This week in body-shaming: man on flight is compelled to express his opinion of someone else’s body. In our ‘progressive’ society, one of the persisting intolerances is for people who don’t fit exactly into the ‘ideal body type.’ The internet is a treasure trove of fat-shaming comments and strategic ‘health advice’ for anyone who is a little bigger than what society deems acceptable. News flash: you can’t comment on other people’s bodies. Period.
From body-shaming, we often get some amazing clap-backs though. We are absolutely in love with the plus-sized model revolution on Instagram, and anytime someone openly addresses comments people have made we want to scream from the rooftops. We’re going to stamp out this kind of intolerance one hater at a time.
This week, plus-sized model, Natalie Hage took on a man who was texting rude comments about her while she was on a flight to L.A. for a photo shoot. She had taken care not to touch the men on either side of her throughout the flight, and didn’t claim either of the shared armrests. Still, this man was compelled to make comments to some of his contacts about ‘leaving neck-marks on the window’ from being pressed against it (untrue) and their flight possibly not being able to take off.
i’m shaking right now. i’m on a flight to LA right now on @americanair. i paid almost $70 extra for this seat i’m in because i know i need a little extra leg room. i’m extremely flight anxious but there were only middle seats available so i had to take what i could get. as soon as i sat down, the gentleman on my left began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat. i see him furiously texting and then purposefully turning the phone away from me. so, naturally next time he texts, i take a look. the texts were about me and i’m almost positive he took photos of me. not only were the texts about me, but they were really mean and ugly, with even the recipient named ‘linda’ chiming back with shaming retorts…someone who can’t even see the situation. if you can’t read the texts, it says ‘hopefully she didn’t have any mexican food’ and his response is ‘i think she ate a mexican’. then he proceeds to say he’s leaving a ‘neck mark on the window’ because he’s so smashed against the wall. from the photos, you can see i’m not in his space. he’s even taken over both arm rests on purpose, coming to my space and digging his elbows into my side…which is in my seat. his next text to her was ‘if the news reports a DFW airbus a321 leaving the runway without rotating, that would be my flight.’ another i see later? ‘if these seats don’t hold, it’s not going to matter.’ and that’s just a few of them. there were several more. i didn’t do anything to him. i’m in my seat, completely (see photos). i am crumpled into a ball trying to not bother. i’m just so upset. i asked the other man to my right if he’d switch me and told him what the man was saying about me and he said laughed and refused. that’s fine, it’s not his issue. this is a fat person’s daily reality and not just on a plane. this is on a bus, standing in line at the grocery store, at a concert, on the internet. you can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still fuck with you and try to hurt you. all you can do is know you haven’t done anything wrong just by existing and to move on. this just makes me a mixture of enraged and super sad.
Hage posted her story to Instagram during the flight and added that she faces this struggle daily, not just on airplanes, but pretty much everywhere.
‘This is a fat person’s daily reality,’ she writes, ‘you can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still f— with you and try to hurt you.’ Once they landed, Hage confronted the man about his comments. And filmed the whole thing.
The interaction is quite a roller-coaster. The man initially denies sending the texts, then apologizes, then man-splains why she shouldn’t be sitting in an emergency exit row and eventually offers to buy her dinner for her trouble.
‘You know nothing about me by the size of my body,’ she told him after he told her that she probably couldn’t help anyone in the case of an emergency, ‘My body is none of your business so you have no idea what I can and can’t do with it.’
You go, girl! It’s particularly great that she didn’t just post on Instagram or respond by insulting him. She addressed the situation calmly and pointed out how hurtful he was being.
Hage is all about body positivity and has received huge support from her followers for her actions.
❤️EDIT: THE VIDEO NOW HAS OVER A MILLION VIEWS ON FACEBOOK!!! HOLY COW!!!! THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT! ❤️i wanted to say hello to everyone new joining my neck of the woods. thank you so so so much for the messages and comments overflowing with kindness. my heart is full. i didn’t want to leave y’all hanging – i actually ended up saying something to him when we landed. i couldn’t NOT speak up. i’m so tired of fat people being a social punching bag. i won’t stand for it. i hope this dude learned something today.
Hopefully this man–and the world–can take something positive away from this. Hage wasn’t asking for more space or for special treatment. She was simply asking to be treated like a person, and for the respect that should come with that. Remember people: the bodies of others are not our business. It’s a little sad that we still need posts like this to remind us of that, but we’re glad we have some fantastic people out there who are saying the things that need to be said to the people who need to hear them.