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Kate Harding on Kevin Smith

As you’ve probably heard, actor/director/writer/producer/fat guy Kevin Smith was recently booted off of a Southwest flight for being too fat to fly. The internet has been ablaze with commentary on both sides, but Kate Harding’s input over at Salon’s Broadsheet blog does a fantastic job of pointing out the problems with sizeist airline seating policies:

I think of the thousand humiliations, small and large, most fat people have already endured in their lives — the insults from family and “friends,” the cow-calls on the street, the discrimination, the bullying, the news every day that their bodies constitute a horrifying crisis for the American public. I think of how dreadfully uncomfortable it is, physically and emotionally, to fly in a fat body that isn’t bruised by the armrests and doesn’t require a seatbelt extender, and how much worse it would be if I weighed significantly more, like some of my family members and dearest friends do. I think of how few people would be willing to raise the kind of fuss Kevin Smith has (let alone how few fat folks could get so many people to listen) because they would automatically be too ashamed of themselves if a flight attendant made a public spectacle of removing them from an aircraft.

I’d love to add my commentary to this, but honestly, Kate’s pretty much got it covered. What seems to be getting lost in all of this discussion of whether or not fat people are obligated to pay more, emotionally and financially, to exist in a thin-centric world, is just that: fat people are people. Larger bodied people deserve the same respect as thinner people, period. We all need to keep this in mind as we discuss the questions and controversies that will arise in this conversation.


2 thoughts on “Kate Harding on Kevin Smith

  1. What about the average-sized people who are forced to sit next to larger ones? It’s uncomfortable for them too, you know. i completely agree with the assertion that larger-bodied people should buy seats for two people instead of one because weight is the kind of thing you can lose at any time. Cigarette addictions are hard to drop, and alcoholism can be too, but EATING? Just don’t eat as much AND eat healthier things that fill you up faster. And yes, it IS a bit of a crisis to the American public because gaining weight and not trying to lose it is just plain unhealthy and can slow productivity by a whole lot.

  2. Look, I am TOTALLY against “fat-shaming.” If people are fat, that’s just fine with me. But why should the safety of an aircraft be jeopardised because there are people who are simply too large to fit safely into the seats? Or perhaps we should all pay more for our flights as the airlines make bigger doors, wider aisles and larger seats? This is a matter of SAFETY.

    I don’t think that chairs are size-ist. Or the people who manufacture them. The vast majority of people fit in them. If there are a few that cannot, this is very unfortunate, but the blame cannot be placed on the airline. Their job is to transport the most amount of people in the safest way possible while retaining a reasonable level of comfort.

    Last time I flew, I sat next to a man who took up all of his seat, and a good portion of mine. Because I’m “small” (only 5ft tall) I was expected to allow this man to partially SIT ON ME. It was horrible for both of us. He should have paid for two seats, knowing full well he could not fit in one – just as you must buy a larger seat or sofa in your home if you know you will not fit in a smaller one.

    Yes, larger bodied people deserve the same respect as smaller-bodied people, but this is not a matter of respect, it is a matter of basic physics!

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