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This plus-size model stood up to a man who body-shamed her on an airplane

'My body is also none of your business and you have no idea what I can and can't do with it.'

Words by Bethany Biron

From the editors of HelloGiggles

Air travel is never an enjoyable experience. When a bunch of traveling strangers are crammed together in the sky, stress runs high. That said, no one should ever be subjected to body-shaming on a plane (or ever), like what happened to plus-size Instagram model Natalie Hage.

While on a flight to Los Angeles for a photoshoot, she encountered an insanely rude seat mate. Before the plane took off, Hage caught him texting hateful messages to his friend about her body.

In a photo she posted on Instagram, you can see a portion of the exchange, which starts with the friend saying, ‘Hopefully she didn’t have any Mexican food.’

The man responds, ‘I think she ate a Mexican.’

He then proceeded to make more hateful comments, which Hage documents in her post.

i'm shaking right now. i'm on a flight to LA right now on @americanair. i paid almost $70 extra for this seat i'm in because i know i need a little extra leg room. i'm extremely flight anxious but there were only middle seats available so i had to take what i could get. as soon as i sat down, the gentleman on my left began LOUDLY huffing, sighing, and readjusting himself in his seat. i see him furiously texting and then purposefully turning the phone away from me. so, naturally next time he texts, i take a look. the texts were about me and i'm almost positive he took photos of me. not only were the texts about me, but they were really mean and ugly, with even the recipient named 'linda' chiming back with shaming retorts…someone who can't even see the situation. if you can't read the texts, it says 'hopefully she didn't have any mexican food' and his response is 'i think she ate a mexican'. then he proceeds to say he's leaving a 'neck mark on the window' because he's so smashed against the wall. from the photos, you can see i'm not in his space. he's even taken over both arm rests on purpose, coming to my space and digging his elbows into my side…which is in my seat. his next text to her was 'if the news reports a DFW airbus a321 leaving the runway without rotating, that would be my flight.' another i see later? 'if these seats don't hold, it's not going to matter.' and that's just a few of them. there were several more. i didn't do anything to him. i'm in my seat, completely (see photos). i am crumpled into a ball trying to not bother. i'm just so upset. i asked the other man to my right if he'd switch me and told him what the man was saying about me and he said laughed and refused. that's fine, it's not his issue. this is a fat person's daily reality and not just on a plane. this is on a bus, standing in line at the grocery store, at a concert, on the internet. you can be completely in your own space, not bothering anyone, and people will still fuck with you and try to hurt you. all you can do is know you haven't done anything wrong just by existing and to move on. this just makes me a mixture of enraged and super sad.

A post shared by natalie. (@nataliemeansnice) on

Hage decided to confront the man for his hurtful comments. After the plane landed in California, she filmed her discussion with the man. In just a few days, the post has more than one million views, 7,000 reactions and 3,000 shares on Facebook.

Fans and commenters saluted Hage for fighting the good fight, and we could not agree more.

In the video, Hage begins by introducing herself and calling him out for the text messages. He immediately denies it. Then he apologies, claiming he did it because he was drinking.

Um, what? That is NOT an excuse. There is never anything, including alcohol, that justifies treating someone like that.

Next, Hage, equally as appalled, continues to shut down the man’s atrocious behaviour. The man then has the audacity to belittle her for choosing a seat in an emergency exit row.

Hage continues to handle this with grace, explaining she works out five days a week, she works as a model, and she can absolutely handle the exit row.

Hage responds with absolute bravado before exiting the plane.

‘My body is none of your business, and you have no idea what I can or can’t do with it…don’t ever treat anyone like that again,” she says.

The man even tries to ask her out to dinner ‘for the trouble.’ Are you kidding us? So much respect to Hage for sharing her story and fighting body shamers.

Then, Hage continued to be a role model and inspiration to women everywhere.

‘I’m so tired of fat people being a social punching bag. I won’t stand for it. Hope this dude learned something today,’ she wrote on Instagram.

You go, girl.

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