but not described as constantly eating or treated as ugly. She’s the team’s “moral compass”. She and another character, Jake, have a romance subplot that’s treated respectfully and is very cute. She’s the most skilled morpher of the team and successfully performs BRAIN SURGERY on another character. What I’m saying is she’s a great character. You can buy all the Animorphs books here.

(NOTES: I wouldn’t give the books to anyone younger than twelve, as some parts are pretty disturbing. Also, the book covers portray her as average weight. She was only mentioned as fat a few times.)

I work at a bakery, and yesterday my boss pointed to a customer and said “unfortunately I just sold that fat lady a cheesecake. She shouldn’t be buying that” (indicating she would have rather a thin person bought her product, as if they are more entitled to shopping at her bakery). Then she went into all the reasons that person must be overweight: eating habits, thyroid problems, etc.

Thin privilege is being considered a more valuable customer, as well as not having your body and health analyzed every time you buy something. 

tw: abuse, ED talk

Thin privilege is not feeling that your mother’s love is conditional depending on whether or not you work out.

I’ve always been a bigger gal, and when I was around 10 or 11 years old, my mother would look at me in disgust and say, “You need to start doing sit-ups/working out.”

This continued on for many years, and once I started to lose weight, she seemed to be happier around me and wouldn’t say any negative things about my body as much, minus a few times when she would tell me I “had enough food” at dinner. For my brother, however, she would not say anything, even when he was chubby, because at least he was a lot thinner than me.

Hearing her negative comments all my life has caused me to feel extreme guilt when I eat. For a few months this year, I would eat once a day or less and work out vigorously to make the guilt go away, and of course, when I went home from college for break, she and my father both commented on how “good” and “thin” I looked. Neither of them know that I’ve been seeing a counselor for my depression, anxiety, and you guessed it, an eating disorder.

I have since told my brother, and he confessed to me that he had also been starving himself for a month or so and that’s why my mother always makes sure he’s well fed and buys him food all the time.

Thin privilege is not thinking that your mother cares more about your brother’s well-being just because he is a lot thinner (and a foot taller, I might add, which makes him appear leaner) than you.

TW: weigh loss talk

I am on the smaller side of the fat spectrum, but living in a city where going to the beach is an important part of our sociabilty and growing up with a father who adores to body police any woman in his life (and who put me in Weigh Watchers when I was 10 years old) I’ve always felt a bit uncomfortable in my body and nowhere did I feel more uncomfortable than in a gym. But it has been years since last put foot in one and this month I decided to try again and get myself a Gym membership. I used to take pilattes classes (which I loved because the teacher and my colleagues were amazing people) but I can’t really afford it right now as it is so much more expensive than traditional gym places. So, the first step was to do an evaluation. I knew they were going to weigh me (which I dislike) but I thought they were also going to do things like measuring my heart rate during exercise, see how my flexibility is doing and thing like that. But no. They just measured me, weighed me, asked me if I has any diseases and told me my percentage of body fat is really elevated and that I need to loose 10kg. And that was after I told them loosing weigh wasn’t my goal. That I just want to improve my overall cardiorespiratory fitness and find a way to relieve stress. 

Oh, and my husband, who is really thin, also joined the gym and did this evaluation thing. And guess what? They treated him SO much better and were way more careful with him about any issues he might have because his left shoulder is a little lower than his righ one (mine is too but they didn’t care)  

Thanks God I am at a point in my life I can just ignore this kind of stuff and go ahead do my exercise because I know it is good for me and makes me feel less anxious. Had this happened a few years ago I would probably have just given up on the whole thing.

Thin privilege is being taken serious when you state what your fitness goals are.

(Please forgive any mistakes, english is not my native language)

Celebrity quote (Jennifer Lawrence)/Thin Privilege Is…

Thin Privilege is a picture of Jennifer Lawrence quoted as saying “I’m considered a fat actress. I eat like a caveman. I’ll be the only actress that doesn’t have anorexia rumors! I’m never going to starve myself for a part. I’m invincible. I don’t want little girls to be like, “Oh, I want to look like Katniss [from the Hunger Games], I’m going to skip dinner!” being re-posted all over Facebook by my skinny friends.

Here’s the thing. If I said I wanted to look like Katniss, I would bet money on the fact that a few people would tell me to eat less/skip dinner sometimes. She is not fat and I am tired of her being pushed to the body acceptance forefront when she is, in fact, an ideal hourglass shape. Also, the “I eat like a caveman” part really stuck with me because of the recent discussion here about thin girls saying they love candy/food getting very different responses than fat girls who say the same thing. Here, her supposed eating habits are celebrated; if a regular fat person said they ate like a caveman (even in the same light-hearted  tone), they would be opening themselves up to criticism. That is because she does have thin privilege. 

Thin privilege is getting the “at least you’re not fat as well” speech from doctors.

I’m a naturally thin person who suffers joint pain and stiffness as a result of developmental hip dysplaysia (DDH). For the past six months or so I have also been underweight as a result of another medical condition.

Every time I see a doctor about my hip pain I get a little speech about how it will all be OK because I don’t weigh much so it won’t get worse as quickly as it would in a larger person. (I have no idea if this is true or not, it’s just something I get told a lot. Even if it is true, weight loss would not fix the underlying issue and treatment would still be needed.) Of all the doctors I have seen since being diagnosed, all but one have mentioned my weight in this context.

I also hear similar things from other people with my condition. Every time I’ve spoken to someone else with DDH in person they have either commented on my weight, or mentioned that doctors have commented on their weight.

I hate to think how this would play out for someone who is considered to be “too large” by doctors. It’s taken me twelve years to get even the promise of treatment and I wasn’t asked to do anything difficult or impossible before other options were considered. Good luck to anyone who has been asked to lose weight as a “treatment” for DDH or related conditions. I hope you find a doctor who takes you seriously and doesn’t get hung up on weight loss.

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.

Thin privilege is being able to easily find many specialized medical devices that work for you and fit your body for a relatively affordable price.  

I have a genetic condition that seriously damages my joints, and when I had a new and alarming symptom I asked all my friends who have the same condition what they do to cope with it.  They all recommended a certain kind of brace, which can be found in most pharmacies and all over the internet for an average price of about $25 in straight sizes.   When I went looking for one, I could only find one website that sells a truly plus sized version and it costs about 80 bucks.  My only other option would be to have one custom measured and made by a doctor’s office, which would cost more than I even want to think about.  

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. 


I used to love The Simpsons when I was little but it wasn’t until I recently bought the DVDs that I realized just how hateful and fatphobic the show could be. Off the top of my head, here are a few examples:

- Homer, who is a large man himself, often says “No fat chicks!”

- In The Springfield Files, Scully makes Homer run on a treadmill in the guise of it being an important test, but she really just thinks he should lose some weight. She then says that his flab jiggles “like a lava lamp”.

- In Homer’s Triple-Bypass, Dr Hibbert gives Homer a fat analysis test by making his belly flab jiggle and seeing how long it takes to stop. It doesn’t stop jiggling at all, and Dr Hibbert tells his nurse to “cancel his 2:00” appointment.

- In the episode The Last Exit to Springfield, Lisa notices Bart is putting on weight and says, “Hey tubby, want another pop-tart, tubby?”

- In the episode Treehouse of Horror I, the aliens Kang and Kodos abduct the Simpson family, but Homer is so fat that the tractor beam cannot carry him up to the spaceship, so the aliens turn on multiple tractor beams just to get him up there.

In the episode Treehouse of Horror VI, Homer disappears into an alternate universe and Patty and Selma joke that he “disappeared into fat air.”

- In the episode Love Is A Many Strangled Thing, Homer boards a boat and there is a sign at the door that says, “Weight limit: One Precious”

- In the episode Donny Fatso, Fat Tony dies of a heart-attack and is replaced by his cousin “Fit Tony”….who then becomes “Fat Tony” when he stops exercising and starts eating lots of junk food.

- In the episode Bart After Dark, Mr Burns reveals that he hates being outdoors because “there are too many fat children”.

- In the episode Lisa On Ice, Homer makes fun of an 8 year old boy for having breasts, then chases him around the locker room while laughing. The boy then says, “Don’t make me run, I’m full of chocolate!”

In the episode The Homer They Call, a man says to Comic Book Guy, "A fat, sarcastic Star Trek fan…you must be a devil with the ladies.” This isn’t the first time Comic Book Guy has been mocked for his weight.

- In the episode Brother Can You Spare A Dime, a doctor is confused when it is revealed that Homer has 104% body fat. The extra 4% is then revealed to be the fatty foods that Homer smuggled into the doctor’s office.

- In the episode Lisa The Simpson, Lisa is terrified that she will lose her intelligence and envisions what her life will be like if she was dumb. In her vision she is as an obese redneck who needs a “prying bar” just to get off the couch.

In the episode Springfield Up, Homer insists he is fat because he has a glandular problem. The tone of this scene implies we are meant to laugh at Homer here.

- In the episode Sweets and Sour Marge, the town attempts to create the biggest human pyramid in the world but they fail when everybody falls down due to their immense weight. It is then learned that Springfield is the fattest town in the ENTIRE WORLD, which leads Marge to sue the  local sugar company for making people fat. (Because obviously the only way people can be fat is due to sugar, right? Ugh)

- In the same episode, we are introduced the Cletus’ cousin Dia-Betty (get it? Diabetes!) who is morbidly obese and a parody of Bonnie Grape from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

(According to the DVD audio commentary, this episode came to fruition when the writers decided to compile a list of fat Simpsons characters and realized that the list went on forever. But why should the characters’ weight even matter? It’s a nice change to see a show where the majority of the cast is fat, even if it is only a cartoon show. It really sucks that the writers had to make a big deal about it.)

- The episode King Size Homer is probably the worst example of fatphobia. Homer strives to gain lots of weight so that he can claim disability and work from home (which is a problematic concept to begin with). When Homer goes to the cinema, they won’t allow him inside because he’s too big for the seats. When Homer goes shopping, the only clothes that fit him are mu-mus and ponchos. When Homer works at home, the neighborhood kids laugh at him and mock his weight (and we’re supposed to be laughing WITH them, because it’s “funny” that Homer can’t get up to yell at them for mocking him!) When Homer inadvertently  puts the Nuclear Power Plant in danger, he tries calling his boss to alert him to the situation - but his fingers are too fat to dial the number. He then tries to get into his car and the tires collapse under his weight. He then hijacks an icecream truck and gorges himself on the icecreams while driving to the Plant.

 - In the same episode, Bart fantasizes about becoming so fat he has to wash himself with a rag on a stick.

I could probably think of more examples. But those are just a handful of gross examples of The Simpsons joking about or flat-out mocking fatness.