Fat people like to do things too

August 8, 2010

I’m not one of the biggest adrenalin junkies in the world. I don’t go out of my way to take on extreme sports and I tend to get a little fearful when my life is in danger. There are two things that do get my juices flowing, so to speak — motorsport and flying.

I have been an avid Formula 1 fan since I was 13 or 14. I would get up in the middle of the night to watch races from all over the world, or tape them and watch them the next morning before school. Even now Natalie knows that if Formula 1 is on that she might as well just find something else to do, because I’m busy.

Flying is a little different. My first flight was when I was five or six when my mum and I flew to Melbourne to see my sister. It was apparently so traumatic for me that I wouldn’t get back on the plane and we had to bus it home instead. Yes, I’m a major mummy’s boy, I can admit that.  I’m not so bad these days and in the last few years I’ve discovered flight simulators and love the idea of flying a plane myself.

A sight not permitted of the fat (by PetarM)

If I could ask for anything for my birthday/Christmas/<insert generic holiday here> I would ask for two things. Firstly, I want to be taken into the air and handed the controls and shown what flying is all about. Trial flights are offered all around the place and it would be great to experience what flying is like to decide whether I wanted to learn for real. Secondly, I’d love to do some sort of race driver experience, where you get to drive a powerful car around a track/rally course and learn what it is like to live on the edge.

However there is one slight problem to both of these dreams. I am FAT.

Natalie was looking at getting me one of the trial flight packages one year for my birthday and discovered that you have to meet weight restrictions. They range from under 109kg to 120kg but that counts me out all the same. Last night  I was researching the WRX experience that is held between Brisbane and the Gold Coast and the weight limit there is 140kg.

It’s disappointing to know that because I am fat that I can’t undertake these fun activities.

I should note that I just spent the last five minutes writing stuff that was trying to excuse them for not being able to accommodate me. Which I have now deleted due to a discussion had with Natalie, who for all intents and purposes is my ‘fat acceptance guru’.

I made a very good at trying to explain away why they discriminate, probably in an attempt to make it ok in my mind. This would therefore mean I couldn’t be disappointed. Sound logic happening there folks, except I am disappointed. No amount of saying ‘it’s ok, they have to have safety limits’ reduces the disappointment I feel.

Do I understand WHY they have a weight limit? Sure. It’s because the machinery they have won’t deal with my weight. Should they have something that will handle my weight? Yes. There should be some way to accommodate me in these activities. It is not like it would be breaking any laws of physics to have a fat person flying or going fast in a car.

What cheeses me off the most is the idea that there is this socially acceptable weight limit which always seems to be around the same mark of between 120kg or 140kg. It is just high enough to let them get enough business but low enough to exclude plenty more fat people that are out there wanting to do these things.

It is like plus-sized fashion, which shouldn’t be called plus-sized fashion because most of it isn’t fashionable or it isn’t plus-sized. They can make fashionable clothes for fat people. They can make planes that can accommodate a fat person. A racing car can easily carry a fat people if they designed it right.

I still consider myself a newbie with fat acceptance because two years is not long enough to get to total grips with it. I still sometimes think that companies can decide who they cater for. But if it was down to other factors, it wouldn’t be ok. I think that is a lesson that a lot of companies in a lot of different industries should take heed of.


10 Responses to Fat people like to do things too

  1. Atchka! says:

    Great post. I think you've just shared the male equivalent of fashion inequality (not that they aren't intersectional… some fat men enjoy fashion and some fat women enjoy adrenaline-fueled activity as well, but I'm generalizing for simplicity's sake). I'm going to possibly write a paper on the masculine aspects of Fat Acceptance for an anthology and I hadn't even considered this.

    So thanks!

    And I look forward to more posts from Mr. Perkins.

    Peace,

    Shannon

  2. Atchka! says:

    Great post. I think you’ve just shared the male equivalent of fashion inequality (not that they aren’t intersectional… some fat men enjoy fashion and some fat women enjoy adrenaline-fueled activity as well, but I’m generalizing for simplicity’s sake). I’m going to possibly write a paper on the masculine aspects of Fat Acceptance for an anthology and I hadn’t even considered this.

    So thanks!

    And I look forward to more posts from Mr. Perkins.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  3. Bilt4Cmfrt says:

    Feeling the F1 love. There's just something about going REALLY fast in a vehicle who's very shape can help dictate how fast it can go. That an open wheels. NASCAR is ok, but as far as I'm concerned 'Racing WITHOUT rubbing' is just that much harder and requires that much more skill. Especially now that Schumacher is no longer dominating EVERY major race (I imagine that's kind of how the French feel about Lance Armstrong).

    Anyway, yeah, they would NEVER be able to shoehorn my fat ass into the cockpit of one of those things. Or an F-22 Raptor for that matter, but then those things do tend to get a bit pricey so their not likely to let any Tom, Dick, or Sally take one out for a spin either.

    That's pretty much my take on the whole 'Too Fat to Fly / Race' thing. Formula 1 racing is, like, prohibitively expensive for MOST people and the F-22? Well, my H.S. grades made sure I wasn't getting into the Air Forces Pilot Program + only the best of the Elite get to fly, much less TOUCH the controls of, most post-prototype aircraft. So there went that. A helicopter license might have been possible in for my, alternate universe-sixpack Abs, self but then most private chopper pilots, these days, are ex-military who got their ratings from the services. Unless your well-off to start with, it's practically impossible to get a license any other way. Me? My family talked, cajoled, and threatened me out of considering a military career despite the fact that the Army / Marines wanted my fat, football playing, ass in the worse way. Some things just aren't in the cards. But we can dream. And, who, knows? One day we may find ourselves in a position to give it a shot. If nothing else, money can MAKE a lot of things just happen. Even for a Fat Ass (U hearing me Lotto djinni's?)

  4. Bilt4Cmfrt says:

    Feeling the F1 love. There’s just something about going REALLY fast in a vehicle who’s very shape can help dictate how fast it can go. That an open wheels. NASCAR is ok, but as far as I’m concerned ‘Racing WITHOUT rubbing’ is just that much harder and requires that much more skill. Especially now that Schumacher is no longer dominating EVERY major race (I imagine that’s kind of how the French feel about Lance Armstrong).

    Anyway, yeah, they would NEVER be able to shoehorn my fat ass into the cockpit of one of those things. Or an F-22 Raptor for that matter, but then those things do tend to get a bit pricey so their not likely to let any Tom, Dick, or Sally take one out for a spin either.

    That’s pretty much my take on the whole ‘Too Fat to Fly / Race’ thing. Formula 1 racing is, like, prohibitively expensive for MOST people and the F-22? Well, my H.S. grades made sure I wasn’t getting into the Air Forces Pilot Program + only the best of the Elite get to fly, much less TOUCH the controls of, most post-prototype aircraft. So there went that. A helicopter license might have been possible in for my, alternate universe-sixpack Abs, self but then most private chopper pilots, these days, are ex-military who got their ratings from the services. Unless your well-off to start with, it’s practically impossible to get a license any other way. Me? My family talked, cajoled, and threatened me out of considering a military career despite the fact that the Army / Marines wanted my fat, football playing, ass in the worse way. Some things just aren’t in the cards. But we can dream. And, who, knows? One day we may find ourselves in a position to give it a shot. If nothing else, money can MAKE a lot of things just happen. Even for a Fat Ass (U hearing me Lotto djinni’s?)

  5. Joe Maverick says:

    A plane costs a large amount of money to design and construct. It costs a lot more than designing a dress, I can guarantee it. And like any product, ROI is required for it to made. There is no fat discrimination involved in the manufacturing of these machines — they are designed for a purpose and consumer. If there was demand for a fat fighter jet, one would be produced. However, the reality is there is no demand. If you want to fly in a plane designed for someone of your weight, create the product. Don't expect other people to pick up your load, so to speak.

  6. I am certain that there are planes out there that can accommodate my weight. I don't think that is the issue.I think the issue is that companies decide that they won't work out alternatives for fat people. I'd be willing to pay a little extra if a larger and more expensive plane was required due to weight limitations on the plane. If I felt that the extra fee was excessive then I would exercise my right to decline and no one would be out of pocket.Instead of saying "Sorry, no one over xkg allowed" they should say "give us a call and we will see if we can work something out for you". Even if they can't in the end, if they give it a go a) they are going to get great word of mouth and b) if they can work something out then it's money in their pocket and a happy customer.

  7. Janey says:

    Very interesting point, Nick! I never would've thought of it. I'm sorry they don't utilise services for people of our size. :-(

  8. Janey says:

    It's a bit of a "chicken or egg" scenario here though, isn't it Mr Maverick? Do most fat people not want to try these things because the product isn't there? Or is the product not there because fat people don't want to try them?Nick is evidence that there is a market, and I'm pretty sure he isn't the only one out there. ROI? They could be making all-inclusive designs that ALL people could use, not just the thinner ones. It would give them a BETTER long term ROI.

  9. kellyhogaboom says:

    First of all, I'm super-pleased to see an intelligent male weighing in (so to speak) on Fat Acceptance issues. We need more of that. Yay!Secondly, you wrote:"I should note that I just spent the last five minutes writing stuff that was trying to excuse them for not being able to accommodate me. Which I have now deleted due to a discussion had with Natalie, who for all intents and purposes is my ‘fat acceptance guru’."That is just awesome to read. No kidding. I don't know about you but the first step to FA for me was questioning the idea that the way things are (re: fat people and restrictions, lack of clothing options, lack of respect, lack of unbiased medical care – I could go on) is that way for GOOD REASONS that are all logical and stuff. I've never been fat enough to not be "allowed" to do anything (except maybe being a coxswain), not even fat enough I couldn't find clothes in ladies' shops. But I still swallowed the, "Well if you're fat, you can't have nice things" hook line and sinker – because it's so invasive in our culture in the US – until I started reading FA (like your lovely wife's work).Even now if you question why fat people are discriminated against you'll be mansplained how there are all these really great reasons fat people don't get stuff thin people do, and YOU should do something about it like build your own plane or start a fashion line of your own, the industry itself shouldn't have to change one iota etc etc.I don't dispute logistics need to be talked about at some point. But interesting those supposed explanations never, ever once deal with the anti-fat bias that our culture is rife with. I'm sure that has nothing. to. do. with. it.Thanks for another great piece. You are going in my feed reader!

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