Great piece by Melbourne academic Jennifer Lee: A big fat fight: the case for fat activism
My left-wing, friendly and kind GP says, “You’re bigger than you were last time so it’s harder for me to get this in place,” as an apology for groping around during a pap smear – an apology that blames my body for her less-than-perfect technique.
That’s a subtle example, because I try to choose my medical professionals carefully to avoid the standard fat prejudice. It demonstrates that sometimes we are hit with fat prejudice in the most vulnerable or intimate situations. Why aren’t medical students trained to deal with fat bodies? Why isn’t medical equipment generally made for different kinds of bodies – fat ones included? Fat people are sent constant messages that they are wrong, that they need to change, that the world around them is fine and doesn’t need to cater for them.
Still, in some moments I do find myself wishing I were thin. But I catch myself and think, “Why do you want to be thin in this moment?” The answer is inevitably about thin privilege. If fat was the sought-after attractive body in the media, if doctors separated fat from disease, if big clothes sizes were available everywhere, would I ever want to be thin?
When I speak about thin privilege, I am talking about the advantages that thin people in Western culture experience, such as being assumed healthy and having a wide array of clothes available, as well as a body that aligns with dominant ideas of what is attractive. It’s time to acknowledge thin privilege the way the Left has acknowledged white privilege, class privilege or straight privilege.