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This is actually reposted from the comments of Deeply Problematic, from several weeks ago now I believe, but it was long enough to be a post, and I figured I've been wanting to use this blog for actual blogging anyway.

The commenter writes,

Okay, I just found your blog from a Google search on "Thin Privilege".

As someone who's been overweight most of my life, I don't buy the idea of "thin privilege". Maybe for the people who can eat all day long and still be skinny, but not me. I busted my ass for a year, dieting hard and training hard, and I'm in great shape because of it. And yes, people (especially women) treat me very differently because of it. Does it suck that people weren't so nice to me before? Yes.

However, my main issue with this is that we (the royal we) are ultimately responsible for our weight, health, and self-esteem. Not anyone else. If being so overweight and everything that comes along with it is so bad, you can change that by dieting and exercising. No it sure as hell isn't easy, and unfortunately people feel as if it should be.

And yes I am aware that I have a very arrogantly-titled blog, and that you possibly might me off as a total douchebag because of it. But at least hear me out.


I replied
the thin privilege that is being referred to is exactly the reason you WANT to be thinner. People treat you differently; you get to walk through life without being judged by statements like this one,

If being so overweight and everything that comes along with it is so bad, you can change that by dieting and exercising

which is patently untrue, especially for women.

It's true, "busting your ass" for a year will make you lose weight, but for many people, diet and exercise can provide a body change for a while, but for a significant portion of the population, they will always trend back towards their average weight, their plateau. Even if they're eating healthy, moderate diets, many people are just heavy, just like those people you mention that can eat and eat and never gain a pound.

For women, this is enhanced because it is not seen as "feminine", particularly, to replace fat with muscle. For guys, getting leaner is a plus, but so is bulking up: they are admired for abs and biceps. For women, simply working out will not, in many cases, giving them the figure they want when they look at models and sex objects. It will certainly reduce their bust size, often make them gain weight (as muscle is heavier than fat) - which can be ego-damaging to people brought up on the idea that the scale is what matters - and, many times be an unsatisfying and unproductive path to tread.

Additionally, as long as one's health - here I'm talking about cardiac health, blood pressure, liver function, etc etc etc - is meeting benchmarks, it doesn't MATTER whether you're fat or thin. Why should someone look at you differently on the street or make false assumptions about your eating habits?


For example, I am a pescatarian. Most of my fat intake is composed of "good" fats like avocado, fish, etc; I do snack on junk food but limit it; I use whole wheat bread when possible. This diet has changed a bit lately because I'm BROKE and it's hard to buy anything healthy when you're poor - white, processed flour is what you have available - which is another tangent unconsidered by many people, the fact that the poor have no options but unhealthy food - but for most of my life I've eaten reasonably portioned meals, moderate on carbs, high on vegetables, like sushi, etc. I walk ~three miles a day with no problem, and enjoy exercise regularly.

We are responsible for our own health. That's true. That simply doesn't have to correlate with THINNESS.

For that matter, it isn't particularly socially acceptable to treat people who have been diagnosed with, for example, renal failure or lung cancer as disgusting and at fault for their problems. If I saw a man with a trach or bald from chemotherapy and went on a comment spree about how he should stop going out in public like that and he should have known better and controlled himself, I'd be flamed to death! But in some cases things like drinking and smoking, which ARE entirely under one's control, are partly or entirely to blame for these illnesses.

So I don't buy the health angle, either.

Fat people are simply being punished for an aesthetic which is not in style.

You, by insisting that you should be respected for having busted your ass, ARE respected more now that you're thin, and that everyone could have this respect if they just tried hard enough, are proving it.


What do you guys think? Is there such a thing as "thin privilege"? Am I completely wrong?
What about poverty? Why doesn't class privilege get discussed re: obesity and who gets considered beautiful more often?
And is it really more healthy to be thinner - no matter what? Or is this all just about what's beautiful?

Crossposted to LJ from Dreamwidth
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