When it comes to body image, it seems like there’s no better time to practice self-acceptance. Another important takeaway? When it comes to thin privilege it helps to remember that it’s not an insult or failing – there’s nothing wrong with having privilege. It’s just about using your awareness of it to overcome the prejudice that we all have ingrained in us.
You’ve heard of white privilege, sure – the term for the advantages that you automatically experience if you’re a white person. But how about thin privilege?
The Twittersphere is abuzz with the term after blogger Cora Harrington opened up a conversation about thin privilege, the idea that society automatically rewards lean people with special treatment – like being able to eat what you want in public without being judged, sit on a plane without the person next to you looking over with disgust or even being more likely to get hired.
Harrington, a writer and The Lingerie Addict founder, tweeted that thin privilege exists regardless of whether or not you classify yourself as thin — i.e even if you struggle with body insecurities, there’s a strong possibility you won’t experience fat shaming and the discrimination that comes with being a specific size.
“Hey, you don’t have to ‘feel thin’ to have thin privilege,” Harrington wrote. “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.”
She went on to clarify that while having thin privilege doesn’t mean that you may not face other forms of discrimination in life, it is important to recognise how society may place you on a higher pedestal than others for looking a certain way.
“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,” she writes. “It means societal discrimination and prejudice does not target you for being thin. It means your weight/body type are seen as ‘normal.'”
Harrington’s comments went viral, launching a debate about the discrimination and difficulties that people at both ends of the size spectrum face.