Wow. So. Yeah. I apparently owe Fancy Nancy an apology. (Carry over from the 'What's Wrong with Skinny' discussion.)
http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-02-17/leave-fat...

Director Kevin Smith got kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight. Is it time for the hefty to have a Stonewall moment?

Kevin Smith is mad as hell as he's not going to take it anymore. The director of Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and, most recently, the Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan comedy flick Cop Out, was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight on Valentine's Day, allegedly for being too fat to fly. Southwest's formal policy requires customers who cannot lower both armrests, or who "compromise any portion of adjacent seating," to purchase two seats. Smith often
purchases two seats when he flies on Southwest—he insists he does so
only because "I don't like people"—but because he was flying standby on
this particular flight, he only purchased one seat.

Smith called his recent deplaning the worst experience of his life. "When you grow up fat, you learn how to navigate through a thin person's world without
calling attention to yourself… No fat person wants to stick out. We're
all kind of dying inside a little bit."

Smith is a fat man fighting back, and, in a society seething with fear and hatred of body diversity, a lot of people are disturbed by his actions.

Some of us who have spent years fighting for size acceptance—or, as I would prefer to call it, body liberation—have wondered when we would see our Stonewall moment. Smith is a fat man fighting back, and, in a
society seething with fear and hatred of body diversity, a lot of
people are disturbed by his actions. For example, consider how
convenient it is for the airline industry to deflect a customer's anger
over ridiculously small seats—I'm thinner than approximately 80 percent
of middle-aged men and I don't fit into one very comfortably—on to
"overweight" passengers, a category that includes, according to our public health authorities, nearly seven out of 10 adult Americans.

Or consider the words of a person like MeMe Roth, the president of National Action Against Obesity, whose "qualifications" to speak on the issue consist of being tall, thin, young, and blond, as well as consumed with fear and hatred of anyone not as thin as she is.
Roth has been all over the airwaves attacking Smith, claiming that what
people like him are "expecting us to do is to subsidize the lifestyle
choices of those who habitually eat improperly," as she told CNN's Anderson Cooper. In an interview
last year with The Guardian, Roth compared eating food to being raped,
and then suggested that this form of rape "is incredibly pleasurable"
for the victim. "From a food marketer's point of view," she says, "when
your quote-unquote victim is so willing and enjoying of the process,
who's fighting back?"

The unhinged quality of such insights set off some alarm bells in The Guardian reporter, who quizzed Roth about her own dietary habits. Roth claimed that she's "never even been on a diet," but then revealed
she doesn't eat breakfast, isn't too crazy about lunch, and doesn't
like to eat until she's run at least four miles. (Indeed, the interview
was taking place in the middle of the afternoon, and Roth had eaten
nothing that day.)

This, of course, is classic eating-disorder behavior. A survey of Roth's pronouncements about food, fat, exercise, and so forth reveal a lifestyle that would seem to fit the profile of someone suffering from anorexia nervosa: an overwhelming obsession with
maintaining thinness, a denial of the dangers associated with her
behavior, and, in the words of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders, a tendency to "engage in compulsive rituals, strange
eating habits, and the division of food into good/safe and bad/dangerous categories."


The biggest irony in all of this is that Roth's own self-reported body mass almost certainly correlates with a considerably higher risk of mortality than Kevin Smith's. Roth reports having a BMI of 19.4—i.e., at the low end of the "normal"
weight range. The mortality risk associated with such a BMI is much
higher than that associated with a BMI in the mid-30s, which is what
Smith appears to maintain. And that's without even taking into account
that the anorexia Roth risks encouraging--for example, "If you think
you might be a little hungry may I suggest a tall glass of water, a
nice romp between the sheets and a good night's sleep"--has the highest mortality rate of any psychological malady.

Here is how crazy we've gotten about this topic in America: Our national media are more than happy to keep putting a possibly mentally ill person on TV to lecture us about how to maintain a "healthy"
relationship with our bodies and ourselves.

What would happen if some significant portion of those 150 million "fat" adults decided, like Kevin Smith, to reject the shame and stigma and abuse that is heaped on them constantly by a thinness-obsessed
society? Smith should make a movie about it.

Plus: Check out more of the latest entertainment, fashion, and culture co....

Paul Campos is a professor of law at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

For more of The Daily Beast, become a fan on Facebook and for more entertainment and fashion coverage follow Sexy Beast on Twitter.


Views: 10

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Yeah, reading the comments some people were leaving regarding this on PZ Myers blog made me break down and cry - and that was the evening of the day my boyfriend proposed to me. There's nothing like being reminded that no matter how smart, funny, nice, or whatever you are, some people will see you only as a disgusting problem they're forced to exist with - a reaction which seems generally socially acceptable. Makes a girl feel pretty.
I know I will get hate for this, bet Southwest is a private business. They can deny service to anyone for any reason or no reason at all. No one can force them to do otherwise. If you disagree with their practices, do not give them your money. When enough people stop spending money with Southwest, they either change or fold.

At least, they should fold. They would probably get a bail out from the Federal Government.

With that being said, I do not agree with how they treated him and will never fly Southwest now. They lost one potential customer, I hope they lose many more current and potential customers.
Grim- That brings up a good point. SW is a private company. They have the right to refuse service..
Weight might not be the real issue at work here. It could be that Mr. Smith was recognized. His work is freaking awesome, but does piss off more than a few fundies. Could be that it had nothing to do with him being a big boy and plenty to do with some sour-faced old coot having a personal issue.
Pinko- First of all.. CONGRATULATIONS!
There's nothing like being reminded that no matter how smart, funny, nice, or whatever you are, some people will see you only as a disgusting problem they're forced to exist with - a reaction which seems generally socially acceptable.
I dunno. I'd personally have words with anyone that disrespected another individual based on their size. I don't know of too many people that wouldn't either. Socially acceptable isn't the term I would use.
On the other side of the coin, I'm a very frequent flyer. Most of flights I take are 15+ hours.
If a person encroaches upon the space I paid for, I get bitchy. I don't care if they are encroaching voluntarily or just as a matter of physics. No one will ever be comfortable in those small, scrunched seats. I realize the airlines smash us in like sardines to maximize space and therefore profits, but if you are large enough that you are affecting the comfort of other paying customers, you need to buy another seat. The whole concept of flying is that you are paying for space. Pay for the space that is appropriate for your size, because it's not my obligation to give you some of mine. It doesn't have anything to do with being a 'disgusting problem.' People that are too tall, people that like to lean or fall asleep on my shoulder... all in the same boat to me.
Planes are built so that 7 out of 10 people can't fit in them comfortably, therefore fat people should buy more seats? Isn't that a bit of a bait in switch in regard to what is to blame versus who is being held accountable?

I would argue that the whole concept of flying is a means of transport from one destination to another. You pay for passage on that transport in the form of a seat. If the system was payment for space then tickets would cost the amount equivalent to the size of your person, and not per standard sized seat at all. Now, that's not to say that it isn't annoying when you sit next to someone and they take up some of your space, but everyone has to deal with that at one point or another.

To be clear, my issue isn't with people who feel that some people should have to buy additional seats to accommodate their size, I agree with that. My issue is that in the blog-o-sphere I witnessed first hand how a story about a guy who DID NOT meet the requirements to have to buy an additional seat got kicked off a plane because he didn't buy an extra seat quickly disintegrate into a fatty bashing party and a whine fest about how unfair it is for people to have to touch other people. With a few people chiming in to say that it was wrong to called fat people disgusting, but only a few. It's disheartening.
Planes are built so that 7 out of 10 people can't fit in them comfortably,
I beg to differ.
Planes are built so that 10 out of 10 people can't fit in the comfortably. I've never met anyone 'comfortable' in coach. EVER.
Likewise, if a plane is built to a standard that is acceptable for a healthy human, then I think that anyone that can't accommodate that needs to accept their own part and pay for an extra seat. Further, no one cares or expects YOU to be comfortable. No one is comfortable. It only becomes an issue when you are making someone else even more uncomfortable by infringing upon their space.
You pay for passage on that transport in the form of a seat. If the system was payment for space then tickets would cost the amount equivalent to the size of your person, and not per standard sized seat at all.
Really? Then why do you have to pay for an extra seat if you are taking up more room? Why do you pay extra for over-sized baggage? Why do you pay extra for each additional piece of luggage?
To be clear, my issue isn't with people who feel that some people should have to buy additional seats to accommodate their size, I agree with that. Wait.. then why the other two paragraphs?

My issue is that in the blog-o-sphere I witnessed first hand how a story about a guy who DID NOT meet the requirements to have to buy an additional seat got kicked off a plane because he didn't buy an extra seat quickly disintegrate into a fatty bashing party and a whine fest about how unfair it is for people to have to touch other people. With a few people chiming in to say that it was wrong to called fat people disgusting, but only a few. It's disheartening.
I agree. Those people were utter douche bags.
Actually.. I can't honestly say that. I didn't read it. At all. But judging by what you typed, they deserve to be slapped.
I say we blame the U.K. Actually, we should blame any country with tax-payer funded health care. Calling obesity an epidemic gives rise to indignant ideas that if you're overweight, you've done it to yourself. In places that EVERYONE has to pitch in for medical care, I can see where you feel like you are paying for someone else's destructive lifestyle choices. It's the same way for smokers. There is this general resentment when you feel like you are paying for another persons mistakes. I guess this is where anti-choice people come from under the idea of our own universal health care. No one wants to pay for something they disagree with. The overweight biased is much stronger in the U.K, from my experience....but what's ok there slowly starts to seep into our culture, and with health care a hot event right now.. well.. it gets brought up.
I'm not saying it is right. I'm not saying it is excusable. I'm just expressing where I think the roots of it come from.
To be clear, my issue isn't with people who feel that some people should have to buy additional seats to accommodate their size, I agree with that. Wait.. then why the other two paragraphs?

Because you're whining about being on long flights sitting next to people who you feel take up too much space. You are a willing passenger on an airline - airlines have standards about who is too big and who isn't. Those people are who too big by the standards of the airline have to buy additional seats. So those people who you are whining about making your experience uncomfortable are only too fat to fly because you don't agree with the airline's standards of who should buy an additional seat and who shouldn't, not because they're actually too big for their seat. If you don't like the standards by which your airline decides who should buy two seats vs. who only needs one, your issue is with the airline, not the person sitting next to you. I don't disagree that people who are too big to fit into one seat ought to purchase two. I disagree with people blaming the person who fits into the seat per the standards of the airline for not buying two seats when they don't have to.
Actually, I was making a theoretical argument....not a first hand one.
So you are utterly incorrect in your statement of my "whining."
It hasn't happened to me, but I have seen it happen to others.
Further, it was also addressed below by Zoolady.

I'd also like to add that just because a procedure/policy is on the books does not mean that it will be enforced. Again, I've only witnessed cases where infringement of customers comfort has occurred, not experienced them personally.
The hassle and strife of telling an individual that they need to unexpectedly drop another few hundred or few thousand dollars is probably sidelined in the face of another persons comfort and safety. After all, the chances that an obese person will make a huge fuss is much greater than the chances that anyone will have to exit the plane quickly.
So yes. My focus is at the airline industry. It is a horrible, terrible industry. They KNOW that there is a vital need for transport, so we are trapped. As long as one airline stays as bad as the other, the only choice you have is to pay obscene amounts of money for first or business class. My experiences flying (and believe me, I've got a ton to draw from) have never been much above survivable...and sometimes only just.)
I'm curious as to where I implied that I disliked/hated/blamed obese people to begin with, instead of the industry.
I am comfortable in coach, and I'm pretty chubby. 5'9" and 195 lbs.
Mike, in all fairness, you don't sound obese and YOUR comfort isn't as much the issue as that of some poor soul (that'd be me) jammed into her seat when an enormous woman sits down next to her! I've been on a flight to London next to a woman who was so large she overflowed into my seat and I couldn't even lower my arm-rest! It was nearly impossible for me to climb over her and I don't know what might have happened had I tried to exit in a hurry!

THAT is MY issue.
You're right, Pinko C! I've done a LOT of international travel over many years and as seats get smaller, the dread of sitting next to an obese person gets bigger! I know what it's like to look up and see an obese person coming down the aisle and think "OH, NOOOOOO....NOT NEXT TO ME!"

This is NOT about prejudice or obesity bias but it IS about comfort and safety! I've taken criticism for statements like these but I'll continue to insist that someone who can't fit into one seat should have to buy another...not only for his/her own comfort and safety--but also for the passenger in the next seat!

Of course...it's not a "politically correct" thing to say that someone else's condition makes anyone else miserable on a long flight. But, then....I've never been "politically correct."
I don't think it's right to say how a person should look or what weight they should be. It's far better that we work together to support healthy lifestyles and let our friends and neighbors choose for themselves.

That said, I totally support the airline in this case. Slightly overweight people can fit in the seats of the airplanes, even if they're a little cramped. But obese people really should have to purchase two seats. That way they can fit and be belted in safely, and they won't be impinging upon the comfort and safety of someone who has chosen to live a healthier lifestyle.
My husband was tall, too, T4H...and flights were miserable. BUT--at least he didn't overflow into the seat someone else had paid for! (British Air has put in a new "class" which has better seating for tall people, by the way. More expensive, of course!)

Pinko, it might sound like "whining" to you, but please remember that I DID pay for my share of space on that flight and having someone overflow into it isn't right (OR SAFE.) It sounds to me as if you're objecting to the term "obese" or "fat" as being somehow "discriminatory."

So how about this? Anyone who cannot fit into his/her own seat without causing discomfort or danger to his/her adjacent passenger must buy a second seat. Period.

The problem is that airlines DO NOT have standards about that "second seat" because they don't know until a person has arrived if they're in that category. There are no questions asked when people buy a seat, if you see what I mean. And, if the flight is full, it means adjacent passengers are literally "stuck" into a worse-than-usual flight.

RSS

Blog Posts

PI = 4

Posted by _Robert_ on September 16, 2014 at 8:53pm 4 Comments

Invictus

Posted by Marinda on September 11, 2014 at 4:08pm 0 Comments

Ads

Services we love!

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

In need a of a professional web site? Check out the good folks at Clear Space Media

© 2014   Created by umar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service