Do I Fit Here?
For people in larger bodies, there are often daily reminders that they do not fit here, that they do not belong. Consider these examples of physical barriers that can impact everything from comfort to health to learning.
- Classrooms: fixed chairs and desks; chairs with attached writing space; narrow aisles; crowded with furniture.
- Meeting/conference spaces: narrow aisles; seating close together and/or attached; flimsy chairs.
- Airplanes: seats too small and very close together; narrow aisles.
- Restaurants: fixed chairs and tables (booths, for example); flimsy chairs; narrow spaces between tables.
- Medical clinics and offices: one size of chair with arms; narrow exam tables with weight limits; one-size-fits-all (they don’t!) medical gowns.
- Public restrooms: cramped stalls.
- Music, movie and performance venues – one size of chair with arms; narrow aisles.
- Clothing: limited or no options in large or very large sizes
Larger people must be constantly thinking about these things and planning. When going to a new place, they have to wonder if there will be seating to accommodate their body. Will they be able to move around comfortably? Will there be a place for them to sit in their new classroom? Will they be able to focus on the lecture, or will the discomfort of their seating detract from learning? Will there be a public restroom to accommodate their body when they are out and about?
In other instances, such as airplanes, they can be pretty much guaranteed that it will be an experience something between really uncomfortable and completely humiliating. For most all of us (who do not have the money to buy extra space), flying is a cramped and uncomfortable experience. But those with thin privilege do not have to worry about being shamed by seatmates or escorted from the plane for being “too fat to fly.”