Stacy Bias’s Flying While Fat exposes the truth about how we treat our fellow passengers.
This is artist and animator Stacy Bias.
Much of Bias's work centers around fat positivity — she's the creator of Bellies Are Beautiful, the Fat Experience Project, and the Badass Fatass Superhero Name Generator, as well as events like the FatGirl Speaks conference and the ChunkyDunk swim series.
@fatfeistyfemme / Via instagram.com
Bias’s latest project is a short film called Flying While Fat. She says it was inspired by her decision to move from the US to London, and her concerns about frequent air travel at her size.
“Moving across the pond would mean at least two planes and a 24-hour travel day, multiple times every year,” Bias told BuzzFeed. “I'm a size 28/30, so I'm right on the edge of 'fitting' in a single plane seat. To combat my anxieties, I began documenting my flights — which airline and plane model? Did I need a seatbelt extender? Were the staff rude?”
Bias collected airline information over a two-year period of commuting back and forth, which she put into a comprehensive blog post. The post was a huge success, Bias told BuzzFeed, but it came with a sobering realization.
“People were out there anxiety-surfing on these things, and when they found me, many were relieved to see they weren't the only ones. I remember reading search engine terms in my web analytics like, 'Am I too fat to fly?' and 'Will they kick me off the plane for being fat?' It simultaneously broke my heart and made me furious.”
“Fat stigma is deeply ingrained in our society,” said Bias, “and I saw so clearly how it was working and how much we were missing out of fear of hostile interactions or ‘not fitting.’ I felt that I was uniquely positioned to amplify our voices on this topic.”