Let's talk about thin privilege

 Well hello to you my reader chums! As a huge feminist, I spend a lot of time reading and educating myself on different topics that fall under the 'feminist' or 'patriarchal' umbrella and the terms and topics which are talked about - and brought into the light.

I've seen the term 'thin privilege' circulating around a lot recently and many opinions that circulated with it - some positive and some not. I'm by no means an expert on this topic, it's what I've learnt but also what I've experienced that I'll share and explain.

Let's talk about thin privilege

What is thin privilege?

Thin privilege is a term that refers to thin or skinny people who have privilege compared to their larger counterparts in terms of not being oppressed because of their size. Larger bodies face constant discrimination by body shamers but also a whole society that views 'thin' people as better and more worthy. 

Let's talk about thin privilege

I've always been a slimmer girl and I'm writing this post from that perspective and how the term sits in my opinion and what I think of it. 

Thin privilege has received a lot of positive and negative comments from both sides of the coin as I can understand why - as when I first heard it, I felt personally attacked as a skinny person. I was annoyed as I knew that even though I was skinny, I had gone through a huge body confidence journey to get to the point I am and how I feel in my body.

However, after reading more into it, I realised, the term, doesn't necessarily link to the body confidence movement and saying how thin girls shouldn't feel good in themselves, it's about how people who are not thin are perceived by society, and looked down upon. It's discrimination and not seeing someone as equal or worthy just because of how they look.

Thin privilege is something now I know more about it, I realise has been around me my whole life without even realising. It was in magazines, plastered all over the media, social media, and in everyday conversations.

How many times have we praised someone for losing weight or going on a diet to get thinner? Always. There's this constant 'goodness' around becoming thinner and seeing it as a massive celebration. Don't get me wrong, losing weight and becoming fitter is good, when it's done in a healthy manner and for good reasons. However, it's the diet culture and how it's marketed to us which is what makes us feel bad about our bodies - and feeds into the idea of 'thin is best.'

Diet culture is a huge thing that markets into body shaming. Growing up, I was always taught 'good' or 'bad' foods and to eat things in moderation, which is really important. But, it's diet culture that highlighted restricting the 'bad' foods and making us feel guilty for eating them. These sort of messages and replacing meals with liquids is what leads people into eating disorders and unhealthy relationships with food.

Not only does diet culture 'praise' thin people, as a society we do and even how we shop. There are plenty of famous shops out there that only do clothes up to a size 14 and don't even consider producing larger sizes - which is disgusting. I have thin privilege as I know, I've never gone into a shop not even thinking about if my size won't be available. Whereas, those who have larger bodies, have to question whether a shop will have clothes designed for them. And, let's not also forget in some shops, they charge more for bigger clothing items, which means thinner people get their clothes at a cheaper cost. In 2021, I still didn't think an issue like this will be around but it's more common than you think - and this needs to be changed.

And, this leads on to how clothes are presented on clothing websites and in-store windows. I know there are brands out there like 'Girlfriend' who highlight a diverse range of bodies but, there are still a huge amount of brands that only showcase thin people or 'perfect' bodies. This then reinforces the idea, people have to have a 'perfect' or 'thin' figure to wear these clothes - and makes a lot of people feel bad about their normal bodies.

Thin privilege is also something apparent in a lot of ways we don't even realise. For instance, seats on public transport, chairs, seatbelts, rollercoaster rides, and various other day-to-day things that have a weight limit to them are all in favour of thin people. We live in a fatphobic society, where the thought of gaining a few pounds is one of the most shameful things and it needs to stop. Normalise normal bodies, eating intuitively, and accepting everyone for who they are.

From an early age, we're taught 'fat' and being 'fat' is bad and lazy, but really, your body size has nothing to do with who you are as a person or your self-worth. We should be teaching each other to be kind and happy, and focusing on that rather than fitting into certain size jeans.

How to beat the patriarchal views of the 'perfect body':

  • Fill your social media feeds with diversity and normality - We all spend a lot of our time scrolling on social media and without us even realising, what we see and engage with goes into our brains - and this means all the 'picture-perfect' and edited bodies we see on Instagram. By having these as a constant source to look at, we find ourselves comparing and not feeling good enough. I've felt a lot better about myself when I've unfollowed people or celebrities that constantly look 'perfect' on my feed, and instead, now follow normal and happy looking people, who promote real life and real bodies. It's so important to be looking at something every day of a variety of people rather than just the people who have the patriarchal standard of beauty.
  • Feedback to brands about diversity - I could name plenty of big branded names that only showcase their clothes with thin, white, and blonde models, and to be honest, I'm tired of seeing the same type of people and being taught this is what 'pretty is.' If you see this on brands you love, message them and highlight the issue on social media - it all starts with a conversation.
  • Praise yourself about your normal body - As a society, bodies are constantly shamed unless you're skinny like I've mentioned but it's so important to ignore the constant marketing telling you to diet and shaming you. Instead, praise your body for everything it does for you. It's healthy and it looks after you, and that's all that is important.
  • Don't put too much pressure on losing weight - There should be a fine line around losing weight and how you go about it - and this also comes with the pressure of losing it. Weight can fluctuate, hour upon hour in the day, and really doesn't define you. If you're looking to get healthier, focus more on how you feel when you're exercising or cooking, rather than what you look like. It'll take that pressure away from weight loss.
  • Avoiding fad diets - Fad diets are one of my biggest hates in life as they promote an unhealthy attitude towards food, eating, and what's normal. Fad dieting isn't normal in any sense - and often or not, doesn't actually work as you haven't lost the weight in a healthy way/timeframe. If you're serious about wanting to lose weight, do it safely and healthy manner to ensure you're nourishing your body.
  • Educating people about thin privilege - I wanted to write this topic today to raise awareness really and educate, and you can do the same by talking about thin privilege to those around you or on social media.
  • Hype girls/boys up of all sizes - Last but not least, be a hype girl/boy that you are and praise everyone around you. You'll have people around you who are totally confident in their bodies and those who aren't, and as a friend, it's important to hype either of them up - and ensure they know how beautiful they really are. Your size doesn't define your beauty.
I hope you enjoyed this post. What do you think about thin privilege?

Thank you for reading <3

64 comments

  1. What an interesting post. I have never ever been slim or petite. I was taller than everyone at school and puberty for me was early. I had wide hips at 11 haha I have struggled with my own sense of self and comparing myself to others.
    But, I also know really slim girls my age who don't feel at home in their skin.
    I guess we all need to be open and kind with each other!

    Rosie

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate you sharing your experience - it's so important for us all to be kind to one another x

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  2. This was such a great read and truly needed Della! I am glad people are speaking up about it. I have never been a slim and can assure that no matter the age, people will look at you and ask when you're going to lose weight or look down at you as unhealthy without asking twice. It's all imprinted in society, but in my opinion it's up to everyone to not judge people for their body and shame them. It's up to everyone to be kind and supportive. Thank you so much for this x

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    1. Thank you so much!! This is so true, it's important for us all to be kind to everyone xx

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  3. Yes to this post! Thin privilege is a real and for the longest time, society glorified thin bodies and shamed everyone who didn't fit into a mannequin shell. I am so glad that as young people now, we are so much more loving to one another and can hype each other up regardless of someone's body type. The progress we have made as a society is so impressive.

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    1. Thank you!! Yesss, I'm so glad there is progress xx

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  4. I've not heard the term thin privilege before but I get so frustrated every time someone is praised for losing weight. Adele being a case in point (for the record I thought she was gorgeous before she lost all the weight too). Fascinating post, thank you!

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  5. This is a brilliant post Della. Thank you for sharing. I am someone who has gone from a size 26 to a size 12 and now back at an 18. When I was a 12, I fit in a world that wasn't made for people who were larger. It felt amazing to finally be included.

    Now I am an 18, i feel desperately unhappy at how I and the world see me. I put myself under immense pressure to be a certain way now. I hadn't ever thought about Thin privilege but it does make total sense x

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    1. Thank you! I really appreciate you sharing your story and I hope you find the love in yourself and your body as you're amazing the way you are x

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  6. Really loved the post!<3

    www.pimentamaisdoce.blogspot.com

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  7. Oh my word this post! Thin privilege can have such a huge, negative impact on our self confidence and self esteem. The media has it's part to play in this as it encourages people to diet and lose that weight to make us think we need to, which is wrong. Avoiding those fad diets is something we all need to do! x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much!! Yes, yes, yes - exactly this xx

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  8. A while ago i posted a blog post called 'skinny shaming' and it highlighted the importance of not shaming people for being slim, but i agree with thin privilege being quite slim. I love the tips youve put in here especially telling brands and giving them our thoughts, i can name so many big companies whos models are only ever white, slim girls!

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    1. I'd love to read that post! Thank you so much - yes, same here xx

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  9. This is such a thought-provoking post! I do see evidence of preference given to slim people as you’ve indicated. I’ve also had family members who were thin have people come up to them and say “you’re too thin” - would they actually say to others you’re “too fat”? No wonder very few are happy with their physical appearance! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you! I've had this experience too so I get exactly what you mean xx

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  10. I've always been quite happy with my weight, but my boyf is arguably underweight and people would say he looks unhealthy, but he's just unable to gain weight. So I can see both sides of the argument! Tbf I think we should just leave people to do as they want! As long as it's healthy for them, who cares?!

    Katie | katieemmabeauty.com

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    1. I'm glad to hear you've been happy with your weight! I can see both sides too - exactly, it's all about people being happy and healthy in their own skin xx

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  11. I definitely understand this post and feel the pain of not being able to shop where I want. Luckily things are improving and more shops are being inclusive but it 100% should just be the norm
    Thanks for writing this!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I'm so glad to see progress xx

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  12. I have not heard of thin privilege before, so I loved learning from your writing here! It is a constant wonder to me to watch celebrities/people apparently comfortable and in love with who they are suddenly take a massive step toward losing weight and then talking about the previous dissatisfaction with themselves they never shared.
    Admittedly, I have been unhappy with the way I looked, but the past several years have given me time to love who I am. :)
    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, I completely get you. I'm so glad you're on the path to loving yourself xx

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  13. Thank you! I think this is SUCH an important topic to discuss. I have been a variety of different weights over the years. First, I was praised when I lost weight and was rather thin. However, what people didn't realize was that I was living with an eating disorder and was far from healthy. I hit the point that I started to establish a better relationship with food and gained a bit, only to be judged for gaining weight. Each of the comments hit HARD and made my recovery more challenging. We need to take a step back and look at the way we view others and how we react. You never know when you could actually be doing someone harm.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post! Thank you for sharing your story with me, I'm really happy you came out of recovery stronger - I completely agree with how we need to look at the way we view others x

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  14. Interesting read! I can see where thin privilege sits in society. Although born in Canada, my parents are filipino and the filipino culture praises "white skin and thin bodies" It was really hard for me growing up not having either. I was often bullied by older adults as a young child. I also know some people who can't put on weight and get skinny shamed. You have really great points on a fatphobic world like the transit seats and roller coaster rides. I wish everyone would just mind their damn business and settle for everyone is different, no two people are the same and lots of factors come into a person's appearance and personality! haha x

    www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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    1. Thank you!! Thank you for sharing part of your story with me, I'm sorry you had to go through this. I'm with you in that I've seen people experience both sides of the coin. Exactly that! xx

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  15. maybe this reading is suitable for women, but I am grateful to be able to add insight here

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  16. Such a brilliant post, as always Della. I'm a small girl with 155cm and no more than 45kg. I'm proud and always love myself for who I am. I tried my best to gain weight but I just can't. People always give me envy looks or something like 'you can eat everything or wear everything without worrying about anything'. Some people also said that I look unhealthy or I didn't eat much. Yes, being skinny can give positive and negative impacts. So, thank you for sharing this with us :) As long as we have a healthy body, we don't need to care what others said x

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    1. Thank you lovely!! I completely understand those types of comments as I used to get them too. It is all about as long as we're healthy and happy xx

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  17. I really loved reading this post, it's such an important topic to discuss! And thank you for being so honest and open in everything you've said! Thank you for sharing! x

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  18. Great talk, I have some friends who goes to social media and see people with perfect bodies and complains about themselves when we talking.

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  19. This is such a great post. I have never been thin and every time I went for a job interview I was always worried that someone thinner than me would get the job and that my size would go against me.

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    1. Thank you! I'm sorry you've felt like that and appreciate you sharing your thoughts xx

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  20. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately. I used to be a pretty big girl and I’ll always stay curvy, but I’ve lost a lot of weight a few years ago (over a long time in a healthy way). However, because it went so slowly, it took me a while to see myself as ‘skinny’ as well. If I made negative comments about my body, people would look at me like I was whining and I didn’t know what it was like to be bigger, but I do. However, the biggest mental adjustment was to see how differently I was treated. People flirted openly with me and came up to me way more easily. It was ridiculous to experience actually and I hope one day, it’ll change for the better. Big or thin, you’re not a different person, so why treat people differently? 🤦🏻‍♀️

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    1. Thank you for sharing this and being so open about your story! I completely agree with you, I wish people weren't treated differently just because of how they look xx

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  21. This is a great post, and love that you're using your perspective as a thinner person to educate others on thin privilege! x

    Becky | Uptown Oracle | The Blogger Group

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  22. I haven't heard of thin privilege before, but I can definitely see the some of the cultural thoughts behind it. Society's idea of the perfect body is ridiculous. It keeps changing, and everyone is beautiful no matter how they look. We can't say what type is perfect, also because everyone has their own preferences too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts into this!

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

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  24. Nice article but one thing I would want to point out which I would do on Twitter too, is the height plus the thin bodies. For instance I'm slim but also petite. The picture perfect people are also the tall ones and slim. I experience brands such as Mango and Next who make jeans that have tall leg length. I have to get that trimmed. Then we have our national brands in the country who don't make size 4 or 6 at all and make bigger sizes. And I can't even shop for them. The point was that there are a lot of body diversities and every diversity should be catered, acknowledged and respected for. Thanks for sharing x
    Isa A. Blogger
    http://bit.ly/39f9FN0

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    1. Yes, I completely agree with this too - thank you for adding this in!

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  25. Thanks for sharing, this post is very interesting read :)

    Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

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  26. I've never heard the term 'thin privilege' before but I do now and it's quite interesting to know. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, doll! xx

    lenne | lennezulkiflly.com

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  27. This was such an interesting read as I was unaware of the term 'thin privilege'. Love all the tips you've included on how to help. Definitely agree that we as a society are often too quick to praise weight loss!

    Tash - A Girl with a View

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  28. I haven’t heard of this term before but found it a very interesting post. It is definitely a thing that is happening. Thank you for sharing.

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  29. This was so much needed Della, thank you so much! As someone who is thin and having an hard time gaining weight because of health issues and still having an hard time accepting myself the way I am I loved this post- definitely will be stop comparing myself to anyone else! x Penny /whatdidshetype.blogspot.com

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  30. This was such an interesting post to read. I do agree that more things need to be normalised and skinny people shouldn't be treated better because they're thin. Thank you for sharing this point of view :)

    Em x

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  32. This is such an important topic. Having been both a skinny girl and larger girl within the last 10 years, I can definitely see both sides. I think opinions are slowly changing and larger girls are no longer always seen as the outcast. With brands now using "real women", showcasing all shapes and sizes, it really helps.

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  33. This is such a great post and a topic that needs talking about. Fad diets are the worst and it makes me cringe whenever I hear people going on liquid diets or whatever because you may lose the weight, but when you go back to your normal eating habits you put it all back on and more most of the time. Losing weight takes time, it shouldn't be done overnight xx

    Hannah | https://luxuryblush.co.uk/

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  34. In my opinion, everything comes from self-acceptance. I believe society tried to destroy women's self-confidence by comparing us one another. However, this mentality is changing thanks to people's awareness such your article.

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  35. I love this post so much! This is such an important topic and I am so glad you are speaking out about it!

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  36. "Praise yourself about your normal body" and keep sport in daily.
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  37. This is such an informative post about something that isn't really discussed. The most compliments I ever had about how I looked was when I was 6.2 stone at 20. Literally 40kg. Thin doesn't always mean healthy and I love how you have touched on that!

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