How do you degrade and deny people of their dignity? Simple, as proposed by this economist Bharat Batta, charge obese passengers more.
I have always had a weight issue. I always felt big and heavy. And even when I was at my ideal weight, I didn’t feel thin or small enough at all. It was hard to feel good about myself. There is always the pressure to fit into the ideals presented by the media, by society, and by culture that growing up becomes more than a torturous experience.
People keep talking about weight and diets that the whole thing is drilled into your head. People greet each other about their weights too. You either look like you lost some weight or gained some. It is infuriating! And the thing is, even when you don’t want to acquire this habit, you get sucked in because everybody does it and everybody does it to you.
Everything I needed to know how to hate my body, the glossy magazines and television taught me. And they taught me well.You have to hate your arms, your thighs, your hips, your belly and everything else that seems to jiggle a little or look a bit big on the camera.
I wish I could say that I have become desensitized when people ask me about my weight or my waistline. The fact is, it still stings a little. Sometimes, it stings a lot. However, I am now taking a more pro-active stance. Instead of feeling ashamed, I get angry. It’s more productive to get angry. It reminds me that there is something wrong here. And it’s not me or my body or my body shape.
So I am learning and un-learning things about my body, about body image, about womyn and grrrls, about the misogynistic and monopolistic culture that is out there. Not to mention, homophobic too. And now this piece of crappy news.
The thing is, fat is many, many things in this world and is different to many stakeholders. Fat is one thing, obesity is another. Still, it seems there is no differentiating the two. The world finds another dichotomy. It seems you are either fit or fat. Shun or be shunned.
I am not against eating healthful food or exercise. I am not against calorie counting. I am not against campaigns that encourages people to go out, move, and sweat. This is not about that.
What I am against is when companies and economists create policies that refuse to see people as people. Money, it seems, is the only figure that they care about. If you pack the pounds, you pay more pounds or dollars. “Pay as you weigh airline pricing,” the news article read. This is nothing short of treating people like cattle, weighing you with scales, charging you for every ounce of bone, blood, and fat in your body. I’m guessing, humiliation comes free with this kind of airline pricing.
Besides, does water weight count? Do people get a refund if there is a discrepancy between their weight prior to departure versus their weight on arrival? How about a refund when they weigh less on their return flight? I could go on and on nit picking how ridiculous this proposal is, but at the end of the day, it’s all about profits.
So when people throw the statistics around, mention money, or fuel costs, the conversation gets too muddled up. The point is, you are not an individual going on a plane. You are an object to be measured, assessed, and delivered from point A to point B. Cargo is cargo, including you and me and everyone else.