An Influencer Has Proven That Fatphobia Is Still Very Much An Issue Whilst On A Flight To LA

An Influencer Has Proven That Fatphobia Is Still Very Much An Issue Whilst On A Flight To LA

A social media influencer found herself the victim of some serious fatshaming after boarding an American Airlines flight this week.

Natalie Hage, of Nataliemeansnice, took to Instagram after she noticed that the male passenger next to her was sending awful texts about her to someone.

Messages included mocking the room that Natalie took up, with the passenger describing how he was pushed up against the window, as well as joking that “I think she ate a Mexican.” The person he was sending messages to responded with equally shaming retorts.

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.

A post shared by natalie. (@nataliemeansnice) on

It wasn't long before her followers reached out to help, contacting American Airlines and demanding for answers as to how the passenger's unacceptable behaviour was going to be handled by them. Shortly after, the airline was directly in contact with Natalie and working to deal with the situation.

Natalie updated her social media after her flight to let her following know that she'd bravely confronted the man when the plane landed after not being able to stay silent any longer. A caption on her Instagram said:

“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.”

She then went on to post a video of the confrontation up on her Facebook to show the world how it went down:

This is one of many examples of fatphobia remaining as a social issue, with a long road ahead for attitudes towards fat people to progress and change. People of size have to deal with this kind of harassment and discrimination on a daily basis and the way that society views fat bodies - marginalised bodies of any sort, in fact - has to change.

For those who view this as just one guy being a douchebag, and doesn't recognise that this is a constant problem: fat bodies are no less worthy than smaller bodies and are just as deserving of space, whether that be literally or figuratively. Nobody deserves this kind of treatment, and like Natalie said, we hope this guy actually did learn something.