Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fat Admirers: Not Just Weight Gain Loving Sexists

As a matter of fact, I wouldn't say that fat admirers are any more likely to be sexist than non-fat admiring men and women. Some may wish to claim that men who prefer women with fat are still treating them like an object, thus making them sexist. I find this argument to be similar to the one people occasionally try and make which pins homosexuals as pedophiles. Because the sexual preference deviates from the norm it is then assumed that they must be sex crazed individuals who would do anything, including children. Fat admirers can also often be pinned as weight gain obsessed, often leading to the assumption that they would be willing to force feed someone against their will simply for their own sexual gratification. These, of course, are all silly arguments. Just as no one body is exactly the same, no one sexuality is exactly the same. Since of all movements the fat acceptance movement should know this, then why are fat admirers often looked down upon even within our own group?

I am currently dating a fat admirer. He reads fat acceptance blogs, is open about his preference, considers himself a feminist, and accepts my body completely as it is. He is just as much into fat rights as I am, and he loves me for who I am; whether my weight be 280 pounds, 350 pounds, or 200 pounds. He would never want me to change who I naturally am for his own "sexual gain," so when I see people within the movement label fat admirers as "creepy" or something of the sort, I feel bad for him and I feel bad for what we're doing in general for fat acceptance. Of course, not everyone in the movement dislikes fat admirers.

There are some posts in the fatosphere that display fat admiration in a positive light. I found one that stuck out through a quick search through my everyday blogs, like this one written by a fat admirer guest writer on Shapely Prose called Differently Straight. He explains well that it's not just about looking past a woman's fat, nor is it dating a fat woman because she's perceived to be easy. It's a preference that should be seen as no different from preferring a certain hair color that is often looked down upon by society. There exists a message board aimed towards fat admirers who also enjoy anime (Click at your own risk... Many members are young and immature about their preference, and some parts of the forum might either make you feel even hotter due to the sizes of women they love, or feel even more like an object and result in your feminist side being angry). On this forum, before I learned as much as I have now about fat acceptance and fat admirers, I asked these fat admirers how "coming out" was for them (see post here). A lot of the responses were surprisingly sad, explaining how much their families would/do hate them for dating fat women and such. Sometimes it seems that the hatred of fat extends so far that simply preferring a fat person over a skinny person is enough to discriminate against them too. And when it extends so far that even those involved in the fat acceptance movement dislike fat admirers, I would almost venture to say that fat admirers can be in an even worse situation, where not only general society discriminates against their preference, but they can also be looked down upon in the one place they may expect to fit in: the fat acceptance group.

In The Rotund's newest post by a guest blogger, I Am Mad at Candye Kane is mostly about being honest about one's weight. The writer threw in little comments about fat admirers though that made her seem a little less accepting as one should aspire to be in the fatosphere. She makes statements such as "[in regards to Candye Kane's songs] Some of them are borderline BBW/chubby-chaser-esque which makes me cringe...", and "[about the usage of fat terms in personal ads]... Forget about using the dread word 'fat' in a personal because it only brings out the fetishists, and they don’t want me any more than I want them." This wasn't the focus of the article of course, but a fat person doesn't have to be the center of a television show in order to showcase a dislike for them and have it be an issue.

I suppose all of this rambling is to make the point that fat admirers are not creepy fetishists who care only about fat. They're not sexist, they don't take advantage of fat women because of their size and sometimes fragile opinions of themselves, and in addition to that they're truly an important area of fat acceptance that people often overlook or feel disgusted by. There are always going to be people who go against what I've stated fat admirers to be, and that's to be expected. Perverts are perverts, regardless of the preference they have to be perverted towards. Just because a preference is perceived to be perverse, most definitely does not make it so. I for one am entirely happy with my dating a fat admirer, as it is wonderful having someone who loves every single bit of me, and finds every bit of my body attractive. It may be odd for some people to accept that a part of themselves they once hated becomes something a significant other is attracted to, but to think of it as being no different as someone preferring blondes over brunettes, et cetera, it really doesn't seem so strange, does it? So next time you come across a fat admirer, don't write them off as someone with a creepy fetish, but keep in mind that they are most likely just like you or me, only they really like that which most of us at one point hated: fat.

ALSO: I have yet to receive any entries for my forties friday, so I've decided to make it all inclusive of all ages and call it Fabulous Fatty Friday! Anyone can submit pictures of themselves proving society wrong and being adorable, pretty, or downright sexy chubby or fat women or men! Please email any entries and possibly a list of clothing worn to xxlashley (at) gmail (dot) com!


Anonymous said...

I think most people don't have a problem with people who happen to prefer fat partners, it's the danger of someone liking you solely for your fat.

Like, say I had really fantastic feet. If I met a foot fetishist who was like "Hey! You're awesome! You're nice and smart and funny and pretty and I like you! BTW, may I suck on your toe?" that would be super cool. If, on the other hand, we had nothing in common and no chemistry, and he was all "Feet feet feet feet feet! Let me touch your feet! Here, wear these stilettos while I take pictures of your feet!" I would be creeped out. It's all a matter of degree.

Piffle said...

I agree, I think most people are fine with someone having a preference for fat partners; but it gets creepy if they focus only on the fat and not the person who is fat. I think I'd use the term fetishist for those who only see the fat and not the person inside.

nukkingphutz said...

All hail the FAs of the world! LOL (Totally joking here.)

Seriously, though, I totally agree with what you've written here. I married an FA, only I didn't REALIZE he was an FA until... oh.... 'bout a month ago. Heh. Yeah, it's been quite a revelation.

I think the problem that a lot of fat women have with the idea of FAs is that they're afraid of being objectified. They don't want to be the object of someone's fetish. And I can understand that. But the problem comes when you get a "normal" FA (I don't really like that word, "normal", but I can't think of a better word right now) who just prefers fat women (or men) the same way s/he might prefer blonds... or tall people... etc. They're not even given a chance, and that's unfortunate and unfair. But it is the way it is.

Brian said...

Being fetishized is a problem, but I think all too often FAs are presumed guilty of fetishizing before they have any opportunity to do anything else. Which sometimes becomes self-fulfilling as FA's belief that because they are sexually attracted to fat people, that it must be a fetish. Though I'm disinclined to play the "FA as victim" game, it is true that the Fat Acceptance community has a long history of not engaging and often outright rejecting FAs, often specifically directing them towards communities that actually seek to subvert Fat Acceptance and oppose Size Acceptance.

I want to make a point, though, that's a pet peeve of mine. Weight gain loving sexists are NOT fat admirers. I'll allow that its possible to be an FA and also a fetishist, but weight gain enthusiasm is a fundamentally different interest with different likes, inspirations, and motivations. They may seem similar superficially, but its just on the surface. There is nothing essential to the feederist mindset in being attracted to fat people. While some might be, it is incidental to their primary interests. Feederists have long tried to blur the line between fat admirers and feederists, but the line is very, very distinct and I think it is essential to keep those identities distinct and separate.

Tiana said...

Perverts are perverts, regardless of the preference they have to be perverted towards.

Exactly! As a woman who definitely prefers fat men, I always feel offended when I read generalized descriptions of FAs as male, sexist perverts. Those may exist, but they're not the only FAs there are.

Brian: There is nothing essential to the feederist mindset in being attracted to fat people. While some might be, it is incidental to their primary interests. Feederists have long tried to blur the line between fat admirers and feederists, but the line is very, very distinct and I think it is essential to keep those identities distinct and separate.

Excuse me, but what makes you so sure about that? How do you know?? I'm under the impression that I know several people who are both at the same time. Please explain.

richie79 said...

Ashley, thank you for posting this, as it's something I think about frequently, to the extent where my preference for fat women (and other people's general reactions to it) have caused me at times to question whether I have any place in this movement. To me it is merely a preference - as you say, some men like brunettes, some like dark skin or brown eyes or whatever - and some prefer a larger partner to a thin one. It's just part of the overall package of reasons why one person might appeal on a purely physical level.

I suppose that whether or not you consider attraction to fat legitimate depends on whether you consider attraction to any visual aspect of another person legitimate. For some, particularly those of a more radical feminist standpoint, it's objectification and should be resisted; to others, a perfectly healthy part of human sexuality provided it doesn't become a fixation to the exclusion of all other aspects of a person, not least their personality.

I don't think very many so-called 'fat admirers' fall into that category.

I do however think the 'fat admirer' tag is a major part of the problem. And it's only the subordinate position of fat people within 'mainstream' culture that has resulted in those who are attracted to them being considered so deviant they warrant a whole new separate label with which normal society can otherise them. To me it's all a part of the ongoing dynamic through which fat hatred is perpetuated - convincing those who find fat people attractive to see themselves as somehow wrong and shameful is just another way of reinforcing the idea that fat people are themselves unacceptable. I don't see whole sexual identities being constructed around guys who prefer blondes, for instance, or women who desire a partner with a muscular physique. The fact that I think fat chicks are cute is just one tiny facet of one part of my overall persona.

That's why I prefer to describe it as a 'preference' rather than use acronyms which other people tell me accurately categorise me. And to follow on from Brian's point, it's no coincidence that the somewhat reductionist terms 'FA' and 'BBW' allegedly originated from a certain, highly visible magazine / website which has in my opinion done more than any to blur the 'admirer', fetishist and feeder identities and conflate them into one all-encompassing stereotype; something which concerns me because it is the first encounter many uncertain or curious young guys have with the notion that they're not 'weird' and that others who share their appreciation of large people even exist.

I'm not denying there are guys out there who fixate on parts of a fat woman's body and have comparatively little concern with the person within. And to be perfectly honest, I suspect these people are socially dysfunctional in other ways, and that most will probably never have the opportunity to move beyond their porn sites and expose a real person to their messed-up mindset. Nor do they particularly need to, since they gain their pleasure in the visual stimuli of belly rolls and elbow dimples rather than the companionship of a real life person. I think it's interesting to note that fetishists exist in almost every area of sexuality, and whilst power or lack of it is often a recurring theme within many fetishes, fat people certainly don't have a monopoly on being objectified.

I'm also sure that there are men (and maybe even some women) out there who will take advantage of the perceived low social status and self-esteem of a particularly self-hating fattie and exploit that power imbalance for their own gain. However given that their modus operandi depends on perpetuating and maintaining the oppression of fat people, it seems unlikely that too many of them will see themselves as allies of a fat acceptance movement which is working to empower and normalise fat in society. On the other hand, I was angry - deeply, passionately angry - about the way fat people are treated in the world long before I became fat enough to experience it personally. If being discriminated against stings, witnessing the effects of that discrimination on a loved one can be heartbreaking - but the sense of injustice that results can always be channeled into positive endeavours.

Brian said...

As an FA, I think I have some stake in the definition of my personal identity. That identity has been repeatedly co-opted by feederists to promote something completely opposed to who I am. Feederists gain by trying to define themselves as FA's and its frankly disrespectful of them to do that. Its self-serving. Sadly, a lot of FA's have been duped into thinking that they are feederists because institutional fat acceptance spent decades shunting FA's to organizations who spread propaganda that said that the only true FA was a feederist. FA's have not be well served by this, but it will be changed by relenting to the position of these propagandists. It is not respectful to FA's to insist that feederism is subset of fat admiration. It is functional different and effective oppositional.

Anonymous said...

I am new to being fat. I taught advanced aerobics for years and was around 117 pounds. About 3 years ago my students started taking me to eat after class and I noticed I started to gain a little from the late night biscuits and gravey and cinnamon rolls with butter and my students loved it. They said Emily you are so real and you understand us.

I have always sorta lusted in a way for my fuller figured students. But in class after class, all 7 classes I taught the patern repeated itself and so after a year and 20 pounds heavier I dropped teaching advanced and started doing intermediate. I also dropped to 5 classes a week.

I met Ashley, a student of mine. She is in her mid 30s and about 200 pounds. I fell in love and along with my self concept of being thin for the rest of my life went the concept of being straight.

My friends think its perfectly horrible that I am now up to 178 pounds and only teach 2 basic classes a week. Myself, I have never been happier and feel that I was born to be fuller. I would never of discovered that if not for my students. It was kinda a reverse lesson in weight control.

You can find me on yahoo IM msger if you wish to visit with me:

I love to chat a few minutes in the evenings, and particularly like sharing weight gain or loss or similar topics. So few people are comfortable talking of them in the regular world.

I am 29 years old living in California. I was 117 pounds from 18 to 28.

By the way I love your blog, and have snuck in here to read it once and a while.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. The dismissal of fat admirers within the fat acceptance movement has always bothered me. I'm glad you're keeping the conversation about this going.


Jessica said...

Ok this is the problem, for me at least.I'm an 18 yrs old female and I've had some strange experience's and I'm not even that old yet lol

I don't mind FA's, it's just a problem when someone keeps on admire your fat, not your heart, or your personality, or your mind. It's like liking a large woman is not enough, their world is consumed by fat, fat people, over eating.

Now that was just a generalization. Not all FA's are abusive, manipulative and lust driven. But alot of them who fit in that category are unfortunately in the spotlight more than the person who just likes a larger person as a preference, just like they would desire someone short or with a certain hair color. I think all FAT, OBESE, BBW SSBBW, or any other term describing a male or female over the ""healthy" weight for ones high, desire to have a normal relationship. To love and be loved in return. So when you have someone around you constantly worrying about ur fat it's like, damn back off! LMFAO seriously. Not all FA's are like that, there are just some really creepy ones out that that have a life that evolves around their fat partner and their sex drive. Thats the problem.

That type of FA scares the hell out of me and makes me feel... disgusting. I feel like an object when they focus more on my fat rolls than what I have to sa or who I am as a persony. And as far as the "coming out" notion... WTF are you serious?!?! You like someone with more meat on their bones. BIG's not that scandalous like your ga and coming out. But the ppl who think it is scandalous secretly feels guilty about what they like, and those type of ppl are the creepy, perverted, abusive ones that are consumed by their lust for fat and it's just...UNHEALTHY!

Everyone wants to have that special someone, thats it. Nothing creepy, just an old skool natural relationship shared between hopefully only two ppl lol So I understand when someone dislikes FA's , there are alot of ungodly ppl out there.

Angela said...

Why is it considered normal when a male prefers thin women but a fetish when he prefers large women?

Spencer said...

To begin with, Ashley, thank you. This is an awesome blog, and your snarky eloquence is matched only by the incisive whit of your arguments.

On the subject of FAs:
There are FAs who are spineless bastards who go out with skinny girls in public and expect fat girls to be "honored" by their demand for a "discreet encounter".

There are FAs who are thoughtful and supportive boyfriends.

At the risk of stating the obvious, FAs are people too. What's different about them is that the default assumption is that they are perverted, shallow, abusive sociopaths. The burden of proof is on them to show that they are NOT one-dimensional villains from a pulp fiction novel just because they find Nikki Blonsky more attractive than Megan Fox.

Jessica, I'm looking at you in particular. A lot of FAs are creepy because FAs happen to be humans, and the human race contains large quantities of creepyness. Disliking FAs because you have encountered people with a preference for fat women who have the social skills of a lamprey is no more rational than disliking all men because you get hit on by creepy drunks, or disliking homosexuals because you happen to have a gay co-worker that gets on your nerves.

On a seperate topic, Feederists

Wow. We've been trying to blur the line between Feeder and FA? We're actively trying to subvert the size acceptance culture so poor confused young FA's think they're feeders? That comes as a surprise to me, and I am a feeder. Gosh darn, I must have missed the memo at our last Evil FA-Subverting Feederist Cult meeting.

You know nothing of my primary interests, likes, or goals.

I am an FA. I am a feeder. I fully acknowledge that these are seperate categories. I am making no attempt to blur the two. I am not part of any conspiracy organization dedicated to subverting gullible young people. I happen to be a gullible young person myself.

I am not a sex-crazed sociopath. I do not sneak butter injections into anybody's food. I am not a hooded cult member with sinister motives. I am actually capable of intelligent discourse, and being attracted to somebody for intellectual qualities as well as physical ones.

I feel that what we have is a miscommunication, because there seems to be a very different definition of feeder employed here. The way I understand it, a feeder is somebody who is sexually aroused by overeating and weight gain in somebody they are attracted to. You seem to understand it as a quasi-human member of some secret cabal, with uncontrollable malevolent urges, a limited capacity for human social interaction or empathy, and a secret agenda.

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Wishsprite said...

I've been dating my bf for nearly two years now and he 'came out' to me as it was after about 6 months. He's still exploring the whole FA thing and I'm fully supportive about it (he was very worried I was going to freak)and is very self concious about his preference and stuff. After reading through a lot of the FA blogs (really good one being Ask a guy who likes fat chicks) I think I understand it a lot better but would love to speak to someone who could give me some tips on how to help support him? cheers. Loving this blog one of the reasons my bf is worried about the whole FA thing is that he thinks that everyone is going to assume he's a perv which is totally wrong! it's totally sad that society cant be more accepting of things like this! it's no different from me liking my men tall with dark hair!

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Light said...

hey this is my first time posting on this site, but this comment is strictly about me and not all FA's, i love plus size women and love watching a woman gain weight, I find weight loss repulsive and a relationship ender i know some of you may find this disturbing and i honestly dont care what other people think, gaining is sexy, skinny girls are jealous of the attention plus size women get

Tantum Ergo 2 said...

Three things I'd like to address right off the bat.

First, I think the "FA" term is perfectly acceptable (though a bit inaccurate. It's not "admiration" as much as it is the ability to "appreciate" a certain type of beauty, or in some cases, like mine, the inability to appreciate other types.) There's nothing wrong with sorting things into categories. Just about everything in life can be categorized, from movies to species of animal and bacteria. That by itself does nothing to stigmatize firmicutes, or make them inferior to tenericutes, just because they're named different things on the basis of different properties that they have. Just as we should not be afraid to admit what color our skin is, or whether we're male or female, so we shouldn't fear classifications based on capabilities we have (such as the capability of appreciating a type of beauty that many others can't.)

Secondly, the only quality that an FA must have in order to be an FA is the ability to appreciate the beauty of some fat people. Third, the only thing required in order for one to be a feeder, in a certain sense, is that the person must provide food for someone or something else. These definitions are clearly not the same, but neither are they at odds with each other, and neither one exclusively or even partly implies a fetish (since neither one is necessarily sexual in nature.) A person can appreciate the beauty of fatness as he would a Niagara or a Pacific; as a grand, inspiring sight that fills him with wonder and delight, rather than as a mere, carnal pleasure, and that would still be compatible with every other term here, so there's no reason to jump the gun and get too emotional over any of these issues. None of them need to be cause for concern.

There are also many other things that are compatible with all of these things. For example, I am an FA of a sort. I like the idea of fat people being treated like other human beings, because that's what they are, but I'm not a feminist in any sense, or even a secularist. I don't need to be in order to think fat women are pretty or want the best for them.

However, I am puzzled, and a little embittered, over the hostility towards those who appreciate the way fat people look in any sense. I'm not causing harm to anyone by being cheered up when a fat woman walks by me in the grocery store or offering a compliment to a big girl over her jacket. Even admitting that I like the way my coworker looks is not a harmful act, yet my reactions are often treated as poisonous and unwelcome.

I admit, I'm a bit of a romantic (no, not in that way,) and I like to hear about happy endings. When I see a woman out in public or at work who's 200+ or thereabouts and wearing a wedding ring, I feel so much joy over that. I'm so happy when other people find happiness in a way that isn't totally alien to me. My own experiences, sadly, have been very much the opposite. I've literally had a girl tell me that she hates people who like people like her, in basically those very words. Apart from being disappointing on a personal level, I worry about people like that, because any mentality that could cause that kind of reaction is only going to make life even harder for them down the road.

As I said before, I'd like to see fat people become more accepted, but not really for its own sake. What I really want is for more people (men *and* women) to have a greater chance to find happiness, and any attitudes, paradigms or mentalities that obstruct that should be challenged. Remember, we need to keep the end goal in mind through all of this. Individual causes are only useful as long as they continue towards the goal or goals we really want. My goals are a greater quantity of happiness for everyone; not merely to rearrange the chairs at the popular kids' table.

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