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PSA: If you're not morbidly obese, you'd better check your 'thin privilege'


People who can find clothes that fit them just have to acknowledge it

Image source: BBC Sesh video screenshot

There's a new campaign aimed at forcing people who are not morbidly obese to acknowledge their "thin privilege," as the movement against fat-shaming ratchets up another level.

What are the details?

Last week, BBC Sesh — an offshoot of the British Broadcasting Network aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds — tweeted a video from plus-size lifestyle blogger Michaela Gingell, where she explains "what thin privilege is and how it impacts her life."

Gingell, who blogs under the name Cardiffornia Gurl, begins her message by insisting that thin privilege is a very real thing, arguing that "if you're thin, you have a certain privilege," because "everyday tasks that a thinner person can take for granted can leave a plus-size person like myself feeling full of anxiety, burden, and upset."

The video shows Gingell out in the world where fat people have problems, such as on the subway where others make them feel uncomfortable, or at a bakery where they might be judged for their choices. In both scenes, she is seen eating while making the case for her oppression.

While Gingell does not explicitly define what it means for an individual to be considered a "thin" person, she explains that you likely have thin privilege if you can go shopping for clothes "and take an outfit away that very same day."

Gingell insisted she is not criticizing thin people — just pointing out their privilege — adding it can be combated if they "just acknowledge it."

Anything else?

The publication Everyday Feminism has been a pioneer in the movement against this form of "sizeism," or discrimination against people who are not of "normal" height or weight. In 2012, the magazine's writer Shannon Ridgway listed 22 indicators that a person might have thin privilege:

1. You're not assumed to be unhealthy just because of your size.

2. Your size is probably not the first thing people notice about you (unless you're being thin-shamed — the opposite of fat-shamed).

3. When you're at the grocery store, people don't comment on the food selection in your cart in the name of 'trying to be helpful.'

4. Your health insurance rates are not higher than everyone else's.

5. You can expect to pay reasonable prices for your clothing.

6. You can expect to find your clothing size sold locally.

7. You can expect to find clothing in the latest style and colors instead of colorless, shapeless and outdated styles meant to hide your body.

8. You don't receive suggestions from your friends and family to join Weight Watchers or any other weight-loss program.

9. When you go to the doctor, they don't suspect diabetes (or high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or other 'weight-related' diagnoses) as the first/most likely diagnosis.

10. You don't get told, 'You have such a pretty/handsome face' (implying: if you'd only lose weight you could be even more attractive).

11. People don't assume you're lazy, based solely on your size.

12. You're not the brunt of jokes for countless numbers of comedians.

13. Airlines won't charge you extra to fly.

14. You are not perceived as looking sloppy or unprofessional based on your size.

15. You can eat what you want, when you want in public and not have others judge you for it or make assumptions about your eating habits.

16. You can walk out of a gas station with a box of doughnuts and not have people yell at you to 'Lay off them doughnuts, fatty!' (This actually happened to one of my friends.)

17. People don't ask your partners what it's like to have sex with you because of your size.

18. Your body type isn't sexually fetishized.

19. You're more likely to get a raise or promotion at work than someone who is fat.

20. Friends don't describe you to as others using a qualifier (e.g. 'He's kind of heavy, but REALLY nice, though").

21. The media doesn't describe your body shape as part of an 'epidemic.'

22. You can choose to not be preoccupied with your size and shape because you have other priorities, and you won't be judged.

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