'Thin privilege' explained in viral Twitter thread

·Freelance Writer
What is thin privilege and who benefits from it? [Photo: Pexels]

Writer and founder of the The Lingerie Addict, Cora Harrington, took to Twitter earlier this week to explain the meaning behind the recently coined term: ‘thin privilege’.

According to Harrington, many of us subconsciously benefit from ‘thin privilege’ due to our socially acceptable weight whether it’s walking into a shop with a wide variety of clothing available for our size or using public transport without the fear of being judged.

In a now-viral Tweet which garnered over 21,000 likes in total, Harrington explained: “Hey, you don’t have to ‘feel thin’ to have thin privilege.

“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 continued, “My job involves looking at photos of models who are much thinner than me, so I rarely ‘feel’ thin. But I can walk into almost any clothing store and expect – without even thinking about it – to buy something in my size. That is thin privilege.”

Harrington later went on to list further benefits to ‘thin privilege’ such as eating a biscuit or an ice cream cone in public without someone judging you or sitting next to someone on a plane or bus without someone rolling their eyes or groaning.

According to the writer, even those who do not consider themselves to be thin are still benefitting from society’s ideals as she added: “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. It means societal discrimination and prejudice does not target you for being thin. It means your weight/body type are seen as ‘normal’.”

Within minutes, hundreds of followers took to the social media post to praise Harrington for highlighting ‘thin privilege’. One social media user explained that even though they do not necessarily meet society’s ideals, they still benefit from the privileges that come hand-in-hand with their weight.

“I have difficulty finding pants sometimes because of my hip to waist ratio but I know I can go into a store and buy clothes in my general size. I will never go without. Privilege, simple as that.”

While another took to the social media platform to highlight four body-shaming experiences they have faced in the past.

They wrote [sic]: “1/ for everyone commenting on this thread, do you get gawked at dinner? whether you’re eating a burger or a salad? while you’re eating that salad next to another, a thin person, who is chowing down on an entree and two appetisers? do ya?

2/ gym to start the process of feeling better about yourself, for you, not society’s constant pressures? can you be in a relationship with a thin person and not have people questioning why or giving props to said thin person for seeing past the BIG ELEPHANT in the room.

3/ can you post a photo without some twitter doctor mentioning diabetes, heart disease, failing health and telling you that you feeling confident for one minute of your day is PROMOTING OBESITY.

4/ i mean, whether you like it or not, it exists. so if you have to slap another name on it in order to have it resonate, do it. the word privilege obviously triggers a lot of y’all. bottom line is, this woman has a solid point and i commend her for expressing her opinion.”

Cora Harrington explains that ‘thin privilege’ means many are not subjected to body-shaming on public transport [Photo: Pexels]

But not everyone agrees that ‘thin privilege’ exists, as one social media user argued: “What if we stopped trying to put down other (normal) people to force them to recognise their privileged size and accept that we all have different obstacles to go through and it’s really the fault of designers and manufacturers for not including more options?”

Another commented [sic]: “Everyone has their insecurities abt themselves and saying that being ‘thin’ means that you’re not entitled to have problems regarding weight is the dumbest s**t i’ve ever heard?? don’t disregard people’s feelings just because they have clothing options.”

What do you think?

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