What Dimensions is all about
by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer Ph.D.

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We have a lot of new female subscribers, thanks to our recent ads in BBW Magazine. So perhaps it's time to once again explain our philosophy and what Dimensions is all about. One of the first things new readers may notice is our evergrowing personal ads section. Unlike just about any other personal ads section catering to big women and their admirers, ours is almost evenly split between ads from men and ads from women. This is primarily because our readership is also almost evenly split between the genders. We're very proud of this diversity in our subscription base because we feel that big women and their admirers need a place where they can get to know each other.

Basically, it is Dimensions' mission to "legitimize" a preference for large women by devoting an entire magazine to it. But Dimensions is much more than just a personals magazine; we're covering all aspects of the fat-positive lifestyle.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Many large women have little self esteem because all their lives they have been told by family, peers, employers, and the media that they are second class citizens undeserving of acceptance, love, and success (unless, of course, they lose weight). I think that's a tragic and totally unacceptable situation. Especially since a significant percentage of the female population of the US happens to be "overweight" according to insurance company height/weight tables. Personally, I've always believed that since the population's weight distribution is on a bell curve-i.e. few are very thin, few are very fat, and the majority is somewhere inbetween-it's only fair and natural that people's physical preferences are also on such a curve, and a portion of the population is attracted to fat and very fat partners.

Unfortunately, just as fat women are ostracized for being fat, men who like big women are ostracized for being attracted to them. There is a lot of pressure on men to go for the thin cheerleader and fashion model types. Being attracted to fat women is somehow seen as abnormal or even perverted, just as fat people who refuse to lose weight are considered stubborn and self-destructive. What it all boils down to is that many men who are attracted to fat women are ashamed of their preference, and that many fat women are ashamed of their bodies and can't imagine that someone would not only find them attractive but actually prefer them over a slimmer woman. Some fat women are so down on themselves that they become almost incapable of accepting love and admiration and always suspect an ulterior motive in an admirer's approach.

The men, on the other hand, are taught that their preference is shameful and forbidden, something to deny and hide. As a result, while men who prefer blondes probably don't spend much time wondering why they like blondes, speculation about the origin of our preference is common in men who prefer fat women. Why are we this way? Why are we attracted to big hips, legs, and bellies instead of just the generally accepted large breasts? I don't think anyone has ever found a simple explanation.

Are we shallow for having such a definite physical preference? I don't think so; most men have definite physical preferences. In the long run, relationships between big women and FAs are no different from any other relationship: they're a matter of trust, mutual respect, common interests, and the desire to be with the other. Yet, we're just as confused as you are. We've been ridiculed and rejected for our preferences, we're not quite sure how to deal with our fantasies, we don't always know how to approach you, and we're often terminally frustrated because, when we finally come out of the closet, we seem extraordinarily focused on the very thing many of you would rather ignore: your size.

In a more perfect world, none of this would be an issue. It'd be perfectly acceptable to be fat or prefer a fat partner, and we'd never give it a second thought. But this is not a perfect world. A $30 billion a year diet industry does anything it can to make fat people feel bad about themselves. So this is why we do Dimensions Magazine. We want to provide a forum for an open exchange of information. What's going on in our respective minds?

If you're new to Dimensions and size acceptance, some of what you'll read will shock you. We use the word "fat" freely (it's not a four letter word, it describes something that we find desirable and attractive). We're celebrating size as something positive rather than something to be ashamed of. We challenge size discrimination in the workplace, and we challenge the medical establishment that often provides substandard care to fat people and often blames everything on a patient's size. We abhor the unconscionable exploitation of fat people by the diet industry. And we don't think it's wrong to openly discuss and compare our dreams and fantasies. I don't know if this means we're our own "movement". But I do think fat people have the same right to be treated with dignity and respect as anyone else, and that it's quite okay to have a preference for a fat partner.

In this issue, Dan Davis explains why no one has the right to dictate your weight, we're taking another look at the implications of recent discoveries of fat-related genes, we're discussing closet FAs, Ned Sonntag fans are in for a treat, Bill Sherman reviews a couple of fascinating books, and Patti Milheron blasts Madison Avenue for trying to destroy our self-esteem. ß

Editor at Large