Fat People and the Spaces That (Don’t) Fit Them
Have you ever broken someone else’s furniture?
That’s how someone began a message to me full of hatred for fat people, going on to say:
My furniture (like most retail furniture) is rated from 100kg-125kg, I don’t appreciate some [fat] woman breaking my things and blaming me…
Yes, I have broken a chair before. No, I didn’t blame the owner of the chair, and he didn’t blame me, either. We both correctly blamed the manufacturer of the shitty chair.
I don’t know where this person is finding chairs with rated limits up to 125 kg (275 lbs). When I look at the weight limits for furniture, I usually see between 200 and 250 lbs. About 30% of US adults weigh more than 200 lbs. About 8% weigh more than 250 lbs.
I suspect that fat people breaking the chairs of their asshole friends isn’t a widespread problem. But if it is, we should be blaming the makers of those shitty chairs. Trust me, your fat friend didn’t want to break that chair. In fact, fat people are aware of this possibility and take steps to watch out for the dreaded shitty chair problem, both for our own physical comfort and to avoid humiliation.
The message from the asshole went on to rail about how hospitals are having to pony up for ambulances and wheelchairs for fat people.
The callousness involved in this kind of argument is alarming to me. Hospitals are there to provide medical care to all people. Say you walk in with a broken arm, and the hospital says, “Sorry, we don’t have casts here.” When you express your complete confusion, imagine that the hospital said, “OMG don’t you know casts cost money?! You expect us to PAY for your broken arm?!”
Okay, being fat is in no way like having a broken arm, so my analogy is weak, but you get the idea. Hospitals exist to provide medical care to all people. Them “having to pay” for medical equipment that fits fat people is part of their basic, bottom line description.
Before anyone argues “special accommodations”, let me stop you right there. When a skinny person goes to the hospital, they expect to find gowns, wheelchairs, and other equipment that fits them. When a fat person goes to the hospital, they should be able to expect to find gowns, wheelchairs, and other equipment that fits them. It’s not “special” accommodations. It’s the SAME accommodations that everyone else expects.
Likewise, when I sit in a chair, I expect it to hold me. I mean, I know better, and I always check weight ratings before I buy. But in a perfect world, when I sat down on a chair, it would stay intact. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
As I was googling for statistics for this post, I learned that in the Netherlands they have raised the building code standards for door frame heights because the height of their population has increased. That’s pretty neat.
While average weights in the US have leveled off and not increased in a decade, I still think some better chairs on the market wouldn’t hurt!
Additional Reading: Here’s a tiny selection of some of the great books about living a great life as a fat person. (These are affiliate links. If you buy, thanks for your support!)