Thin Privilege and Fat Entitlement

The post “Finding the Others” is about obese people who hold some non-mainstream attitudes and actively seek like-minded comrades with whom to share their indignation over the phenomenon of “thin privilege.”

One big complaint is hypocrisy. According to this line of thinking, normal-weight people are granted the privilege to righteously decree that fat people should get healthy exercise. At the same time, they are allowed to say judgmental, snarky things about fat people who dance, wear workout-type outfits, swim, practice yoga, or perform any physical movement that involves jiggling. It’s as if they have blanket permission to make overweight and obese people, even the ones who are trying hard, the butt of their jokes.

Not surprisingly, the people who commiserate with each other via Thin Privilege websites can also be quite hypocritical, but at least they have the capacity to criticize each other for it. The issue is, some overweight people advocate body acceptance and “health at every size”, and yet at the same time, they shame thin people and claim that all thin people are undernourished phantoms, staggering toward death’s door.

Well-travelled Thin Privilege protesters send back dispatches from overseas, like this one from an anonymous correspondent at BariatricPal.com:

I live in France, where they must keep the overweight people locked up behind bars… you rarely see anyone over a size 8 walking around here. It’s a culture that is OBSESSED with women’s beauty and I was such an outsider until I had my surgery. When I was fat, I could literally feel the disdain coming from the French as they looked at me… be it a physician or a shopkeeper… they all had something to say.

Conspiracy theories

In these forums, some online correspondents go way out on a limb and suggest that Thin Privilege complaints are laying the groundwork for a Fat Privilege takeover. In a spirit of sarcasm, “Queefing Peanuts” wrote,

Holding a fat person accountable for the damages and inconveniences caused directly by their body’s immense size is fat discrimination. Everyone should have preemptively built/moved/reinforced everything to accommodate for their size; safety regulations and laws of physics be damned.

In other words, the accusation is that some obese people cherish a self-centered and totally unwarranted sense of entitlement, including a belief that their disability ranks higher than other disabilities, and deserves compensation. An example of this mindset was set forth by a Reddit commenter Caroline Johnson, in regard to the goofily named electric vehicles provided by some supermarkets:

When you see a person on crutches who can’t push a grocery cart, and you could push a grocery cart… but you still deserve the store’s last Scootie Puff Jr. more than them.

When it’s okay to steal a Scootie Puff Jr. from someone because no one has a more needy disability than you, even if the person you steal it from can’t push a grocery cart.

When it’s discrimination for a store to not have any Scootie Puff Jrs in the first place.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Almost cried today,” BariatricPal.com, 10/29/14
Source: “The Twenty-Two Towering Tenets of Fatlogic,” Reddit.com, 2013
Source: “You might be a hamplanet if…..,” Reddit.com, 2014
Photo credit: Diamond Farah on Visualhunt/CC BY-ND

One Response

  1. Literally no one at the gym shames fat people trying to lose weight. My guess is you sit on the internet all day and never experience the real world?

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