“Hey, you don’t have to ‘feel thin’ to have thin privilege. Thinness isn’t a feeling. If other people perceive you as thin, you are thin,” Cora Harrington of The Lingerie Addict wrote on Twitter earlier this week. In a thread, that has since gone viral, she went on to explain how society rewards people who are considered skinny.
Even as the body positive movement marches on, sizeism remains prevalent, and Harrington suggests that those who benefit from “thin privilege” may not even realize when they are. “The ability to move through life without people insisting you need to be a smaller size…if you don’t have to think about that, it’s privilege,” she wrote, pointing out simple things like being able to find your size in clothing stores, being able to eat what you want without judgement, and sitting comfortably on an airplane. She continued, identifying issues that plus-size people often face, including being denied healthcare or a job promotion.
Hey, you don’t have to “feel thin” to have thin privilege.
Thinness isn’t a feeling. If other people perceive you as thin, you are thin. If you are able to walk into any clothing store and expect to see a wide range of options in your size, you are thin.
While many people were quick to agree with Harrington — the Tweet has now been liked by more than 20,000 users and retweeted by nearly 5,000 — others argued that thin people have issues, too. There was also debate regarding discrimination for being “too thin” or requiring special sizes or putting enormous effort into exercise. A topic like this is, of course, going to stir up a lot of intense emotion. Harrington acknowledged these concerns, but reiterated her original message, writing:
“Once again: all thin privilege means is that your life isn’t made more difficult *because of your weight.* It means you aren’t defined things like pay raises, healthcare, and airline seats because of your weight. It doesn’t mean your life is easy or that no one ever made fun of your appearance or that you can find everything you want in your local Target. It means societal discrimination and prejudice does not target you for being thin. It means your weight/body type are seen as ‘normal.’”
Everyone has their insecurities and they will differ from individual. No one is denying that. But that doesn’t mean conversations like this shouldn’t be had.
“Society is set up in a way that it advantages certain people over other people, often in ways you don’t even realize,” Harrington later explained to Cheddar. And while the 34-year-old blogger admits that she is considered ‘thin’ by societal standards, she felt that because of her platform, where she regularly talks about size accessibility, this was a good opportunity to bring up the idea of thin privilege to people who hadn’t heard of it. “When we’re discussing, I feel like social topics and social issues, it shouldn’t just be the people that are affected, that are personally affected, by those things that start those conversations,” she said.
Read more from the thread below.
My job involves looking at photos of models who are much thinner than me, so I rarely “feel” thin.
But I can walk into almost any clothing store and expect – without even thinking about it – to buy something in my size. That is thin privilege.
No one groans or rolls their eyes when they have to sit next to me on a plane or a bus.
In fact, no one comments on my body at all. The ability to move through life without people insisting you need to be a smaller size…if you don’t have to think about that, it’s privilege.
— Cora Harrington (@lingerie_addict) July 22, 2018
Saying something like thin privilege exists doesn’t mean you “hate” thin people.
Nor does it mean anyone expects you to feel guilty or bad about yourself. It simply means being aware of the fact that the way you experience life is not the way other people experience life.