warning: fatties in the mirror don’t want to pay your fat tax (but they might be sitting next to you on your next flight. doooooooom!)
The debate about whether airlines should introduce a ‘fat tax’ on overweight passengers is nothing new, but the Courier Mail in Brisbane seems to think it is, judging from this news report yesterday.
Now, I know better – way better – than to read the comments on any kind of social media or “news” post relating to weight, overweight, obesity, or fat issues. They make my brain hurt. No other topic, except perhaps Indigenous Australians, gays, and asylum seekers, brings out the hateful bigots in our society quite like we fatties do.
For whatever reason, self-defined “normals” hate fat people, and they’re not afraid to say it… especially when it comes to the fatties encroaching on their personal space. Especially on planes.
I’ve been flying for my entire life. I’m probably reaching, if not passed, 150 flights, which means I take many flights each year, and never in that time have I had my personal space encroached upon by someone’s fat spilling over into my seat. This is a favourite of the fat haters. Apparently fat is like that Gak stuff, and just slides and moulds over barriers and into people’s space.
behold! the first gif i have ever put on a blog, ever.
(PS – how great was Gak?? I definitely need to get me some of that.)
I have, however, experienced other people taking up my space. One was a tiny German woman who sat sideways, curled up on her seat, and poked her bony little feet into my ribs the entire flight while she was sleeping.
Another time, a businessman’s shoulder padded suit jacket brushed my shoulder often, and he used what really should have been my arm rest.
And there was that time that I was sitting between two big bikie blokes, neither of whom were overweight, but both just big men. (One of them swapped with me to the aisle seat so that they didn’t spend the flight talking over me. Rad move.)
Should we also tax tiny Germans, suit-wearing businessmen, and large males in general?
My problems with any kind of fat tax on airfares are many. For a start, how do we decide who has to pay, and who doesn’t?
That’s me, in that picture at the start of this post. Excuse the daggy post-walk clothes and weird face; it’s hard to take a photo of yourself!
I’m 5’8″ and currently 20kg overweight. The healthy weight range for my height is, apparently, 60-75kg.
At my lowest adult weight ever I was 76kg and wore size 10-12 pants and top. I was not fat. There are old images of me with the most angular collar, shoulder, and hip bones that a young woman could ever hope to have. I was, technically, overweight. And yet to look at me, you would never have known it.
See, the thing with determining who is overweight and who isn’t is that it’s all really very arbitrary. Yes, it’s a range for a reason, but it really doesn’t take into account very well things like wide hips and shoulders, big boobies, having more muscle or more fat, or many other things. BMI is no better than the healthy range (and why should it be? It’s based on the same thing); technically I am obese, according to BMI calculators. And yet, I look at that photo above and I don’t see an “obese” person in the sense that society has come to regard obese people. Trust me, if I did I’d tell you; nobody hates their own body more than the woman it belongs to.
Chances are that if a fat tax were to be introduce, I’d be subject to it. 20kg overweight and obese doesn’t really put me on the list of people who are allowed to fly at regular prices, now does it? Problem is… I well and truly fit into my own seat. I may not have been blessed with the ability to not want to eat all the food, but I was blessed with a relatively normal sized waist and rear end, as well as the good sense to avoid middle seats on planes. The seatbelt most certainly does up without any kind of extender, and my mysterious roly-poly loaves of gak-like fat don’t spill into the seats beside me. As far as I know I don’t breathe heavily or sweat constantly or exude whatever fat person pheromones everyone’s scared of, so you’re safe on that front, too, if you happen to be sitting next to me.
Okay. So. I’m technically a fatty by weight and BMI and the fact that I wear size 16 pants these days, as well as the fact that I’m a bit more flabby than I’d like and the fact that I have a fat person’s brain and spend way too long thinking about fat issues. Also, in typical fatty fashion, I love food. However I fit in my own seat, which makes arbitrary
hate tax fat tax extremely unfair.
i love how, instead of getting up out of her seat like every other human being on the planet when they’re on a plane and their seat neighbour wants to go past, this woman is all ‘ermagerd, fatty’. god slim people are sooooo lazy. Also, how much damn room is there between those seats?? luxury! //source//
Adding to the unfairness of this entire issue is the fact that I travel extremely light. I rarely take checked luggage these days, and when I do it’s not heavy. Seriously. It breaks my heart if I weigh my bag at the airport and it’s more than 11kg. It’s just a weird thing that I have; I pride myself upon my ability to pack light for holidays. It’s my superhero skill. I went around Europe for 4 months with 11kg of stuff.
One of the “solutions” is that we are charged on the total weight of the passenger & luggage. So, what proponents of this solution are trying to say is that now, when we’ve finally made travelling a quicker process by allowing self-check in of person and bag, is that we eradicate that system and go back to lining up to get ourselves and our luggage weighed? Seems perfectly reasonable. Idiots. (Plus, that would probably mean that I wouldn’t be taxed, owing to aforementioned light packing, which kind of negates the idea of a fat tax on flying in the first place.)
Adding to all of this is the fact that a tax on weight would unfairly discriminate against the tall and the muscle-bound, pregnant women carrying baby + associated baby weight, and, oh, just about everyone.
I suppose what I’m trying to say here is that a fat tax would never work because there’s just no sensible, fair way of implementing one. A number won’t work; you can’t say ‘if you’re x kilos above your healthy weight range, you’re taxed’, because 20kg of excess weight distributes very differently on someone who is 5’2″, to someone who is 5’8″. Same goes for BMI; it’s rubbish.
Maybe I’m just your typical no-good, lazy, delusional fatty-fat, in denial about how big and gross and nasty I really am, trying to make excuses as to why I shouldn’t have to subsidise your skinny-arse travel (jokes, guys, I’m not into body hate), before I go and eat a tub of cookies and cream icecream for dinner and wash it down with two litres of real full-strength Coke and cry myself to sleep.
Or maybe, just maybe, this is yet another example of how people need to shut the shit up about fat issues unless they’re going to come up with a real plan for battling honest obesity problems and circumventing/preventing the potential social and health issues (especially the mental health issues) that come along with it.
Not every fat person is super duper fat. Not every fat person is lazy or unhealthy. Not every fat person eats excessively all the time. Not every fat person hates exercise. Not every “fat” person, by your standards, is fat. But some are, and they’re victimising themselves enough without you doing it too.