Welp. It’s been a long time since I’ve swung round these parts. Time for an update.
Last June I founded a little blog called “This is Thin Privilege.” You might have heard of it. It took off like a mustang out of a corral. Since that first day in June we’ve grown from one mod to three, and from 1 (me!) follower to 6,200. We’ve been mentioned by Lindy West on Jezebel, and have created quite the buzz on Tumblr.
What is This is Thin Privilege? It’s a blog that approaches the subject of fat oppression through the lens of thin privilege. Thin privileges are unearned advantages granted to you for having a thin body, and similarly denied to you for having a fat body. Thin privilege exists on a spectrum, so even fat people can have relative thin privilege. Privilege as a social justice concept is structural, not individual: it doesn’t mean that thin people don’t have problems or can even experience body-shaming and other forms of hate. Thin privilege of course intersects with many other forms of privilege, which tend to interact and can magnify each other. You can also be thin privilege but oppressed along some other axis.
A typical example of thin privilege is: “Thin privilege is access to adoption services, fertility treatments, and birth control methods that have a BMI cutoff.” Another example is, “Thin privilege is going to the mall and being reasonably sure there will be more than one or two stores that sell your size, and that you can buy something that fits you and is affordable.” There are more examples of thin privileges here. Still not sure what thin privilege is? Check out our FAQ.
Why, you ask, talk about thin privilege instead of what fat acceptance blogs (including Big Liberty) have traditionally talked about — fat discrimination?
As I said in a post on TITP: because most people don’t give a shit about fat discrimination. It doesn’t affect them, so they don’t fucking care. They hear there’s something called ‘fat acceptance,’ feel appalled at the idea that anyone could ‘glorify obesity,’ and that’s their sum total opinion on the matter. Informed by ignorance, ending in ignorance.
Talking about thin privilege stirs up the whole pot. Fat people know we’re discriminated against, so it can get fucking depressing/boring to talk about it all the time, especially amongst ourselves. But talking about thin privilege gets fat people angry. Because it reminds us that the oppression we face is structural. That this isn’t just our individual problems on any particular day. It reminds us how we WOULD be treated if there wasn’t fat oppression, how we DESERVE to be treated in the absence of fat oppression. Talking about thin privilege places how fat and thin people are treated in the sharp contrast it deserves.
There’s something that happens to you when you’re discriminated against fucking constantly. You kind of get used to it. It might sting, it might chill, but it starts getting so that you can’t imagine what it would be like without those stings and chills. Talking about thin privilege reminds the oppressed of their just deserts (in a just society).
From the perspective of the privileged, checking their privilege makes them realize how much they take certain things for granted. That some other people don’t have access to what they assume is every person’s due, and that they never even REALIZED it. Like being born it’s uncomfortable at first, but hell, it’s much better than staying it the womb. Good allies WANT to understand, to learn, to see their reality clearly.