Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Right to refuse service

Have you ever attempted to enter store or restaurant or bar and been stopped at the door and refused entrance? If you are at an exclusive nightclub, this may be the case. If the restaurant is full, yes. In recent days, in some stores, only a couple of kids may be allowed into a store at one time. But the others get to come in later.

But generally, I go through my day with the understanding that I will not be stopped at a door to a business and told, "You are not allowed."

But in England, a group of fat women experienced just that recently.

Now, I know you may be thinking, why would you want to go where you are not wanted? Because sometimes you want to have fun, or have dinner out, or go shopping in any store that you feel like.

And, what makes this further a problem: the women (who've set up a facebook protest page) charge that fat men were not also stopped from entering. So it's just fat women that are offensive and not allowed. Lovely.

Although many may pass this off as simply annoying the sheer misogyny of it is amazing. To define what's acceptable for women in a particular way, then to deny access to a public place on the basis of that is plainly offensive.

But those fat men should not brush this off either. While this is clearly the case of catering to the male customers of the establishment, it is quite possible that in the future someone may complain to a manager that they are disgusted by seeing fat people eat in a restaurant, and decisions about allowing fat people access could be made. Or a government may entertain a bill in it's legislature which would bar access to fat people from restaurants (yes, it didn't pass, but it was drafted and submitted).

The truth is that in most parts of this country, weight discrimination is not protected against. I know that certain readers of my blog would argue against further government intrusion into our lives, but in cases of discrimination I strongly disagree. Because of size people are being denied jobs, being denied the right to adopt children they have fostered for years, being threatened with denial of benefits that are accorded to other employees regardless of circumstances. In other countries, companies are being fined if they cannot regulate the size of their workers' waistlines. Indeed, opinions against fat people are so strong that researchers had to prove common stereotypes were wrong!

A protest is scheduled for Friday, and if I didn't have a GI appointment, I might be buying a ticket for my fat female self to join it.


Rubenesque & Proud! said...

This is just disgusting. It's discrimination pure and simple, and being seen as a "a lawful commercial decision" make's it all the worse...I guess it's ok because they were "just fat women" but I bet it would be a completely different story if it was a race thing right? If they were black, Chinese or Hindi and told they wouldn't be let in because of it then it would be an atrocity correct? Yet all three of those are just a difference of appearance, same as "fat", so why on earth would it be OK to discriminate due to size when it's not OK to do so for color/race? Just one more indication of the liberal biase of the media in my opinion!

Hyde said...

I agree- it's frightening and awful and I 100% think there should be anti-discrimination laws. Ugh...

Cody Bones said...

Spins, first and foremost, I think it's a horrendous way for any human to act, and I totally condemn it. Now, that being said, I am one of the people you mentioned when you said that "I know that certain readers of my blog would argue against further government intrusion into our lives"

The government cannot tell us what to think or who to associate with. I realize that there is some collateral damage that comes with this line of thinking, but I REFUSE to let the government legislate morality. If this club in the U.K doesn't want a certain clientèle, fine, fuck em if they are ignorant, Go somewhere else. It's not up to the government to tell me who I can or can't associate with. I feel very nervous ceding this power to the government, because, quite honestly, I don't trust them to do what I consider right. I hate having to disagree with you, but I think that in this case Freedom to associate trumps discrimination. I am in favor of the protest of course. This should be handled without government interference.

spinsterwitch said...

I'm grinning as I write this because it was you I was talking about Cody :).

It's fine to disagree, and I'm happy you have other opinions. I think one of the ways that balance happens is when people with differing opinions participate in the same process.

If business were not something that the government were involved in, then I would agree with you more. But someone gives licenses to businesses and in so doing makes them responsible to certain laws requiring public access. If this were a private club or house not licensed as a business, I would totally agree with you.