4084 posts tagged thin privilege
Thin privilege is not being happy that someone threw a drink over you and made horrible comments about the way you look:
I saw this on the news today and it made me want to cry. This sort of behaviour towards fat people happens way too much - and now it’s being promoted as the ‘right’ thing to do, as what is ‘best’ for us?
Let me just start out by saying, this is a good blog for body acceptance!
However, I have a small problem that I need your advice. I am a thin girl, 5’2” and I weigh about 100 pounds soaking wet (I have conditions where I can’t gain any more weight, but I should be getting that fixed soon!), and a few of my friends are a bit larger than me, weight-wise. Now, as girls, we go shopping. A lot.
Oftentimes, when we go shopping, my larger friends end up getting frustrated and want to leave the mall because “all the clothes they have only fit you” (referring to me.) Let me just say that the stores we go to have clothes that would fit them. Plus, I hardly buy clothes unless I absolutely need to because I’m a broke college students and I know they would make comments.
What do I do? What do I say to them whenever that happens?
"Let me just say that the stores we go to have clothes that would fit them."
I think it’s rather presumptuous to assume that you know better than they do what fits their bodies.
Even granted that you’re right, and the stores you go to have clothes that fit them, maybe you’re missing the point here. Maybe there’s a rack or two that fits them and 20 racks that fit you. Maybe the stuff they’d have to get is only in different styles, or fabrics, or lengths, that they don’t like. Maybe it’s $10 - $20 more per piece than they charge for sizes that would fit you.
So instead of questioning their lived experiences, maybe try to listen a little more deeply. The way you phrased your post, it sounds like you’d just rather they not ruin your fun by complaining when you all go out shopping together. But if you clothes-shop with fat people you will learn that shopping for non-standard sizes sucks. That’s what a non-standard sized person goes through every. single. time. they want anything, from basics to prom dresses (and it’s usually a hell of a lot harder the fancier you get).
Listen, your question isn’t completely off the mark. It’s just sounds a bit ignorant, like someone who’s not completely aware/accepting of their privilege. And that’s okay! That’s a lot of people. The point is that you’re reading blogs like this, and asking decent questions, and hopefully learning from the answers.
So instead of turning their frustrations into being about you, maybe all of you can plan your trips differently. Find the stores with the most plus-sized selections, or the best prices. Plus-sized clothes are expensive, and it’s not like fat women can just pop into Rave (does that store still exist?) and get an armful of shirts for $3/piece (I might be showing my age here). And if they can just squeeze into the top sizes at the store, the selection will be a lot smaller, are likely not to be on sale, and won’t fit them nearly as well as they’d fit a smaller person.
Being friends means figuring out what works best for everyone, right?
[TW: possible eating disorder, medication-induced anorexia, prescriptions, medical crisis, dehydration, starvation, potential for violence against authority figures, I may have missed a few because I’m too fucked in the head to recognize even my own triggers]
Thin privilege means calling an ambulance, or at least seeking some form of medical attention, when your blood pressure suddenly drops to the blackout point because you’ve simply failed to eat or drink even as much as a housecat for… I dunno, three weeks? Probably longer?
I don’t normally submit anonymously. I prefer to face any trolls that come my way head-on, and take them down with logic and solid fact. Unfortunately, both options have completely failed me in this situation, and I just don’t have the spoons to deal with any shit-flinging. People who know me, one in particular, will know who I am, and that’s fine. I may have a few things to answer for, but I know good and well I keep my problems to myself until they reach critical, and that needs to stop.
Yesterday night, I experienced a bout of postprandial hypotension. It just means a drop in blood pressure immediately after eating as blood is rerouted from the brain to the digestive tract. Now, in my case, it was due to prolonged accidental starvation and dehydration due to a truly mind-boggling array of anorectic prescriptions. (In other words, I daily take more pills than Studio 54 saw in all of 1976-79, and I do it legitimately.) This cocktail barely keeps me balanced on the knife’s edge of functionality, and I have terrible balance. I’ve never eaten much, so nobody really pays attention if I go a few days without more than a couple of pears or some bread and butter, or just a can or two of Red Bull. I only have alcohol once or twice a month (though my tolerance is spectacular), never touched anything illicit, don’t smoke, don’t abuse my prescriptions. I just… slowly succumb to side effects.
Anyway, I thought a shower might help my hypotension. I’ve always had low BP—my doctor says I have the BP of a child—so I figured it would get better.
To my credit, I didn’t completely black out. There wasn’t enough oxygen in the world, though, and in a rush, I ended up on my hands and knees, gasping for breath with the top half of my face submerged near the drain.
It took about half an hour to get out, get to my room, tell my parents the absolute bare minimum of information. (They’ve gotten onto me lately for keeping too much to myself. What am I supposed to do? You have a past like mine, you don’t advertise when you’re vulnerable. I’m the Queen of Looking Fine While Dying Inside.) I sat up for a while by force of will, finally had to go to bed whilst gasping like a landed fish, and within minutes either fell asleep or lost consciousness.
Rationally, I should have requested an ambulance or a trip to the ER after my spill in the shower. This was clearly a medical crisis (and I am going to be in SO much trouble with my girlfriend for not telling her all of this detail sooner). I know what caused it, it’s a situation that needed immediate treatment, and I need to be evaluated for a possible ED to make sure one hasn’t developed alongside the drug-induced anorexia.
But, no. Why? Possibly the most common cause of postprandial hypotension in someone my age is Type II diabetes. Never mind that I sit dead in the middle of the normal range, AND have multiple severe chronic health conditions that would be more likely to cause it in my case. No, I’d have to get tested again and again for something I don’t have. In fact, if anything, my glucose is low right now.
Normally, it would be a minor consideration. I’m pretty level-headed and rational, and once even slurred my way through an informed, mutually agreeable discussion with an ER doc on whether I’d had a stroke. (Nope, but I can never eat a Reese’s cup again.) Lately, though—and I’d bet it’s due to not eating, in fact being unable to force myself to eat without overwhelming nausea—I’ve had a temper. A bad temper. The kind of temper that makes me less likely to calmly explain just why I’d like to be put on an IV of fluids before my glucose is tested, and more likely to do a couple million dollars in damage.
Thin privilege is knowing you can visit the emergency room for a possibly life-threatening condition—that has yet to fully abate more than 24 hours later, did I mention that?—without fear of losing what little hold you have on your abraded temper.
Thin privilege is treatment before terror.
Thin privilege is not being so angry, so absolutely at the end of your rope, that it would be better to die with your good reputation intact than live with what you might have done.
So I’ve followed this blog for a long time, and this community has given me the courage to tell my story.
All my life I’ve been overweight. I was just kind of built that way, and it had nothing to do with what I ate; I did gymanistics, soccer, and krav maga as a kid. I wasn’t as thin or delicate as other girls, but this was never anything bad - I was stronger than all of them. I was faster. Heck, I was stronger and faster than most of the boys I played with or sparred against, and twice as stubborn. I wasn’t thin, but I was fit.
And then I got to middle school, and kids started taunting me. My parents would give me disapproving talks about junk food (which I rarely if ever ate because I hate the overwhelming sweetness of it). I learned to be ashamed of my body, and it didn’t help that because I competed in a mostly male sports league, I didn’t have many friends, and was too shy to make them. Girls made fun of me behind my back, spread rumors about me, things like that, but it didn’t get really bad until high school. Guys would ask me out as a joke. When my classmates found out who I had a crush on, they told me and howled with laughter over the mere notion that he would even think about me at all. Despite the fact that nobody - and I mean nobody, not the coach, not our star goalie, nobody - could stop me from scoring, and that none of my teammates could keep running for as long as I could, I got kicked off soccer for not being ‘fit enough.’ My mom would sometimes physically remove food from my plate if she felt I was eating too much. I should clarify that at this point, I was barely overweight - at 5”2, I never weighed more than 150 pounds, and most of that was in my chest (I was a proud triple D and I was hot as fuck thanks for asking). I was also doing Krav Maga five days a week and somewhere between getting my ass brutally kicked every week and finally managing to keep up, I was definitely ‘fit,’ despite being told otherwise literally everywhere I turned.
I suppose in the grand scheme of things had that been where my story ended, it would just be another crappy high school story about a geek who got made fun of and god knows there are enough of those. But then my dad jumped on the bandwagon. He would call me every day to tell me about his workouts. The first words out of his mouth when he saw me for the first time in six months (after my first semester of college) were “have you gained weight?” He obsessed over every bit of food in my mouth, encouraged me to check my BMI, elatedly informed me that I was “overweight” at least once a day and I couldn’t fucking take it anymore. Food tasted like shit because I could barely swallow around the thought that every bite was making me fat, making me unloveable, unworthy, worthless.
Those feelings followed me across an ocean when I went to study abroad, and with no dining call, and no roommate, I didn’t have to hide the fact that I wasn’t eating. For four months, I don’t think I ever ate more than 300 calories a day. I spent most of my time abroad hating myself, feeling weak from not eating enough but physically unable to put food in my mouth. I lost sixty pounds (and according to the BMI chart, cannot be considered underweight, which is kind of ridiculous given that I don’t think there’s any more weight I could lose on my body).
And you know what the first fucking words out of my dads mouth were when he saw me in the airport were?
"You look amazing!"
I’ve come to the point where I can accept the fact that I suffer from an eating disorder, but I still find it hard to eat, even now. I know I don’t eat enough food to sustain my body, but I can’t get over the fact that every bite just makes me unacceptable as a human being - both to my peers, and my family. I’m facing a long road to recovery because the world kept telling me I wasn’t thin or beautiful enough. I’m not a health expert, nor will I ever be, but two years ago I could punch through three one-inch thick boards stacked on top of each other. I could run for miles and not even start huffing for breath. Now I can barely stand up without seeing stars, but everyone keeps complimenting me on getting healthy.
That’s thin privilege, and thank you guys so much for showing me that the problem was never with me; it was the world that was screwed up.
TW: Bullying, slurs, self-hate.
To this day I can’t tell my mother or my friends that I hated my “nickname” “tubby” or “tubs”, because it made me feel self-conscious about my size and as though I could never be part of their group. I can’t tell them because they’ll tell me to “man up” that it’s “not bullying if we didn’t mean to bully you” and that “if you love your body, you shouldn’t be offended by your nickname”. They still call me it and, every time they do, I feel the self-loathing I used to experience as a teenager come back to me.
Thin privilege is not being ashamed to admit that you were bullied. Thin privilege is not being ashamed to admit that you were hurt. Thin privilege is being able to talk about the way your friends discriminated against and abused you without being mocked because “it isn’t bullying if it’s about weight.”
I don’t know if you guys have posted anything like this before, and if you don’t want to, that’s okay. It’s not exactly thin privilege (except, well, it’s such an infinitesimal part of music…so like anything in media really, thin privilege is having the majority of media celebrate your body type). But I know these help me when the discrimination/hatred gets too loud, and I thought it might help others. :)
I’ve been compiling a personal list of music/music videos that are…inspirational and recognize/celebrate body diversity. Here we go. :)
Brave by Sara Bareilles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4
Big Girls (You Are Beautiful) by Mika https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDSK91mUNLU
Up In The Air by Thirty Seconds to Mars (seizure warning on the video) (trigger warning for one line in the chorus/lyrics) (Mostly thin people, but there’s a particular woman of size that first appears around 3:30 and she is glorious.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9uSyICrtow
Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMnjF1O4eH0
(This song has been covered by many, but one of the ones I especially love is an acapella version by The CottonTown Chorus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDhP4jtrF58)
Baby Got Back by Sir-Mix-A-Lot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlItMpGYQTo
(Also covered as a romance song by Jonathan Coulton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ltjbnyvq_SI)
I’m sure there are others, but probably not many. Anyone know of any others? I’m always looking to add to my list. :)
I just wanted to note that, as many people have already said, Baby Got Back is not something I would consider fat positive or body positive at all. He’s not only relying on normative beauty ideals but reinforcing anti-blackness that black women need to navigate through daily in relation to white standards of beauty. “That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist. And a round thing in your face” and “LA face with Oakland booty.” The last lyric clearly outlines how a woman can have a large butt as long as their face conforms to white beauty standards.
The 30 Second to Mars video does feature a beautiful fat woman but I’m really uncomfortable with the use of her as a circus sideshow act as this video is pretty much a hipster circus theme.
Thin privilege is never having to worry about bringing your own towel because there will always be one that covers your body appropriately.
The standard bath towel is a joke for my fat body, I need two to wrap around me all the way and how awkward is that to hold up and walk back from the bathroom in? I remember feeling nervous that a towel wouldn’t fit me since I started going to sleepovers and camp as a kid.
It’s something that my non-fat friends don’t think about or understand, and I’m too embarrassed to explain to them why I always pack my own towel when we’re going to the beach, a friend’s pool, or on vacation where we’ll be staying in a hotel or someone’s house. They will reassure me that there will be towels there, but I always end up making some stupid excuse like “I am a germaphobe and hotel towels gross me out” (I don’t care at all!) or that I’m bringing one “just in case we run out of towels/mine gets sandy/an alien beams it up in a spaceship.”
I also always feel rude when I stay with my Aunt and she leaves out a towel and a washcloth for me, and I don’t want to just leave the towel folded up so it looks like I didn’t shower (because fat people stink! -_____-) or like I didn’t appreciate that she did that. It gives me anxiety that I know is necessary but feel nevertheless.
It would be nice if oversize towels were more common so I would feel more comfortable that the appropriate size will be available for my body.
Thin Privilege is having doctors not assume you over eat.
In the past month I’ve started to try and lose weight. I gained a lot of weight during college and I was wondering why I wasn’t losing weight when I decided to eat less.
The first doctor I talked to just assumed I was eating over 2500 calories a day. When I told her I usually only ate once or twice a day and that would usually add up to around 1100 and that recently I had dropped that down to eat no more than 700 calories a day she did not believe me until after I walked her through everything I would eat in a given day, even though I told her I was counting my calories.
Still lecturing me on how unhealthy I was eating (as if I didn’t make it obvious I realized that) she then asked me questions that led to find out that the reason for my weight gain was more than likely related to my depression (which causes you to have too much of a hormone called Cortisol which causes you to gain weight and makes losing weight very difficult and also causes inadequate amounts of sleep which also affect the metabolism)
Thin Privilege is assuming that Depression only causes weight gain because it makes you “over eat” when you’re stressed. Which is what I, and most other people I know, thought was why people associate depression with weight gain, which led me to believe there was no way my depression was causing me to gain weight.
Eventually I found out that I also have Hypothyroidism which causes weight gain and makes losing weight difficult as well. Hypothyroidism also causes depression in some people as well.
Thin Privilege is not having your family assume that you gained over 30 pounds in college because “you let yourself go” when in fact you gained so much weight because you had a medical disorder which caused you to gain weight along with making your depression significantly worse which also caused you to gain even more weight, all while taking in fewer than 1100 calories a day.
Thin privilege is never being shamed in public just because you are fat.
Today, I went to K-mart to buy a DVD for my mother’s birthday. While I was browsing the shelves, a man came up behind me and physically pushed past me, muttering something about “fat assholes always blocking the aisle”. A couple standing nearby snickered and nodded at him.
Ugh. I just don’t understand why it’s acceptable for society to treat fat people this way. Just because I’m fat, it doesn’t mean you can be rude to me. They aren’t even long aisles anyway, so if I really was in his way he could have just gone down the next aisle instead. I wish I had said something witty or clever at the time, but all could say was a “fuck you” after he had already walked away.
Thin privilege is being able to look at a radio facebook page without seeing a headless picture of a body that looks like yours from the back; thin privilege is also feeling just fine writing or calling in a hateful comment about fat people when the show is about suing food companies.
Thin Privilege is not having a doctor ask you about basic hygiene.
If you go to the doctors while clean and freshly showered there would be no reason for them to ask you- “You’re cleaning under your arms right?” Or if a dude “You’re making sure to get in there and clean your foreskin folds, right?”
And yet last time I went to the doctor for a physical for work despite everything coming back healthy and me not having any complaints not only was I reminded they have nutritional counseling (and casually recommended weight watchers) but then was asked if I was making sure I was cleaning under my fat.
I was embarrassed and ashamed that I even had a roll of fat so I quickly told her I did and was…and tried to forget the experience.
Now though, months later, why would she assume I wouldn’t be cleaning myself? And wait a minute if all my results are saying I’m healthy…why do I need nutritional counseling or weight watchers anyway?!
[Possible TW: abuse, gym]
Thin privilege is being about to work with customers without being given an attitude simply because of your weight.
I work in a grocery store in the meat/seafood department. Our store is in the same shopping plaza as a large fitness gym. Most of the people who work out there will immediately come to our grocery store. They approach the seafood counter and when I come to help them, I’m given dirty looks.
There was a woman who was wearing sweaty gym clothes that was about to get some fish. She saw me come out of the back room and say hello with a smile on my face. The woman looked me up and down and gave me the most disgusted look and walked away. She came back a few minutes later and was happy to be helped by a muscular co-worker of mine.
Another time, one of the gym trainers (he was wearing the gyms logo that said “trainer”) came up to counter, looked me up and down and with a disgusted look on his face asked for salmon. I cut it for him and handed it to him. As required by my job, I must ask if they wish to also purchase an item on sale. I asked him if he wanted some tilapia as well. He again looked me up and down and with a disgusted look and said “That’s unhealthy fish” and walked away.
Thin privilege is being able to do your job without having to deal with thin people looking at you like your disgusting and should not handling their healthy food.
Being able to go out to the mall, (or a crowded place,) with family or friends and not have to worry about being fat shamed. Ive always had horrible social anxiety because of my past and though I have better control over myself and my emotions now and don’t usually have to worry about this as much I just wanted to share this tid-bit of my issues.
Back when I was very self-concious and couldnt feel comfortable in my own skin, there was a trip to the mall that I took with my family. We’d already been there for a good amount of time and despite my anxiety and restlessness about being in such a crowded place, I was actually having a decent time. My family was arguing about some nonsense when a group of teenagers passed us and as usual I looked down quickly and refused to make eye contact.
[[Because of certain experiences in my past, I have issues with hearing anybody laugh around me, especially in groups because I always think that they’re getting a laugh at me]]
Well, in this instance the laugh came after the joke. They made a cruel remark in connection to the clothes i was wearing. [[Red pants and a green shirt]] Note that these were new clothes and my favorite clothes because it was the first step I’d ever taken in dressing somewhat to my preference.
They made the comment, “Look its Santa Claus,” “Must Be Christmas,” My heart dropped but you know what I did? Instead of calling them out or doing anything else somebody in my position might have done. Instead of worrying about my feelings… I looked at my family scared as ever because I was afraid they’d heard. I notice that I’ve been doing this for my whole life. It seems that from a very young age I’ve done my best to keep that horrid side of humanity out of my personal life. Somewhat like buisness and pleasure. You just don’t mix them. Looking back at that moment and other times like that it surprises me and somewhat hurts me to think of how strong i had to be to keep those worlds apart.
Now as a much stronger and confident person, I find myself realizing that neither my family or friends truly know what ive had to deal with and thats fine. Its just somewhat sad you know?
Anyways, my family didn’t hear or see a thing that day but it felt like someone had gutted me open for the rest of the trip and even back home. i hate moments where i feel so hurt that all i want to do is disappear.
I’m so glad I have this blog to share to, although i’ve been following for a while, i’ve only now truly started sharing and it kinda feels great to have people who can relate so thank you for continuing this blog. :)
Thin privilege is the fact that fatphobia seems to be (not counting a select few countries) a worldwide problem.
I’ve lived in many different countries throughout my life, though I spent most of my childhood in Japan because my dad is Japanese. I was a fat child and, because fatness isn’t very common in Japan, people were especially cruel to me. Children would bully me for looking different to them, adults would make disapproving noises at me when they saw how big I was, and teachers would offer diet and exercise tips to my parents under the guise of “helpful advice”. And since Japanese girls are generally very petite and slim, my white side was constantly blamed for my fatness (so there was an added element of racism to the fatphobia). It doesn’t help matters that “the fat American” is a well known stereotype in Japan, so people assumed that my weight is a result of “typical” white laziness, unhealthy eating, and bad parenting.
Also… from what I recall, there were barely any fat people in the Japanese media. There were a couple of fat comedians who used their bodies as a punchline. Whenever they appeared on talk shows, I would feel uncomfortable watching it, because the hosts would openly make jokes about their weight and their looks, and they were supposed to laugh along with it as if it was the funniest thing in the world. Every now and then, there would be a fat geek/otaku on a tv show, who was always unfashionable, sweaty, unwashed, constantly playing video games in a dark-lit room, and constantly piling cake and candy into his mouth. There were never any positive portrayals of fat people on Japanese tv.
Nowadays I live in Australia and the fatphobia is different…but no better. People are still bullies, people are still racist, and people still treat me like crap just for looking this way. I’m still called lazy, slobby, unhealthy, etc….but now people tell me I’m a failure of an Asian because apparently we aren’t “supposed” to be fat. It’s like I’ve stepped into an alternate reality where society is exactly the same, except now my other half is being blamed for my weight!
Ugh. The joys of being fat in a fatphobic world! It doesn’t seem to matter where I go, society still looks down on me for being fat.
Thin privilege is judging a fat parent and child for eating junk food when you yourself are eating the very same food!
My daughter (who is chubby like me) recently had her first day of kindergarten, and as a treat I decided to take her to McDonalds. This isn’t something I do often. But I was so happy that my daughter saw school as a positive experience (I was worried because when I was her age, I hated school and would cause trouble just to avoid going to classes) so I decided to sweeten the deal by giving her a treat.
No sooner had we both sat down at a table with our food, that I heard another mother with her child mumble something like, “Ugh. No wonder her daughter is so fat. Just look how they eat!”
Firstly, I have never seen this woman in my life so she has no idea how I eat or whether that is the reason for my (or my daughter’s) weight.
Secondly, it’s none of her freaking business how I feed my child!
Thirdly, she herself was at McDonalds with her child. Pot calling the kettle black, much?!
Fourthly, how dare you insult my child’s appearance (or any child, for that matter!) She is only five years old, for goodness sakes!!
Thankfully, my daughter didn’t hear the nasty comment so her trip to McDonalds was a pleasant one. But it makes me so sad that she is so young, and already people are making judgments about her physical appearance. And you know the saddest part? All the nastiness she has encountered in life has come from adults. None of the kids in her class were mean to her. They just look at her and see a potential playmate; someone they can have fun with and become friends with. Though I’m terrified that, as they get older, they might start listening to their nasty parents’ judgmental comments and start targeting my daughter for her looks. It makes me sick.