Thin Privilege & Size Acceptance: An Exploration

Fat NicNac In A Bathing Suit

People get so offended to see fat women with confidence. Fat women in dresses and bathing suits and any sort of clothing that draws attention…colorful, short, tight, revealing and swim wear ANY type of clothing whose purpose isnt to hide their bodies from the rest of the world. Why? Why are people so offended to see fat people being humans in public? Holding hands with their loved ones, kissing their loved ones, dancing at a club with their girls etc. Lying on a beach or sitting on a bench…. I’ll tell you why. America has its own little value system when it comes to women. Fat girls are on the bottom.

Recently I went on a bit of a twitter rant to explain what it means to have “thin privilege” …a privilege that is based solely on the size of a person’s body. For the purpose of this blog post I am going to speak on WOMEN because that is what I know. Thin privilege comes with many unseen advantages for instance when a woman is thin she is automatically assumed to be healthy, active, desirable, sexy, and intelligent. Thin in our society automatically = beauty because the media and advertising sell that image. And we perpetuate, over and over. The media and advertising have created the ideal woman and she is a thin one with arching breasts, a tight ass, no stomach, minimal muscle etc. Thin privilege allows thin/skinny women to make comments about the size of fat women under the guise of “concern” …as if by virtue of having a thin body you automatically were an expert on health, and some how had the right to assume fat women could not be trusted with their own health. When you are thin people automatically assume that you DID something to be thin, as if THINNESS itself were a virtue and fattness were a sign of major characteristic deviancy. Clue…thinness is not a virtue, it doesnt make you a better person PERIOD. And fat women are meant to be the EXACT opposite, ugly, lazy, and stupid. Fat women are the jokes of the dating world, they are the coyote uglies of the movies, the ones you either pity for being outcasted or the ones you hate for being mean or the ones you are embarrassed for.

One of the worst things about our society of fat hatred is the treatment of fat women. Many men are attracted to fat women, but because of the way women in general are used as symbols of status, to date, or commit to a fat woman in public EVEN when you’re attracted to one is almost unheard of! Men dont want fat women because fat women make bad trophies but they also dont want to deny their own personal attraction to them…so they objectify them instead. They use fat hatred against fat women to make fat women feel like any man who glances at them are entitled to their bodies. yes, thin women go through this objectification occasionally but its frowned upon and it doesnt happen nearly as often as it does to fat women! It happens so often to fat, overweight and obese women that it makes up about 90% of their romantic relations with the opposite sex! But I digress, I’m not going to sit here and lament the treatment of fat women strictly on the romantic side of things. Fat women are discriminated against when it comes to jobs, raises, even volunteer opportunities, assumptions based off of stereotypes are used against them to refuse them memberships to clubs, they make less money then thin people! And this is based solely on SIZE. I’ve gone to a public lake to swim in my bathing suit and caught 3 DIFFERENT ppl from 3 DIFFERENT groups taking my picture while my back was turned….no doubt to show a friend for a laugh or to post on the internet because i DARED to be at a wading lake…in a swim suit…like everyone else.

Weight loss corporations PROFIT off of fat people and society’s fear of fat. What they do is they put a commercial out and declare that fat is UGLY, they make sure no positive representations of fat people are available in general and then they start to tell you how fat you are, how you’ll feel much better if you lose weight. They threaten you with death (even though there is research that has PROVEN that size doesnt determine the HEALTH of an individual http://www.nutritionj.com/content/10/1/9 <<< here’s a little taste) declaring that obesity is an epidemic and that people are dropping like flies from fat. Yet a thin girl can almost DIE from eating an unhealthy diet of chicken nuggets for 20 years and the world is so suprised she wasnt fat smh!! These weight loss campaigns have CREATED A PROBLEM and are making a KILLING off of selling the solution! THEY DONT SELL HEALTH! THEY SELL THINNESS! YES, There is a difference. Fat hatred plays right into this. And so does thin privilege. Fat hatred is encouraged…and it is ALSO a primary culprit in eating disorders that prove DEADLY

Lastly …there has been an AWESOME movement called the Fat/Size Acceptance movement. This movement encourages women to embrace their bodies and LOVE their bodies at ANY size. It encourages fitness and health without demanding women lose weight or spend their whole lives dieting and being unsuccessful. Research has shown that only 5% of women who lose significant weight KEEP it off. This movement has encouraged fat women….chunky women, thick women to love what jiggles and what can hardly be contained and it is doing WONDERS for their self esteems, their ideas of self worth, their relationships, their all around mental & physical health! Personally? Fat acceptance has truly helped me LOVE my body, i love all its curves, all it’s flabs, its cellulite, it has taught me that I am a human being and  that i deserve respect and love not “in spite” of my size but BECAUSE of my size. I would love to see this movement spread even further, size acceptance tells fat women they are GORGEOUS without telling thin women that they aren’t, it doesnt take away beauty from one group for the sake of the other but declares every woman of every shape and size to be physically attractive. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again : If you can convince yourself you are beautiful, you will be the LAST person you EVER have to convince <<< this is what size acceptance has taught me. Something that alot of thin people haven’t learned yet..

I wrote this to kind of give you an introduction to the problem with thin privilege and the NEED for things like size/fat acceptance and the health at every size movement….I hope this blog post has given you an idea about the “hype” around size acceptance

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15 thoughts on “Thin Privilege & Size Acceptance: An Exploration

  1. That’s amazing, & very, very true. There’s way too much damn fat shaming in this country ti say the least. I wish I was confident enough to pose in a swimsuit. I’m not quite there yet. I do feel sexy in my skimpy negligees though. Even as a teenager when I was underweight and wore a size 6 I was called the fat girl bcuz all the other girls were super-skinny waifs. I’m healthier now than I was then. My body just doesn’t do skinny. If I lose fat, muscle replaces it, and a LOT of muscle at that. Sagging boobs run in the family (mine sagged at an a-cup) so I know perky ones arent something I’ll ever have. A lot of men find my big frame and unusual strength intimidating, and I know some of you out there are thinking I may have been a hermaphrodite at birth in order to have the upper body strength I posess. No, I’m not. I’m female, always was,says right there on my birth certificate. Being fat, chubby, thick, obese, or even muscle-bound should not be a thing to feel bad aboyt as a woman.

    1. thank you so much for your comment! and you’re right! there is entirely too much fat shaming going on….there is entirely too much BODY shaming and policing going on! Whether we are fat, super thin, muscular, chubby, thick, disabled, our bodies are our own and we should be able to show them off, take pride in them, LOVE THEM without fear or shame or embarrassment. We should be able to embrace our bodies without ANYONE telling us we are wrong for it. I know what you mean as well when you talk about losing fat and replacing it! the same thing happens to me, but anyways people shouldnt be assigning masculinity or deviancy to your body just because you have a big frame or you are strong! Strength in a woman is frowned upon but WHY?! STrength is an asset and a sign of health! Strength doesnt have a GENDER!

      1. Youre right. No one should be ashamed of their bodies, NO ONE. People (namely men) don’t like a physically strong woman because they’re afraid she might overpower them. There goes his chance of beating her. It’s also not a traditional, conservative role, but simply because it’s different from the norm for a woman to easily lift and carry 100 lbs does not make it a bad thing! (well, maybe for the man who thinks he can abuse her, but people like that deserve an unexpected pummeling) I sqore on my granpa’s grave that I would lift weights until I was “as strong as a man” and prove my abusive father wrong about “women will always be physically weaker”. I have achieved that goal, and will continue to exercise as it’s an excellent way for me to control my volatile temper. I not only exercise to be strong and healthy, I also exercise for anger management. Stress relief. Working out all the negative feelings stemming from the awful things my parents put me through.it helps me both physically and mentally.

      2. I agree, it is NICE to have some variety in women, to bust out of that dainty “please hold my smallish hand while i walk down these TREACHEROUS stairs” idealism and start having some REAL human diversity. I think it is awesome that you made being physically strong a goal in coping with your abuse, alot of women never find a way to deal with pain or anger and I have found that cardio does that for me! I love exercise!

  2. You know Nicci, I spent a lot of years struggling with wanting to be thin. To the point of getting to 95lbs. Now, I am 5’5 and “big boned” girl. The women in my family are Jane Mansfield build. We are not thin women. We are healthy big normal size women. It took me 20 years to come to the acceptance that I am a sexy woman. I’m a normal size 8-10. Wht the hell is wrong with that?? It pisses me off to no end when shows liek “Say Yes To the Dress..Big Beautiful Bliss” is a size 10-12 and they dont have those sizes for NORMAL women. Or the “larger” size.. again a size 10-12. NORMAL AGAIN. Just seems like men have set the standard for women and we just follow right along (as a whole) and it erks the shit out of me. Im surprised I didn’t become a lesbian. At least she would appreciate my body. 🙂 I have a husband who happens to love my jiggles and wiggles. Nothing worse that making love to a board. I totally agree the majority of men love a “womanly” woman.. My mom is the most beautiful woman. She is 5’10 and always perfectly normal weight. Bigger than some but small than others too. I heard some cruel things growing up. Kids saying “your moms fat”. Never will I forget that. Breaks my heart to even type it. I never ever to this day told her how bad that hurt me or that they even said that. I love what Adele says about her music. She has been critizided for her weight (grrrrr) and she says, “I sing for the ears NOT the eyes”.. And she is awesome. Sorry to go on and on and on. This is a subject I kind of rant on. It is a huge prejudice that no one wants to admit. I love you in your suit. Confidence is the sexiest thing a woman can show. Ok…. Im done now. Ahhhh. Feel better now. Thanks for listening and of course love coming here. You give me a place to vent also.
    Love you sweet girl.
    Jana

    1. wow….95lbs is an eating disorder! crimney! ….I’m really glad that you filled out and are comfortable with your size now….I absolutely hate that loving yourself is something that takes YEARS to accomplish for the bulk of women (myself included). People have a hard time accepting that just like men, women come in all different shapes and sizes, we are not all made to order between the sizes 0-10. I’m a 26-28, and in the winter I bulk up to a 32! and you know what? I’m not even ashamed of that anymore. And like you I just LOVE Adele and her reaction to the attacks on her weight, she has held strong and really been an advocate for plus women (AND SHE ISNT EVEN THAT BIG!!!!) AND GIRL You know i dont mind if you go on and on haha i tend to go on and on too! which is why i decided to write a blog in the first place! lol Thank you for sharing with me Jana. Mad love!

  3. Wow. This really sucks. You act like you are part of some kind of solution, but this isn’t about weight acceptance at all. I’m fairly thin, and I’ve struggled with my body image for most of my life. I’m VERY healthy and always have been. Still, people regularly assume I have some type of an eating disorder, and I get “called out” on my weight in the name of “concern”. Like in the comment above, “wow….95lbs is an eating disorder! crimney!” Guess what? I’m 5’4 and that is actually exactly what I weighed for most of my adult life (until a little less than a year ago when I started obsessively working out and building muscle; now I’m up to a whopping 100lbs!). A weight is not an eating disorder, it is just a weight. An eating disorder is a PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION. 95 pounds isn’t an eating disorder any more than 250 pounds is an eating disorder.

    And I’ll be fair, I’ve engaged in my share of unhealthy activity to gain weight, (mostly in high school and middle school). And I too, have had my share of cruel comments about my weight. For example, some the things in this thread. “Nothing worse that making love to a board”, or the repeated use of the word NORMAL to describe everyone BUT but thin women, or that “the majority of men love a “womanly” woman”. Ok, I get it. I’m abnormal, not womanly, and intercourse with me would be the the most unpleasant thing imaginable. Fine. That’s not anything new.

    And I’m not an idiot. I realize that it goes more in the other direction, but what I really don’t understand is how that fact justifies hate in any direction. I’m not doing anything to anyone. I’m just looking for acceptance like everyone else, the only difference is, when I seek it out, instead of receiving validation, I receive the message that the skinny bitches just need to shut their mouths because they just have no idea what it’s like. I’ve got news for you: skinny does not equal beautiful, and if you think it does, then not only are you a hypocrite on acceptance in general, you’re also actually working against your own cause.

    Also, as a side note Jana, it is very difficult to BECOME a lesbian, and also, AS a lesbian, I can tell you from experience that if social acceptance is what you’re looking for, becoming gay probably isn’t the way to go.

    Good day!

    1. Firstly it is “SIZE acceptance” not WEIGHT acceptance and yes, there IS a difference. This is not about struggling w/ body image it is about societal oppression based on SIZE. It is not about policing thin bodies or concern trolling thin bodies it is about raising awareness for a specific at risk population. My article and my advocacy has to do with addressing the stigma and discrimination that fat people endure….I do not appreciate you coming onto my blog trying to bring up the fact that there is stigma around thinness as well….in my opinion it is nothing short of a silencing technique. yes there is stigma associated w/ extreme thinness and eating disorders…this article IS NOT ABOUT THAT. It addresses the PRIVILEGE associated with thinness and how FAT HATRED affects people. I never EVER said that weight was an eating disorder……..please be sure to read the article thoroughly before commenting about something this article does not state. This is not a forum for thin people to come and attempt to undermine the experiences of discriminated against fat people by talking about the one time they were called scrawny…..that is the same as a white person trying to negate the racism that black people experience by talking about that one time they were called a cracker by a black person. This blog is NOT ABOUT HATRED, I DO NOT ATTACK THIN PERSONS ANYWHERE IN THIS BLOG, I discuss “thin privilege” THAT IS IT, I do not disenfranchise thin people or discuss their physical beauty AT ALL. Again PLEASE read the article through before commenting! Obviously this article is a generalization, not EVERY thin person’s experience will be one of social privilege and not every fat person will feel discriminated against but this does not negate the FACT that fat ppl are discriminated against and that thin people are awarded privileges socially and institutionally. AGAIN i bring up the white/black example, just because a privileged white person does not FEEL like they are privileged does not negate their privilege.

      Also do not tell Jana whether or not she can BECOME a lesbian, if she decides for herself what her sexuality will be then that is up to her! I believe that sexuality is a choice, I am bisexual and I choose to love a man, i can CHOOSE to love a woman as well, it is up to me and my decision do not tell ANYONE shit about what is a valid path to their OWN sexuality.

      GOOD DAY.

  4. Thin privilege? You have hot to be kidding me. I have had plenty of women come up and tell me how GROSS I am in the depths of my anorexia. When I was compulsively overeating and obese, not one person commented on my body. I was equally diseased at both high and low, but it was only socially acceptable to pick me apart when I was so-called “privileged”.

    How about we start being honest and labeling ALL disordered eating as a Health problem. Not as a MORAL problem or a CHARACTER problem, but as a health concern? Give anorexics, bullimics, people with ED-NOS, and compulsive overeaters access to proper medical care?

    1. I hope you realize that thin privilege is not just about who SAYS what about you….it is institutional and economical as well…the fact that fat ppl get paid less based on weight, get discriminated against when it comes to health care and clothing and access to public transportation…there is so much more connected to privilege then what someone has CALLED YOU. It also has to do with things like STIGMA and the WEIGHT of social stigmas …..like the idea that its impossible to rape a fat woman bc they’re “strong” or the fact that NO ONE is supposed to find fat women attractive because fat is gross….thin is generally accepted as normal and acceptable…you will ALWAYS find someone who thinks thin is “gross” but society isnt built around the idea therefore OPPRESSION does not exist along the lines of thinness.

  5. Oh… And for the record, when I see a woman rocking a bathing suit- regardless of her body size- I am mostly just jealous. I just can’t bring myself to do it. Doesn’t mean I am going to see her as healthy if she clearly is not, but I definately see her as confident.

    1. having thin privilege doesnt mean you automatically look down on fat people ….just like having white privilege doesnt mean you’re racist….dont misunderstand the nature of privilege….it doesnt mean someone is bigoted or thinks one way or another about someone i means they have PRIVILEGE. Its just an unearned advantage….it CAN come with disliking someone or hating someone but it doesnt always.

  6. Great article, very well said. I agree, self expression is a privilege to be had by all and not regulated by “size” requirements.

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