Fat-tax for airplane passengers

In the Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management Dr. Bharat P. Bhatta proposed a model to determine the price of a person’s flight ticket. This method of pricing is said to “provide significant benefits to airlines, passengers and society at large.” The way in which doctor Bharat intends to charge people with his method is to set a base fare, then establish a predetermined discount to customers who are under the weight designated as low. In addition, people who are over the weight threshold will have to endure a predetermined extra charge. In addition, Dr. Bharat proposes to measure every 1 of 5 passengers to ensure accuracy and no lying.


Although this may be obvious, I think that this report was formulated to increase profit and was not really considering the effects it may have on the world as a whole. The methods that are being derived to determine the price of a person’s flight ticket should not only increase profit but also consider the ramifications it has on popular culture.

This method of pricing tickets does not seem fair to me at all. The pressure on the North American society to maintain the ideal body image portrayed by popular culture has just gone to the next level. What is meant by next level is that at one time media was the only factor that was important enough to effect popular culture. The appearance of stars from Hollywood was used to portray the ideal male and female image. Even though media is still a huge factor in popular culture real-life critics at the airport labeling a person as overweight or underweight is going to put added pressure on popular culture. As mentioned above, in the report itself, the doctor states the there will significant benefits to passengers and society. Although I do not understand how this will benefit all the passengers and society at large, this method of pricing will uphold and reinforce the popular culture belief that people with the ideal body image have better opportunities in society.

This method of pricing is also not fair for people who have health problems, which disable them to have the ideal body image. For example, people with thyroid conditions, which are serious, make them gain weight and these individuals cannot control it. Individuals who are overweight should not be segregated from the rest of the population and do not deserve to pay extra charges to get on a flight.

Furthermore, this report focuses on being overweight as a problem in need of a cure rather than providing a less discriminatory society. This is a reoccurring theme in popular culture today, which must be stopped! Instead of scientists working on charging passengers based upon their weight they should be trying to find ways to create planes, which weigh less. They could be trying to find materials that weigh less or have more effective ways of powering flight.

Although lowering the weight of the plane may save money in fuel and thus decrease CO2 emissions is that a good enough reason to start weighing people and charging them for their appearance?





Oscars 2013

The Oscars just recently took place, although I did not watch it, numerous amounts of my friends were telling me how Seth McFarlane, the host of the Oscars 2013 was being very sexist. Even though this is not a new thing to happen in Hollywood, I was surprised to hear such crude and cheap remarks made about women at an award show tendered to promote great films.


Seth McFarlane opens the show with a monologue called “We saw your boobs” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saHG2MLDfPI). This song consisted of him singing about the various actresses who displayed their breasts in films followed by a chorus: “We saw your boobs, in that movie that we saw, we saw your boobs!” Later on he starts listing off specific movies in which the actresses were topless. Some of the actresses were present at the Oscars and their reactions to the monologues were shown. One of the actresses covers her face in a shameful manner, which to me did not seem very funny at all.


Later in the monologue, Seth made the remark “we haven’t seen Jennifer Lawrence’s boobs at all.” Although nudity of women is so common in films of today, there is still a double standard when it comes down to it. Near the end of the monologue Seth points out that Kate Winslet has been in numerous topless scenes. He portrays her as being scandalous by saying that she’s probably nude in whatever movie she’s filming right now.


Scarlett Johansson is also brought up in the monologue, saying “we saw her boobs not on the big screen, but on our mobile phones”. As soon as I heard this reference I couldn’t help but think about the women who are blackmailed into suicide by naked pictures being threatened to be leaked on the Internet. This is a very popular issue in India, people taking pictures on their cellphone while girls are showering or changing then blackmailing these females into having sex. This is not something that should be made fun of and should not be taken lightly.


Furthermore, as the night goes on McFarlane consistently makes remarks about women almost portraying them as objects.  He has made outrageous comments and is targeting almost all the women that were at the award ceremony. As mentioned above, Hollywood is known for objectifying women but this has got to change. Humor is often used to undermine women and portray them as sexual objects. There are many other ways to enlighten a crowd but Seth McFarlane took it to another level by using very derogatory comments towards the women. Showcasing women’s bodies has always been a problem in Hollywood. From smash hits like James bond it has been clear for decades that women in Hollywood are encouraged and even pressured to lose more and more weight in order to be considered at the top of their profession. Women are usually never judged on their performances in movies but their aesthetic appeal. Paparazzi and media as a whole spend remarkable amounts of time and money talking about how the actresses are dressed and the “do’s and don’ts of the red carpet” rather than focusing on their talent, which ultimately creates the actresses image.


Finally, a female protagonist who “wears the pants!”

The term “Hegemony” refers to the dominance of one group of people has over others. For example, the wealthy class might have hegemony over the middle and poor class due to their ability to use money to influence aspects of society. Hegemonic masculinity is another aspect of hegemony that involves the segregation of and demotion of women from man. Although hegemonic masculinity can be seen everywhere in media and society today, one show stands to eliminate this view. The show Suits follows a college drop out, Mike Ross, who accidentally lands a job with one of New York’s best lawyers, Harvey Spector, this show illustrates their struggles trying to win cases and the friction within the firm itself. The Boss of this firm is a character named Jessica Pearson, who is a woman and is a racial minority. Her character displays reverse hegemonic roles and inverse gender roles. Usually in media, hegemony is shown in white males over other people but in this show, Jessica is shown to have masculine characteristics usually associated with the gender roles of males. Some of the characteristics she shows are: courage, inner direction and considerable amounts of toughness in mind and body, which are usually associated with males. Furthermore, suits dispels preconceived ideas of man and women. Although we see the idealistic male gender roles in Harvey Spector, he is more or less controlled by Jessica Pearson and the character shows that she “wears the pants” in the firm by taking charge and controlling the actions of the people that work under her. An example of reverse hegemonic and gender roles can be seen in the interaction of Jessica Pearson with another character from the show, “I put you out once. When I beat you this time, they’re going to have to peel you off the wall.” This quote shows a sense of aggression, courage and strength, which is usually portrayed in male characters but never female characters. Furthermore, females are often depicted as passive, not making their own decisions and beautiful. When they do make a decision or manage to convey an opinion in media, the decision is usually portrayed as a bad decision and leads to destruction. This is not the case with Jessica in suits because the characters’ decisions are shown to be wise, tactical and of a true leader. Furthermore, when one of the co-stars makes a mistake she is the one to clean it up and make it right; this is not what is usually depicted in popular culture. In popular culture we are shown that once the female makes a mistake the hero or male comes sweeping down to save her and fix the problem.


Additionally, the character Jessica Pearson is a black female, which breaks racial roles as well. In media today, not many minorities are displayed as the “boss”. Thus, media today portrays the ideal boss or hegemonic character as being white and male. Therefore, a black female being the boss is completely opposite to the views of today’s society. In addition, a study done on movies showed that “Black women are shown as being violent in movies 56% of the time compared to the 11% of white women.” (http://voices.yahoo.com/racial-stereotypes-media-38872.html?cat=9) This shows that minorities are depicted as having animal like qualities and are vulgar human beings. Which is certainly not true but is how media today displays the non-idealistic characters, meaning not being a white male or female.


In conclusion, do you think that as society matures and learns to incorporate more realistic images of races that gender roles will be exterminated? Do you think the male-female complex (hegemonic masculinity) will ever change and if so how?