Everybody can feel bad about their body, but society doesn’t treat all bodies the same way.
Before I properly start writing this post, there’s 2 things I need to say.
- You are amazing, and it brings me so much joy when you take the time to connect and write out thoughtful comments here and on my social channels.
- This is a post that’s been on my to-do list for over 2 months*. This happens a lot for me whenever I have to write about body positivity. Not because I don’t want to have conversations about it (I really do), but because I want to do it right.
… Which means I get cold feet just before publishing, or that I never even start writing.
What I’m trying to say is, this is a reaction/follow-up to the response I got from this post, especially on Instagram. There some great people who took the time to leave thoughtful comments, and I didn’t respond immediately because I wanted to them justice be being thoughtful in my reply as well, and suddenly it’s months later.
I am a thin person (not super model thin, but thin as in “doesn’t-wear-plus-size”-thin). And I try to be body positive – for many reasons (one of them being it’s the fair and right thing to do).
I believe people deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of their weight and looks.
As a student in Health Science, I hear a lot of dehumanizing and downright evil comments about fat people. Bear in mind, it’s not from any of the teachers, but from students – the ones without nuanced views of health, and who has no understanding of the impact socioeconomic factors have one people’s health (But fat people are just lazy, am I right!).
But because I am thin, and grew up very thin, I don’t know what it’s like to live in a fat body**. I know what it’s like to be ashamed of your body – that’s something every body experiences, women in particular.
But I’ve never been called a fat pig by a stranger.
When I go to my doctor, they care about other things than my weight (weight stigmatization in the medical field is a huge problem!).
I don’t need to worry about being verbally abused by the person sitting next to me on an airplane.
Yes, I can feel nervous and ashamed about showing my body at the swimming pool, but I don’t need to worry about being attacked, called whale and bad mother, simply due to the size of my body.
All of these examples have actually happened to people I know – and there’s so many more horrible examples of fat hate out there.
Not having to worry about all of these things is called thin privilege. Thin privilege doesn’t mean thin people can’t be ashamed of their body or never get negative comments on their body (of course that happens) – but the hate of thin people’s bodies is not as ingrained in society, it’s not accepted and encouraged. Because we don’t noticed all the times we’re not treated badly because of our bodies, it’s easy to forget.
But I’m trying my best. I want to shared resources on learning to love and respect your body, while acknowledging the fact that the external pressures thin and fat people experience are not identical.
I’ve been reading and learning a lot about this over the past few years, and I want to get more comfortable with talking about. Put my knowledge into action. Here at first, I might just start out with sharing resources from some of the amazing women who master the terms and issues associated with body images perfectly.
But we all gotta start somewhere!
.. and I’m starting with finally writing this post.
To end this post and get another perspective, here’s some of the comments I received on this post:
What do you think? Is it possible to talk about body image struggles in a thin body?
* I wrote that in September… I am a master procrastinator!!
** When I call people fat, it has 0 negative connotations. It is in the reclaimed sense, where fat just means having a lot of fat – it’s neither good or bad, it just is.