We hear a good deal about white and male privilege, both of which are alive and well and living in the U.S., but we don’t hear much about thin privilege. If you’re reading this blog, you might be all too aware of the benefits and rewards of thinness in this culture and how higher weight people are covertly and overtly effected. You probably recognize on a gut level that thin privilege exists. In case you’d like to learn more or educate others about it, here are some great examples of what it encompasses.
According to Everyday Feminism (everydayfeminism.com/2012/11/20-examples-of-thin-privilege/
, accessed 6/13/17)), “If you’ve been a ‘normal’ size your whole life, you may have never thought of the benefits of being thin. But sizeism is very prevalent, and it’s one of the most accepted ‘isms’ in our society. And this assumption that you need to be thin in order to be okay and normal gets played out frequently for people who are bigger than “normal”. Here are some ways that thin privilege benefits people:
- You’re not assumed to be unhealthy just because of your size.
- Your size is probably not the first thing people notice about you (unless you’re being thin-shamed – the opposite of fat-shamed).
- When you’re at the grocery store, people don’t comment on the food selection in your cart in the name of ‘trying to be helpful’.
- Your health insurance rates are not higher than everyone else’s.
- You can expect to pay reasonable prices for your clothing.
- You can expect to find your clothing size sold locally.
- You can expect to find clothing in the latest styles and colors instead of colorless, shapeless and outdated styles meant to hide your body.
- You don’t receive suggestions from your friends and family to join Weight Watchers or any other weight-loss programs.
- When you go to doctors, they don’t suspect diabetes (or high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other “weight-related” diagnoses) as the first/most likely diagnosis.
- You don’t get told, ‘You have such a pretty/handsome face’ (implying: if only you’d lose weight you could be even more attractive).
- People do not assume that you are lazy, based solely on your size.
- You’re not the brunt of jokes for countless numbers of comedians.
- Airlines won’t charge you extra to fly.
- You are not perceived as looking sloppy or unprofessional based on your size.
- You can eat what you want when you want in public and not have others judge you for it or make assumptions about your eating habits.
- You can walk out of a gas station with a box of doughnuts and not have people yell at you to ‘Lay off them doughnuts, fatty!’
- People don’t ask your partners what it’s like to have sex with you because of your size.
- Your body type isn’t sexually fetishized.
- You’re more likely to get a raise or promotion at work than someone who is fat.
- Friends don’t describe you to others using a qualifier (e.g. ‘He’s kind of heavy, but really nice, though’).
- The media doesn’t describe your body shape as part of an ‘epidemic’.
- You can choose to not be preoccupied with your size and shape because you have other priorities, and you won’t be judged.”
So, there you have it. Feel free to share this list with people who don’t recognize or understand thin privilege, anonymously if need be. And, if you’re of a higher weight, try to feel validated that life truly is harder for you in many ways because of thin privilege— without becoming a victim of this knowledge.