Fat people shouldn’t have to prove they are human enough to live a life free of discrimination and the very fact someone wants you to prove your humanity shows you who they truly are. Hateful.
Thin privilege is not having to choose a more intrusive, long term type of contraception because your doctors threaten to stop prescribing you the contraceptive pill if you don’t lose weight.
I’ve been on the contraceptive pill for roughly five years. I was used to the standard procedure - ask for a prescription, be weighed, have your blood pressure taken, get the prescription. When I changed doctors a year ago, they started making a big deal about my weight, and how the pill could cause blood clots, heart attacks etc if I didn’t lose it. I’m not an unhealthy person-apart from asthma, which I’ve had since I was 5 and thin, there’s nothing wrong with me, and in all the years I’ve taken the pill I’ve not even experienced a changed blood pressure. What they based this on was an absolute mystery to me.
I later found out that the same doctors had never weighed my thin friends on their appointments to get the pill, nor had any other doctor they’d seen about it.
Eventually, I’d had enough of being emotionally destroyed at these appointments yet receiving no actual, practical advice on how they expected me to lose weight, and went for a contraceptive implant so that IF I decide to lose weight, I can do it in a healthy way, on my own time, away from the pressurising of bullshitters like that.
My weight has nothing to do with neither my health nor my choice of contraception.
That’s why it so often creates and adds to any disorder already present. We are not designed to eat according to the needs of a plan but to interpret our own needs via the signals our body gives us.
That’s not to say whether people should or shouldn’t do diet. It’s not my place to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do.
The way healthy and unhealthy is being split into two wholly distinct categories, with no overlap is basic kindergarten stuff. It doesn’t reflect the whole picture. A lot is about context, something that’s unhealthy in certain situations, or even overall may be a lesser evil in another.
What I’m saying cannot be understood purely from the stance of healthy or unhealthy. We are so used to being dictated to in matters of eating and weight that everything said seems to be orders.
That isn’t the way many of us feel. Only you and those party to your history and health know your circumstances. It is you that ultimately has to make up your own mind on what you feel you need to do for yourself in any given situation.
The point of explaining that weight loss dieting/calorie restriction unbalances your eating and nervous system and risks triggering any susceptibility you have towards having an eating disorder is information.
It’s for your understanding. So you can get a sense of why it so often feels the way it does to be on a weight loss diet. The untoward feelings described usually as your greediness, or more recently your addictedness is actually your body trying to counter the unbalancing of it. It’s your body’s defence of itself.
Those are the facts, the rest is up to you.
Al Roker’s very brave and candid “shart confession” is being taken out of context as some kind of hilarious mishap, but it should draw our attention to the reality that doctors often recommend gastric bypass surgery to patients even though the surgery could basically take away their quality of life or quite possibly kill them. I think we should get real about the dangers of gastric bypass surgery and stop treating fat people like they are a disease that needs to be cured by any means necessary and at any expense.
And just so we’re clear, complications from gastric bypass surgery include adhesions and polyps, massive scar tissue, advanced aging, anemia, arthritis, blackouts/fainting, bloating, body secretions (odor like rotten meat), bowel/fecal impaction, cancer (of the stomach, esophagus, pancreas, and bowel), chest pain from vomiting, circulation impairment, cold intolerance, constipation, depression, diarrhea, digestive impairment due to heavy mucus, digestive irregularities, diverticulitis, drainage problems at incision, early onset of diabetes, early onset of hypertension, electrolyte imbalance, erosion of tooth enamel, excessive dry skin, excessive stomach acid, esophageal contractions, esophageal erosion and scarring, feeling ill, gallbladder distress, gynecological complications, hair loss, hemorrhoids, hernia, hormone imbalances, impaired mobility, infection from leakage into body cavities (peritonitis), infertility, intestinal atrophy, intestinal gas, involuntary anorexia and that isn’t even the entire list.
I wouldn’t want anyone to suffer even a fraction of these “complications” as the result of seeking to attain a dangerously impossible “standard of beauty” or “health benefits” sold to them by a doctor.
(I totally stole that list from this Jezebel article)
No, there is not a documented epidemic of brutal murders of fat people for being fat, but there is a documented epidemic of failure to provide life-saving healthcare: Google will easily help you find stories of fat people who died while emergency crews laughed at their weight and appearance, of fat people who were told they should lose weight to fix problems actually caused by blood clots, cancer, internal injuries, infections, and myriad other problems that later killed them, because their doctors couldn’t see past their fat to properly treat them. Google will also easily help you find stories of medical equipment that cannot accommodate fat bodies, of anesthetists who accidentally kill fat people in surgery, of doctors who prescribe wrong doses for fat bodies, of drug trials that make no attempt to include fat patients. Google will also easily help you find stories of fat people who did not seek life-saving healthcare because they had been so viciously fat-shamed by doctors their whole lives that they had given up hope of finding sensitive and caring providers who would treat them.
Fat people die because of fat hatred ALL THE TIME.
Last year, I went to a spine center because I had a herniated disc in my back. I had been treated for it before, so I knew that was the issue. I was in horrible pain. The doctor walked in, looked at me, and then told me to lose weight and then I’d feel better. Luckily, a nurse saw me sobbing after he left and had a PA come in to see me. She ordered an immediate MRI, which showed I had one of the worst herniations my neurologist has ever seen. I ended up having last minute surgery so I wouldn’t permanently lose bowel control.
Adding my story here: For 12 years of my life I lived with a skin disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa. It went undiagnosed for that long because doctors repeatedly told me it was chaffing and I should lose weight. Then last year when I went to have my wisdom teeth taken out, I was scheduled to have the surgery asleep. Well when my anesthesia didn’t work because the dose was too low for my weight, my surgeon laughed and told me that I was too fat to be asleep and did the surgery anyway. I was awake.
Oh, but fat people are making shit up when they say that doctors ain’t shit because they blame random illnesses on their weight??
Adding in because doctors WILL NOT take you seriously if you have an eating disorder if you are fat, and will ENCOURAGE the unhealthy behavior in the name of losing weight. I had it happen to me at a younger age.
[tw: food-related anxiety]
That I have no choice but to listen to my surrounding coworkers discuss diets and “oh I can’t have this or that” every single day is probably one of the most infuriating and triggering things in the entire fucking world.
What others choose to eat or not eat is none of my concern. I literally could not give a shit less about your fruitless, sugarless diet or your sudden drop in weight loss as a reward for abstaining from indulgence. But you make it my concern when you proclaim these aspects of your eating habits out loud with pride while I sit gobbling down some processed food I was forced to grab in haste on my way into the office.
I wonder if people are capable of trying to comprehend a reality wherein personal control and choice regarding food consumption is a privilege - that for some, this privilege is especially hard to come by.
My reality involves mostly-empty cupboards and no one to lean on but myself. It involves sitting for hours on end, trying to will myself to get in the car and drive to the grocery store to buy nutritious foods for the week. In the event that I actually make it out the door, half the time my anxiety and fear of the kind of judgement that comes with fat visibility while food shopping won’t allow me to leave the driveway and I’ll returning to my kitchen to comb through my cupboards, making do with what I have at hand - pasta, ramen, soup, frozen food - the things that keep. Or nothing.
In the event that I do leave the driveway, my fear will guide me into a drive-thru in order to avoid human interaction. My anxiety takes advantage of impulse. I think “here is an easy way to sustain myself that doesn’t involve being subjected to the gaze of others” and cease it automatically. It isn’t until after I’m home, hating the food I’m eating with ever fiber of my being, that the guilt sets in.
During the times I finally make it to the grocery store, I make a beeline to the essentials. A lifetime of food-shopping experience as a fat person tells me that making eye contact with anyone could warrant unwanted and judgmental comments from other shoppers, so I keep my head down and my eyes on the prices. I struggle to keep from looking at labels and numbers, calories and sugar content, in an attempt to restrain the damaging diet mentality I’ve tried so hard to overcome.
I aim to shop for the week but end up shopping for only a handful of days, rushing myself through self-checkout before I can consider anything too carefully. Any more than a small basket full of food means going through the check out line with an actual person scanning my food choices who may feel entitled enough to make comments on my purchases as they fly past. “Oh these are so good, I wish I could eat them but I’ve been watching my figure.” “Look at all this food! Having a party?” “Ice cream and wine? Gee, you must be having a hard week.”
My shopping experiences are never fulfilling. I rarely leave with what I wanted to get.
I record my eating habits, but not like a used to - not as a method of punishment to be sure I’m keeping to arbitrary restrictions, but as a reminder to myself that on the whole, the food I eat is varied. That while I sometimes default to quick food fixes to appease my anxieties, the times I don’t are enough to create a nutritional balance that pleases me. Because I am doing the best I can with what I have.
By all means, enjoy the pride you feel in your personal food choices and physical changes. I wish you happiness in your diet - a happiness that I never had the privilege of experiencing, that instead mixed with my mental illness in a way that would have surely destroyed me had I not found the strength to fight against it. But my experience is not yours and I respect your right to restrict your eating habits and keep track of your weight. Honestly, I do.
Just please, please - Shut the FUCK up about it.
This is my 19th Read This Week feature! I read some excellent articles recently! Check these out:
The Glorification of White Crime by iambutchsolo on Tumblr is an EXQUISITE essay and analysis of how white privilege allows white criminals in media (whether drama or true life) to be portrayed as nuanced, complex individuals, not shells of pure evil. This essay GOES IN. And, as someone who is a fan of Dexter (one of the shows mentioned), but also watches television with a CRITICAL EYE, I 100% agree with what is presented in this essay.
An Open Letter To Abigal Fisher by Evette Donne on Clutch is excellent. Perfect. In case the name Abigail Fisher doesn’t ring a bell to you (which I doubt by now, but just in case), check out her case Fisher vs. The University of Texas.
The Impossibility of Race-Blind Admissions by Inimai M. Chettiar and Roopal Patel on The Atlantic is a good read. This article also deals with the Abigal Fisher case. They write: “On the surface, Fisher vs. UT asks a simple question: Is it constitutional for a university to consider race when evaluating an applicant’s personal background? But underneath this question is a deeper one: Can a student’s racial background race really be separated from who he or she is as an applicant and a human being?”
Saving The Boobies Will Not Save Me by Jazmine Walker on RH Reality Check is GREAT. She discusses how the sexualization of the “pink” campaign is not meeting the needs or addressing the severity of breast cancer for Black women. She writes: “Talking about breasts as if they are an independent entity, as if it’s the breasts that are worth saving as opposed to the life and body they are attached to is not only patriarchal, but also down right sexist.” All I have to say to this article is YASSSSSSSS. She went IN! Brilliant, nuanced piece.
The Politics of Curviness and White Womanhood by Robert Reece is a great read. He writes: “Before attaching some type of privilege to the title ‘diva’ and the characterization ‘curvy,’ recognize your white privilege and consider pointing a finger at the patriarchal faces of men who institutionalize these beauty standards by only casting certain types of women for roles under the guise that audiences only want to see thin, fair skinned women with long, flowing hair.” READ THIS.
Stay tuned for next week’s suggestions!
Thin privilege is chronic vomiting and sudden weight loss (30 lbs) being treated like a good thing by your primary care physician. Thin privilege is not being believed when you tell your doctor that you barely eat because of this vomiting and what little you can stomach is bread and fruit. “You must be eating more than that, otherwise you’d be losing more weight.” Thin privilege is having a dietician from your clinic call you, after having a conversation with your doctor that actually, you’ve seen dieticians before and have a really good grasp on proper nutrition, so you’d rather not see another. Thin privilege is having to explain in the first place that no, you’re not stuffing your face with chips and soda, you’re barely eating and still being treated like you’re mainlining butter into your veins.
Thin privilege is having a dietitian believe you when you write down the foods you eat to help manage your chronic illness.
Thin privilege is receiving appropriate advice about dealing with your symptoms, instead of assuming you want to lose weight and purposefully giving piss-poor advice. (I’d rather be fat than bleed for three weeks, kthanx.)
Thin privilege is claiming that obesity kills. Excuse me? No one has ever, ever died just from being fat. Things like heart disease, diabetes, those can kill you, yes. But guess what? Skinny people can die from them, too. Bad health isn’t some super-secret club that only fat people can be in, and just being fat doesn’t guarantee you a membership. The only way obesity can kill you is if an obese person is literally dropped upon you, and even then, it would have to be from a very high place.
This rant has been brought to you by this post here.