Thin Privilege Is and Is Not
I want to talk about thin privilege. Because I think there is a misunderstanding about what that is.
Thin privilege is finding clothing in your size in any store you walk into.
Thin privilege is not being afraid to shop in public if you are dressed in anything that can wind up on People of Walmart or any other shamey websites.
Thin privilege is not being afraid to fly because maybe the airplane seat will be too small and your seatmate will complain and you’ll be asked to leave the plane or buy an extra seat in front of everyone else on the plane.
Thin privilege is not being told by your doctor that all of your health problems can be solved by losing weight, even if your health problems are unrelated to weight.
Thin privilege is knowing you’ll be able to buckle your seat belt in any car.
Thin privilege is being able to use any stall in the bathroom because you know there will be enough room to adequately wipe yourself.
Thin privilege is being able to adequately wipe yourself when you use the bathroom.
Thin privilege is being able to adequately clean every part of your body when you take a shower or bath.
Thin privilege is being able to wear shoes with laces because you can easily bend over and reach to tie them.
Thin privilege is being able to go to the gym and not be afraid that people will take photos of you and post them on social media.
Thin privilege is knowing that people truly desire you sexually and not as a fetish or an item on a sexual bucket list.
Thin privilege is being able to go to dinner and know you will fit into chairs with arms or any of the booths with tables that are fixed to the floor.
Thin privilege is being able to go to dinner at a friend’s house and not being afraid that you will break one of the dining room chairs.
Thin privilege is knowing you will fit behind the wheel of any car you drive and not have the steering wheel cut into your belly.
Thin privilege is being able to eat in public without the worry of having a stranger come up to you and loudly comment on your diet.
Thin privilege is people not automatically assuming you’re lazy or uninformed about nutrition.
Thin privilege is not worrying that the dentist chair will be able to hold you as you try to seek out care. Or the doctors table. Or the chairs in the waiting room.
Thin privilege means being able to go to a doctor about an ailment without being told everything will get better if you just lose weight.
Thin privilege means not having to order your underwear online because stores don’t carry your size. And being able to find underwear that is both comfortable and stylish that exists in your size. And appropriately supportive without digging or cutting into you.
Thin privilege is being able to walk between tables and seated patrons in a restaurant to get to a table I can sit and vice versa, once in, can I silently exit—not disturbing seated patrons. Figuring, then circumnavigating in/out via non narrow paths.
Thin privilege is being able to order a diet soda without getting a smirk.
Thin privilege is not getting ad hominem attacks about weight … in social media responses. Heaven forbid a fat woman have an opinion.
Thin privilege is not getting glares if you let your kid have something deemed unhealthy in public as if you’re “letting” your kids become you.
Thin privilege is knowing your partner won’t leave you just because you’ve lost weight.
Thin privilege is not having to remind a friend, if you get to the restaurant first, to get a table with chairs, booths are not comfortable.
Thin privilege is being able to ride amusement park rides without worrying the safety bar won’t come down properly.
Thin privilege is not having your righteousness called into question because of your weight.
Thin privilege is not worrying that people are judging you for what is in your cart at the grocery store.
Thin privilege is not having your psychiatrist tell you you need to lose weight to have a higher self esteem (I didn’t know I had low self esteem).
Thin privilege is being able to walk through any department in the department store without having someone give you the evil eye because you’re daring to look around in the non-plus size section.
Thin privilege is not being told you’re “brave” to wear a swimming suit.
Thin privilege is not having to “dress up” to go to the ER so that you are less likely to be “dismissed.”
Thin privilege is not having the nurse who weighed my 11 year old say, “she’s 134 pounds, mom” as if this is a problem for a tall kid and as if I’m the cause. As if we should be be ashamed.
Thin privilege is not having to make a concerted effort to sound intelligent and be informed so people don’t write you off as an ignorant schlub.
Thin privilege is being able to find boots that fit over your calves.
Thin privilege is being chronically ill and occasionally needing to use one of those motorized shopping carts and not having everyone assume you’re just lazy and disgusting and don’t want to walk around.
Thin privilege is not being told, if you tell someone that you’re lonely, that if you just lost some weight you would be able to find someone who will love you.
Thin privilege is not being told you’re a natural swimmer because your blubber helps you float.
Thin privilege is not having someone come up to you in a store while you’re trying on clothes, pat you on the arm (without permission) and say, “It’s okay dear. When someone tells you that you need to get in shape, just tell them that round is a shape, too.” Like… she was trying to be encouraging and supportive I guess, but just no.
Thin privilege is not going to the doctor for a broken arm and being told to lose weight.
Thin privilege is your doctors believing you when you’re sticking to a very strict diet, not eating more than 1000-1200 calories a day, and you’re still not losing weight. “That’s just not possible. You must not be counting the calories of things that you drink. You know that you have to count the calories if you have a milk shake or a soda right?”
Thin privilege is being able to sit in fixed student desks.
Thin privilege is being able to fly. I really want to go somewhere tropical. But I’m mortally terrified of having some flight attendant tell me that I’m too wide. And deny me service.
Thin privilege is not having someone take it upon themselves to PHOTOSHOP a picture you posted of yourself on social media “Just to show you how good you’d look like if you lost some weight.”
Thin privilege comes with freedom from feeling the need to justify what you’re ordering or purchasing to the cashier, often by hamming it up (e.g. “I promise I’m not drinking all of these today” or “this isn’t all for me, don’t worry” [whether or not that’s true]) (in part to remain likeable, with the pretext that, as an overweight person, you already have a strike against you) (when, by contrast, the tall, athletic guy seated a few tables over has ordered far more than you have and isn’t saddled with the same self-consciousness.)
Thin privilege is going to an aerobics class and not having a group of women behind you start laughing and making fun of how much your boobs bounce when you’re working out and how much the lines of your back fat are visible under your top. And then them doing that again the next week when you show up again.
Thin privilege is not having to worry about being passed over for a job you are highly qualified for simply because the other interviewees were thinner.
Thin privilege is not wondering if I’m ever in a car accident, how the firefighters and EMT will get me out of my car and into an ambulance.
Thin privilege is not having to worry that work colleagues will suspect you’re lazy the moment they meet you.
Thin privilege is not hearing someone snidely comment “try taking the stairs” while you are riding in an elevator.
Thin privilege is not having people assume your infertility is a result of being fat. “If you lost some weight I’m sure you could get pregnant.”
Thin privilege is not having people be surprised you have a doctoral degree despite being a fat SAHM.
This privilege is not being portrayed in the media as productive members of society, but the gross, lazy slob.
Thin privilege is not having to ask for a seatbelt extension on flights.
Thin privilege is not being constantly told by hair dressers when you go in for a hair cut that, “This cut won’t work with your face because your face is too round.”
Thin privilege is not blaming yourself for pregnancy losses because surely if you were thinner, your womanhood would be affirmed and you would be able to give birth to your own child. Then losing a bunch of weight, losing yet another pregnancy and being convinced you just didn’t lose enough.
Thin privilege is not having the fertility clinic charge an extra $5k because you weren’t in the ideal weight category or even close to the ideal.
Thin privilege is using a ladder or step stool without worrying about the fine print on the label first.
Thin privilege is being invited to go hiking because your pace doesn’t slow people down.
Thin privilege is getting in and out of bathroom stalls with doors that swing open to the inside.
Thin privilege is not having people assume you’re single because you’re fat.
Thin privilege is when you die, your kids will have pictures to remember you by.
Thin privilege is being covered in a doctor’s office by whatever gown they give you to wear during a physical.
I know I am missing some. Help me flesh out this list.
This post based on a public thread on my Facebook wall, located here.