Jae’lynn Chaney shares advice for plus-sized travelers to over 127,000 followers on TikTok.
Chaney received a wave of abuse about her personal appearance after her travel tips went viral.
She told Insider the negativity has motivated her to provide further advocacy for plus-size people.
A TikToker was bombarded with abuse after she went viral with a series of videos that featured advice for plus-sized travelers.
Jae’lynn Chaney, a 26-year-old TikToker from Vancouver, Washington, with over 127,000 followers started making videos about her experience as a plus-size traveler in 2021, when she noticed there was very little advice for larger people who wanted to see the world.
“I often felt lost and in need of guidance, reassurance, and answers, but unfortunately, there wasn’t much out there to help me,” she told Insider. “I knew that I wasn’t alone in this experience, and I felt compelled to do something about it.”
Chaney posted her first video about airline travel in August 2021 with the title, “Flying while fat,” covering topics such as how many seats a plus-size person may need to book in advance, the availability of seat belt extenders, and how to find the dimensions of specific seats before you travel.
The video received a modest 25,000 views and an overwhelmingly positive response from the comment section, where many viewers thanked Chaney for her advice. However, as Chaney’s videos on the subject started to gain traction on the app, the community she’d created was flooded with a barrage of hate.
Chaney received a wave of abuse after her travel tips went viral
In early 2022, Chaney uploaded many more videos about airline travel from the perspective of a plus-size person, including a post she shared in February about the most plus-size friendly aircraft, which blew up with over 1.7 million views, bringing with it a broader audience.
“The hate-filled and harassing comments on my videos have been particularly challenging to deal with,” Chaney told Insider. “Some commenters have used derogatory language and made violent threats towards me, suggesting that I’m promoting unhealthy habits and putting myself and others in danger. Others have gone as far as placing bets on when they think I will die.”
In June 2022, Chaney uploaded a two–part video series further addressing the hateful response she continued to receive. In the clips, Chaney said she’d tried to delete the comments to create a “safe space for my community” but was overwhelmed by the sheer number of them and couldn’t keep up.
Chaney told Insider comments also went after members of her community who tried to step in. “My supporters have been targeted for showing support or asking me questions. They have been subjected to similar types of online bullying and harassment, which is unacceptable,” she said.
Chaney has no plans to stop making videos and said the hate motivates her further
Regardless of the abuse, Chaney continues to upload her brand of travel-based insights and advice for plus-size people, opting to disable comments on some videos where the negativity becomes too much.
She told Insider she has learned to approach the online abuse with “a level head and a positive mindset” and reminds herself “not everyone will agree with my perspective or experiences.” She said she tries her best to differentiate between constructive criticism and hate speech, choosing to engage with anything that can improve her videos, but outright ignoring any blatant negativity.
“Despite the challenges, I believe it’s important to continue speaking up about the experiences of plus-size travelers,” Chaney said. “Travel should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their size or shape.”
Chaney is not the only person to speak out about the difficulties of traveling for larger people. In 2018, author Aubrey Gordon wrote an anonymous blog post that went hugely viral, titled “A request from your fat friend: what I need when we talk about bodies.” She wrote that she was: “Fat enough that getting on an airplane makes my blood run cold, because they might kick me off, without a refund for my ticket, or they might charge me double, and then I will have to explain to my friends, job, family why I can’t make it on that trip.”
Chaney told Insider she’s received an “overwhelming amount of positive feedback from plus-size travelers” in response to her videos, adding, “Many of them have reached out to me with specific questions or to seek advice, and it has been so rewarding to be able to offer them support and encouragement.”
Even though the online abuse can be “overwhelming” at times, Chaney told Insider, far from deterring her from making content, it has motivated her to raise further awareness. “If anything, it pushes me to create more content that challenges stereotypes and promotes diversity and inclusivity in travel,” she said.
Read the original article on Insider
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