I’m Spitting Rage and Adding United to My Boycott List

by Web Intern

I’ll cover my mouth so I don’t get rage all over my computer screen.

This makes me so mad I can barely put words together. Fortunately, Kate Harding put plenty of words together on the topic that say everything I am thinking much better than I could.

United is instituting a policy that would kick people off a full plane if someone on the staff decides they are too fat. Oh, and after they are kicked off and unnecessarily forced to wait, then they will have to pay extra. Because apparently discomfort needs a scapegoat, and fat people are just such a popular target.

Here’s the deal — I’m not a tiny girl by any stretch of the imagination. I am, however, far from the largest person I have seen on a plane. I’m moderately fat.Full disclosure — I am about 5’6” tall and I wear a size 16 (usually). I carry my weight in fairly normal womanly places, meaning my lower belly and thighs. Last time I flew I didn’t have a problem with the armrest or seatbelt, but it was still a tight and uncomfortable situation. Let’s also say I’ve been many varying degrees of fatness — while flying.

About 3 years ago I went to China. Which means I spent about 16 hours on a plane in each direction (Atlanta to Chicago to Beijing and then Shanghai to Chicago to Atlanta) — and that’s not even including several short flights between different regions of China. I was also about 70 pounds heavier than I am now. Oh, and on the way there I was seated in the center seat on one of those planes that has a row if 5 seats down the middle. Why am I sharing this? Because I took a 16-hour flight as someone that would probably have been kicked off the plane (it was pretty full). I would have been humiliated in front of my entire college marching band — basically 200 of my closest friends — based on nothing other than hatred and discrimination.

Yes, I was uncomfortable. But so was everyone. My 6-foot-plus tall best friend was probably even worse off than I was, but no one would have kicked him off or humiliated him.

This is not acceptable, and yes, I think it’s a feminist issue. Why? Because — and if you follow the link up above, Harding says all this better than I can — the way women carry weight is more likely to be effected than the way men carry weight. I could say the same thing about my dad that she says about her husband. A man with a belly can tuck the seatbelt underneath and be fine, but a woman with wide thighs will be considered too ”obese” to fly. She will be humiliated and charged more, but no one will say a damn thing to him. Not OK.

So, for me, United is on the list of airlines I will not be using.

OK, I guess I put some words together after all.

(photo is from Airplane! the movie)

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