Social Question

josie's avatar

Does this mean that fat is the new "normal"?

Asked by josie (27928points) July 27th, 2010

http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/24/2911747/petite-flier-booted-off-southwest.html
A passenger gets removed from a flight in order to make room for another passenger who needs an extra seat because she is too fat to fit into one. So, the “normal weight” person gets displaced by the “not normal weight” person. Does this mean that the standard has now reversed? Has the worm turned? How long until the smart kids are not allowed to graduate and the stupid kids get a scholarship. How long until the olympic first place winner gets sent home, and the loser gets the gold medal? Etc.

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20 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

That petite person was an adult on standby where the obese person is a teenager who had a reserved seat for that particular flight. That’s one aspect of it.

If anyone is to “blame” for not getting enough seating to accommodate the teen, it’s the teen’s parents.

YARNLADY's avatar

@josie I think you are not seeing the whole picture here. The large person was a child!

josie's avatar

@YARNLADY The fat girl needed two seats. So she displaced the not-fat girl. If the fat child had not been fat, there would have been no problem. So the defining issue was not her “child-ness”
it was her “fat-ness”. So is fat the new admirable, the new rewardable, the new favorable?

SheWasAll_'s avatar

I don’t see how this story says “fat is the new favorable.” If you’re on standby, you risk not getting a seat, that’s how it works. Yes, some people need two seats and yes it’s upsetting, but this obese teen paid for a ticket in advance, so they can’t not allow her to board. Plus, when it was discovered that she needed two seats, I bet she had to pay for the second one. That’s what they make you do. She’s not getting admired or rewarded, at least I don’t see it that way.

aprilsimnel's avatar

When Glamour, Cosmo, Stuff, FHM and WWD magazines puts Gabby Sidibe on the cover as a viable sex symbol, then I think you could make that argument.

YARNLADY's avatar

I see the story as being about a child who need accommodated and a person on stand-by status. The fact that her accommodations included two seats is not really relevant.

josie's avatar

@SheWasAll_ If you do not report to the gate at a defined time, they sell your seat to standby. I have flown standby hundreds of times and gotten the benefit of this principle. It has never happened to me, but I had a friend who arrived late at the gate,but had lost their seat to standby. They were put on another flight. That is what standby is all about. This is more about fat and less about what happens when you show up later than the boarding contract defines.
@YARNLADY And what if she needed three seats. At what point do you recognize the true injustice in this case.

SheWasAll_'s avatar

@josie I still don’t understand how this story is about fatness. Would you be this outraged if it was an average sized person who showed up late with a toddler? Or an average sized person who was late and said they needed to have two seats for whatever reason? Maybe Southwest made an indiscretion by allowing the late arrival to board and not selling the seat to standby, sure. Then that’s where your frustration should be directed. Not at the size of a teenage passenger.

YARNLADY's avatar

So if the child came on in a wheel chair and the stand by had to leave, that would be OK, but since the child is ‘fat’ it is somehow wrong?

josie's avatar

@SheWasAll_ I am not outraged. Being outraged is a drain on my energy and I save it for extraordinary circumstances. The point is unless somebody says something, political correctness becomes the standard, at that point it is no different than saying that racism is the standard. Both are irrational, both are harmful. So the point is, it was fatness that created the difficulty, not somebody with a toddler, or some other awkward difficulty, in which case we would all realize how unique the problem was. Southwest did not have the balls to treat a fat girl like they would treat somebody who was not fat. So, my question stands.

Keysha's avatar

What if the person went to sit, and the seat was found to be too damaged for them to sit on? If they were then again removed to standby, would that be an issue?

The issue is not the size of the woman, it is the size of the seats. Especially in a nation where so many are overweight. I know I am overweight, and admit it. Airlines could very easily make a row or two of wider seats, put 2 instead of 3. Then just charge a bit extra for them. But that would be too easy. Instead they do things like this, when the person has to pay extra, and then people that are not obese, and have no sympathy for them, starts crying about it.

Should the overweight person have been booted, and told they were on ‘standby’ until there were not one, but two seats available side by side? Or perhaps their money should have been refunded and they get told to drive, take a bus, or a boat? After all, any flight they are on, they will displace someone, so they should not be allowed to fly.

If you are going to discriminate against obese people, then you also need to start saying that people with young children cannot ride. Because, after all, the children often disturb other passengers. And what about those that have various diseases or issues that cause them to need the restroom a lot? That inconveniences someone, I’m sure, if they are occupying the restroom. And non-smokers should have to suck up and deal with the secondhand smoke issue because we infringe on the rights of smokers by demanding no smoking on flights.

This can be carried to extremes. Flat out simple fact. One was on standby, the other was not. period.

YARNLADY's avatar

So let me get this straight, if they would have gone through the passengers and found another fat one to remove so the child could have a place, you would be OK with that, but since the standby passenger was thin, that makes it wrong?

josie's avatar

Well anyway, I think I got the answer to my question.

mrentropy's avatar

The article never says why she was obese. Would it make a difference if she had some kind of medical condition and wasn’t just “fat?”

It may have been a different story, too, if the person had been an adult and not fourteen. Fourteen year olds don’t always have a say in how things are going to go and someone missing their flight can be inconvenienced. While an adult may be able to get back on track, a child may not.

As with every news story, there’s a lot of things that don’t make the printed word. You don’t know half the story, I’m sure.

quasi's avatar

Someone should ask the kid how “admired” they felt after this fiasco. I’m sure as they sat down they could just feel the warm glow of fat acceptance radiating all around them. Lucky kid.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yup, that’s what it means. I can’t count the number of times in my life I have been expected in public places to give up my personal space in order to accomodate someone else who “overflows”. I’m short and thin so when I get on a plane then people next to me feel it’s okay for them to take my armrest as if they need it more than me or it’s okay to ask me to give up my aisle seat because they feel cramped and stuffy next to the window. You know what? I’m not as giving as I once was so I say no a lot now. Being not fat or obese doesn’t mean I’m not entitled to sit in a comfortable seat instead of middle or jumpseat, it doesn’t mean I should get sneared at for sitting on the booth instead of single chair. Grrrr

YARNLADY's avatar

The decision was strictly economical, the airline is interested in who can they sell more snacks to.

perspicacious's avatar

She was flying standby. That means you get a seat if one is available. Turned out one wasn’t available. Your question seems childish.

jca's avatar

@josie: you have repeatedly stated your opinion in this thread and argued with those who disagree, so i am wondering why you asked it. you have your opinion, others have theirs, why did you waste your time asking? if you’re really interested in others’ opinions you’ll ask and then say nothing while they all state their differing views. You apparently are not interested in any view that does not agree with you, as you are argumentative about them all.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@YARNLADY
You do crack me up sometimes!

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