Things sure have changed for FAs
by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer Ph.D.

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In this issue you'll find an article by NAAFA's Executive Director Sally Smith in which she talks about the impact the size acceptance movement has had in its 30 years of existence. Did NAAFA's work make any difference at all? In some areas it did, in others it did not, she concludes Overall it's a hard question to answer. Read the article and form your own opinion.

For us admirers of the large figure, however, things have most definitely changed for the better. When I first discovered my own sexuality, I wondered if something was wrong with me because the thin models in Playboy and other mens' magazines didn't excite me. There weren't any magazines showing the kind of women I dreamed about. I began sketching my own fantasy women and making up, and writing down, my own fat fantasy stories. Sometimes I used clay to make fat figurines, without ever having seen the voluptuous kind of models that were so pleasurably torturing my adolescent mind. (I still have a couple of those little sculptures. Amazingly, they look just like the flesh-and-blood women I met many years later.) Overall, it was a lonely and frustrating way of discovering my sexuality.

I eventually did manage to accumulate a small cache of magazines with fat models. They were very hard to come by and I had to go to great lengths to track them down. When I finally found one it was always a breathtaking experience. It seemed so forbidden and perverted, and I was certain that every person in the store was starring at me, the Fat Admirer.

Those magazines were treasures even though they invariably treated the fat models as jokes, as if no one could possibly be attracted to them. The stories and captions were absurd and clearly showed that the publishers viewed those magazines as novelty items. Older FAs may remember the Bridget calendars. They, too, were sold as novelties and their producers didn't know what a treasure they had in them. At that time, I didn't care. Still living in my native Switzerland, my English wasn't good enough for me to realize the extent and absurdity of the insults, and the women were deliciously tantalizing.

Ironically, my first exposure to NAAFA co-founder Llewellyn Louderback's ground breaking 1969 book Fat Power was through one of those magazines. It wasn't, of course, a book review. Instead, a gorgeous fat woman held the book in her hands, perusing it, while nibbling on a candy bar. The picture was clear enough that I could read the description on the back cover of the opened book. I first thought the book was made up, but somehow knew it wasn't and I decided that I would find that book. And I did, many years later. I eventually contacted the by then disillusioned Lew Louderback and sent him a copy of the picture. An FA himself, he seemed amused.

Anyway, the fact is that it took a budding FA years to locate perhaps a dozen magazines of interest. And those magazines were always single issues and rarely even contained an address. Compare that with the situation a young FA faces today: Apart from Dimensions, there are a whole bunch of fat periodicals that you can subscribe to. There are also many videos of interest to FAs. Their number is small compared to what's offered to other sexual interests, but the fact is that they are right out there in the mainstream.

For better or for worse, fat women are no longer depicted as jokes but just as women. The poses, commentary, and captions are the same as in any other adult title. Open Plumpers and Big Women, for example, and you'll find any number of large size women depicted in the same poses as their thin sisters in mainstream magazines. Fat admiration has gone mainstream. It's no longer shocking. People know that we exist.

The biggest boon to FAs, of course, is the Internet where there are now hundreds of websites for and about BBWs and FAs. Had I had those resources available to me when I was a teenager, I probably would have been glued to my computer screen for 24 hours a day.

NAAFA founder Bill Fabrey used to describe NAAFA social events in the late 1960s and early 1970s as affairs where polyester-clad fat women would sit in a circle, wagon-style, suspiciously eyeing the few male guests, suspecting them to be creeps and perverts. Compare that to the situation today where every metropolitan area has several social groups offering dances and other affairs to fat people and their admirers.

But I see change even in the mainstream media. The other day I happened onto the Rosie O'Donnell Show (when was the last time someone talked about Rosie's size instead of her accomplishments) and Rosie's guest was a very fat Rosemarie Clooney who also happened to be a new bride. This fat woman, at age 70, had not only found love in her personal life but also the affection of a nation (and that of Rosie O'Donnell who had commissioned a gorgeous portrait of Clooney as a birthday present).

This issue of Dimensions is very late. Apologies. We're in the process of starting up another publication, and we grossly underestimated the time and effort needed to do it all. Much of the initial work is out of the way now, and so we'll be back on schedule.

In this issue we feature two more winners of our Dimensions Online "wannabes" contest. We gave the Big Love section a new look and will regularly report on the many couples who have found each other through Dimensions. The effervescent Carol Mackintosh presents the top ten reasons why her beloved is crazy about her often modeled body. Inside columnist Elizabeth Fisher reveals much more than just her thoughts. There is plenty of fiction, another insightful column on female FAs, and a look at the hot stuff by one of our favorite large size fashions designer, MylesAhead.

Editor at Large