So let's talk about it.
I'm going to use Thin and Fat as our conversation points, understand that as I am talking about these things there is a list of things that this is not:
- Thin hating.
- Body Bashing.
- A personal vendetta of some sort.
- Jealousy, hateration or whatever.
- Personal attacks etc.
Now first let's talk about the difference between interpersonal problems and institutional problems.
Someone says to a thin person in passing: Eat a burger.
That is an interpersonal problem. There are not institutional systems in place, to bully and abuse thin people into eating burgers.
Someone saying, eat a burger is bullying and insulting but it is not institutional.
If it were, when you thin person went to the doctor this might happen. As it happens to fat people very often.
Thin Person: Doctor, I have this really bad pain in my (insert area here) I'm pretty worried about it.
Doctor: Eat a burger you'll feel better.
Thin Person: Um I ate a burger yesterday and it still hurts.
Doctor: Maybe if you took some responsibility for yourself and gained some weight you wouldn't be in pain.
Let's say you binge eat ALL THE BURGERS and gained 15 pounds and still feel awful. Go back to the doctor.
Doctor: Good for you, look at those 15 pounds KEEP GOING!
Thin Person: But I have been binge eating and that's not really healthy and I still have that pain-
Doctor: Why don't you have any discipline? Clearly what you're doing is working, keep doing it.
Now, that would be part of an institutional system to make you Thin Person eat a burger. That is not someone just being a jerk.
People being jerks to you or shaming you for your body and only on the basis of how your body appears is bullshit, it sucks and people should stop doing that.
That said, interpersonal problems are not the same as Fat Bias.
Now, I bet at least 80% (I'm being conservative here) of fat people have had similar conversations with doctors. I have had them. People I know and love have had them.
That is an institutionalized means of abuse and mistreatment that goes unchecked.
Here is the actual truth.
Fat peoples lives, not their virtual lives or kind of lives our literal lives are often put at risk for no other reason than our fat bodies.
There are so many stories of life threatening misdiagnosis, of people being flat out denied treatment, over or under medicated.
Children being misdiagnosed, people being denied cancer screenings because they are fat, people having their quality of life cut in half or worse because, well if they just weren't fat.
There is frankly literally nothing that has ever been wrong with me personally, that someone hasn't suggested weightloss for. How about a list?
- Allergies to things like grass, bug bites, flowers and some foods.
- Injuries sustained in falls.
- Pinched nerves in my neck and back from falls.
- Yeast infections
- Sinus Infection
- Rash from chemicals I used cleaning
Here's the thing.
Not one of those things including times I've fallen have been okay or better when I've been thinner. When I fell down two flights of stairs when I weighed 110 pounds, I was just as fucked up as when I fell on the street at 190 pounds.
This is institutionalized.
This is not hyperbole (oh, look anti fat people, I honestly with all my heart wish it was hyperbole okay? It would be preferable to the actuality) this is not simple anecdotal data. This is my life, this is the life of many people.
If anti thin bias was in fact institutional, I would in fact be against it. It would not be okay. It would also look like this.
Thin person turns on the tv and in the span of ten minutes sees two commercials and one greedy fuck doctor talking about how their body is the biggest threat to America. There would be adverts everywhere promising that if thin people would just gain those last ten pounds they too could go to Paris or twirl in a meadow or some bullshit.
Anti Thin Body Bias would entail being told that they are morally corrupt people if they don't do anything about it and then say they tried to buy things like exercise equipment and are unable to buy the things that would facilitate them "doing something" about it.
Anti Thin Bias would mean that if health and fitness is morality, they would be hounded or humiliated out of gyms or running outside because they are not to be seen.
Anti Thin Body Bias would mean that every magazine they see in the store tells them that they should hide their body, that "fashionable" excludes them, that well you know those tiny clothes are just so unsightly stores don't want their not thin customers to be exposed to them so you can only buy them online. Oh wait you want a size 0, not only is it going to be hard to find it's going to be given some cutesy name and you'll be charged double for your pleasure and have a hard time returning or exchanging it because you can't take it back to a physical store.
Anti Thin Body Bias would mean that people on say tumblr when you post a picture of yourself looking thin and happy and playing with your dog, or hugging your partner, or showing off your new hair cut would in the open decide to tell you that they hate you and they hope your dog and your mom dies or that you are the ugliest thing ever, and believe that they are perfectly right because well you're thin and you deserve it. And people would be okay with that.
Anti Thin Body Bias would mean that entire forums would come to your blog when you're talking about exercise you like solely to take your words out of context, steal your picture and make fun of it.
And all those things would happen under the guise of it being okay because if you just bully and shame a thin person enough, they will change.
So no, Thin Folks I love many of you but I need for you to take it down a notch when comparing interpersonal problems to institutional ones.
There are parallels in our struggles for bodily autonomy, self esteem and feeling good in our bodies. But, when we get to the specifics of fat life and institutional stamped and approved by society anti fat bias, it is time to be quiet and listen.
This is why it is important to understand why fat people are not standing up and cheering for Thin White Women as the face of any body acceptance ever.
This is why it is important to stop taking things so personally and understand that while yes, yes these things impact you, they are not about you personally.
This is why it is important for fat folks to police ourselves in terms of not getting on the thin shaming train even when it's tempting.
This is why Fat Acceptance is really fucking hard.
It's hard because even after saying all this, I know there are going to be Thin people with hurt feelings. That is frankly just too bad. If it is indeed beyond you to utilize those critical thinking skills I know you have and understand these differences that are sometimes subtle and sometimes not so much, I am not the droids you were looking for.
That's all for right now.