I was reading a piece that discussed how fat people are more likely to die in a car accidents because the safety equipment is not made (or tested) to accommodate them. In the comments a number of people said that car manufacturers shouldn’t change their safety equipment because fat people can lose weight.
Let’s be clear that people who are making this argument are saying that they are ok with fat people either never traveling in cars or dying, unless or until we become thin.
I’ve heard the same thing about other accommodations for fat people, whether they are for safety, transportation, medical care, or entertainment, the idea is that fat people shouldn’t be accommodated because they can, in theory, eventually become thin people.
Let’s start with the fact that there is no study in which more than a tiny fraction of people were able to lose weight long term, and most of those studies define success as an amount of weight loss so small (2-5 pounds) that it wouldn’t make a difference in whether or not a fat person could fit in a seat, or utilize a seat belt properly.
But even if we had any reason to believe that all fat people could become thin, none of them could become thin this minute, which leaves the matte of fat people who need to get to work, access medical care etc.
The truth is that the people who run companies that make cars, build and stock hospitals, etc. are well aware that fat people exist, and they use social prejudice against fat people to give them cover for their money-saving, fat-people-harming decisions. It makes me cringe every time I hear a commercial where some car manufacturer waxes poetic about how customer safety is their first priority (though their safety features don’t work for fat people), or a medical facility has a commercial talking about how important patient care is though they don’t have equipment to handle high weight patients.
I don’t think that pretending fat people don’t exist should count as a safety policy, medical care policy, or good customer service, and I think that anybody who suggests that it’s ok to risk fat people’s safety now based on the belief that we could be thin later is a dangerous bigot. We’re customers too, and we deserve to be accommodated.
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