. . .In a piece for the Huffington Post, Jana Schmiedling of the “Woman of Size” podcast says that she mostly enjoyed her experience at the theme park until a dark cloud descended upon her day when she attempted to participate in the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” ride.
When Jana reached the front of the line, she and her friends allegedly made it all the way into seats until “one of the 20-something ride managers walked over and asked us all to step off because of a ‘safety’ issue.'” It should be noted here that prior to Jana’s entry, a plus-sized friend who previously made the venture cautioned her that this might happen. Jana, however, decided to take her chances. . .
For Jana, the experience indeed “fat-shamed” her and she feels that some of that stemmed from how the Harry Potter series presents “big characters,” which reflects the broader culture. “Upon further investigation, the books and movies have only a few big characters and most of them are antagonistic,” she writes. “The Fat Lady painting is obnoxious and bossy. The Dursleys are lazy and entitled. Crabbe and Goyle are both fat dunces who follow the orders of the lithe, vampire-looking Draco Malfoy. Hogwarts absolutely condones this and so does the general public.”
Being unable to participate in the ride made Jana feel like a victim of “size-based discrimination” that she and her community have been combating for years. She claims this discrimination is so insidious that it made her actually wish she “were small enough to take the Hogwarts ride.”
“That’s the impact of exclusion: It makes a person internalize an entire system of institutional hatred,” she writes. “Exclusion and shame are not motivational techniques; they’re forms of bullying. Exclusion makes me, a logical and educated person, believe that I’m at fault for not fitting into this ride instead of recognizing that rides should accommodate all people’s bodies. Apply this thinking to race or gender discrimination or disabled accessibility, and you have yourself the hot stew we’re in today.” (Read more from “Woman Says Harry Potter Ride ‘Fat-Shamed’ Her Because She Couldn’t Fit, Calls for ‘Inclusive’ Design Changes” HERE)