GOOD

‘Flying While Fat’: An Animated Video Showing What Overweight People Encounter While Traveling

"I have the same experiences I think every fat person has walking on to the plane ..."

While bullying and harassment cloaked as “fat shaming” fall pretty clearly on the wrong side of an ethical line, the issue gets far more clouded and controversial when it comes to accommodations made for overweight individuals. Nowhere is that more apparent when space and comfort are in limited supply for everyone, as is the case in air travel.

Animator Stacy Bias has built a significant part of her career around creating positive support for overweight individuals such as herself, and knew that tackling the issue would likely ruffle feathers, but ultimately decided it was a cause worth pursuing with Flying While Fat, an animated short film inspired by her move from the US to London and all the unpleasant air travel it would require.


She said to Buzzfeed that she quickly realized she hadn’t taken into account just how taxing and difficult regular long-haul travel would be for a person of her size, revealing, “Moving across the pond would mean at least two planes and a 24-hour travel day, multiple times every year. I’m a size 28/30, so I’m right on the edge of ‘fitting’ in a single plane seat. To combat my anxieties, I began documenting my flights — which airline and plane model? Did I need a seatbelt extender? Were the staff rude?”

Travelers may not it say it to their neighbor’s face, but they’re nonetheless quick to espouse the hardship of being seated next to an overweight individual on a plane, train, or bus. Those public complaints make Bias and other overweight individuals self-conscious to the point that they’ll often avoid travel for that sole reason.

Her video tackles the practical realities of the plight:

YouTube

As well as the less tangible issues she faces, such as struggling to accommodate her neighbor to the point of intense discomfort:

“Trust that when you’re next to a fat person on a plane, they are significantly less comfortable than you are and are likely doing everything in their power to minimize their impact on you. For instance, 25% of my participants intentionally dehydrated themselves prior to flying to avoid the need to navigate the aisles and attempt to use the on-board toilet.”

In the video and this comprehensive blog post, Bias doesn’t strive for sympathy or an opportunity to vent, but rather just an understanding that for every “regular” passenger on a plane who feels put-upon by an overweight neighbor, there’s a self-conscious person who’s likely doing all they can, even if it means discomfort and pain, to avoid burdening anyone else.

As she and many others would expect, the reaction to her work has been mixed, with most empathy and support coming from overweight individuals, with others split on the issue. She frames it, “The reaction from other fat folks has been powerful and positive. Outside the fat-positive community, many folks have found their empathy, and many more have not.”

It would seem her primary goal in creating awareness of the issue she faces is the humanization of people who are treated like little more than inconveniences and impositions by others. Putting a finer point on the matter she says, “People see fatness as elective and changeable and therefore exempt from the right to compassion, but the reality is far from that simple.”

Health

Some beauty pageants, like the Miss America competition, have done away with the swimsuit portions of the competitions, thus dipping their toes in the 21st century. Other aspects of beauty pageants remain stuck in the 1950s, and we're not even talking about the whole "judging women mostly on their looks" thing. One beauty pageant winner was disqualified for being a mom, as if you can't be beautiful after you've had a kid. Now she's trying to get the Miss World competition to update their rules.

Veronika Didusenko won the Miss Ukraine pageant in 2018. After four days, she was disqualified because pageant officials found out she was a mom to 5-year-old son Alex, and had been married. Didusenko said she had been aware of Miss World's rule barring mother from competing, but was encouraged to compete anyways by pageant organizers.

Keep Reading Show less

One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.



It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

Keep Reading Show less
via Sportstreambest / Flickr

Since the mid '90s the phrase "God Forgives, Brothers Don't" has been part of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's football team's lexicon.

Over the past few years, the team has taken the field flying a black skull-and-crossbones flag with an acronym for the phrase, "GFBD" on the skull's upper lip. Supporters of the team also use it on social media as #GFBD.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture