On Being a #ThinAlly

(CW: discussion of weight, fatphobia, body image).

Despite my lifelong body image issues, I am in the “thin” category when it comes to being a #thinally. I am squarely average. I am in the range of the average North American woman – size 10-12″, except for those times when I’ve restricted myself for a prolonged period of time, and have been around a size 6-8. I’ve rarely been a size higher than a 10.

I’ve never been treated differently, rudely, or been the butt of someone’s joke, because of my size. I may still have an Imposter Syndrome when it comes to fitness. But I have privilege in this area. I am aware of this.

That’s why when I see people making jokes about others’ weight, even if it’s someone like Trump, who is reprehensible for a whole host of reasons that have nothing to do with his appearance, I bristle just a little. I read Ama Shriver’s post on Instagram today and I agree with her. As Schriver says in her IG post: “There are many things President Donald Trump has done wrong. “Hell, Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl) on Twitter put it best when she said “you don’t have to resort to being fatphobic to express dislike toward someone”. She goes on to say that “…almost immediately, the hashtag #morbidlyobese started trending on Twitter and the fatphobic comments were awful….In the last 24-48 hours, I have seen so many fat advocates and allies speak out about why these things are wrong and just how these comments can hurt your fat friends who have to constantly engage with and read your comments.” Shriver mentions @_sophiack_’s post on Twitter, where she wrote, “Would love to see some thin allies speaking up” and Shriver says she feels the same way.

Well, I agree, and I am speaking up. Stop using fatphobic comments to insult people. Stop using them to compliment people also. Stop worrying about the Covid_19 too.

I felt the same way, years back, when Rob Ford was the Mayor of Toronto. There were a lot of reasons I didn’t like him as Mayor. I didn’t like his policies around “inefficiencies”. I didn’t like his idea to cancel all marathons in the city, and move them to parks (as if that would ever work), but I never liked the arguments about him relating to his weight. I think any time you criticize someone based on their appearance, it cheapens your argument anyway.

Lately, I am more aware when hearing these types of insults and jokes in places I wouldn’t expect to find them. Very popular sitcoms from just a few years ago, for example. Backhanded compliments about Adele, who can’t win anyway – she’s either too thin or too fat.

Picture that says, “If you compliment weight loss you may be inadvertently complimenting: cancer, an eating disorder, severe depression or anxiety, acute grief and loss, an otherwise invisible illness

I try to catch myself when I openly lament that my jeans are getting too snug. However I choose to deal with that, I know it’s not helpful to anyone to vocalize that concern. Let that shit stay in my head, or better yet, pass through like a feather, in meditation.

Typically, I try to speak up when I hear racist, fatphobic, generally out of touch, and potentially hurtful comments, often hurtful to the people that are saying them, themselves. I find it difficult to do so. It is often uncomfortable, no matter how delicate I try to be. My heart may race a bit. It may ruin the evening for myself if I feel like people didn’t get what I was trying to say. But I imagine my discomfort is nothing compared to fat people having to hear silly fatphobic comments and criticisms, day in and day out. So for that reason, I pledge to speak up. I am a #thinally.

Nicole P. is a #thinally

5 thoughts on “On Being a #ThinAlly

  1. Thank you for this! I also tend to be on the small side (and didn’t exactly love being called “skinny Winnie” in grade school, although I never seem to have developed body image stuff. I didn’t like any other of the nicknames the teasing kids used on me or each other, either.) but have always been amazed that anyone could think that criticizing someone’s appearance/weight was in any way…what? Useful? Vindicating their own shortcomings? The best they could come up with when they wanted to hurl an insult?

    So hearing that from the top leader in the House on my side of the aisle was very disturbing. The thought that someone of that level of experience and power could sink to that level of name calling is very discouraging. So good for you for speaking up. Let’s hope the message comes through loud and clear.

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