Through mass media, we’ve been bombarded with messages that “normal” size is actually thin. And this assumption that you need to be thin in order to be ok and normal gets played out frequently for people who are bigger than “normal”.
If you’ve been a “normal” size your whole life, you may never have thought of the benefits of being thin. But sizeism is very prevalent, and it’s one of the acceptable “isms” in our society.
It’s time we make this “ism” unacceptable, and thus make the world a better place to live in for people of all shapes and sizes.
The following are examples of thin privilege that those of us who are seen by society as being physically “too big” experience regularly in our lives.
Examples of Thin Privilege:
- 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- You can expect to find clothing in the latest styles and colors instead of colorless, shapeless and outdated styles meant to hide your body.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 program.
- When you go to the doctor, 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!” (This actually happened to one of my friends.)
- 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 without being judged.
If you have any other examples of thin privilege, please include them in the comments!
Shannon Ridgway is a Contributing Writer to Everyday Feminism from the great flyover state of South Dakota (the one with the monument of presidential heads). In her free time, Shannon enjoys reading, writing, jamming out to ’80s music and Zumba, and she will go to great lengths to find the perfect enchilada. Follow her on Twitter @sridgway1980.