The good and the bad of the Web;
and--yikes--Dr. Atkins is back

by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer Ph.D.

chb.gif - 7.16 K

Since the last issue of Dimensions magazine arrived in your mailbox, the main page of the Dimensions Online World-Wide-Web site has been accessed almost 40,000 times. I realize that not all of you have access to the WWW yet, and so I want to tell you a bit about this online version of Dimensions.

First of all, the web site is meant to complement, not replace, the magazine. We see it as a great tool to tell people about Dimensions, size acceptance, and relationships between large people and their admirers. We have been adding features to the Dimensions web site almost every day and we're trying to make it fun and interactive so that people want to return to see what's new. In parallel to the increased fashion coverage in the magazine, we've added an online fashion column. We also have a running update on potential future models, hundreds of pictures both from Dimensions photoshoots and from our advertisers. The Dimensions Top 100 Size-Related Links has quickly become a coveted place to be on. Of course, since it doesn't cost anything to visit Dimensions Online we have to justify doing it. We are using a secure Internet payment system called First Virtual to let people subscribe to Dimensions and buy some of the best pictures from the Dimensions photo library.

But we're also simply very excited about the web. In time, Dimensions magazine and the Dimensions website will hopefully complement each other optimally, with each medium doing what it does best. Check it out!

I have some concerns as well. For example, the anonymity with which people can surf the Internet may actually contribute to keeping closet FAs in the closet instead of motivating them to stand to their preference in real life with real partners. Buying a subscription to Dimensions is sort of a commitment. You are using a real name and a real address and a real check to pay for it. After that, you receive a real magazine in a real mailbox to remind you what you wanted. On the Internet, you can assume a false name and no one will ever know. You can visit a hundred fat-related sites, and carry on conversations and correspondences without anyone ever knowing your real name or address.

Instead of coming to term with his preference for fat women, a closet FA may simply assume a screen name like Fatlover or LoveBBWs to announce his intentions, then prowl cyberspace, striking up conversations with fat women in chat rooms or downloading pictures of fat women. No one will ever know. He can remain in the closet forever and yet live out his preferences in cyberspace. Some guys may see that as the perfect solution. I don't. Cyberspace is great, but it's not real life. Real life is a real relationship with a real person. Real life means coming to terms with your preferences, for everyone to see.

Of course, it is also possible that the opposite is true and cyberspace is actually helping closet FAs to find themselves. All this exposure to size-positive material in cyberspace may help a person to become more comfortable with a preference. It's possible to learn more about size acceptance on the WWW in a day than it is in months in the real world. Perhaps this will help a formerly closeted person to make the right steps and decisions in real life.

What else is going on in real life? After several years of increasing public awareness about the fallacy of diets, things may turn for the worse again. Here's what's happening. In the last year or two even the worst diet Nazis began admitting that diets don't work (of course, they still insisted that their weight loss scheme worked). However, it's now becoming increasingly clear that 90s people are into instant gratification. So we're seeing people flocking back to fad diets. They don't care what happens in three or five years-which is where all diets fail-they want to see results now, and fad diets can do that. The infamous Dr. Atkins is already back with a new version of his disastrous diet and others will follow. Don't fall for it.

Unfortunately, another bad thing is happening and helps compounding the desire for instant gratification. People are giving up on healthy eating. Bombarded with all sorts of conflicting advice on what constitutes healthy eating, people have become tired of reading all those research reports and studies. They have become tired of changing their eating habits every two years, and they've become tired of trying to figure out what they're supposed to eat. Today, they simply want to be told what to eat, the more authoritatively and draconian the regimen, the better. Expect the diet industry to milk this trend to the max.

Have you noticed that this issue of Dimensions is the most colorful yet? That's because we added eight more color pages. Starting with this issue we're also increasing fashion coverage from a couple to five pages or more. Why fashions in Dimensions? Because half of our readers are women, and because most FAs are just as annoyed at the general lack of attractive large size fashions as fat women are. So why not add this new feature which both our female and male readers will enjoy?

In this issue you'll also find another brilliant essay by Hillel Schwartz who is, among other things, a Senior Fellow of the Millenium Institute, the people who are contemplating the state of the earth as we approach the end of this millenium. Dr. Mo, our heretic physician, reports on the very real issues of compulsive and binge eating. Paul Feine interviews our two stunning models, Gina Martinez and Suzan Vaughn. In our Social Scene section, Elizabeth McCall reports on the Big Sensations dances and events in New England. And, as usual, we have lots of personal ads and they're now sorted by gender. Let me know if that suits your needs. ß

Editor at Large