I experience privilege as a white fat person. I experience privilege as a fat male. I experience privilege being fat and straight. And in what is a tricky thing for Fat Acceptance to respond to, I experience privilege because I am thin.
Except, I'm not thin. Still, while I am not privileged by virtue of being fat, I am privileged by the comparative level of fat I am. As the male equivalent of a mid-size fatty, I experience a number of advantages over my fatter brethren. The chances of being of being publicly harassed are sharply reduced, I can buy clothes at many mainstream retailers, I can fit into most airline seats. I didn't ask to be privileged in these ways, but I am. This is what our culture has done and I cannot pretend that doesn't exist
Which doesn't mean I don't face challenges. I have been publicly harassed because of my size. While I can shop at many mainstream clothing stores, I can only just barely and even then only online for many. Fitting in an airline seat actually doesn't provide me much protection from being forced to pay for a second seat given that I am visibly fat. So, of course, there is a reason to speak out about the ways my fat body is stigmatized, but I still need to be mindful of the ways I am privileged compared to others, such as those who experience harsher fat stigmatization.
I feel like there is often an eagerness in FA to accept the false equivalency that a fat person saying something like "Skinny people are evil" is the same thing as the stigmatization that fat people experience. I always see haughty declarations about how this is about accepting all people. While that sort of declaration is profoundly nonconstructive and entirely unacceptable, we do a disservice to reality by treating it as two sides of a body hating coin. They aren't. To say that they are same thing is actually feeding into a culture of fat stigmatization by minimizing how fat bigotry enforces itself in our culture. Its akin to those who act like "reverse racism" or "man hating" are somehow equal evils to the subjugation of non-whites and of women.
I feel it is imperative that we follow the lead of other social justice movements and strive to respond to these kinds of resentments from the underprivileged without endorsing false equivalencies about them. That we find ways to express our dissatisfaction with these examples of resentment while still acknowledging that they are not a cause of what we are fighting, but a product of it. Especially when we are, ourselves, the subjects of this resentment because of where we might be on the spectrum of thin privilege.
As long as I've seen FA, I've seen smaller fat people complaining about how they don't feel welcome. As a bonafide smaller fat person, I don't buy this. I don't deny that some resentment is real and sometimes gets expressed in counterproductive outbursts. Still, I feel there needs to be some responsibility on the part of those of us who experience privilege to not make these resentments all about us. The privileged cannot put the burden on the stigmatized to make us comfortable. That is a very common dynamic but one which always serves to enforce stigmatization. This is easier to see when, say, straight people insist that the gay rights movement be more "comfortable" for straight people. It feels odd when you suffer stigmatization to realize that you can also be a beneficiary of the same example of privilege that stigmatizes you. This is the reality, though.
Its a challenge to find the right balance to respond to resentments that are ultimately counterproductive but still come from a very honest situation. It is a challenge we must take up, though. We cannot just lump in these forms of resentment from the underprivileged with the stigmatization from the privileged. They are not the same thing and cannot be responded to in the same way. I can get the allure of taking such a position, but it is not actually reasonable. Without the power dynamic seen with the privileged, this resentment simply doesn't mean the same thing. We do need to push past these resentments because they manifest in outbursts that are not fair or constructive, but we still must acknowledge the truths that produced them and recognize that they are a product of what we are fighting, not what we are fighting.