This Filmmaker Wants To Change The Way You Think About People ‘Flying While Fat’

“My only stress that comes from flying is interaction with other people.”

Whispers. Dirty looks. Body shaming. 

This is what many plus-size travelers experience when boarding a plane, but their shame and agony are often silenced. Until now. 

Filmmaker Stacy Bias captured the discrimination and embarrassment plus-size travelers experience in her animated short film Flying While Fat. But it started with her. 

"The idea of frequent, solo international travel was pretty terrifying and, quite honestly, a factor in deciding whether or not I could actually commit to giving this relationship a try," Bias told Mashable about a long-distance relationship that was impacted by her travel woes. 

"My concern was partly financial," the nearly 300-pound filmmaker added. "Even more so, it was anxiety about not fitting and the physical pain and facing hostile interactions with fellow passengers."

Bias knew she wanted to expose the ugly truths of what it was really like being a plus-size airline passenger, but she wanted to back up her claims with research and data. 

During her final year at the University of London, Bias surveyed 795 people about their experiences of "flying while fat." Additionally, she interviewed 28 people and some of their voices can be heard in the film. The animated film, which made its official debut at the Deaf and Disability Arts Festival on Nov. 19 in the U.K. before it's Dec. 4 online release, shows a number of interpretations of the tense situations described by Bias' interviewees.  

"It's like I have a hyper-awareness of my body at all times that other people don't have to think about," one woman says in the six-minute film. "I'm always trying not to burden someone else with my body."

What's worse is that some passengers become so irate about having to sit next to a "fat" person on a flight that they make a scene and angrily use the armrest to separate them. 

"From the minute I get on the plane … I get into my seat and I sort of lean into it," another woman says. "For the most part, my tactic is to kind of hug myself and squeeze into the window and stare out the whole flight. And just sort of disappear."  

Men were not a part of Bias' study or short film, but it's a lucky guess they, too, deal with similar situations. Regardless of gender, body shaming is never acceptable for anyone. 

Check out Bias' powerful short film below:

(H/T: Mashable)

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