Hi, Beth. I applaud your courage in writing this article. It’s very hard to admit publicly that we’re not the people we aspire to be, nor the people we may appear to be on the outside.

But, the title of your article is “Realizing My Thin Privilege” and you don’t really address that topic until the last few paragraphs. Even then, I feel that you’ve missed the point of your own article.

I don’t say this to be mean. I think you’ve done some great self discovery here and revealed a lot of truth that most people prefer to keep hidden. But your writing demonstrates that you have barely scratched the surface of your own fat phobia, as well as really failing to own your thin privilege.

Here’s an example I highlighted from your article.

“I hated the fear of being fat and the utter lack of control fatness meant.”

Your statement shows that you still think of fatness as merely a matter of willpower, that fat people are choosing to be fat when they could just as easily choose to be thin instead. That fat people universally lack self control.

You need to understand that this simply is NOT true. Of course, some of us do eat too much and don’t work out; but lots of thin people behave the same way, yet aren’t cursed with suffering obesity as a result. This doesn’t make lazy thin people “better” than lazy fat people — it just means that thin people are LUCKY to have been born with thin genes. They’ve won the genetic lottery.

Also, your statement,

“Thinking about Emmie and other heavy folk…”

shows that, despite Emmie’s having obtained a body shape that you yourself admire, you continue to think of her as a fat person (euphemistically “heavy folk”, thinking that this label is somehow kinder).

While you have done some soul searching based on your recent experience of gaining weight, you haven’t realized the depth of your disdain for fat people. You believe that your loathing stems from your fear of getting fat yourself, and perhaps to a certain extent that’s true. But your statements about fatness being a matter of control and your continued thinking of Emmie as a fat person — despite admitting that she’s not — demonstrate deeply ingrained prejudice. You even state that you and Emmie are “now equals”, while you think of yourself as fat “dumbass”.

I know these comments sound critical, and I apologize for that. It’s very difficult, as you have discovered, to talk about our human flaws without that critical voice. I’m writing them to show you what your reasoning sounds like to someone who is an “Emmie”, and to point out areas you need to continue to look at as you move forward in your journey.

I wish you well.

Writer, copy/line editor. Writing in science, society, environment, injustice, and mental health. Also personal essays. And some random weirdness.

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