Wednesday, August 26

How realising thin privilege meant realising thin...

For some reason that will go unmentioned, but from recent posts you can probably guess, I’ve been thinking of my own thin privilege lately.

When I found fat acceptance I was coming at it from the perspective of someone who thought them self fat. I’m not. I’m thin. But I’ve only come to realise I was thin recently.

Why? Well yes, I lost inches around the waist as a result of pasty deprivation but - I admit now – I was thin before that.

Probably my mental issues come into play here, making me cringe with disgust as my big flabby stomach brushed against the sheets in bed. Or how I screamed thinking of my fat cheeks turning inward to suffocate me.

Reading that back it scares me. How the hell did my body image get so far off of what I am: an average sized, average height woman who always manages to find something off the rack even if my boobs make me an inbetweenie.

And yes, some off that is anxiety and depression. I imagine I have some undiagnosed body issues thrown in. Some of it is, of course, growing up with a family that commented on my chicken legs. And I think that is why thin privilege can be so hard to grasp. Because it’s easy enough to think thin people have it easy but not so easy to say ‘like me’

I have had it easier being thin. To choose just one example when I joined the University Health Centre in my first year I had to have a physical. The guy doing it did my BMI and found me solidly (as usual) in the middle.

He asked me if I did any exercise. “No, not really. But I do walk everywhere.” He told me that it wasn’t a problem but I may want to think about joining the gym if I put on weight like a lot of people do in first year.

Yeah, spot the logic there.

So from realising I was thin I could realise my thin privilege, but how did I come to realise I was thin? It ties in with something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while. How my barely updated craft blog got political.

You see it’s hard for me to separate one from the other. Just like how we occasionally bring up the politics of food on Always Autumn politics is entwined with the way I craft.

If I where to post about how I wasn’t doing any projects or – more accurately – how I didn’t feel I had done anything good enough to post I couldn’t do that without talking about depression.

Cutting the cloth for a dress makes me think about my body. I measure it constantly, evaluating a clothing project means talking about my boobs or my hip size. And so often when I post ‘my big boobs’ so on or ‘I’ve lost weight so I’ve taken this in’ I feel like apologising for having at least some ideal (so called, although not in the sense that it causes me problems with altering in the first place!) parts of my body.

Crafting lends itself to discussion of body image, to my mental state. It makes me think about feminism and the treatment of the mentally ill. When I want to write about crafting with Guides it’s often linked up with thoughts about how young people don’t have a realistic voice.

Quite frankly if I tried to separate the political from the personal I’d never bloody post. And -of course - I didn't.

1 comment:

Woman of a Certain Age said...

1) Interesting point about thin privilege. I read some fat acceptance blogs and am usually all, Yeah! But at the same time, I'm not overweight in the least. Fat acceptance and body acceptance of all sorts go hand-in-hand so it's not like I'm feigning my enthusiasm for fat acceptance, but I do have to wonder when I am missing the point. The whole issue of the size 12 model in Glamour got me all riled up--because she's not actually fat, and is closer to my own body size, making me examine the photo from both a sociological perspective and a personal one. I'm prone to paying more attention to "middle size" issues than fat acceptance, simply because it resonates with me more--and that in and of itself is thin privilege.

2) I like to write about food politics issues, but then also find myself falling into a trap related to the one you illustrate--I always want to bring America's food issues back to how we're all compulsive overeaters because we don't know how to deal with our feelings. When really that's me, not everyone residing in our amber waves of grain! But reading what you wrote is a good reminder that the personal is the political--so thank you.