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A note on thin privilege: Alexa Chung is not your friend

Alexa Chung, the British fashion model turned TV host, recently gave an interview in which she responded to criticism she had received over some pictures that she had posted of herself on her Instagram account. The outcry against these pictures (which, for the most part, were really pretty innocuous, depicting, for example, an admittedly skeletal Chung standing next to her mother) came largely from folks who wanted to label them as “thinspo,” i.e. as glorifying an unhealthily low body weight and intended as inspiration for other people out there struggling to attain such a weight. The big idea here being that seeing someone else who has managed to whittle themselves down in such a way and who is totally loving it will give people a final burst of energy to vomit up just that much more food or skip that one more meal so they can join their emaciated pals in socially-conditioned-body-satisfaction-heaven (I should note that this trend has, in general, rightfully been condemned by almost all reasonable people who have commented on it).

I am actually entirely uninterested in the question of whether or not Chung’s pictures were thinspiration or not, but what I am interested in is her response to her critics, in which she shifted the focus from the intent and effects of the pictures to the much more interesting and important issue of whether or not her simply being the way she is (i.e. thin) is or is not ...