I often have people make comments about getting by on my size zero waist.
How my thin, long Greek legs that brown like olives in the summer get me out of speeding tickets, get me free drinks, etc.
That because I am a beautiful young woman, I will be chosen before other candidates for a job.
That I get a “get out of jail free, pass go and collect $200 card” because of my genetics and wrapping paper.
That I am “privileged.”
Privileged because I am thin, privileged because I am white and privileged because I am beautiful.
That because I am a size zero, even if I was bullied when I was younger for having legs like sticks—that this shaming is separate from fat shaming.
That because I am privileged, discrimination has separate compartments.
Why the hell should shame be separated?
Can we stop segregating everything?
Can we agree on something? Shame is shame.
Bullying is bullying.
Discrimination is discrimination.
It’s all shitty and vindictive, unnecessary, malicious, cruel and needs to be axed.
It needs to be axed by the media, it needs to be axed by our subconscious—it all has to go.
When we enter this world, we do not have the accountability to choose our genetics. We do not go grocery shopping for our waist size, our bust, the color of our eyes, our skin. We do not choose our metabolisms, we do not choose if we will have speech impediments or learning disabilities.
I, as a woman, did not have a conversation with the creator and say, “Hey, my life would be easier as a size zero—do a girl a favor? Oh, and I’d like blue eyes, too.”
I am not naïve.
I fully understand that being a size zero and having the outsides I do will sometimes get me a free pass.
When I hitchhike in Costa Rica—more people are likely to stop when I am walking than my male companions.
There are many restaurants where they hire “pretty” staff solely to lure in suckers who will give them money with thin, beautiful women as bait.
Most bartenders and servers are attractive—this isn’t by chance.
I quit a large chain restaurant after having a sit down with a manager who told me we had to talk about my “work ethic.” I asked him if I wasn’t pulling my weight in the lounge—not clearing enough tables, etc. He told me that actually he needed me to straighten my hair and start wearing more make-up.
I blew that popsicle joint and no longer work at establishments where what I wear or look like makes me more desirable as an employee.
A shift leader for this same establishment once asked me when I handed him a resume, on a scale of 1-10 how attractive the person was.
Please remember when you spend money at establishments such as this, that you are encouraging this.
Hey, Joey’s and Earl’s—I’m talking to you.
So, I am not sitting here with my size zero waist saying, “Woe is me.” I am sitting here and telling you that I am not accountable for the choices other people may make, that I encounter in my life.
This means if an employer chooses to hire me because I am thin, or he finds me attractive, that is his choice.
Not my choice.
I do not control the choices people make in this world around me.
I am only accountable for my own feelings, actions and thoughts.
I wrote an article called “This One’s for My Skinny Sisters” that talks about my experiences growing up as a size zero. How I was bullied and shamed and have battled insecurity in regards to my outward appearance—even as a thin person.
Many people replied that it was separate from fat shaming, many people sent me to an article called “Let’s Talk About Thin Privilege.” I loved how inclusive this article was of both sides—but I still can’t handle the segregation. When I read it, I kept saying, “Yes! Yes!” as she had some incredible points.
However separating shame and discrimination into two different tiers isn’t going to collectively heal the wounds, insecurities and social injustices of our planet.
Humans being crappy—is just that, humans being crappy.
Separating weight shaming feels as silly to me as using different bathrooms, leagues, and classrooms because of the color of our skin.
It feels as stupid to me as people thinking gender has anything to do with love.
It makes as much sense as men making more money than women, in the exact same position in a career.
If we want to fix the social injustices of our planet, if we want to collectively whip our earth into shape—we need to do this together.
I don’t want to be on a separate bus.
I want to ride the same bus as all the other sizes, colors, genders of our planet.
So my issue with this “thin privilege” is that although it has some noteworthy points—it shouldn’t be an anthem.
To me it is saying, “Because you are thin, and because your exterior looks like this—you should have less voice in the conversation.”
I mean, fuck—can we all have this conversation, together? Please? Is it so radical to want to take a bat to social injustice, collectively?
I want the media to stop idolizing thin, just as I want our children to grow up loving their ravishing exteriors and interiors regardless of their pant size.
I want us to all find acceptance and love in our bodies—this is necessary, and beautiful and empowering.
Excuse my French, Kate Moss—But fuck: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
Nothing looks as beautiful as joy feels.
So can we stop yelling and arguing and objectifying, listen less to the media, less to the crappy humans, and start the journey inside—to love ourselves madly?
And when others begin to love themselves madly or speak out about bullying or discrimination, can we do less tearing them down, condemning, comparing, competing with our pain and more picking them up?
Say, “I see your journey, and it is different than mine—but what you are saying, beneath it all—is that you are fighting for self love and acceptance and I support you in that.”
Instead of, “My journey was more difficult, cry me a river”?
Wouldn’t compassion, understanding, empathy be a better anthem to sing?
And to those hundreds who voiced similar sentiments to this:
“You are ignorantly unaware of the “skinny” privileges you are entitled to on a daily basis due to your body type matching the societal ideal. This is the equivalent of a man asserting how difficult it is to be a man, or a white person being clueless of their white privilege.”
Although I am a thin, white, beautiful, “privileged” woman, I will never, ever apologize for using my voice to be part of the conversations of this world.
I think that we make a choice to love and accept our bodies.
We have a choice in choosing to work on the inside bits, and love the outside bits.
I don’t love the body I have because society tells me it’s okay to love it—I choose to love my body because I want to.
Because it’s easier to live life at home in the wrapping paper we rock.
Discrimination comes from ignorance—on both ends of the stick.
Discrediting someone’s experience because you believed they are privileged is ignorant.
I see it as one big fat issue in our world in my heart—something we need to collectively take a bat too.
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~ Roald Dahl
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Janne Robinson
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: courtesy of the author