When I was perceived to be a fat woman, there was a real sense of not just disgust, but a poisonous, malignant contempt. People (most commonly men) commented on my appearance like I somehow owed it to them to be, in their view, attractive. Like I was breaking some kind of cardinal rule because I was happy with my body without their approval. Now, in complete contrast, I am barely given a second glance.

Occasionally, I still face discrimination as a fat man, but it’s not as vehement, societally sanctioned nor pervasive as it once was. My treatment has changed simply because of the way that society perceives my gender. This is male privilege in action. We live in a society that has built a whole industry on bullying women for not being what is considered ‘attractive enough’ to men. Think about that the next time you want to stare at a fat woman on the bus.

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