Thin: A Privilege Among Privileges

28Jul09

When I first read Thin Privilege 101, I have to admit, it irked me a little bit. I’ve been following feminist debates about thin privilege, since (as some of my posts have shown) I have a tendency to become hyper-defensive about my experiences living with an eating disorder. As with all conversations of privilege, the privileged tend to air on the side of “but we have it bad, too!”. (Even hear a white person complain about how all the people of color are taking the jobs? Or a man complain about how women get drinks bought for them in bars?) It happens with thin women, too, who flock to the but-we-have-body-issues-too camp.

After chewing over why it was that this insightful, well-written primer in thin privilege irked me, I realized it was because the whole hullabaloo from thin women about thin privilege has a tendency to ignore this simple fact: there are multiple oppressions. Having one privilege does not been you have another, and vice versa.

So, here’s going to be my letter to thin women in Western society, from a woman who happens to have thin privilege herself. And I do have thin privilege. I’ve been told all my life that I am attractive (see if I actually believe it, though!) and if my scale is right and you put stock in the BMI system, I’m about ten pounds under qualifying as normal. Thus, I have thin privilege.

However, just because I have thin privilege does not mean I automatically have other privileges. I do not have sane privilege. (I’ve decided to call it sane privilege because I’m still not sure that I like the language of ableism for mental health issues. It’s going to be all about crazy and sane privilege for me.) While to all the world, I have thin privilege, I have had it largely because I’m fucking crazy and have been for most of my life.

This is what thin feminists should know about thin privilege. You can have it while simultaneously being un-privileged as a person with an eating disorder, thin because of that lack of sane privilege. Now, I’m not talking about how all women have body problems and most are always on a diet. I’m talking about people who actually have eating disorders. Who probably don’t even think they have thin privilege.

Ugh. Okay. So. Reread my post and have a drink every time I use the word “privilege” and you’ll be shit-faced by now.

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3 Responses to “Thin: A Privilege Among Privileges”

  1. Ooooh… a drinking game based on those words we talked about could be a good idea! Privilege, silencing, triggering… what else? Hell, that’s a good starting point right there – it’s plenty to get most people shit-faced after reading a feminist blog!

  2. 2 700stories

    rockstar! haha.

    my thoughts on this topic will be up by tonight, damnit!


  1. 1 Thin Privilege. « 700stories some speak of shame some speak of glory.

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