Friday, April 12, 2013


I know about and try to recognize my thin privilege, white privilege, middle class privilege, university graduate privilege, the Christian privilege I had growing up, and so on. (And I just recently discovered ability privilege while writing this post.) The concepts are new to me, though, and I’m still learning. 

Sometimes I mess up and make comments intended to understand others better but effectively minimize a marginalized person’s experiences. I’m sorry. Really. I don’t always understand the problem. You can get mad, or you can help me do better by pointing it out. I prefer constructive criticism and probably willfully won’t hear anything accusatory because my heart’s in the right place and I can be pretty self-righteous.

It’s a tightrope walk.

My experiences and feelings are valid, too. I’m a thin fat activist and a feminist because even I’ve been a victim of size bigotry and appearance-policing and the commodification of women’s bodies as public property open to unasked-for public use, judgement, and scorn. This is my blog and my story and here I share my experiences.

My privilege means I can publicly admit I am not on a diet and am not a fan of diets, such as at work or among friends, and I won't be questioned or challenged. Most people around me know I enjoy exercise, so they'll attribute my figure to that without a second thought (never mind that I work out sporadically, at best). This came up at a dinner conversation once, but I didn't have the will to counter and explain the ill effects of dieting and intentional weight loss
I was at a table full of a dozen straight size women talking about dieting and weight loss. But they were my friend's friends, and who am I to rain on their parade? I felt ashamed and disappointed in myself for weeks after. Still do, truth be told.

My privilege means that when I submitted a photo on Facebook to the Body Love Campaign, my friends expressed support for my attitude based on my appearance, saying that I "have a nice figure and body . . . nothing to obsess about." Not because they support the cause or fat acceptance or even health at every size. So it wasn't complimentary but offensive to me, and I couldn't find the words to explain why or to rebuff the "support" they gave.
I do what I can, but I can't or won't fight every battle I'm invited to. I'm only human at the end of the day.

My privilege means my problems are often small fries compared to the widespread bigotry and discrimination against other groups and my experiences are often dismissed. No one wants to hear about how much I hate flying or have trouble finding clothes that fit comfortably or well because I won't be harassed at the airport and because I can shop for clothing in my size in most stores, even if I'm short, busty, wide-hipped, and can't wear popular fashions.*
However; dismissing others’ travails as the insubstantial whining of a privileged class benefits no one and amounts to ragging on others makes yourself feel better. 

I'm not the government, and I don't owe you anything. I'll moderate comments as arbitrarily as I please.

Provide an actual logical argument for why someone’s opinion is wrong or STFU.


Educate yourself about privilege. You will be a better person for it.

There will always be people invested in reaping unearned advantages from the seeds sowed by oppression. It’s much easier than actually trying to be a good person, cultivate talents, or do anything productive with their lives.

Let them think their ‘hard work’ spent chasing after thin privilege is the same as working hard to overcome prejudice, or raise a family, or pursue greater or higher knowledge, or survive in the face of challenges.

It’s easier to pant on a treadmill and think yourself better than someone else than actually do something that makes you a better person, friend, partner, or member of the community.  -Arte to life on Thin privilege tumblr

Suggested reading:

I’m partial to the Everyday Feminism blog because their lists are the most easily accessible examples of the issues of privilege.

*Funny story, totally off topic. One time when I went shopping, I pulled a pair of ordinary enough maroon jeans from the rack to try on and realized too late that they were skinny jeans. I got them wedged onto my calves and got stuck. In a teeny tiny Korean dressing room. It was hilarious, except for the part where it happened to me. I eventually, awkwardly wiggled my way out, hung the pants back up, and left the store too frustrated to shop any more that day.

No comments:

Post a Comment