So, I’ve just complete a month long stint of guest blogging over on The F Word. I didn’t get to post much- once a week or so, simply .because of my huge time commitments to work, study and family. However, while I was there I wrote a piece I had been meaning to write for a while about Thin Privilege.
Whilst the start of my post is straight up wrong- a valuable lesson for me to learn-, when talking about privilege and oppression, I stand by the points I make about how being fat puts one at a disadvanatge in this world, and how thin people, do have privilege over fat people.
I got an email today from a friend asking me if I had read this piece by Amanata about fat hatred. So I went and read it……… and then had to fight the urge to applaud, loudly, because she says everything I try and say, but does it a million times better.
I recommend you read the piece I wrote at The F Word, and please accept my immediate apologies for the first paragraph or so- I made a mistake, and in doing so said something highly offensive. Bloggers, are humans too.
I also recommend you read this piece written by Anji, from Shut Up, Sit Down, and then read Amanata’s piece. And if you don’t find yourself agreeing, or find yourself thinking ‘but being thin is hard too….’ then Shut Up, Sit Down, and Learn Something.
Being fat is not easier than being thin. Being thin is a socially acceptable, and desirable thing to be. Being fat is seen as deviant, unattractive, sexually inadequate, and a characteristic of someone who lacks in self control. Being fat means people will criticise your day to day life- if you eat they will tell you it is the wrong thing, if you don’t they will praise you for ‘being good’ (becuase of course being fat, you will also be infantilised. A lot). You will find it difficult to buy clothes that fit- and I don’t mean, difficult to find clothes that fit in a flattering way, I mean find it difficult to buy clothes at all. People will publicly humiliate you, and everywhere you look you will be told you are unnaceptable, unlovable, sub human. You will have to listen to people tell you all about how much of a health risk you are, and how much of a drain you are on NHS resources- despite the fact that smoking causes more disease and costs more of tax payers money a year than obesity, and despite the fact that links between obesity and the things it supposedly causes (like Type 2 diabetes for example) are tenuous at best.
And if you try and complain that you are being discriminated against and oppressed because of your shape/size people will promptly tell you, you are wrong and you don’t know how hard it is to be thin.
Actually, I do know how hard it is to be thin. I have had an active eating disorder for 10 years. I’ve been in a state of recovery for about 18 months. Not living in a state of starvation, and a cycle of purging, alongside several injuries and existing medical conditions means I have put on about 6 stone. I have gone from a dress size 8 to a dress size 18. And at no point in any of that time, have I experienced anything, which has made me glad that I am bigger. At no point has anyone made a single comment that has made me glad that I no longer have a socially acceptable body. And ironically- now I no longer starve myself, and purge, and smoke to try and keep my body weight down, I am significantly healthier than I was when I was thin. I have struggled, and continue to struggle to accept my body as it is, and to accept that fat or no I am still a vibrant, intelligent worthy, sexually attractive human being.
Don’t tell me that Thin Privilege doesn’t exist. If you are thin, you will have the privilege of not being discriminated against and abused daily, based on the completely arbitrary factor of your weight/ body shape. If you are thin, your food choices are less likely to be interrogated, you are more likely to be employed and less likely to be informed by doctors that every medical condition you have, regardless of whether you had it before you gained weight or not, is caused by weight. And you will have to listen to completely ableist crap that equates health with thin-ness and the ability to perform lots of excercise.
Fat is still a feminist issue. It’s even more of a feminist issue now that society has become obsessed with the ‘obesity epidemic’. And it is about time that fat acceptance got to be a part of mainstream feminist discourse, and thin privilege got recognised alongside other privileges.