Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Salad-Eating Fatphobe on Plane Gets Just Desserts

Pink Background, a black and white image of thin woman in a dress and heels leans on a table and waving. Black text says "Wait, Come back. You forgot your bullshit." someecards user cardOk, let me start by apologizing for that title, I just couldn’t help myself. Now on to the good news.

A fatphobe found herself seated in the middle seat on a plane between two plus-size people, and decided that her best choice was to verbally abuse her row-mates. She started on the phone to someone, complaining loudly that they were “squishing her” (though a video taken by Norma Rodgers, one of her row-mates does not substantiate that claim) Fatphobe then turned her ire to the flight attendant saying ““Get me out of here. I can’t do this. I can’t breathe, I’m so squished,” she said, before adding, “I eat salads, okay?”

Throughout the interaction we see the cruelty of fatphobia, but here we see the ridiculousness. Seriously, Fatphobe? “I eat salad.”? That’s what you went with?  Plenty of fat people eat salad, plenty of thin people don’t. Airlines have tons of promotions but “Eat a salad, choose your seatmates” is not one of them.

What isn’t funny at all is that she is white and her two row-mates are Black, so we have to ask ourselves to what extent racism was also at the root of, and driving her behavior.

At that point, in a bit of video that makes me want to stand up and cheer in my living room, Norma Rodgers – the hero we need – had e-fucking-nough and asked the flight attendant to find Fatphobe another seat because “I will not be abused by this bitch, or anybody else, I will not be verbally abused by anybody. I’m not tolerating it.” Tell her Ms. Rodgers.

The flight attendant asks Fatphobe to move to the back of the plane while they look for another seat and as she is leaving the row she says again “I eat salad.” That’s where it gets good.

While Ms. Rodgers asks the flight attendant how to report Fatphobe, repeating that she is not going to be treated this way, and the flight attendant empathizes and assists, the rest of the plane lets Fatphobe know that her behavior is not ok. In a glorious finish to this story, Fatphobe got kicked off the plane. I can only hope that her seat remained empty so that her abused row-mates could stretch out and enjoy their Fatphobe-free flight.

A few final points:

Much has been made in online discussions that I’ve seen about the fact that Fatphobe isn’t particularly thin. I don’t care about that, since there’s no weight at which her behavior would have been appropriate.

If you’re thinking something like “Making fat people buy two seats for one flight isn’t fat shaming, it’s just economics” then head over to this post.

If you’re thinking something like “But fat people on planes taking up space aren’t fair to thin people!” then head over to this post.

If you know what’s up, then just take this time to enjoy the fact that two fat people flew to their destinations while Fatphobe watched them take off from the airport, where flight attendants booted her ass after being shamed by fellow passengers of all sizes. Progress, far too slow and far too painful, but progress.

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