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July 14th, 2005, Kings Island: An extremely overweight man is attempting to get on The Adventure Express with his family. The park is peaceful and surprisingly not all that crowded; everyone seems to be pleasant and like they are enjoying themselves…until the man and his family throw a humongous tantrum. Arms flying, obscenities screamed; and the vast majority of the crowd? Extremely, and almost frighteningly uncomfortable as spectators, and yes, I was one of these unfortunate folk. You may ask: why had this scene occurred? What was the cause of this “Average American’s” anguish? To simply state it, he was “p***ed, shocked, and disgusted,” (His own words, not mine) because the seats on the rollercoaster were too small for him and most of his children to fit into. Who’s to blame for this?

A lot of people would say the overweight man and his family are to blame for this incident. In some ways I feel I would have to agree with that. I mean, this man is most likely eating a lot of terrible and over-processed food products, and feeding them to his family as well. This makes him the cause of his own health predicament and general size. His children are also responsible for what they put into their bodies, even if their father is only offering them certain unhealthy foods. Also, the man did cause the scene. No one had asked him to go on the ride. The seats were available for the standard person and he, not only by looks but also by health, was not the expected standard sized person. My uncle weighs somewhere in the mid or early 200’s, and I know from experience that he can fit into the seats on The Adventure Express. So where do Amusement Parks cross the line? Or furthermore, is there a line? I assume Amusement Parks and the designers of the rides themselves make the seats their sizes according to safety level and a ‘one size fits all’ mentality. I don’t think these people are purposefully trying to exclude the obese population from riding roller coasters.

On the other hand, the notorious scene-maker at Kings Island is not the only one complaining about the size of things in public places. I have been in airports, restaurants, parks, bowling alleys, bookstores, and countless other places where I have heard the frustrated cries of overweight people: “Really? We can’t all be 90 pounds.” “Can’t they make these aisles any damn bigger?” “I’m going to have to buy two tickets. So unfair.” Maybe things really are too small for the average size of people in America. Perhaps companies need to rethink the size of their products and facilities because of the outstanding millions of obese people in America. We can’t jump to conclusions and criticize, people are overweight for many different reasons. Some are pudgy as a child and grow out of it, others are genetically more prone to being large, others just make bad choices or refrain from exercise, but some people suffer from Binge Eating Disorder. This disorder involves a terrible addiction to food and can never fully go away in some cases, similar to Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa. It’s not uncommon to have an addiction to food, but no matter the cause of extra weight, a lot of overweight people tend to feel ashamed. Perhaps this is the cause of the general reflex to make a scene. Anger and embarrassment towards yourself is often confused as anger towards someone else. Or people just tend to blame others for their misfortune.
Although the cause of this outrage may be unclear, one thing is for sure: everyone is uncomfortable. Bystanders don’t know what to do. Some laugh at them, others pretend they don’t notice anything going on, others don’t even know what’s going on. Everyone wants nothing be their personal fault: “It’s her fault my ferret didn’t win the show. She bought different shampoo and it was all I could use.” “He started it, I just punched him is all.” This habit of shifting blame has led to the social epidemic of obese people awkwardly complaining about the size of things around them. We have all witnessed it at some point. It’s terrible. In this day and age, the idea of average size has been exterminated. The average size is now extremely large. But does this mean that manufacturers, engineers, and architects have to compromise the safety and comfort of healthily sized people for that of obese people? Or can a happy medium be achieved?




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Daydreamer1997 said...
Jun. 5, 2010 at 12:39 am:
I agree with everything in your article except the last bit. The average clothing size in America is Supermodel skinny and most of the teenagers I know can't get the cutest thing on the rack because it doesn't come in a real persons size.
 
ZiggyStardust replied...
Jun. 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm :
I agree with you completely, but that's not what I was saying exactly. I was saying that the a lot of the population is increasingly obese and it's no longer that an "average" size is a healthy and normal weight. You are so right though, we are expected to be perfect and a size 2, and the reality is that a lot of us teens are a healthy size and yet end up feeling like we are inferior just because the clothing brands and magazines try to type-cast everyone so much.
 
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