by Gary Hunter

The whole subject of size acceptance is puzzling to the vast majority of the general public. Given that, the concept of large size preference can be considered nothing less than mind-boggling! Even to those aware of persons who not only accept, but prefer and revere super-sized people, the topic often is fraught with confusion, ambivalence, mistrust, and contempt.

I believe such negative feelings are born of ignorance and misunderstanding. It is very saddening and frustrating when people involved in the size-acceptance community, supposedly leading the fight against size discrimination, become brokers in such negativity.

Even those who become somewhat comfortable with the notion of fat admiration are often confused and mystified by the extremes of such ideology. The "extremes" I refer to are persons, including myself, who prefer relationships with people of the largest sizes offered by the spectrum of human physiology. The prevalent negativity and "fat admirer bashing" seem to all but extinguish any hope we super-fat admirers hold for finding a reciprocally affirmative relationship with a person we are drawn to.

Included in the array of negative stereotypes is what has become (un)popularly known as the "feeder". The negative stigma associated with the term is based on the popular misconception that feeders want to fatten someone to outrageous or immobile proportions and then move on to the next "project" (read victim). I prefer to define feeders as people who prefer extremely large partners, and, lacking someone already sufficiently large, encourage their partners to freely indulge their appetites and thereby ultimately attain the size desired.

Since most super-size women are very reclusive and inherently suspicious of would-be suitors, the difficulty associated with finding such a person causes some fat admirers to want to "roll their own." Although there must be a small number of feeders who fit the negative stereotype, the difficulty of finding a mate of the right size and attitude make me doubtful that most feeders would walk away from someone who lovingly accommodates their most precious desires.

People who prefer super-sizes are not necessarily feeders, but it is fair to generalize that many are. And even though the overwhelming majority of feeders prefer super-sizes, that preference is not absolute either. A feeder can be anyone who enjoys or supports the act of another person eating enough to become fatter. That may include the enjoyment of watching someone eat (passive), or it may be the act of physically feeding someone (active). In either case, the term denotes a fat admirer who not only finds fat people attractive, but also takes pleasure in the mechanics of the fattening process.

Most feeders do not want relationships with people who are unhappy about their weight. Personally, I find it infinitely more appealing to be with a woman who recognizes her desire to be with someone who loves her fatness and affinity for food. I believe there are more people who fit that profile than will admit it. The few who do seem to be quickly taken.

I can imagine certain factions recoiling in horror because I seem to be perpetuating the stereotype that people only get fat because of overeating. The reality is that no one gets fat from breathing air, nor can the most imposing feeder force his intentions upon an unwilling person. "Overeating" is a highly variable behavior among individuals. Society's aversion to it is directly proportional to the size of the "overeater." Overindulgence is acceptable if you are thin.

There is an incredible range of differences in efficiencies of caloric extraction, but any person must consume more calories than burned in order to produce additional body fat. I, and other feeders, find women with strong appetites very exciting. I don't see any reason that anyone, of any size, should have to feel guilty or ashamed about doing what they enjoy, to whatever extent desired. I am glad there are women who grow to be enormous, and I wish to see a world where people of all sizes can comfortably exist. The diversity that exists in our species is a wonderful and natural phenomenon.

What causes feeders? The prevailing wisdom, or lack of it, seems to favor the notion that feeding, like "overeating" itself, is a learned neurotic behavior which results from environmental factors. However, I believe science will ultimately prove that many personality traits are genetically determined. I can only speculate as to the ultimate "why", but here's my best shot.

Nature, in its large but finite wisdom, created incredible diversity in the physical attributes of all forms of life through the process of natural selection. As has been pointed out in previous articles, fat persons are the descendants of humans with a genetic propensity for converting excess food consumption into body fat. When prolonged periods of cold weather or famine ensued, persons not so fortunate as to have this reserve supply of stored food and insulation froze or starved to death.

Nature tends to reinforce successful mutations, and an affinity for people with this survival "edge" may also have become imprinted upon some part of our genetic code. It is only in relatively recent history that human civilization has socially mutated toward contempt, rather than reverence, for fat persons. I believe nature wants fat persons and helps ensure their recurrence by creating people who are attracted to them and will join with them to produce offspring with similar traits.

Because of societal disapproval in the last 100 or so years, humans began to rebel against the natural tendencies of their genetics and tried to fight their physical drive to be fat. Religions have generally taught that gluttony is sinful, and other tainted belief systems promote the stereotype that fat persons are lazy, stupid, and devoid of socially redeeming qualities. Fat people have tended to become more reclusive as a result of such negative treatment.

All of these factors have created a social environment wherein fat admirers have difficulty meeting and pursuing relationships with fat people. If a fat admirer can't find a person with the physical traits desired, then the next best thing is to find someone with a strong natural tendency toward obesity and give that person a comfortable, permissive environment. This is probably the simplest form of feeder motivation.

Powerful chemistry is created when two people naturally meet one another's needs, and this also may be more predetermined than generally believed. There is very little difference between a male and female fetus until about the sixth week of development. By this time the brain already is well developed and, according to my theory, may hold both a female and a male set of gender traits. When the genetic signal determining gender is activated, one set of traits may simply be switched on and the other off.

Perhaps the non-selected group of gender traits doesn't just disappear, but instead assumes a new role in brain function. I believe these traits serve as a set of specific data that defines physical and mental traits we find attractive in members of the opposite sex. If so, what we are attracted to in members of the opposite sex may be the latent expression of our own characteristics if we had been born the opposite gender. The perfect match then would be two people who are mirror image counterparts of one another.

The feeder trait does not in itself make someone good or bad. It is only what it is-a trait. The same negative social forces that make it socially uncomfortable to be fat also make it uncomfortable to be positive about the fatness of others. What bothers me now is the escalating level of fat admirer and feeder bashing occurring in circles that are supposed to be at least a little more enlightened about these issues. I'm referring to NAAFA members and even some readers of Dimensions who have professed their opinions in its pages. It scares me that the same kind of narrow-mindedness that infects most of our society is beginning to creep into the thinking of people who should be more compassionate and empathetic about all areas of discrimination.

I sympathize with those who have had the ironic experience of being rejected most of their lives for being too fat, and who then encounter fat admirers who say they are too thin and/or want them to get fatter. The usual rationalization is that feeders want to control or dominate people by fattening them to immobility. I believe that motive to be almost nonexistent. Most feeders know fully well what they are looking for and don't want to hurt others or waste their time. Like all fat admirers, feeders want people who want them, as they are.

To give some subjective insight on this issue, I will elaborate a little on what it is like to be both a fat admirer and a feeder. Some of the theories I have postulated about fat affinity being an inherited characteristic are based on the fact that I have been aware I was a fat admirer since about the age of four. I discovered this through my reaction when I opened up a coloring book and turned to a page with a drawing of the traditional circus "fat lady." I had no idea what my physical reaction meant; all I knew was that I liked this picture, and the feelings it aroused caused something curious to happen to me physically.

As I grew older, I began to wonder if I was the only person in the world who reacted to fat women in this manner. I also began to empathize with fat women. I wanted to tell them it was OK to be fat. I wanted to tell them that I liked them fat, even if no one else did. I was moderately heavy as a child, and I liked to eat; I wanted to tell fat women it was OK for them to eat, too, as much as they wanted, and I would never think badly of them for it.

It wasn't until adolescence that I discovered there was a word that people had made very ugly, but which described to a tee what I found so exciting: gluttony. This term carries a great stigma in our society. Even most feeders do not use the word. I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what is so terrible about loving to eat, and I still haven't come up with a good answer.

I began to admire women with the courage to be fat in spite of society's harassment. There was something captivating about the rare women who didn't care what society thought. Such women seemed to resonate with my own hedonistic and rebellious nature. To me, there is no such thing as a woman who is too fat. Additional fat only makes them look better. There is nothing that feels as good as cuddling and being affectionate with a fat woman. I am emotionally nourished when I am able to please such a woman.

I resent any implication of an ulterior motive such as control or domination at the root of my persuasion. It seems reasonable to believe that some woman out there might actually enjoy being treated like a goddess. I know that some fat admirers would consider it a privilege, rather than a chore, to wait hand and foot on a woman who had grown so enormous as to become immobile. Immobility is not a goal, but it is a tolerable byproduct of this passion.

For me, the greatest reward is to be with a woman who loves being with a man who asks nothing more of her than to enjoy being loved and pampered and fattened. I realize there will always be doubters, detractors and critics. So what? Just learn to know and love yourself. You must do that before anyone else can. ß

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