Of personal ads, self acceptance,
trust, and the Clairol lady

by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer Ph.D.

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This turned out to be an interesting issue. At first I feared that we didn't have enough hard core size acceptance features. Then I realized that size acceptance and self acceptance can often be one and the same. Without self acceptance there is no true size acceptance, and for many, without size acceptance, there is no self acceptance. Self acceptance is a curious thing. We can intellectually accept ourselves but not emotionally, or the other way around. Self acceptance also has much to do with the way we relate to others, and especially in the way we go about relationships. Self acceptance as an FA may make the difference between remaining stuck in a world of secretive relationships and fat girl magazines, and being able to have open, honest relationships with fat partners. Self acceptance as a fat person may make the difference between being stuck at a level of anger and insecurity that makes meaningful relationships almost impossible.

In this issue, we approached this problem from two angles. First, for those who are looking to establish a relationship, we not only have the usual bevy of personal ads (as always, evenly split between ads from men and ads from women), but also advice and examples of how to go about personal ads. From literally thousands of personal ads, we have learned that women tend to ask for marriage, financial security and "no creeps"-reasonable requests for sure, but also requests that make men turn around and run. Men, on the other hand, tend to write ads that emphasize physical and sexual desires, just the thing to make most women turn and run. When you look at ten of the most successful personal ads (page 50), you'll see that it's the ones which seek to address the other gender's needs without compromising on their own desires. So you see, it takes a careful mix of empathy for the other while remaining true to yourself to succeed.

That's not always easy, and that's why another part of this magazine is devoted to questions of truth and honesty. In his really excellent column, Dan Davis takes a somewhat humorous look at the seven deadly sins and identifies unenlightened self-interest and unmanaged rage as a major obstacle plaguing size acceptance, both on a macro level and in relationships. Susan Morgan Taylor's "Opinions" column looks at the equally difficult issue of honesty, half-truths, and downright deception. Men tend to be visual and bottom-line oriented, women are more emotional and interested in process and details. For guys that means that we're often just telling her what-in our opinion-really matters and leave out some of the details that could set her off. But most women don't see it that way. They're often caught between wanting to know all the details, even though they intellectually know that they really may not want to hear them.

We have been unexpectedly successful at achieving and maintaining an equal number of male and female subscribers. To provide this sort of balanced gender forum was one of our goals from the start. As usual, we grapple with the issue of where to draw the line, not from a perspective of how far to go, but what sort of a balance we should strike between male and female interests and sensitivities. At times we get letters from fat women who say they love our articles but are so outraged by some of the ads that they want to cancel their subscription. On the other hand, some men are dissatisfied because we're not showing those spread-eagled beavershots that seem so popular in male-oriented magazines. Believe me, it's not easy to find the right balance that keeps both genders interested enough to continue to try to understand the other side by reading all of Dimensions, even the stuff that seems boringly emotional to males and exploitively physical to females. What it eventually boils down to is understanding the other side and tolerance of our differences. A popular book says that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, and points out the vexing differences that can keep us apart. It's not a matter of women being right and men being wrong, or vice versa. We're just different. The key to success is in being tolerant and understanding, rather than to prove that you are right and the other side is wrong. Which, when you think about it, has a lot to do with self acceptance, and, thus, fat acceptance. These thoughts are also reflected in the two models we chose to feature in this issue. They are two women who, against considerable odds, have chosen to live a life that feels right to them, no matter what anyone else thinks. I think that's a great step towards self acceptance.

For those of you who appreciate intellectual treats, Hillel Schwartz is treating you to another one of his incredibly brilliant philosophical essays. It's called "Centerfolds" and deals with what Schwartz calls the "gendering of fat."

I must also admit that the picture to the left no longer accurately reflects my appearance. After years of faithfully paying homage to the Clairol lady every three weeks, I'd had it and simply shaved my head. The hair's growing back now, and I once again look "distinguished" (I hate that term!). New photo to follow.

For the technically inclined among you, know that we finally replaced our old not-so-"wicked fast"-anymore Mac IIfx with a brand spanking new Power Mac 8500/120. After a rather complex conversion of six years' worth of files and programs into the new environment, the Power Mac is now (almost) fully functional. True to its name, it powers through even the biggest Photoshop operations, and scrolling through an entire document-where the old IIfx often bogged down-is a snap. All is not well, though. The Power Mac still often hangs, and printing complex pages can take forever. So we're happy to have gotten this issue out (almost) on time. ß

Editor at Large