There are all kinds of amateur opportunities to prove your talent, many of which are provided free of charge, or sometimes in exchange for your having a drink or two at the bar. For example, there were many people who got to hear my lack of singing talent over the handful of years that I lived in Seattle and went on a regular basis to a handful of karaoke bars and belted out some of my favorite tunes. There were many other people who also sang, some of whom sang far worse than I and yet they were never prevented from doing so.

At a bar in Iowa City, Iowa, however, a young woman was barred from dancing on the bar platform because they clearly felt that she was too fat to dance on said platform. At first she was told that there were too many women already dancing on the platform and that she would not fit. When a few of them came down she was again blocked. When she returned with some thinner friends, they had no problem getting on the platform. It was at this point that she demanded to know what was going on and they told her that she was obviously pregnant and should not be on the stage.

This would be a valid argument if it weren’t for the fact that she was not at all pregnant and they were just using language meant to sound non-discriminatory while at the same time being nothing but discriminatory. Unfortunately, there are no laws preventing discrimination on the basis of weight when there is no issue of health or safety — it’s not as though the platform had some slight weight limit and would topple over if it hit a certain number. Imagine if someone had stepped up to the platform and the bouncer had said, “I’m sorry, but you’re just too gay to dance on this platform” or “You’re just too Black to dance on this platform” — neither would be acceptable and neither should weight discrimination.

From the perspective of the bar, they are probably concerned that they might have an image that suffers if they let people dance on the platform that are less than their ideal of beauty — but is that really the case? Beauty is in fact in the eye of the beholder and for every person that looks at a stick thin model there is another person that gags at the sight of said model and offers to buy a Vegan cheeseburger. I think it would be far more bold — and beautiful, naturally — if the bar would embrace everyone that wanted to dance on their platform and push their diversity onto the world, making it that much more of a pretty place.

8 Comments

  1. This is a fascinating topic, Gordon. You’d think the bar would have been smarter than this and made it a “safety issue” that people over a certain weight would make the bar unstable for dancing or something and it becomes an insurance liability issue… sort of like how Southwest Airlines makes people who don’t fit into a single seat pay for two seats for “safety reasons.”

    1. Thanks, David. I once sat next to a person on an airplane who made me ever so uncomfortable because he had to put part of his arm a little over my armrest and nearly on my lap — so in some cases a second seat might be justified!

      Those bar platforms are designed to hold a few tons just in case there’s powerful gyrations — they can’t use weight as an excuse! Alas.

      1. Yeah, the article also said the girl in question “wasn’t pretty enough,” too — so there’s definitely something unkind going on there.

        I agree on the airplane seat issue. They’re a certain size. If you don’t fit, you need to not put that pain on other passengers!

  2. This sort of thing happens in bars and clubs all the time – and yes, sometimes it is “too Black” or “too gay” or even “too Blond” or too “straightlaced looking.” It all comes down to image and, especially in the cases where the club wants diversity, people not fitting the right mold or demographic are turned away.

    Studio 54 made their name by doing this. They had a plan for diversity and regulated the patrons mercilessly to fit that plan.

      1. But they are ever so good for ‘people watching’. Kinda like sitting at a Starbucks; yet a different breed. I’ve looked and watched over the years (let the record show, I’m NO regular) and tried to peer into their lives by watching what they do and say….
        Most times one can see more than they want to. People don’t go to bars because they’re happy; it’s to forget (usually). Then I am reminded of what a blessed existence I have.

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