• Emma Green

How to be a thin ally

I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a while but wanted to inform myself as much as possible and ensure that I communicated these ideas clearly. I want to start by saying that I am not an expert on being a thin ally. I am still learning every day about how to do this better and I am very open to being called out if I mess up. I’ve talked about body positivity before but just to make sure we’re all on the same page, it’s a social justice movement that centers those in marginalized bodies (ie those not meeting the thin ideal). If you’re not in a larger body, you can still experience body image issues but you don’t have to deal with the extra shit that society dumps on you. That is thin privilege and it’s important to acknowledge. Because of diet culture, fatphobia is hugely prevalent. Society says being fat is the worst thing a person can be and that it also means they’re lazy, unhealthy, lacking in willpower, etc. All of which is total BS of course but that’s the messaging we get. Fat is not a feeling, it’s a descriptor. When you say you’re ‘feeling fat’, you’re not only misusing the word, but you’re also reinforcing the idea that fatness is bad. As a thin/straight-sized person, it’s important to listen to those in larger bodies, including people with other aspects of marginalization. You won’t ever fully know what it is like to exist in their bodies but you can learn about their perceptions and experiences. You can also help to ensure that these people are represented in the spaces you inhabit. We desperately need more diversity but so often there is little more than tokenism. You can’t choose your privilege but you can decide how you use it. It might seem as though you can’t make a difference but small steps do add up.

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