Ugh I am so glad this discussion is being had because it seems like the discussion about smaller fats vs. larger fats usually assumes a “larger fat” to be like a 20/22? And I’m like what about the rest of us? And the “rest of us” shouldn’t be a separate group anyway because I have way different experiences from someone who is much fatter than I am. Size privilege is not a binary, it’s not that you either have it or you don’t. Fat people lack size privilege in a general sort of way, but can have size privilege over people who are fatter than them. And that shit is SUPER RELEVANT (and by that I mean super fucked up) when fat acceptance becomes dominated by those people who experience the least fat oppression. Intersectionality is crucial on all axes and I’d really like to see like actual DEGREE OF fatness treated like any other factor that affects someones’ experiences as a fat person because it is just as relevant as anything else.
You know what’s funny? I sometimes don’t realize how fat I am. Because fat narratives of people my weight and my size (26/28). We’re so invisible that I don’t even see myself as a “death fat”. But I am. Reality hits me when kids say, “wow she’s big” or I can’t find things in stores in my size. I’m labeled at morbidly obese or denied healthcare. I don’t think people are used to seeing folks (death fats) as people, as human. Internalized fatphobia makes me feel like I can’t be one of those fats because…. well they aren’t human. They don’t exist in real life. They exist as caution stories on TLC programs.
I’m really glad this discussion has sort of branched out in so many areas and brought so many good things to the forefront.
“Size privilege is not a binary, it’s not that you either have it or you don’t. Fat people lack size privilege in a general sort of way, but can have size privilege over people who are fatter than them. And that shit is SUPER RELEVANT (and by that I mean super fucked up) when fat acceptance becomes dominated by those people who experience the least fat oppression.”
That speaks to me on so many levels.
Everyone deserves a voice, but not at the expense of erasing others.
I recognize that I have size privilege. Acknowledging it does not invalidate my fat experiences or the oppression I have faced. It humbles me in that I realize there are so many people, deathfatties in particular, who really ARE treated as subhuman far more often than I am.
Most people look at my 230 lb size 16/18 body and maybe assume I’ve “let myself go” but am not far gone. I’m close enough to a “normal” weight that some people will even deny my fatness, or claim I’m “not that fat” and therefore “not that unhealthy or undesirable”, etc etc. I have that privilege of being given the benefit of the doubt, more often than my deathfat peers, by society.
There is a lot of power and truth in realizing these things, levels of privilege, how it applies. How we can be aware and how I can know when to step back or contribute.
I’ve received a couple of messages from people asking me whether or not they’re allowed to call themselves “fat” at a size US 14, how they can avoid offending or not checking privilege…
It’s such a gray area. We’re still figuring all this out. I’ll just keep listening and learning and suggest everyone else does too. Try not to let emotion get in the way. Think critically. Allow everyone a place to speak, but at the same time consider who deserves the more prominent voice, which bodies deserve focus and why: those bodies that are silenced most often (deathfats) deserve more focus in fat positive communities because no other communities will allow them to have a voice, at all.
That is something.