In the Name of Fat
by Glen Sommers

Glen Sommers

Seeing how William Buckley, Dave Berry, Maureen Dowd and the dearly departed Mike Ryko were not available, the editor-in-chief reached down among the commoners and tapped the shoulder of one more common. "Since everyone deserves their fifteen minutes, write me a column," he said. I replied that he was talking to someone who took high school English in summer school for three consecutive years so he would only have to write for two months instead of nine.

"Fear not; I only want the opinions of an FA on any subject that crosses your mind," he reassured me. Figuring he was in one of those California-induced purple hazes I decided to take him up on the offer. When you are a Texas boy wandering the emotionally draining streets of Manhattan, you might as well salvage something by letting a little ink flow.

Now I'm here to tell you I am not any wizard with the King's English. I calls them as I sees them. No fancy thought will pass these fingertips. I can't think of the fifteen different ways Mr. Max could glorify "fat", nor can I dream up, like Mr. Schwartz, the countless ways traveling in airports mirror people going on diets. But opinions, like Carter's Liver Pills, I've got a truckload. So I'll pull the hayseed out of my hair, y'all pull up your chair, kick back and let's talk some turkey.

It's been seven years since I picked up my first BBW magazine and gazed upon the wide, wonderful and wickedly controversial world of BBW's, BHM's and size acceptance for the first time. I blasted that closet apart and ain't looked back. It's been a tantalizing, chaotic and a very fulfilling roller-coaster ride through life; never boring, it has left me with rich emotional memories full of many positive experiences. However, with the good, comes the questionable. It will always be the intent of this ink-stained scribe to present both sides of the equation. Y'all take your pick. I've seen many different individual performances on this stage known as "size acceptance." We have all felt the good, the bad and the ugly. But one thread is constantly weaved throughout this tapestry: It is all done "In the Name of Fat".

Having been single for six years, I served my time on the front lines. It can either be as bad as you hear or a truly magnificent experience. So many beautiful people, so many crass idiots. Kinda like life itself. Cause what I've seen, the more you hold life's tribulations as a person of size in the pure light of reason, the more you understand that all people have their very own cross to carry no matter how they are "challenged."

But there are special situations that are indigenous to each and every group. For whatever their motivation or reality has been, many BBWs feel an ominous, self destructive drive to accept any form of love or affection that passes their way. There is a foul element of men who know this. They prey on this. They'll do anything to satisfy their primal urges with ill-gotten gains done "In the Name of Fat."

I've seen this pathetic kind at work. They leer through their perfectly coifed exteriors while spinning intoxicating tales of forever and have no recollection of what her last name is. They take a lead they never concede and serve a heaping helping of fake sensitivity that's tailored to fit their next victim. They may wrap themselves in leather, Calvin Klein or even the Good Book but rest assured, slime will eventually make its presence known.

Ladies, I'm here to tell ya: y'all don't have to accept this. There are good men out there and glory be, even great FAs. But you've got to throw away the chaff to get to the wheat. At the start of a relationship, a good man will want to be your friend first. A good man will let you take the lead until you pass it on to him. And he will never take advantage of you "In the Name of Fat."

Does anyone here approve of the way society regards us "Children of Size"? Does anyone here think the laws of this land afford us equal protection should prejudice casts its shadow among us? Of course not. That's why we've got activists out there charging up San Juan Hill and taking on any institution that would besmirch us. May God bless all of them; they deserve our support. They know that gross indiscretions must not be tolerated and just as equally important: The consciousness of the majority must be made aware of the prejudice faced by the minority. The sensibilities of the majority are aroused to the point of ending this outrage. In other words, public perception. This is where the problem starts on our end. Sometimes those activists get a little crazy and become zealots. While the original intentions were good, they lose sight of the prize and careen down the road with their own agendas, not paying any attention to what they run over. They embrace any conduct, words or actions of any person or organization, as long as it's done "In the Name of Fat."

There is not enough space in this column to lay out specifics--size activism is worthy of several columns unto itself. However, I want to toss out some old-fashioned horsesense that these zealots tend to overlook. While y'all are raisin' cane, don't forget what your target audience is and the fundamental purpose should be. While you're out there slippin' in personal agendas and thumbin' noses, people are forming lasting opinions. When you're putting together size marches and making the title theme a parody, the majority may be taking note but odds are it won't be for the right reasons. We should never apologize for our message, but we have every reason to apologize for its presentation if it falls flat on its face. For real change, we need the consciousness of the majority to realize a social inequity, then we probe it until the Powers That Be correct standards, laws, etc. If we come across as a joke, we only dig a deeper hole. Individually, some of our members may receive a shot of empowerment, but very little if any positive, permanent change is achieved by giving carte blanche to anything said or done "In the Name of Fat."

Seven months ago, I took Mindy's hand in marriage. She is a beautiful, talented lady who makes her maker proud. With eyes that cascade with light and love and a touch that can heal a fevered brow. I'm not sure I am worthy. But like many of her BBW sisters, she cannot leave well enough alone. She'll go out there and shred her soul over some damn number on a mechanical scale. If a blouse doesn't fit like it used to, she has to ridicule her self worth until it is an emaciated shadow of its former self. Clinical depression is a holiday at Martha's Vineyard compared to the job she can do to her self-esteem.

Mindy, you can let the hounds of hell lacerate your heels while you run forever, or you can bid them to eternal damnation because honey, have I got a deal for you. There aren't any miracles here, just a love you can wrap around a bleeding soul. There isn't any bread from heavenly skies, just a trust you can always lose your fear in. I can shield those eyes, that they may never see the superfluous imperfections you try to drape around your spirit. I can build the ramparts around your heart, until no one, not even you, can ever desecrate the immaculate love you and all women possess. The screaming rage imbedded within quivering hopelessness shall forever be a distant memory, replaced by a euphoric serenity.

But first, I need you to do only one thing for us. Let me lead you to a bridge you must cross on your own. It is the final leap of faith. On the other side are the good people who have experienced the pain that comes with fighting for self-acceptance. You must trust and believe as you believe in the infinite goodness of the common man. But you have to believe in a love of yourself as if God Himself was placing His hand on your shoulder. We will be waiting for you, my dear. Be strong. We are the ones who no longer hurt ourselves.. .in the name of fat.