Take All The Space You Need

Posted on July 25, 2017 by Jen Anderson | 3 comments

By now you've heard about Natalie Hage, the plus size model who exchanged a few words with a man who acted like sitting next to her on a plane was just the worst thing ever. Another day, another jerk.

On the one hand, hostility towards fat people is on the rise now that we're making some headway on getting some respect and nice clothes. On the other hand, this is nothing new and social media is just making it easier for us to find out about these incidents.

This happens all the time, so let's discuss.

It's Not Our Fault That Public Transportation is Crowded

camel plus size clothingFor some reason, this is a radical statement. Airline seats are shrinking so much that I'd rather take the train for 30 hours rather than get on a plane for much less time. I have anxiety and claustrophobia without adding the very real possibility that someone will question my right to exist in public.

Subway cars are crowded and somehow that's my fault too. I once sat down on a train wearing a puffy coat and a skinny woman glared at me even though it was my coat touching her instead of my body. And once I got settled, nothing was in her space. 

Lest you think I've always been this mouthy dame - when I left the subway that day, I burst into tears and had to talk myself out of turning around and going back home instead of going to my friend's place. 

Cost cutting in all forms of public transportation have led to too small seats and overcrowding. Yet people blame the pleasantly plump instead of the suits who keep refusing to give any of us enough room. 

Should We Say Something?

plus size jacketNatalie Hage chose to say something to the man next to her as they were disembarking the plane. That way she wouldn't be making a scene mid-flight and she'd be able to get away from him quickly if things turned ugly.

Your own safety is the most important thing in these situations. Telling people off is satisfying, but can also put you in physical danger.

Our plus size heroine felt that she had to say something because she promotes body positivity. Even she wouldn't speak up simply because she herself deserved more respectful treatment.

That breaks my heart because she deserves better than to be mocked for her size. And so do I. And so do you.

It's hard to stand up for ourselves, but it's important. People think that "fat" means stupid, lazy, ugly, unhealthy, and so on. All it really means is "having a greater than average amount of adipose tissue." Which is why I call myself fat. Because I'm done equating my body type with those other things. And it gives me the opportunity to slip a little education into everyday conversation - because everyone looks at me like I've lost my mind when I use that word.

You're Entitled to Take Up Space

The problem is that not everyone knows that. That's why I like to dress to intimidate, and why I tell you to wear Vikki Vi Classics in difficult situations like this. I'm not talking about "I will beat you up" intimidation. I mean "I am smarter than you and will verbally destroy you if you make that necessary" intimidation. When you look polished and put together, people are much less likely to mess with you.

Maybe your clothes will encourage you to speak up for yourself. Or maybe you'll just let them do the talking. Either way, you'll be fighting the good fight.

Posted in plus size inspiration, plus size travel tips, travel tips



3 Responses


July 26, 2017

It may not be widely known, but Southwest Airlines makes special accommodations for “Customers of Size.” From the Southwest website:

Guidelines for Customers of Size

Customers who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat(s) may proactively purchase the needed number of seats prior to travel in order to ensure the additional seat(s) is available. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats; width between the armrests measures 17 inches. The purchase of additional seats serves as a notification to Southwest of a special seating need, and allows us to adequately plan for the number of seats that will be occupied on the aircraft. In turn, this helps to ensure we can accommodate all Customers on the flight/aircraft for which they purchased a ticket and avoid asking Customers to relinquish their seats for an unplanned accommodation. Most importantly, it ensures that all Customers onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating. You may contact us for a refund of the cost of additional seating after travel. Customers of size who prefer not to purchase an additional seat in advance have the option of purchasing just one seat and then discussing their seating needs with the Customer Service Agent at their departure gate. If it is determined that a second (or third) seat is needed, they will be accommodated with a complimentary additional seat(s).

There are additional instructions on the website: https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/extra-seat/?clk=GFOOTER-CUSTOMER-COS

Jo  Ann Hunt
Jo Ann Hunt

July 26, 2017

I look like I own this space and I do. Presence.
Dress to express Presence.


July 26, 2017

In addition to airliner seats being downsized to fit more people on a plane, I have a bone to pick with armed seats in auditoriums, theaters, and stadiums. It is no fun to sit for hours squeezed into a seat perched on one hip.

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