Body Positivity and “the COVID-19”
For most of my life, my body has been a “problem.” I’ve never been “fat.” Which is to say, I’ve never experienced the kind of degradation and contempt that so many fat people have to endure daily. But for most of my life, I’ve occupied that uncomfortable space between thin and fat: not thin enough for the benefits thereof, but not fat enough for ridicule.
For most of my teenage and young adult years, a thought plagued the back of my mind: If I could just lose 20–30–40 pounds, things would be different. Things would be better. I’d have more friends, more lovers, more opportunities. Most importantly, I’d finally like myself.
Then, three years ago, I lost around 20 pounds. Almost overnight, my body was no longer a problem. The weight loss itself happened over the course of about three months and was probably the result of many things, including developing a healthier relationship with food, a more active city lifestyle, anti-depressants, and other things I’m still teasing out in therapy.
It was then that I learned that thin privilege is real and that all my fears about what an extra 20 pounds were causing me to miss out on were true.
Imagine [if, like me, you are not] becoming white for a day and realizing every paranoia you had — retailers following you around stores, the way your co-workers perceive you, the apartment suddenly taken off of the market as soon as you put in an application, and more — was true.
Of course, we know these biases exist. Study after study has shown these privileges to be pervasive, affecting every facet of life from relationships to employment and even individual happiness.
But there is a difference between knowing something is true and experiencing just how true that thing is. The latter experience is more visceral, and, in this case, enraging.
Deep down, I want to live in a society free of racial and body bias, and, sometimes, trying to live your life despite these biases requires a certain amount of denial. But there it was, staring me in the face: the power of thinness.
Life in my “new body” was thrilling at first. So many mundane experiences…