About Thin Privilege

By: Brenna Briggs
While I am loving the amount of organizations and companies speaking up and trying to promote Health At Every Size, Eating Disorder Awareness, and Body Positivity. It's what we are all working toward right? It's size acceptance, body love, everybody is beautiful.
But wait, do we really get it? Are we actually doing a good job?
My answer: No, and here's why.
You can't offer a body positive article of clothing with the proceeds from that item going toward eating disorder awareness when the size of clothing prohibits certain size people from being able to actually wear the item comfortably or if it all. It sort of defeats the purpose. It's not promoting self acceptance or body love, or positivity if not everyone is able to participate.
I am still learning every single day as well, and I'm making changes to my mindset.  We all are, but to be in this fight for size and weight acceptance, to continue fighting this stigma. We need to be all in. 100% in. It is a complete life style change, a new way of thinking, brand new vocabulary. You have to educate yourself, your friends, your family, strangers, EVERYONE.

Thin privilege is real. People in heavier bodies should not have to fight for some of the same privileges, rights, and things that people in "smaller" bodies take for granted on a daily basis. We can fight this battle if we don't fully understand, we can't fight weight stigma if we aren't fully prepared.

In terms of medical care, this one really irks me beyond no other because I see it daily. I work at a doctor's office where we treat people. All people for different medical conditions, and ailments. When someone in a heavier body comes into the office they should be given the exact same care as someone in a smaller body.  Chances are if we have the smaller bodied person, and the heavier bodied person both complaining of a sore throat, the smaller bodied person will get treated with the antibiotics without any hesitation or comment on their weight.  It's a simple visit. In and out, no problem. But, the heavier bodied person, after maybe even having trouble finding a seat that will fit their body in the waiting room, maybe being embarrassed because the scale doesn't have the capacity to hold them, or the blood pressure cuff isn't big enough to fit around their arm might could possibly get lectured about their weight as if all of the complications before weren't humiliating enough.  A sore throat is a sore throat. Same treatment for everyone.
I have never experienced judgement or shame when I go out to eat, I can order whatever I want and no one (except maybe myself) is judging me. If I order a salad, some people might say "Figures." but if I order a huge plate of chicken broccoli and ziti, it's acceptable, and actually could even be looked at as "cute."  How do you think something like that would go for someone in a heavier body? I worked in a bar for many years, I could tell you but I think I'll let you come up with your own scenario's.
Shopping for clothing. I have never had an issue buying the clothes I want at the stores I like.  Something catches my eye, I go right into the store and get it or I order it right online. I am not limited to certain stores with select inventory and sky-high pricing. Everyone needs to wear clothing, and everyone should be able to wear the clothing that is in "style" or that fits their personal style without having to worry about searching high and low. We all know that clothing shopping can be stressful on its own (even though I wish I could fix that too for everyone.) I can't.
I have heard that South West Airlines does not charge for extra seats. I have not flown anywhere In a few years but unless things have changed dramatically the seats were never overly accommodating and roomy.  Most airlines charge you for extra seating. I find this to be terrible, and I highly applaud south-west airlines and next time I fly I will make every effort i can to fly with them. I have already emailed customer service at south-west airlines to tell them how wonderful this is and how much I appreciate them being so supportive and aware of size acceptance.
Even if you are not directly dealing with these issues, you can help! You can support business's that are supportive and offer accommodations for people in larger bodies. You can speak out against places that don't. You can't stop judging. These are just a few of the MANY horrifying examples of thin privilege that I know I have taken advantage of for most of my life without meaning to or realizing. Like I said before, I am still learning. It' a new outlook on life, but an outlook on life that will make this world a better place for all. Size acceptance, health at every size, love and respect for each other as a community. It needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.

Who is with me?

About the Author: Brenna Briggs is a Project HEAL Boston Chapter volunteer.