This Response Shows a Major Problem With Entitlement and Plus-Size People's Bodies

June 30th 2017

Almie Rose

Flying is becoming an increasingly less comfortable mode of travel, and as one woman's story reveals, it can be even worse if you're plus-sized.


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Natalie Hage, a self-described "fat lady, influencer, and dog mom" shared her story of an uncomfortable recent flight she took. And the reason was solely due to the body shaming she experienced from the man sitting next to her.

She captured the incident in photos, which she posted to her Instagram, as well as a video, which she posted to Facebook.

"I'm shaking right now," her Instagram post begins.


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Hage explained that she was on an American Air flight to Los Angeles. As, Revelist reported, she was, ironically, on her way to a "body-positive photoshoot" when the incident occurred.

"I paid almost $70 extra for this seat i'm in because i know i need a little extra leg room," she wrote. "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. 

She continued:

"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."

At first, Hage writes she simply tried to "crumple" herself "into a ball, trying not to bother."  

Eventually, she decided to confront him, which she captured on video:



She introduces herself, and he sounds friendly—at first. Then she says, "I couldn't help but notice that before we took off, you were sending really horrible text messages about me to somebody."

When he tries to deny it she says, "I have photos, yes you were." She reads them off to him. That's when he says, "I was drinking, and I apologize. I apologize. You got me. I was drinking, and I apologize."

"Do you normally like to make fun of fat people?" she asks. "Is that something you do?" He doesn't answer and instead says, "I gave you part of my table."

"I didn't want part of your table," she responds. "You made me feel so uncomfortable to exist in this seat that I didn't want anything from you." That's when the man says, "in fairness, you probably shouldn't be sitting in an exit row seat. When they ask if you're willing and capable to assist people in getting off the airplane in an emergency, do you honestly think you are?"

Hage says she works out and "you know nothing about me from the size of my body." She then asks him if he's a doctor. When he says "that's none of your business," Hage snaps back, "my body is also none of your business."

"This is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane," Hages noted to her Instagram followers.

It's this kind of interaction that photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero aimed to capture in her series of photos titled "Wait Watchers" in which she set up a camera near where she was sitting or standing to photograph the public's reactions to her "existing" in a public space.

And though Hages and Morris-Cafiero have illuminated that these incidents happen "not just on a plane," flying often seems to be a locus point for these incidents. Many other plus-sized people (especially women) have reported it's not comfortable—not only physically, but mentally—to "fly while fat."

Animator Stacy Bias made a short animated film "Flying While Fat" to show exactly what it's like.

As Bias explained to BuzzFeed news, "Trust that when you’re next to a fat person on a plane, they are significantly less comfortable than you are and are likely doing everything in their power to minimize their impact on you."

It's advice that can be applied to all public spaces. As Hages wrote on her Instagram post: 

"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."