“The bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.” — Roxane Gay, bestselling author of Bad Feminist and Hunger
Everyone knows what it feels like to want to fit in — but what about fearing that you literally won’t fit? It’s a very real anxiety that many fat people face every single day, from stadium seats to restaurant booths. The world is set up with a certain sized human in mind, and anyone significantly larger than that must make do on their own — often to the tune of humiliation, scrutiny, and even animosity if they ask for accommodations or assistance.
When someone can’t fit into a chair with arms or needs a belt extender on a flight, we tend to think they are the problem for being too big — not the proprietor for making their accommodations too small.
This is a sentiment that goes straight to the root of fatphobia: that a person’s humanity is contingent upon the size of their body, and any deviation from the acceptable norm is a personal failing. Fat people who can’t fit should just get smaller, right?
Because expecting a human being to control and contain their actual existence is WAY more effective than buying some chairs without armrests.
Make no mistake: this isn’t just about sturdier chairs. This is about the pain and humiliation of being told, “You must be this thin to engage with the world.” Restaurants that don’t have accommodations for customers of size aren’t just being inconsiderate; they’re contributing to the pervasive idea that being fat renders you undeserving of something as simple as a nice meal out with friends and family.
That fat bodies are unwanted and unwelcome in public spaces.
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It’s enough to make anyone stay home and not try at all, which is what a lot of people do. Because it’s not just that so many places are not size-inclusive — there are even fewer spaces that make that information available. Something as simple as finding a bistro with sturdy chairs requires straight-up PI levels of sleuthing. How far apart are the tables? Are booths the only option? Will the bar stools support my weight? Will the waitstaff be hostile if I ask about size-friendly options?
AllGo wants to answer all those questions right from the start and make sure that no one ever feels ashamed about the space they take up. No one should feel too worried about accessibility to leave their home. No one should have to search through every Yelp review looking for scraps of information about whether a place is size-friendly. No one should go out for a night with friends, only to be told that they are too big to participate in the activity everyone else can access without a second thought.
The world is a big place; there’s definitely room for all of us.
AllGo is a yelp-like service based out of Portland, Oregon that hopes to gather and share information about size-accessibility in public spaces. The review-based app will judge venues based on both comfort and accessibility for people of size, meaning that it doesn’t just help you know whether you’ll fit — it will help you find and enjoy spaces where you are welcome.
The project has launched on Kickstarter with support from big names in the fat community. Tess Holliday, Roxane Gay, and a whole lineup of fat acceptance bloggers and activists have given their support. AllGo is heavily researched and ready to be shared with the world — it just needs a little help with the initial costs of programming, beta testing, and distribution. It’s expensive to launch a successful review app, and crowdfunding is key in not only providing financial support, but also showing media venues and future investors that people value and look forward to using a product that might seem niche to them — especially one that caters to such a marginalized demographic.
Which leads to a question I know a lot of people are asking: Why should people who won’t need AllGo support it?
Chances are, you love someone who is fat. If you don’t already, I’d highly recommend it. We are soft and fun to cuddle and in real need of your allyship. As a size 18ish (LOL @ plus-size women's sizing), I face few to no physical barriers that go beyond access to clothing. I have never had to worry about whether a chair could fit or hold my weight. I don’t have to worry about buying two plane tickets. I’ve always been able to walk into an amusement park without wondering whether I’d be able to get on any of the rides. I can go out with my thin friends without first needing to research where we’re going to see if seating or spacing will work for me… the list of the privileges I have because of my closer proximity to the ideal female body is staggering.
But I know and love too many people who can’t move through the world with that ease.
I can’t think of a better use of my advantages than to lend my voice and my wallet to a cause that gives them access to the things so essential to my happiness and mobility that I often take them for granted.
AllGo co-founder and fierce fat boss babe Rebecca Alexander says, "If you have a single fat friend or family member, you should back this campaign for them. AllGo will save fat people the humiliation that comes from going somewhere and literally not being able to fit. And that is a gift worth giving."