Recently, I took a trip to San Antonio for a fun day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Little did I know that this trip would be more of an eye-opening experience, than an overall adventurous one.
There was one ride a friend of mine and I decided to go on with the rest of our group, the Iron Rattler. We wait in line to aboard the ride and once we take a seat, she realizes it’s uncomfortable to sit in. The crew members walk over to help her and suggest we switch seats to try again. Once we do so, the members look back at the ride’s manager who shakes his head no. They smile and she gets off the ride, with me by her side. It was kind and dutiful that the crew members tried and weren’t rude about the ride being held up, but my friend was hurt and embarrassed that she had to get off the ride with many people as witnesses.
Though we were upset, we decided to try again and stood in line for the park’s infamous ride, the Superman. There was an option for larger seats, which relieved us a bit and gave us hope for a good time. When it was time to get on the ride, my friend and I sat in the “larger” seats, which wasn’t any different in size than the other seats; it had a double belt, instead of a single one, but no difference in the actual size of the seat. After she realized she couldn’t fit, she was distraught and embarrassed. She gave up and decided not to ride on any other rides to prevent feeling more insecure and embarrassed and sat out on all the fun she could’ve had.
After spending money, to enter this park and participate in these rides and activities, I realized that there’s a limit. A limit to participate in and what you can enjoy, because of your size and shape. These rides can cause you to lose that self-confidence and increase that self-doubt. There are so many people who are at these amusement parks all day, everyday, who simply can’t enjoy their money’s worth and along with it, get embarrassed of themselves, because of how they are.
Some people may be thinking. “maybe people shouldn’t be overweight” or “people should workout more, watch their diet, and stay fit,” but that is not how it should be. Not everyone who enters these parks are a smaller or petite size. We have to remember that today, the average American woman weighs between 140-150 lbs, with a dress size of 12-14 and that the world does consist of men and women who all do not have the same exact body type, shape and size. There are also going to be individuals who oppose, because of the engineering and structure of the rides. Yes, there is a certain weight and amount of space that is required for these machines, but the revenue brought in by the guests can be used towards making rides that have comfortable seats for everyone with every size. The money spent on tickets and ten dollar drinks can be used to generate multiple rides with options that appeal to the general public. These parks are promoting fat-shaming and are decreasing someone’s self-confidence right this minute. Inclusivity should be a motto for these parks, because they are funded by the people visiting them. People who are not the same size as shape and people who should all equally be able to participate, without feeling embarrassed and excluded.
In today’s society, change is something that is fast coming. We haven’t been shy to change other aspects and being more receptive to body positivity is something we should change too. If it’s all about being healthy, we should set our standards to the point that people who struggle with their weight have the motivation and support to actually try harder. Being able to enjoy a day with family and friends is critical for releasing stress and not being able to ride the rides made an individual, amongst many others, conscious of their insecurities, in an extremely negative way. It can make one feel as if they are being ostracized and left out because they couldn’t fit in some chair that someone behind a corporate table with money, who only looks at profit/gain, decided was the average size. Inclusivity should be a motto for these parks, because it’s in the greater good of the public and raises awareness to treat someone who can look the complete opposite of you, equally.