I Stumbled across this image in a fit of boredom today. I didn’t run across it in any particular context (though the URL seems to indicate it was part of a news article), so just looking at it straight up, what do you think of it?
On the one hand, I think it’s a great idea to have bigger seats available, to accommodate a wide range of sizes. On the other hand, why have just one? Why not make ALL the seats bigger? Having just one like that is awful othering. Plus, what if you want to sit in a bigger seat, but the only one in the row is already taken? I also find it interesting that it seems to be set at a lower height than the other chairs. I am not sure what the logic behind that would be.
Do you see this as a sign of progress? Or do you think it’s more like a finger-shaking, shaming thing?
Update: Commenter BamaGal notes that the chair is probably blue and lower to the ground because it is meant to be a handicap chair. I apologize for not considering that possibility before – that would be my able-bodied privilege, there.
I have now done what I should have done in the first place and gone to the source URL and searched The Sun’s website for the article for which the image is an accompaniment. Here is the article:
SPECIAL chairs for obese passengers have been installed in Brazil’s trains and stations to cope with the country’s soaring obesity rate.
The seats are nearly twice as wide and can support passengers weighing up to 40 STONE without breaking.
But Metro bosses in Sao Paulo say the chairs are being ignored by bigger passengers, possibly because they are too ashamed to use them.
A sign above each seat shows a cartoon of a bulky passenger that reads: “Priority chair for obese people.”
One manager said: “It may be that they don’t want to think of themselves as fat or that they resent being put in with pensioners and the disabled.”
Does this added context change how you feel about the chairs?