Thin Privilege And Its Place In The Body Positivity Movement

Thin Privilege And Its Place In The Body Positivity Movement

Advocating doesn’t end with conventionality.
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Let’s play a game. Go to the store and look through the magazine section. Pick a magazine with a woman on the front cover. What does she look like? Is she beautiful? What is she wearing? Is she thin?

In the past decade, a movement was sparked; one calling for body positivity. This movement has been praised by people of an unconventional shape or those considered to be overweight as a source of empowerment and normalizing different body types. It has also been criticized for glamourizing certain body types and lifestyles perceived to be unhealthy.

The body positivity movement has grown quickly, especially in the past few years and especially through the use of social media. This movement is massive and largely encompassing of all body types, meaning sometimes things can get a little grey, and messy. That being said, here we go:

Thin people retain a certain amount of privilege because of their body type. Obviously, other intersections need to be taken into account (race, class, gender, etc.), but for the sake of discussion and education, people who are thin have privilege. Now, Cait, what does this mean? How much privilege really comes with being thin? And why are you shaming me for my body type?

Wonderful questions! First of all, let’s get this out of the way: I am not shaming you for your body type. I am not shaming anyone for their body type. I am simply explaining that people who are thin maintain privilege based on that. Having that privilege does not make you a bad person, or make it your fault. It simply means that it’s something you should be aware of when discussing your experiences within the body positivity movement.

A simple google search of the world privilege will yield this definition: “a special right, advantage, or immunity granted to available only to a particular person or group of people.” This concept, in the case of this article, will be discussed in regard to thinness. Encompassed in this privilege are little things that probably don’t think twice about. For example, you are probably able to buy your clothing locally and at a reasonable price, and you can probably eat whatever you want in public without others judging you for it.

I’ve seen and heard many discussions where people who are fat are describing their experiences and someone who is thin chimes in to empathize with stories about how they were bullied and told to “eat a sandwich.” While it is not okay to make fun of someone for their body, this comment is much different than a fat person being told to “lose some weight.” Why the double standard, you may ask? Because fatphobia is wildly present in our society and many others. And moreover, it is systematic.

Fat people experience extreme discrimination across many different facets. Studies have shown that fat people are less likely to get hired, less likely to get married, make less money per year, etc. The difference is vastly institutionalized and even more so, heavily ingrained in our language. People who are fat are constantly dehumanized and played for laughs, even by those close to them.

According to Deborah Rhode: “in multiple surveys, close to 90 percent of obese individuals reported humiliating comments from friends, family, or coworkers.” Because there is such a systematic and pervasive bias towards fat people, the insults geared towards body weight take on a different meaning than when directed at thin individuals.

With fatphobia ingrained in everyday conversation and “comedy,” and the prevalent discrimination fat people face in our society, the body positivity movement is more than just a feel-good revolution. This movement also stands as a social movement, created to challenge preconceived notions, problematic behavior, and alter the idea of what it means to be beautiful.

Now, what does this have to do with thin people? Until recent years, plus-sized individuals have received little to no representation celebrating their body or even normalizing their body type, while thin people have had this luxury for many years. Skinny shaming isn’t as problematic because it does not affect one’s employment or the way in which people view them (i.e. lazy). If people who are thin want to feel good about their body, they can look at basically any magazine cover, or on any televised advertisement.

I’m not insinuating that people who are thin do not also struggle with being comfortable in their skin. I’m simply stating that people’s biases towards fat people run much deeper and there are many struggles that come with it that aren’t discussed. Thinness has a definite place in the body positivity movement, as long as there is an acknowledgment of the privilege that comes with it.

Everyone exists in a physical entity, and as such, we have to find some sort of comfort in it. And certain institutions make this harder for certain body types than others. This movement is encompassing of all body types. So celebrate your body, and be body positive, as long as you’re cognizant of the root of the problem.

Love yourself, but be mindful; ensure you’re not actively or unconsciously taking safe spaces and conversations away from the stories and experiences of those who have been hurt by systematic and casual fatphobia. Advocating doesn’t end with conventionality. Be aware, listen, and inform.

Cover Image Credit: Luella Rockerfella

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

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It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.




These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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10 Things Girls Secretly Love

Come on guys — take a hint.

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Let's face it, girls can be a little stubborn at times and not directly come out and say what they want. But, a few of these should be obvious clues that boys should be able to pick up on. So I have comprised a short list of at least ten obvious things girls, or at least I secretly love.

1. Leave her cute texts

Quickest way to put a smile on her face or leave butterflies in her stomach is to send her a cute text. Even if it's simple

2. Kiss her in front of your friends

Don't be one of those guys that treats your girlfriend/SO differently because you are around your friends. It validates that she really means something to you if you still show her off around your friends.

3. Tell her she looks beautiful

Even if she denies it and says she looks gross, you've still managed to get her attention and show her you think she's beautiful no matter what.

4. Kiss her forehead

5. Let her take photos of you

Slight obsession over your boyfriend is normal, I promise, she just thinks your adorable.

6. Tell her when you have something to do, don't just ignore her randomly

Most girls won't be mad when you have something else to do. It's the fact that you couldn't take the time to send a text that would probably take a minute to write to let her know you aren't just dodging her messages.

7. Play with her hair

If she does it for you, then you do it for her. Don't just let her play with your hair for a half hour then run your fingers through her hair twice and think your done. No, we want the relaxing feeling of fingers running through our hair too.

8. Watch movies with her

You don't always need to go out and do something active, watching a movie and cuddling is nice too. Netflix and Chill

9. Let her fall asleep on you

10. Be her best friend

Sometimes all you need is someone to laugh at stupid jokes with, sing loudly in the car with, or just sit in silence and listen to the world outside a car window.

Every girl wants to feel special and treated the right way in a relationship. But just as girls are stubborn, guys are just a little bit clueless. So take notes boys.

Cover Image Credit:

Maille Dolan

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