A 21-year old student at the University of Iowa is accusing the local hangout, Union Bar, of size discrimination because its staff berated her for her weight and forbid her from dancing on a table/stage with the rest of her thinner friends.

When she asked the security guards why they wouldn’t allow her onto the platform after her friends and others had been permitted, Ramos said they told her it was because she “was not pretty enough” and because she was “obviously pregnant.”

Ramos said the experience left her embarrassed and angry. She said she has heard from other people who’ve had similar experiences and is considering filing a complaint with the Iowa City Human Rights Commission.

“It made me start questioning myself and thinking, ‘Are my friends so much better than me?’ I know they’re thinner, but those bouncers made them seem more valuable,” she said.

Anyone with a bit of empathy and awareness of how the world works when it comes to the way society values women’s bodies probably sees where Ramos is coming from. There are many establishments that treat anyone considered unattractive like trash, all over the country, and they do it every day. She should be upset, and even if her being treated poorly because of her weight isn’t particularly surprising, it’s got to sting and is certainly unfair.

But I do have to wonder how the story of a college girl who wants to fight for her constitutional right to dance on tables made it out of Iowa City to national news outlets. Ramos did move forward with her Human Rights Commission complaint, a process that has fallen flat since the group informed her that there is no size discrimination law in the state of Iowa. She has organized a rally in front of the bar to draw attention to the poor treatment even though the bar’s owner insists that he would never want anyone treated that way in his establishment. She is doing the right thing.

However, is her case the one that will change weight discrimination laws?


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