Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ATB BB Series: Does "Thin Privilege" Exist?

It has been about 8 odd months since I began my HFLC (High Fat Low Carb) / Wheat Belly diet. As a result of which I have lost weight and transitioned from being "fat" or "obese" to what might be called normal sized now (I'm wearing a Medium / size 10 so I guess I'm normal).

I was always subconsciously aware that our society seems to favour the thin. However the difference never really stuck me until I became a normal sized person.

Now, I'm not talking about clothes not being available in certain sizes and stuff. Those things, I feel, are dictated by supply - demand & the scale of economies a lot more than simple prejudice. So I know a lot of people are up in arms over Abercrombie & Fitch's recent public announcement that they want to sell only to the "Thin & Beautiful" and hence the women's clothing line will not feature clothes above Large. But I think that is okay. All companies are in the business to make money, and therefore adopt strategies accordingly. 

One wouldn't get angry at ALL for retailing only Plus size clothes, right? 

I have always felt that Fat Hate is the last socially accepted discrimination in society. The experience of going from "normal" to "fat" and then back to "normal" however really highlighted how prevalent it is for me. 

For example: 

1. Sales People treat me a lot nicely compared to before. Like 10x more. They are more attentive and courteous. I haven't really changed too much as a shopper. I am still the same sometimes patient, sometimes snappy me. But now across the board I get treated a lot more nicely - especially when buying accessories or clothes. 

2. I'm being seen as someone who is dedicated, disciplined & basically awesome since I lost weight. The truth is I have always been extremely disciplined. I was a stickler for my skin care routine and even at work I'm quite planned & organised. I wasn't fat because I was lazy. I was fat because I was ignorant about how the body processes Carbohydrates. It was a knowledge issue, hardly a personality defect. Now, I really don't have a problem being seen as disciplined, what I don't like is the corollary - that Fat people, therefore, are not disciplined. 

3. I'm treated a lot better at restaurants. The servers smile at me, and the overall service experience is a lot better. Odd? I know!! 

4. People talk a lot more to me now. Relatives and office colleagues included. The chats are longer, suddenly I'm more interesting as a person. People confide more easily in me. 

Of course you could say that all of the above could be simply explained by my increased self - confidence, but here is the most important learning I've had during this journey: 

It is far easier to lose weight, than it is to gain confidence. 

I still feel unsure about myself, judged, and look for validation through others. 

So why did I write about "Thin Privilege" on a Beauty Blog? 

Because I think while there will always be standards of beauty (tall, slim, fair etc) in the media, our society need not be dictated by it. Until a few years ago it was okay to shame a girl for being "Dusky" in our country. If brands try to do it today, a dozen bloggers rise up in protest. 

I want the same kind of acceptance for "fat" girls. Why it is that as a girl, the worst insult that we can throw in another girl's face is that she is "fat"? Not mean, boring, unfriendly. Fat it is.It is always about they way the girl looks. 

There is a lot of misconception out there about that fat people. That it is all a result of over-eating & under-exercising. I know from experience that is just utter bullshit. 

The size of your body is dictated by your internal hormones. You wouldn't think of shaming someone or being mean to someone just because they have extra melanin in their skin, then why the big people? 

No one should feel like a lesser human being just because they are different in the way they look. If as "beauty" bloggers that is the one legacy we can leave behind for women to come, it'll be a great achievement that we all can be proud of.

And ohh, for those of you following I've lost 30 kgs now! A few more left to go!



So tell me, have you ever noticed Thin Privilege, or experienced it yourself? 

23 comments:

  1. OMG you're looking absolutely stunning Tanveer :) 30 kgs is a HUGE achievement and you should be proud of yourself! Even though the pic isn't very clear, I think your skin seems to have become healthier too.

    I'm still struggling with my weight and I know how hard it is to maintain the dedication and commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

    When I'd lost weight earlier, I noticed the change is people's attitudes towards me as well, especially sales people in the clothing section. While the prejudice based on the color of the skin is more of an issue an India, general obsession with 'thin' size 0 figures is a global problem. I recently saw a video which I'm sharing below -

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTlmho_RovY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Ankita! :D.. Yea, the pic is not very clear. I actually have a major phobia of getting photographed coz of my fat days. I used to hate the way I looked in them and as a result shun the camera even now. I barely have any pictures of my transitioning weight. Yea, my skin is doing better too, the diet I follow has a lot of fat & some protein - both building blocks for skin :)

      I so agree on the clothing section SAs. I noticed the biggest change in attitude in them.

      Thanks for sharing the video link. I saw it & it was a wonderful watch. :D

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    2. I know what you mean Tanveer. I do not like being photographed too, especially if its more than just my face - which I've now become comfortable with but only when I'm the one taking the pictures.

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    3. Same here. I trust my pictures only, and since I'm only adept at using my phone camera - those are all the pictures I have of the last 8 months :P

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  2. Not only in India but even people abroad carry this kind of attitude towards fat people.One of my friend told me that in Australia people don't even want to sit next to a fat person.How rude can that be .

    You look smoking hot here Tanz.! Keep rocking.

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    1. It is really terrible - all the negative behaviour associations with fat people - they are lazy etc etc. The last acceptable prejudice.

      Thank you Anks! :D

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  3. You look fab. I think discrimination always exists in one form or another. And India is super judgemental about one thing or another so I'm not surprised it happened to you. Hell, it happens in every corner of the world. Girls themselves need to realize that fat isn't the worst thing one can be. Self obsessed, mean, bitchy are.

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    1. Thank you Shivani! :D

      And I totally agree with you. It is so much worse to be a self-obsessed, mean, judgemental person. How & when did "fat" become the worst thing to be?

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  5. what a transformation tanz :D :D you are looking sooooooo sexyyyy yaa :)
    wowww is the word and for the post ... leave alone the SA or the people around you RANDOM PEOPLE i mean .. even friends pass on comments which is so unhealthy :( and they take you for granted and above all like we discussed few days back .. all the good qualities are ignored :(
    I am sooooo thankful I never felt like this with you and you alwaysssss answered me so patiently and politely
    kudos to you for all the hard work and sharing your knowledge :D

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  6. You look perfect Tanveer! :) I agree with all your points above and yes, the mentality of people MUST change!

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  7. I can totally relate to all the points mentioned above. I have faced these things myself. I was overweight in high school due to hypothyroid and used to feel lonely. Nobody used to talk to me. I decided to lose weight before joining college and finally lost 20 kgs and after that my life suddenly changed. I got all the attention in college, which I enjoyed but then I felt sad too because I was the same person in school as well, but I was only FAT not boring.Its sad the way society perceives overweight people , it can impact your self confidence so much :(

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    1. It sucks na! I'm dealing a lot with it myself - people treat you so differently that after a while it hurts.

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  8. Congrats Tanveer ! Its difficult to follow ANYTHING with dedication. And diet is worst one to follow with discipline....but you have done it! Oh the thin privilege- it starts with marriage market and then overspills to workplace.People are so unkind and misinformed- they form snap judgements how unhealthy food fat ppl eat and how lazy they are. Some ppl do become fat by overeating but why do they overeat ? tHe cause of overeating and zero exercise are usually linked to depression, fatigue and sadness.
    Its difficult for women as it is- and fashion/movies world makes it more difficult !
    Instead of making losing weight the goal of life , its better make fitness,activity and healthy eating the goals.

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    1. Thank you Zee! And you are right. Fat discrimination is so much more for women than men. And it is always seen as a behavioral issue - that you lack the moral fiber to stay fit.

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  9. Tanveer u r such an inspiration to many including me, the points u mentioned are true & are just day to day things for a girl like me who is termed are "fat", no one ever tries to understand why u r fat, but they just comment & sometimes joke on it... I hope ur post will make atleast one person realize how it feels or how it shouldn't be around... Loved ur post...

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    1. I'm sorry Pratyu! I hope that things work out well for you!

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  10. It was so nice to meet you yesterday Tanveer. I guess at this rate we will meet like once in an year. :)

    I am really happy that are about to achieve the goal that you had set out to achieve. And let me tell you, you were looking pretty darn hot in your leather jacket.

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    1. Same here Karishma! I guess I shd attend these blogger meets a lot more often :D

      And thank you for the compliment! :D

      Delete
  11. This is true- discrimination is not just in terms of weight but also other aspect's of a woman's appearance. And I repeat "woman's", coz its largely how a girls is judged. And it works both ways-maybe its not as severe, but even when you're thim ppl think its ok to go around commenting on your weight- Its personal people!! Its rude to say you're too thin just as it would be to say you're too fat.
    These poeple need a slap in their face- with a warning-Who are You to judge?

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  12. Hey Tanveer - congratulations on the weight loss :) I have been through the same phase ... I was obese in school and as a result none of the guys ever paid attention to me :(... lost 20 kgs after passing out and have managed to maintain it through healthy diet & exercise...but yes since I have lost weight - people pay extra attention to me !!

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