Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Oh dear!Thin privilege?

Fascinating little tumblr exploration of a thin privilege list. Here's the original list.

It is some of the things fat people experience that thin people do not, to point out the disadvantages of being fat, but also the advantages of being thin.

My view on thin privilege is that its not the way I'd choose to lead with the consequences of the elevation of thinness and downgrading of fatness. It feels like it hides too much and fails to make other people accountable for some their bad behaviour. This will make it difficult for self acceptance to advance. People do not give a rats arse on the whole about fat hurt and are not likely to any time soon.

That doesn't exactly upset me in itself, I don't feel like the main purpose of speaking about one's experiences is sympathy garnering. If anyone is sympathetic, repair the disconnect. It's more about saying what has been held in for so long, sharing and letting others know they are not alone, and above all. Recovering from one's negative experiences. I suppose I see it as a kind of self help.

There is also the fact that this may well be more the experience of those at the higher end of being fat. That doesn't mean that it should be dismissed in any way, however I do not feel comfortable in leaving an impression that it feels like its about me when to a noticeable degree, it is not.

In some ways maybe it's that I feel more culpable in my own downfall than those who's targeting was more intensely oppressive than mine. I'm not saying that to achieve a faux sense of control where I have little or none, but that I do feel responsible and I'm ok with that.

I don't like it, but I'm don't favour the idea that one must be pure to have been treated unfairly and taken advantage of. We have been and I have no desire to stint on that nor do I wish to withdraw from self examination, not to beat myself up but to see what can be learned.

That is not making a point of comparison per se, it's more that in reversing this my challenge maybe a bit more internal than others. As long and variety of experience is out there, people can make use of it in ways that applies to and serves them.

The challenge to this is from someone who is very slender / in the underweight category who feels like a lot of what was on the list applies to them and feels that this makes it some kind of kick in the teeth.

Now although I've no problem with questioning who the list applies to, I'm not impressed at all by the taking it as a personal affront. I wish people would try to grasp that just because people make use of the conceit of obesity as their personal play toy doesn't mean that actual fat humans are also their personal play things. I cannot stand the way some thinner people assume that they've got no hand in all this. That somehow all they have to do is assert their (assumed) sense of entitlement which seems to major on finding ways to become victims of fat acceptance or fat people.

In this case it doesn't wholly feel like that. I can see the underlying sense of recognition is real and has legitimacy, it's the outrage I'm not so sure about. Because hey, if you pick up a list from a fat human being and find you can identify with much of it, why not make it about exploring that?

The unexpectedness of the connection the way you felt about someone at last saying how you felt and so on. Why treat it as an act to negate you?. That reaction comes up time and again and that doesn't make it innately a worthy sentiment.

There is a desire to re-point this as fat v thin, with fat people dealing the same as is being dealt them, that way everything is kept shallow with deeper examinations.

Fat acceptance is not about fat v thin, it is precisely the resistance of people to the restoration of our equality that has forced us to take matters into our own hands. Not a desire for separation. Our desire to connect is pretty obvious, after all, everyone assumes that is our primary aim.

These shenanigans are too far from the truth, not because fat people are sweeter kinder or nicer, its just that is the wrong dynamic of opposing forces equalized in stalemate. The reality is more lopsided. That doesn't mean the favoured side always comes out unscathed. However their own reactions show clearly they feel they are doing well enough out of things as they are as too many of them resist change too damn often.

What's also funny is seeing that fatness is where people tend to express feelings they feel unable to share elsewhere. I've made no secret of my lack of enthusiasm for privilege lists etc., I've yet to read one that doesn't get on my nerves in many ways, as much as it may illuminate.

The reason for this is yet again the toots boring disconnect with fat people means there is little to get in the way of one's reaction. Often, we are told things that are nothing to do with us and everything to do with what people cannot say elsewhere. That can be quite instructive.
Call that a potential fat privilege.

Oh and re that, I actually attempted to do a list myself, as an exercise in thought as much as anything. I'm afraid I didn't manage to finish it, I may try again. In the meantime here's something in the same ball park.

I'd love to hear a fat privilege compilation from those who feel unduly oppressed by aspects of fat people or fat acceptance.

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