Flying Overweight

thumb463x_freud3I wasn't shocked, but I was a little bewildered by the news this morning that United Airlines is going to charge overweight people double for their tickets. Here's the guideline:
Under the rules outlined by United, passengers who are unable to fit into a single seat in the ticketed cabin; are unable to properly buckle the seatbelt using a single seatbelt extender; and/or are unable to put the seat's armrests down when seated will be denied boarding unless they purchase an extra seat.
Apparently Americans have grown approximately 25 pounds since the 1960's. Seat designs of today are basically the same as the 60's. Many argue that the problem isn't the size of the passenger but the size of the seat. I agree. Even though I'm pretty much where I "should" be weight-wise, I am over six feet tall and I never have enough room on a plane. My knees inevitably are shoved into the seat in front of me even before it is reclined! I have to spread my legs and sprawl into the space of my neighbors. Even my 35 inch arms have difficulty finding a place to rest. We are bigger. We are taller. We can discuss all the medical ethics involved because obesity increases health care and medical expenses, etc. But I want to talk about something else. Our idea of what a body should look like is changing. This is not news. Look at artistic nudes down through the centuries and the body shapes are amazingly diverse. Even culturally, what is regarded as a beautiful body varies greatly. We know what the west believes is a beautiful body. Just look at the covers of our magazines or the stars of our movies. But it is more than just appearances. Now, health is associated with weight. So now, not only is what we consider beautiful pleasant to the eye, but necessary for health. Let's take, for example, Angelina Jolie. I choose her not because I personally think she is the hottest, but because apparently she is the conglomeration of all that is believed to be visibly perfect in a woman. She is considered by some of my friends, male and female, to be the pinnacle of what feminine beauty looks like. Then, let's say that her figure is what the pinnacle of feminine health looks like. If a woman worked out as hard as she does for hours a day with a personal trainer and ate as she does, etc., then a woman would attain to roughly that kind of physical health and beauty. So now you have what is considered beautiful, plus what is considered healthy, and the two meld together. Soon, based on what I perceive is happening in such incidents as United Airline's announcement, health and therefore ultimately beauty will be legislated. We are becoming more and more tyrannical. It is the tyranny of health and beauty. It is the tyranny of consensus. It is the tyranny of popular. It is the tyranny of homogeneity. It is the tyranny of opinion substantiated by science. Science proves that a healthy body looks like so, and what happens to be so is what is already considered by popular opinion to be beautiful. Overweight people will be increasingly marginalized, ridiculed and finally persecuted. Same with those considered ugly. The whole Susan Boyle incident should embarrass us back to some kind of philosophical restructuring of our values, should it not? An ugly person with a voice? A miracle! She's a freak, not only because she's ugly, but because she's ugly AND she can sing! There must be communities that live contrary to this tyranny. We must protest against this by encouraging, nurturing and applauding diversity in every facet of human life and expression. The painting is Lucian Freud's "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" that sold last year for $33 million... the highest fetched for any living artist. Check out my tees HERE. I'm growing my inventory all the time. And check out my art HERE.

Leave a comment