I Can't Tell Fat Women From Pregnant Women When I'm On The Subway

This is rather an old article, but since I've posted on the topic before, I thought this might be of interest to readers.

According to The Telegraph, weaselly English commuters responded to weaselly queries from two weaselly surveys asking why pregnant women were so seldom given seats in public transportation. These surveys were taken in response to a website's claim that 4 out of 5 women they had questioned had been left standing while in their third trimester.

Third trimester. That is, visibly pregnant.

The weaselly response to these secondary surveys? That "the majority of expectant mothers cannot find a seat on buses and trains because their fellow passengers cannot distinguish between a pregnant woman's bump and the figure of an obese woman".

I have no idea how these two surveys were conducted, but it cannot have been professionally, because that's just a lie. Or maybe the majority of us prefer to lie to ourselves. Rarely, very rarely, there might be some question, but women in their third trimester are almost always obviously pregnant.

But we grant that you can't tell. You have some sort of pregnancy blindness. The solution?

What you should be doing all along, as awkward as it might seem. Give up your seat to every woman. Everyday fat women get tired too. Done. You don't even have to make a big deal out of it.

Here is another article in the N.Y. Times on the no-giving-up-seat-to-pregnant-women phenomenon. In this one the woman says she's much more likely to be given a seat when inconvenienced by strollers, children, or groceries. Just not when she's pregnant. There's some sort of strange fear at play here, and I must meditate further to determine what it is. "Everyone's an asshole" seems too simplistic.

From the Times article:
If anyone did give up a seat — which, O.K., did happen, on days when there was a partial eclipse, a unicorn sighting and alternate-side parking suspended, or when I finally started asking for one — the donors appeared in this order of likelihood: (1) older woman, (2) younger woman, (3) minority man.

A white man? Not on the list. Didn’t happen. Not once. Oh wait, once. That guy with a Playbill from “Jersey Boys.” Not a local.

My friends had the same experience.

One recalled, “Even at 32 weeks, I had young, suited, hearty-looking, Wall Street Journal-reading men outsprint me for a seat.”

Another said, “The first person who offered me a seat was an old Chinese woman with a lot of bags who looked so frail that I insisted she sit back down.”

I am at a loss to explain this. My husband, a white guy, would offer his seat to just about anyone. Why are the pregsters never on his train?

Perhaps you think people don’t offer women seats because they don’t want to make the faux pas of mistaking pregnant for fat. Fine. But then explain why would we be fat below ground but pregnant above? You see, for everyone who failed me on the subway, there was someone on the street who held a door or let me cut the bathroom line at Starbucks.