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This Woman's "Traveling As A Fat Person" Series Highlights Issues In The Hotel Industry, And It's Starting An Important Conversation

"Fat, plus-size people deserve to be seen as valid human beings in an industry that should cater to everyoneʻs size and physical needs."

This is Mary Fran Donnelly, a 27-year-old teacher and body positivity advocate whose Traveling as a Fat Person series has caught the collective attention of over 6.4 million viewers on TikTok.

Mary Fran started the series while on a family vacation, when she and her sister were shocked by the layout of their hotel's bathroom. The social studies teacher immediately began cracking jokes and pointing out all of the room's design flaws, while her sister whipped out a camera and cackled along.

@itsmaryfran

Because Tik Tok thinks I’m bullying MYSELF, here’s the re-upload for the besties

♬ original sound - Mary Fran

"Let's take a look at the bathroom," Mary Fran said in the opening of her first video in the series. "Would you like to take a pee or a poop? Don't worry — you'll barely fit."

TikTok: @itsmaryfran / Via tiktok.com

Moving from the toilet to the shower, Mary Fran also showed her reality of simply trying to use the hotel's towel to dry off. However, as she demonstrates, "It won't fit."

TikTok: @itsmaryfran / Via tiktok.com

Pool towels prove to offer a bit more coverage, but not by much, and Mary Fran pointed out that they often leave the wearer having to pick between covering their back, their front, or a side of their body.

TikTok: @itsmaryfran / Via tiktok.com

"After a swim, maybe you want to go sit on the balcony," the 27-year-old said next, hoping to enjoy one of the amenities that came with her hotel room. "Oh look, a lovely table with a chair. Will it house me? I'm not too sure."

TikTok: @itsmaryfran / Via tiktok.com

As she eased onto the chair, Mary Fran's face immediately shifted from skeptical to one of discomfort before she snorted a laugh and sarcastically called it "stable."

Though it's hard not to laugh along with her sister, who is ~wheezing~ behind the camera, Mary Fran told BuzzFeed: "I cope through humor...I was making light of a situation that is a very real stress for fat, plus-size people...my sister and I could only laugh at how absurd it was."

@itsmaryfran

Traveling as a Fat Person Episode 2

♬ original sound - Mary Fran

Each demonstration shows real challenges that she and many others face when completing everyday tasks and actions while trying to relax on vacation.

One commenter said, "This entire video is a representation of my life"
TikTok: @itsmaryfran / Via tiktok.com

Mary Fran admitted that the obstacles she faces while traveling can sometimes impact her decision to do so. "I donʻt travel alone because I worry about strangers being upset about sitting next to me on a plane. [I also wonder,] will the seat be uncomfortable? Will the seat belt fit? Will the towel fit at the hotel? Will the chairs at the pool hold me? Will the tables at the hotel restaurant be comfortable?" she said.

Many in her comment section can relate: "People [are] commenting about [how] these little things, like hotel towels, lounge chairs, and toilet placement, aren't an isolated worry for one person; there is a whole community of people that feels the same way. And those people [are] giving thousands of recommendations on how to alleviate some of that stress."

One person said "I always bring my own towels whenever I travel for this EXACT REASON [laughing crying emoji]"
TikTok: @itsmaryfran / Via tiktok.com

Some of the suggestions in her comment section include: buying seat belt extenders online, bringing towels from home, and researching hotel room measurements beforehand. 

But it shouldn't have to be this way.

"I don't think [the challenges I pointed out] cross the minds of most," Mary Fran shared. "But I think that it's time that [they] do. Body shapes and image have become so relevant in recent years that there isn't any excuse as to why hotel and travel industries cannot begin to reevaluate their practices. Fat, plus-size people deserve to be seen as valid human beings in an industry that should cater to everyone's size and physical needs."

You can follow Mary Fran and view her full series on TikTok.

TikTok videos not playing for you? You might need to change the settings on your device — here's how.

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