I remember the moment this quote came to me. I had just published the first issue of the FAT!SO? 'zine. I was designing a postcard to ask indie bookstores to sell copies on consignment. Why should they? Because…
It was the summer of 1994, almost exactly 20 years ago.
Since then, everything I've done as a fat activist has been a variation on this quote. In the hope that all of us — all sizes of us — can get on with our lives, free of pointless and prejudicial weight limits.
I've tried all sorts of stuff, much of it delightfully absurd:
- I've been interviewed on CNN, in USA Today, and by Ira Glass.
- I did aerobics next to John Stossel.
- I got to interview Leonard Nimoy about his fat-positive art photography.
- I hugged Wendy from Snapple.
- I gave a FAT!SO? 'zine to Roseanne.
- I spoke at a fat pride rally after Camryn Manheim and Carnie Wilson.
- I learned how to make ratatouille from Daniel Pinkwater.
- I splashed Jay Leno when the Padded Lilies performed a synchro swim routine on The Tonight Show.
- I was, to my knowledge, the first person in fat community to publicly wear a thong bikini.
- I found myself on the median of the second largest street in San Francisco waving a sign that said, "Eat me!" while passing drivers honked and waved, unaware that we were protesting a gym's space alien billboard that said, "When they come, they'll eat the fat ones first."
- I helped win passage of height/weight civil right legislation in San Francisco.
- I waved pompoms with the Bod Squad rad fatty cheer troupe in support of the dyke march and the trans march, and in protest of the weight-loss surgeons' fundraiser, "Walk from 'Obesity.'"
- I was around for the early days of a new academic field called fat studies.
- I lectured about weight diversity halfway around the world. (In Iceland!)
- I got to know pioneers of fat activism and Health At Every Size® — Lynn McAfee; Pat Lyons, RN; Susan Wooley, PhD; Judy Freespirit; Ariana Manov; Gudrun Fonfa; Deb Burgard, PhD; Paul Ernsberger, PhD; Jon Robison, PhD; Cheri Erdman, PhD; Joanne Ikeda, MA, RD; Rick Zakowich; Miriam Berg; Frances White; Sally Smith; Carol Squires; Cath Thompson; Betty Rose Dudley; and so many people who showed me what fat lib could be.
- Years ago, I agreed to have this quote appear on a website of food quotations, where I imagine Oprah's editors found it.
It's been a wonderful 20 years. Thanks so much to everyone I've met! Belly bumps all around… )(