Is There a Fat Person in Your Life?
by Elizabeth Fisher

I was watching footage of the makeup artists who did Eddie Murphy for The Nutty Professor and it got me thinking. Would I want to be like Eddie at the end of a day of shooting, and just slip out of my fat skin at will? Maybe hang my extra pounds in some handy closet long enough for me to pass as "normal"? Think of the benefits. I could take up the space of one woman, instead of three. I wouldn't have to worry about how my companions felt about being seen in public with me. I might land a better job because there wouldn't be size discrimination to worry about, and I wouldn't have cruel remarks hurled at me by strangers. And I would no longer be an embarrassment to some family members. Just call me "one of the crowd."

What if ALL fat women (and men) could shed their bodies whenever they wanted? I can hear the collective groans of fat admirers everywhere. But this is just what some of you do. Just like Eddie Murphy, some of you are only actors. Like a chameleon, you change to adapt to the environment you're in, pulling out your preference like some favorite garment you're too embarrassed to wear in public, then slipping into something more socially correct when the need strikes.

Am I being too harsh? I want you to see that we need you. And we need you 100% of the time, not just when you need a fat fix. You might not even be comfortable with the categorization of being a fat admirer. Perhaps you're a man who finds a sexy, confident, and beautiful woman attractive, no matter what her size. We need you too. And not just as romantic partners. We need you to help us teach the rest of the world that we are not misfits. We need your support.

Maybe you've never even heard the term fat admirer, but someone has slipped this article on your desk or dresser, or put a copy in your mailbox. In that case, there must be a fat person (brother, sister, coworker, employee, neighbor, lover, friend) somewhere in your life, and they want you to know that they need you. Step into the light and make your world one that is accepting of all sizes of large.

"Hi, I'm Elizabeth Fisher. I'm here for my 2:30 appointment, and I need a chair without arms."

"Ummmmmm what?"

"In the waiting area. I need an armless chair."

"Oh let me check I don't believe we have any."

"What's that?" (Pointing to her armless computer chair.)

Needless to say, an armless chair (other than the receptionist's) was promptly found for me. This little drama, and it's one I play out FAR too often, took place in the lab waiting area of the busiest hospital in my area.

I live in a state where over 30% of the population is obese. What is the big deal? Maybe the medical industry as a whole should get a clue from the people who run the Airport Marriot in Irving, Texas. I was there recently for Big As Texas (anyone who wasn't there should kick themselves now, because they missed a terrific weekend), and one phone call and a short wait brought me two armless chairs. And they never even blinked when I requested them.

Do you have a clue? Take a look around -test yourself. Maybe you are non-judgmental and accepting, but just not fully aware of our needs. Will the next fat applicant for a position with your company have an armless chair to sit in? How about in the waiting area? Can your wife fit in the chairs in your office? Has she ever even been to your office? Maybe it's time for an invitation.

Is your car fat-friendly? Does the seatbelt on the passenger seat fit your best friend? Many dealerships provide extenders at no charge. For some odd reason, however, the Saturn and Honda dealerships in my area (this may be a nationwide phenomena) have chosen not to provide extensions at all. Their reasoning? Too many weak points. As opposed to not wearing a seatbelt at all, you should ask?

"Fatty, fatty, 2x4, can't get through the bathroom door. So she did it on the floor, licked it up and then did more." Is your fat child the victim of this cruel taunt? I was, and when I cried about being teased, it was suggested that if I fixed myself, kids would stop tormenting me. Have you dieted your child in an effort to stop others from abusing him/her? Confront the bully, he's the one who is defective.

Did you remain silent when your teenage son put a "No Fat Chicks" bumper sticker on his car? Do you smile and go along with the crowd when someone spouts a fat joke? A fat admiring friend of mine responds by saying "My wife is fat. Would you tell that joke to her?"

Is the word fat a derogatory term in your household? Do you refer to fat bodies in a negative way? Would you say something like that about the color of someone's skin, rather than the shape of someone's skin?

If I WERE to hang my extra pounds in some handy closet long enough for me to pass as "normal," think of the disadvantages I'd encounter. I'd be a face in the crowd, instead of someone who is almost always noticed when I enter a room. I might end up working for a company that wouldn't have hired me fat, one that obviously encourages bigotry and discrimination. And I would miss out on the fat world one that has embraced, encouraged, and taught me to stand up for who I am, and to say what I believe, because I can make a difference. I have found strength in being fat, and I wouldn't have it any other way.