Your Fat Friend Wants You to Read the Comments
The comments section is key to understanding what many fat people are up against every day
I felt my breath shallow as I boarded my flight. My muscles tightened while I fumbled for my boarding pass. I cast my eyes down, careful not to make contact with my fellow passengers, lest I provoke their complaints. I had taken every precaution I could — brought my own seat belt extender, paid an extra $900 for a first-class ticket on a cross-country flight — but as a very fat person on a plane, there were no guarantees that I would reach my destination.
Bodies my size are routinely cause for passenger complaints, even when we do everything we can to care for the comfort of those around us. We are frequently reseated following passengers’ loud and strenuous objections; videotaped for the sole purpose of shaming us; mocked and insulted; and even kicked off our flights, left stranded far from home. My unease was rooted in a long history of experience — both my own and others’.
The world I walk through begins the moment that good, thoughtful people abandon reason and compassion.
The tide of anxiety lapped at my feet the night before, but now it was waist-high, and its viscous waves made it difficult to move. So, I did what I often do to manage tough situations: I wrote. Just before takeoff, I posted a thread on Twitter detailing the uncertainty I face as a fat passenger.
The responses were substantial, swift, and sustained. For over a week, strangers have written emails and tweets in response. At first, they were supportive, then they curdled into something reliably acidic and corrosive.