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This Plus-Size Model Stood Up to a Body Shamer On Her Flight

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Thanks to the body positive movement, it seems that modern society is more accepting of different shapes and sizes than ever—but make no mistake, we've still got a lot of work to do. Case in point, plus-size model Natalie Hage shared her experience of being fat-shamed on a plane on Instagram, reminding everyone that everyday body-shaming is still alive and well.

Here's what happened: When Hage sat down, she noticed the man sitting next to her "LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat." She noticed him trying to hide his texts from her, so she took a photo of his screen, read the conversation, and found he was complaining about sitting next to her and joking that he would leave a "neck mark on the window." Hage posted the photo to Instagram to recount the experience.

 

i'm shaking right now. i'm on a flight to LA right now on @americanair. i paid almost $70 extra for this seat i'm in because i know i need a little extra leg room. i'm extremely flight anxious but there were only middle seats available so i had to take what i could get. as soon as i sat down, the gentleman on my left began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat. i see him furiously texting and then purposefully turning the phone away from me. so, naturally next time he texts, i take a look. the texts were about me and i'm almost positive he took photos of me. not only were the texts about me, but they were really mean and ugly, with even the recipient named 'linda' chiming back with shaming retorts...someone who can't even see the situation. if you can't read the texts, it says 'hopefully she didn't have any mexican food' and his response is 'i think she ate a mexican'. then he proceeds to say he's leaving a 'neck mark on the window' because he's so smashed against the wall. from the photos, you can see i'm not in his space. he's even taken over both arm rests on purpose, coming to my space and digging his elbows into my side...which is in my seat. his next text to her was 'if the news reports a DFW airbus a321 leaving the runway without rotating, that would be my flight.' another i see later? 'if these seats don't hold, it's not going to matter.' and that's just a few of them. there were several more. i didn't do anything to him. i'm in my seat, completely (see photos). i am crumpled into a ball trying to not bother. i'm just so upset. i asked the other man to my right if he'd switch me and told him what the man was saying about me and he said laughed and refused. that's fine, it's not his issue. this is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane. this is on a bus, standing in line at the grocery store, at a concert, on the internet. you can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still fuck with you and try to hurt you. all you can do is know you haven't done anything wrong just by existing and to move on. this just makes me a mixture of enraged and super sad.

A post shared by natalie. (@nataliemeansnice) on

Hage knew that just like an internet troll her fellow passenger was writing things he wouldn't say to her face, and she didn't let him send the texts without answering for it. At the end of the flight, she confronted him about the messages and recorded their conversation in a video that she later posted to Facebook. Taken by surprise, he denied the texts, then apologized. He then implied she shouldn't sit in the exit row because she wouldn't be able assist people in an emergency. Hage told him she works out five times a week (thankyouverymuch), her body is none of his business (preach), and he shouldn't treat someone else the same way in the future.

"This is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane," she wrote in her Instagram caption. (Women face body-shaming everywhere from the gym to their workplace.)

 

i don't even know what to say. the past 48 hours have been an absolute whirlwind of support and trolling and hateful comments and heartfelt outpourings of love and kindness. hundreds upon hundreds of people have reached out and told me stories of times they've been hurt by others (traveling, just living life) and how that's affected them. i wish we didn't know what that hurt felt like, but please just know you're not alone. this conversation is really important. we HAVE to talk about how fatphobia seeps into so many parts of our lives. we HAVE to remember to stand up for ourselves and others who maybe can't do it for themselves. we all deserve a fair shot at happiness and a chance at feeling good about ourselves. don't let people take that from you or from others if you can help it. let's keep talking about this. keep telling your stories. keep lifting each other up. cool thing - i'll be on good morning america tomorrow around 8ish in the morning central time! i also did several other interviews today and will keep y'all in the know if you want. thank you again and thank you always. i felt about an inch tall when that man did that to me on the plane. but after standing up to him and feeling so much support from the world, i feel like i can do anything.

A post shared by natalie. (@nataliemeansnice) on

"We HAVE to talk about how fatphobia seeps into so many parts of our lives. we HAVE to remember to stand up for ourselves and others who maybe can't do it for themselves."

 

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