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  • Writer's pictureDemi Lynch

Why Aren't Theatre Seats Accessible For Fat People?



This week I went to the theatre to see one of my favourite musicals.


However, what was meant to be a fun night turned into a nightmare.


I arrived at the theatre and the foyer was packed with hundreds of people.


My large body could barely make its way through the crowd.


It was a hot night and there were no fans or air conditioning.


I could feel all my makeup drip off my face.


My dress was drenched in sweat.


I had to take myself outside twice as I was getting too overwhelmed by the heat and the crowds.


There were barely any seats and nowhere to catch my breath.


Once I began to make my way into the theatre I started to feel faint and dizzy.


I became worried.


Was the theatre going to be hot too?


However, when I got to my seat things got much worse.


I couldn't fit in my seat.


I couldn't even sit on the edge of the seat let alone squeeze my fat body between the arm rests.


I was struggling to breathe.


I felt like all eyes were on me.


I felt like everyone was judging me.


I felt like everyone knew I was too fat for these seats.


A line of people were behind me trying to get past me to their seats.


I stood to the side near the stairs.


People were talking to me but I couldn't hear anything.


The room was spinning and more sweat leaked down my body.


I could barely see but I ran down the crowded staircase.


I knew people were staring but at that point I didn't care - I just needed to get out of there.


Tears and sweat poured down my face as I ran through the crowds of people.


I felt like I was breathing for the first time when I got outside.


I felt like someone had just lifted their foot off my chest.


I held onto the picket fence outside the theatre and focused on my breathing.


My chest felt so weak.


I continued to cry and gasp for air as I held onto the fence for balance.


People continued to walk by and stare.


I eventually had to sit on the front steps as I could no longer stand.


People continued to walk by and stare.


A staff member even walked by three times to have a smoke.


He just stared at me.


Judged me.


He didn't ask if I was okay or why I was shaking and crying on the ground.


 

I originally wasn't going to share this story.


But I thought maybe, just maybe, sharing this experience will make people understand that we live in a fatphobic society.


We live in a world where fat people aren't welcome.


If the seats were larger and the foyer had more chairs and fans - I could've watched my favourite musical this week.


But instead I sat outside on my own feeling like my body was an embarrassment.


I shouldn't feel like I have to change my body in order to fit a chair?


Why can't people just consider fat bodies like mine when they build and buy seats for planes, waiting rooms, theme park rides and the cinemas?


Fat people exist; we're not going anywhere.


So why not actually accommodate us?!


 

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