The Google Proof

Very powerful post on Tumblr looking at the suggested search results when someone tries to search for information about fat people. You will probably not be surprised to learn that the results are almost exclusively fat hostile. Its a very stark demonstration of thin privilege.

I took the author's suggestion and tried repeating these searches for thin people and was alarmed that the results there were also advancing fat hostility. About half of the results of the "thin people" search were things thin people aren't supposed to get. Like diabetes, high blood pressure, PCOS. Of course thin people have these health concerns, too, but the search suggestions were a reminder of all of the health problems thin people don't have blamed on their bodies. Its the natural result of the fat associating results for the "fat people" search.

More alarming, though, was the "thin people are" search. The results are exclusively fixated on fat stigmatization. The most important thing that thin people are, it seems, is not fat people.

I tried searches for "thin people should" and "thin people can" but it turned up no results. I'm taking that someone philisophically as an example that thin people's possibilities are unbounded. They are not limited by their body. While the "fat people should" search was most disgusting of all, thin people, it seems, can do anything. That's privilege.


Regina T said...

"While the "fat people should" search was most disgusting of all, thin people, it seems, can do anything. That's privilege."

Yep. Leave it to the power of Google to draw the clearest picture of thin privilege. Google is a snapshot of our culture and society, and now with it's advanced search options, I (as a super fatty) can have that shoved in my face every single time I want to research anything to do with fat. Thanks for making thin privilege so crystal clear, Brian.

Brian said...

The credit goes to sugaredvenom at Tumblr. I think. I don't fully get Tumblr, but I think she was the one who first posted about this.

Sleepydumpling said...

Excellent follow up perspective Brian, to see the contrast of the "thin" searches really hammers home the point.

I know everyone is blogging about these already, but I think I'm going to add my voice to the shouts too, because the more we can get out to the world how pervasive, how damaging and how hate-filled this shit is, the better.

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