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.