Tuesday, November 18, 2014

FatLand National Anthem

FatLand National Anthem (From FatLand:  The Early Days)

When a country told us that we’re too fat for their pride,
Tried to hold us down and made us feel so bad inside,
We all got together, figured out what we would do—
Spread a little love and hope to more than just the few.

Fat and free, fat and free—
We are proud to live strong, fat and free
As we go through our full days living our lives
As sons and daughters, partners, husbands, wives.

Now we have a territory that we call our own.
Seven letters form a land that we have made our home.
F-A-T-L-A-N-D—we say this name and smile,
As long as we live here, we need never fear exile.

Fat and free, fat and free—
We are proud to live strong, fat and free
As we go through our full days living our lives
As sons and daughters, partners, husbands, wives.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Because many people emigrated from the OtherSide/USA to FatLand without relatives, many of them were lonely at first, and even for a while after. One of the most innovative approaches to this problem involved creating a group called Grandmas. Women who were older than 45 were welcomed into the group. They received work credits -if they wanted them- for "adopting" younger FatLanders. Or younger FatLanders could adopt them.

FatLanders who wanted grandmas submitted their preferences via online/smartpad form.

Some FatLanders kept these "grandmas" until the grandmas died or they died. They made FatLand life secure and happy, the FatLanders said.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Another story of dieting that caused weight gain

My own story. There are many like it, however, in the FatLand Archives.

So it was like this...

Lost about 15 pounds in camp when I was 12. Got bronchitis and lost seven more. I actually looked slim. Shows just how sick I was. My grandma (mom's mom), with whom I was staying, was beside herself with worry. As I got better, I gained 10 pounds back. Gained thirty more that first semester of 7th grade at least partly because we moved and things were extremely confusing for a while.

Lost about twenty, gained it back. This happened twice, in two years. Gained two inches. So there I was, at 5'9 and 164, fairly athletic, healthy, loving to walk. But then the doctor said noooo...you must lose 24 pounds. Why? Good question. So I lost 11 pounds by walking even more and eating a lot less. Lost 11 more in camp. Gained them back plus seven more. Up to 170 now. Went on a 500 calorie a day diet and lost 20 pounds. Stopped dieting because I was hungry. Gained the 20 pounds back plus 10. Lost 15 the second semester of college.

Gained them back plus 10 more. Lost them, gained, lost, gained all back...plus eight.

The pattern continued until the year 2000, when I swore I would not diet ever again.

I have not.

In thought I wrap in icecubes the primary care doctor who said I had to lose 20 pounds.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Voting Party

In FatLand 3:  To Live Proud and Free, FatLand will switch over to voting for a territorial Senate. It will be the first time FatLanders vote in an actual FatLand election. But instead of making it boring and mundane, FatLand will be making it a party and FatLanders will be meeting each other at the election places and dancing :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Thinness Society

The Thinness Society met for the first time on October 7, 2046. Many FatLanders were appalled at the very idea. Unfortunately, a minority were vocal supporters.

One of the original members of the "Fat and Happy" TV reality show in 2010, the show that ended up being the stimulus behind the creation of FatLand, decided that there were now too many people who were starting to become thin in FatLand. She didn't realize that genetic probability was simply taking its turn, and that the thin kids and young adults she was seeing were the result of recessive genes pairing up. So she founded the Thinness Society, which was focused on trying to "treat" thinness. Needless to say, there were no thin members of the Thinness Society.

Ring a bell? The Obesity Society is an actual organization here in the USA and is still focused on "treating" obesity (read "fat people").  There are no "obese" members. There are: doctors, educators, nurses, all talking about how obesity should be helped/cured/eradicated.

And just as you might imagine, there were demonstrators outside this meeting of the Thinness Society carrying signs that read "Thinness is not a disease" and "Thinness does not need to be treated."

Yep. And neither does "Obesity."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Anti-Bariatric Interventions

Something weird happened in 2045-2046, after the Pro-Health and Diet measures were repealed on the Other Side/USA and after they resumed relations with FatLand.

Bariatric surgery, which had fallen into disuse on the Other Side because it did not result in long term major weight loss, started up again, but not as a weight loss aid. It was being touted as a cure for diabetes, an idea which had already been disproved in the early 2000's.  But certain people saw in it a chance to profit. So they started running ads for it, ads bolstered by studies which were either disproved themselves or nonexistent.

A number of FatandProud chapters on The Other Side contacted FatLand doctors and Friends of FatandProud (a FatLand group dedicated to helping and working with FatandProud chapters on The Other Side). They came up with the Anti-Bariatric Interventions - ABI's, for short.

What this entailed:   Several FatandProud members, often assisted and accompanied by Friends of FatandProud members who were able to travel to the USA (which was much easier, now that relations had been resumed between FatLand and the USA), would rush over to the hospital or clinic at which a bariatric surgical operation was being performed. They would spray shaving cream over the doctor or doctors performing the operation, then snatch the operee out before she was anaesthetized. They would transport her to a safe house. When she awoke, they would explain to  her that BLS surgery does not reduce or do away with diabetes in the long term. They would also tell her that she was free to stay in the safe house (house managed and populated with FatandProud people) as long as she wished, and that they would assist her in managing her diabetes. They would then have a FatandProud dietitian talk to her.

In this way, FatandProud, along with Friends of FatandProud, saved more than 1000 women from having BLS. Not one of the women chose to have the surgery after staying in a FatandProud safe house.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

FatLand Bookstores

There are many bookstores in FatLand, which is a bit surprising because most people on the Other Side/USA buy most of their books online.

For some reason, FatLanders like holding books and looking at them and reading them.

Most FatLand bookstores are open at least until midnight, and often later on the weekends.

Many feature readings. concerts, reading groups and other discussion groups. More than half have cafes.

In other words:  They offer what Borders bookstores once did until they went out of business on the OtherSide.

In other words:  They make buying books fun.

Oh - there are no weight loss sections. "Health" and "Fitness" categories do not include weight loss.

But they do include sex.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

FatLand Pizza Days

One of the first restaurants to go up on one of the main arteries of FatLand City, as it is now called, was a pizza place/casual Italian restaurant. In six months there were three more pizza places within eight blocks. In a year, there were twelve. Two closed a few months after. Ten remained.

Their signs were calculated to draw customers from their competition. They held sales, lunchtime specials, Super Sundays, Special Saturdays, held contests, held dances, had outdoor concerts.

One day, when all ten pizza places/restaurants were plugging their specials and contests, Margaret Clancy, the owner of the first and best known FatLand newspaper, observed that instead of competing against each other all the time, they might instead sponsor a Pizza Days festival in which they all served their best, had eating contests and tasting events and of course a few concerts.

It didn't take long for the restaurant owners and staff to agree that this festival would benefit all of them and bring welcome publicity.

And that is how FatLand Pizza Days got started...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Coming of age stories from FatLand

Now there are coming of age stories coming out of FatLand!

How wonderful it is, to see the writings of young people who were born and/or grew up here.

Some of them refer to the sheltered, almost dreamy quality of life here. Some of them refer to sneaking views and sneaking off the The Other Side to see what life was like there.

A few of them refer to the difficulties of growing up as thin or as transgendered in FatLand. Unfortunately even a land as egalitarian and tolerant as FatLand cannot escape the consequences of problems experienced by those who are different in some way.

Some of them talk about the wonderful food. Some of them discuss the ease with which they were able to stay up all night.  Some of them voice appreciation of the FatLand employment counselors and FatLand's economic system. Some talk about the unique FatLand games they enjoyed.

But all of them adore the scenery and the sunsets.

Friday, September 12, 2014


After FatLand and The Other Side/USA normalized relations, a small but vocal group started taking out ads in online blogs and news media. The ads said, "Diversity is good, but health is better." They showed a fat woman who seemingly was having difficulty walking to her car from a store and a slim woman dancing in a club.

When FatLanders learned of the ads, they complained to their bodies of governance which then authorized the creation of ads which showed two women -one fat, one slim- dancing side by side. Both were dancing quite well. The ad read:  The only thing body size tells you is body size. Anything else is your own prejudice at work.

The organization which sponsored the "Diversity is good, health is better" ads pulled them.

Their ads were paid for mostly by your friend and mine, Winston Stark. Why? Always an interesting question when it comes to Stark. Perhaps he was trying to drum up business for CompleteFitness,  which wasn't doing too well. Perhaps he was just trying to stir up trouble.

As usual.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stray Animals

Sometimes FatLanders take it into their heads to feed stray animals. Not only is this encouraged, but the newly created FatLand Stray Animal Sanctuary comes around to help and then takes in animals that have gotten too big or too difficult for rescuers to take care of.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Very few rapes in FatLand

There are very few rapes in FatLand. Why? First of all, FatLanders receive a thorough education in kinds of love. Sex is not called "sex." It is called pleasuring, pleasing, making love, love play, love passages, adoring. Notice that there is no opposition or even a dialectic between "physical" and "emotional."

Secondly, what people call "rape" on the OtherSide/USA is considered abuse by strangers and is treated as such. The legal minds of FatLand have come up with the classification according to the following line of reasoning:  someone who tries or tries and succeeds in doing something he or she was not given permission to do is no longer a friend or someone who bears any relation to the person who did not give permission. Ergo, he or she is a stranger, and subject to laws governing abuse by strangers.

Punishment:  Exile from FatLand.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Conversation

When FatLand kids are around 9 or 10, their parent(s) or guardian(s) sit(s) them down to have The Conversation.

The happy news is that The Conversation is a lot less foreboding than it was thirty years ago, around the time FatLand was formed.

The sad news is that they have to have it at all. I mean, TheOtherSide/USA has repealed the Pro-Diet and Health Laws, and now, in 2046, there are many businesses starting up in the USA and also in FatLand which feature gourmet food and big, luscious drinks There are businesses that now cater to fat people in FatLand which are actually gaining fans in the USA as well, so it shows that there are enough fat people left in the USA to purchase what these businesses are selling.

And yet..

In certain places there still exist anti-fat bigots.

So this is how the conversation goes.

"People come in all different sizes, and all sizes are fine. People start to feel sick if they starve themselves. This is why in FatLand, people don't talk about weight or needing to change their sizes. More and more people are starting to think the way people in FatLand think, but there are still some people left who think that only a few different sizes and one kind of body are the right ones to have. If you ever hear anyone who says things like this, tell me or tell your teacher. Someone who holds this view is called a bigot. It means they don't want most people to exist. They only want people of certain sizes to exist. In FatLand, if someone says things like this, they are fined. If they continue, they are tossed out.

So remember - all kinds of bodies are good. You have a wonderful body, and you are a wonderful person. (I love you.)

When kids are older, they are taken to the FatLand Museum and then to the FatLand Cultural and Historical Institute to see more of what went on during the time that the Pro-Health and Diet Laws were in force on the OtherSide/USA. They also get to read about the FatLand heroes and organizations who were responsible for rescuing many OtherSiders and keeping FatLanders safe, either in FatLand or on the OtherSide.

Then a long discussion takes place in class and usually in their homes.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


In the FatLand National Museum, there is an exhibit entitled "Fat and Fear."  There is another exhibit entitled "Fat?" It is the second one I'm thinking about now. The question it poses is "Who is considered fat, and why?"

The ironic part of this is that even during the Pro-Health and Diet reign of anti-fat terror, not all admins and staff even agreed about who was fat, and who wasn't. Technically people were supposed to be considered overweight if their BMI was above 30, and overweight if it was above 25. Yet they ran into a problem very quickly. Can you guess?  Some people who had BMI's of x looked fatter than those who had BMI's of x+5 or even x+7.  The admins learned, to their chagrin and embarrassment, that it was very difficult to tell exactly what someone's BMI was just by looking at her or him.

They also learned later that they also could not figure out what someone's eating habits were just by knowing her or his BMI. People they scorned as fatties could be vegans. People they considered slim and trim could be scarfing down two gigantic steaks or burgers per day.

And even more embarrassing to the admins who were sincerely concerned about maintaining the health of the citizens of their nation:  they couldn't tell even from someone's "health habits" (eating and exercise patterns) how healthy he or she was. People who ate very little sugar developed diabetes. People who had never smoked developed lung cancer. People who ate sugar every day did not develop diabetes.

A couple of admins all but admitted that the classification of "fat" was proving to be problematic. And a study done in FatLand simply reconfirmed that the most important indicator for anyone's weight was genetic, and that setpoint weights was not very malleable. It also reconfirmed that every person has/had a unique nutritional blueprint, and that although this does change in some ways during his or her life, most of the foods which provide the most nutrients to anyone are those he or she likes most - unless, of course, this blueprint is affected by starvation or yo-yo dieting, which can set off eating disorders, including but not limited to bulimia, anorexia and binging.

What does all this have to do with who is and is not considered fat?  It turned out that the people most likely to be called "fat" and sent to Reeducation Centers (aka Fat prisons) were those who were not following the diet and exercise plans prescribed by the Health and Diet Admins, even if their BMI's were the same as or even a bit less than those who were following the prescribed plans. Of course all of them were harassed by both staff and anti-fat bigots, but if someone could show that he or she was following the plan and was being monitored daily by an admin, that person probably would not be sent to a Reeducation Center. A "bad" fatty, one who was not following the "plan," would be sent, and would be labeled "fat" much more readily.

Even these days, on the OtherSide/USA, someone who is wearing fashionable, costly clothes and accessories to match, someone who is concealing most of her flesh, and smiling -believe it or not, the "smiling" part is an important part of this- and is not seen eating in public, is less likely to be called "fat," even if she is the same size as someone else who is eating an ice cream cone, wearing clothes that are not fashionable, or are baggy, or tight, or someone who is fat and showing -gasp!- more flesh than the bigot thinks is "nice."

So if we stop to consider, "fat" is often more of a political term than anything else and connotes someone who is not controllable by the constraints of fashion and by anti-fat bigots.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fat Women Portrayed Falsely as Racist(s)

I've seen it a few times in the last four months or so  - bigger women supposedly ranting racist remarks at someone in a video on Facebook. But guess what:  The first of these memes, the fat blond lady sitting next to an African American man and telling the stewardess that she'd like to be moved to another seat, turned out to be false (Snopes).

The second, another fat racist blond lady spouting off against  a Muslim kid, appeared on the site Loonwatch, an anti-anti Muslim site. It turns out to be false, as well. It went viral, though.

It seems that people really get into the idea of fat white women being racist. No doubt there are fat white women and skinny white women who are racist, and skinny white men, and fat white men. But there are people who hate fat women so much that they are willing to invent scenarios and memes in which they portray fat women as racists. My god. If they wish to find real instances of racism, whoever voices them, they can, I am sure, locate actual examples.

Or would these examples not be quite as satisfying because they might not feature fat women?

Yet another good reason to move to FatLand. Fat women are not made scapegoats in/of invented racist memes.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Does "bigger" justify shooting??

Somehow all the descriptions of Michael Brown, the teen who was murdered by a policeperson in Ferguson, MO, as a "big guy" are making me angry. Sometimes there is the supposition that perhaps the police needed to fire six bullets to take him down (errr, for what? Facing the police with his hands up?)

Intersectionality: Not bad enough that the Ferguson police force had/has a record of harassing black people who live in their town. They had to come up with reasons for the police to be afraid of an unarmed teen. Oh, sure...tell them that he was "big." Does that mean that it is somehow okay for police to target people who are bigger, as well? Did they think that Michael Brown would beat them in hand to hand combat?

Listening to the Ferguson police force trying to come up with reasons to justify their crime is like listening to George W. Bush trying to justify going to war in Iraq.

Then you think of the militarization of police forces all around the USA and you realize: These *are* the weapons of mass destruction.

And I think...it's not one day too soon for us all to go to FatLand, where no police-type protectors carry guns or other arms.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bigot of the Week

In the years between its creation and the last months of the Pro-Health and Diet Laws on the Other Side/USA, FatLand hosted a weekly video series entitled "Bigot of the Week." They named the person who said the meanest, nastiest things about fat people in the world -or on several continents- during the week. It was a lot of fun and incorporated comedy and some pertinent music and songs, as well.

The show was abruptly cancelled when the Pro-Health and Diet Laws were repealed in 2044. But the FatLand researchers soon learned of other bigots who continued to attack fat people. So many requests to reinstate "Bigot of the Week" poured in that the video managers decided to put it back on the air.

So on one cool autumn night, "Bigot of the Week" returned, to fanfare and fan cheers.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

First rules

One of the first things FatLanders learn when they arrive in FatLand is that food that tastes good and makes you feel good is healthy.

One of the first things FatLanders unlearn when they arrive in FatLand is that food that tastes bad and makes you feel bad is good for you.

The second thing  they unlearn is that  food that tastes good and makes you feel good is bad for you.

The second thing they learn is that whatever weight one is is a "healthy" weight if one has fun with one's body!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Generation Gap

The first generation of FatLanders were so pleased to be able to live their lives without stigma and without persecution that they weren't interested in rocking the boat socially. They were pleased and often thrilled to be appreciated and admired. They were tickled to be able to marry, to work, to mingle, to have social lives, to walk up and down streets without being jeered and harassed.

The second generation, however, born and raised in FatLand, took their freedom/s from stigma, persecution and harassment for granted. (This was, however, at least partly because their parents could not bring themselves to speak of the horrors of the Pro-Health and Diet administration and years.) Many started to rebel against what they perceived as the stolidity and boring nature of life in FatLand.

However, the ones who were either sent to the OtherSide/USA or heard or read in more detail about the Pro-Health and Diet times started to appreciate anew life in FatLand.

But it was true that the second generation was not as interested in marrying (one person at a time) or setting up cozy, nuclear style families.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The No-Nocebo Effect

(Several studies have already established that when a doctor tells a patient that he or she will or even may get some illness or chronic condition, the patient is a lot more likely to get this illness or condition.)

When FatLand doctors and medical personnel were discussing resources to allot to certain conditions experienced more often by fat people on the OtherSide/USA, they budgeted with the help of the Board and added beds and sections as well.

Thus they were astounded when no more than a third of the beds allotted for these conditions were filled. The conditions:  diabetes, arthritis, knee problems, hip problems, back problems, heart conditions of all kinds, lung problems. Other conditions which on the OtherSide/USA necessitated outpatient care: High cholesterol, high blood pressure, certain cancers, thrombosis, conditions associated with pregnancy.

What happened? the doctors asked themselves.

It took about a month for them to ascertain that FatLanders, not having been told constantly that they were in danger of developing the illnesses and conditions mentioned above, and many others, simply had not developed them. Also, there were/was no negative background talk, no body shaming, no anti-fat bigotry, no food shaming, no embarrassment, no implications of wrongness or otherness.

And even more astounding was the fact that FatLanders who had experienced these illnesses and conditions on the OtherSide/USA shucked them off to the tune of a 95 percent improvement when they had lived
in FatLand anywhere from 2 years to 10 years.

"Let it grow...let it grow...greatly yield!"  (Grateful Dead, Weather Report Suite:  Let It Grow)

Sunday, July 20, 2014



In FatLand 3: To Live Fat and Free, a shyly handsome man from the first two volumes becomes a lovely fat woman. Can you guess who it might be?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Stark and WMD

Winston Stark designed a veritable castle fortress with arms of all sorts, including nuclear-powered rockets, barely ten minutes away from FatLand by air. Air was the easiest way to get there, but people were invited by Stark. It was not open to the public.

FIN (FatLand Intelligence Network) knew of Stark's fortress soon after it was built, but they also knew that he would never actually fire on FatLand. He used the idea of the weapons - his own WMD, so to speak- to deter action by FatLand against him for his questionable business deals and practices. Occasionally he did send drones over FatLand to intimidate the FatLand Board, but did not do more.

Margaret Clancy, whom Stark continued to woo, even after his second marriage (to a Scandinavian/Russian model and gymnast), was a prisoner in Stark's fortress for a short period of time and managed to gather some information about the weapons systems, which were then redone by Stark so that FatLand  would not have access to them.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Strange Rumor

In the days after the Pro-Health and Diet Laws were annulled,  and FatLand and the OtherSide/USA resumed relations, a strange rumor started to circulate.

The rumor was that from the first, FatLand had tried to keep out OtherSiders who were not fat.

This flabbergasted most FatLanders.

When it was discussed at the next Board Meeting, board members as well expressed their astonishment.

"I frankly didn't know or see that slimmer OtherSiders were clamoring to get into and be part of FatLand," the Chair said.

"I remember having a lot of fun made of us," another member said. "By OtherSiders. I truly did not know that slimmer people were so intent on getting in."

"Our priorities were saving fat people who were being harassed and sent to Reeducation Centers at the time,"  yet another board member stated. "I mean, maybe there were a few non-fat people who wished to get in, but the fat people were the ones who were facing Reeducation Centers or worse."

After the meeting, two archivists were asked to locate applications for FatLand visas by non-fat people. The archivists pored over newly found records of people seeking to obtain visas for FatLand. Out of 240,000 applications, one hundred and twenty were applications from slimmer people. (Fifty were granted.)

Not exactly clamoring...

Friday, July 4, 2014


In FatLand, anyone desiring the equivalent of Hospice Care receives it. But so much progress has been made in improving outcomes of diseases and illnesses that formerly led to this state that very few people now need such care. People who would formerly have been confined to their beds receive therapies targeted to their conditions, especially but not only the Mondo Sized on whom OtherSide/USA doctors often gave up.

Of course there are way fewer Mondo Sized people than there were a generation ago in FatLand. Why? Well, people are not put on diets, which turned out to be one of the quickest ways to gain weight. People are not harassed when they move or participate in athletic activities or simply take a walk. People eat Kwhat they like, so they don't develop eating disorders which cause their weight to yo yo or spiral up. And no one is told that they cannot have x food or that s/he must eat y food, or must eat 12 servings a day of z food.

Kind of like the best kind of urban planning:  Let people do as they wish and build as they wish, but be prepared to help them along, and make sure that no one tendency or fashion or building group accumulates too much power.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The tribal connection

The Native American tribe who held the land on which FatLand was built were consulted and asked if they would like to arrange somehow to take back the land they had once owned, and which FatLand would lease from them. They said that they did not believe in borders, but that they would be happy to lease the land. So it is the case that the lease FatLand holds is held by the tribe and not the state. If one looks at the lease, one will see the signature of the tribe elders, with their tribal seal.

The first FatLand Board asked the tribe if they would bless the land and also told them that they were free to pass between FatLand and the OtherSide/USA. The tribe said that they appreciated the freedom of passing and asked the medicine person if he would bless the land. He did so. Afterward members of the tribe and FatLanders celebrated together. On FatLand's Founding Day ceremonies, tribe members are always present.

For a long time FatLand did not publicize this connection because they did not wish to bring trouble to the tribe. However, when relations between the OtherSide/USA and FatLand were established, FatLand began to mention the connection, with the permission of the tribe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Restaurant bigotry in the time of the Pro-Health and Diet Laws

As many FatLand residents noted, it wasn't so much that restaurants kicked them out before and during the first couple of years of the Pro-Health and Diet Laws. It was more that the maitre d's made excuses not to seat them -"Sorry, the restaurant is full now"- or gave them the least desirable seats in the restaurant(s). "Um, I'd really prefer something a little further from the kitchen? There isn't anyone sitting in the front at all."

Or they said that a special party had rented the restaurant. "All of it?"

Or they said that all the empty tables were reserved. "All of them?"

Or they said that the restaurant only seated couples during the last two hours. "Really? Then I guess single people are out of luck here."

Or they said that a special tasting dinner was being served at $120 per person that night. "Are they tasting gold crumpets?"

Or they said that there were no seats that could fit us.

Or they said that the bathrooms were too small for us to fit in them.

It was an atmosphere, more than anything else - an atmosphere of fear and loathing, of hate, of bigotry, of discrimination at its most blatant.

This is how one knows that it's time to leave...

Monday, June 23, 2014

Project Pushback

When relations were reestablished with the Other Side/USA and when citizens of FatLand were allowed freely into the OtherSide/USA and vice versa, the FatLand Senate met to discuss a new project, entitled Project Pushback.

For years, the OtherSide/USA had published articles in their media denouncing and mocking FatLand, even and especially when studies revealed that FatLand had lower all around mortality rates than the OtherSide/USA. But with the repeal of the Pro-Health and Diet Laws, OtherSiders began to become more interested in FatLand and what it had to offer. Ironically. now that the terror of the Pro-Health administration was no more, FatLand was more interested than even in drawing visitors and emigrants from the OtherSide/USA. The FatLand Senate especially felt that FatLand would be able to acquire a larger population (in numbers, that is) and thus more land if it attracted more people who would become residents.

At first, some FatLanders were in favor of writing nasty articles about the OtherSide, and they could have easily done so, given the history of relations/non-relations with -and threats from- the OtherSide. But soon cooler thoughts prevailed, and sneakier heads inclined toward writing articles of praise for places on the OtherSide that were kind and just to fat people. Their reasoning was that people from the OtherSide would be more attracted to FatLand if FatLand media praised the efforts of the OtherSide to free themselves from the legacy of the hate enabled by the Pro-Health and Diet Laws, and talked about places most welcoming to fat people in the OtherSide/USA. Reverse psychology, as it were.

And it worked. The number of residents in FatLand almost doubled in a year and a half's time.

Now the FatLand Senate could with some justice claim that FatLand needed more land.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Peggy Elam and Pearlsong Press: Healing the World One Book at a Time

I was going to try to summarize and paraphrase Peggy Elam's thoughtful and deeply felt blog post about how and why she founded Pearlsong Press. But she explains it so beautifully that I would not wish to take anything away from her own description.

So here it is - all about Pearlsong Press: its founding and the vision of its owner.

the HAES® files: Healing the World One Book at a Time

by Peggy Elam, PhD
There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. ~Junot Diaz
Almost two decades ago when exercise physiologist Glenn A. Gaesser, PhD was seeking a publisher for Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight and Your Health—a book packed with scientific evidence of the hazards of dieting and the shaky foundation of weight-focused approaches to health—his agent informed him that he needed to include a photo with his book proposal in order to show prospective publishers he wasn’t fat. A thin person writing on the subject of weight and health had more credibility to publishers than a fat person with the same credentials.
Gaesser, who is thin, provided the photo. He met with several interested publishers before accepting a contract from Fawcett Columbine, who published Big Fat Lies in 1996.
It was several years after the book’s publication that I learned how its publication had hinged on the author’s having an “acceptable” body size. The knowledge infuriated me. It was bad enough that people with bodies larger than societal and medical ideals were seeing few positive representations of themselves in literature (or popular culture in general), but to have the route to traditional print publication of health-related nonfiction barred to fat people? Not acceptable.
At that time, I was already contemplating starting a publishing company that would pull together my expertise in journalism, English and psychology to publish fat-positive books and resources that support the Health At Every Size® approach. Learning of Gaesser’s experience was my tipping point. I founded Pearlsong Press, the only publishing company (to my knowledge) whose mission and vision include promoting fat-positive fiction and nonfiction and health, happiness and social justice at every size.
I established and still run a fat-positive publishing company because I want fat people’s voices and research and perspectives and opinions to be heard, especially when they challenge the status quo. I also want fat people to be able to see bodies similar to theirs portrayed positively in tales in which fat people live and love and have adventures and overcome challenges and thrive, providing not only a good read, but perhaps for some people, the first inkling that anyone can live happily ever after while fat.
Pearlsong Press was incorporated in October 2003. Our first book, Pat Ballard’s short story collection Dangerous Curves Ahead, was published in May 2004. Since then we have published more than 44 books, both fiction and nonfiction. In our books, Pearlsong author Frannie Zellman notes, “proud fat heroines spring to life and tell the world ‘I’m strong, hot and fat. Got a problem with that?’”
Zellman is author of The FatLand Trilogy novels, which are set in a near-future in which “pro-health” laws have become so oppressive that those wishing body liberation have established a territory  in which dieting is forbidden and large bodies are celebrated.  She also edits the Fat Poets Speak series.
The Fat Poets’ Society was formed in 2006 when Zellman taught a workshop in writing fat positive poetry at that year’s NAAFA convention. “Mary Ray Worley provided a sheet for attendees to sign their names and then dubbed us the Fat Poets’ Society,” Zellman says. “We wrote and wrote online as a Yahoo group, and all of the poems in Fat Poets Speak: Voices of the Fat Poets’ Society [published by Pearlsong Press in 2009 and featuring the work of Zellman, Kathy Barron, Anne S. Kaplan, Corinna Makris, and Leslie J. Owen] were drawn from this group.
“My heart almost broke with pride and appreciation when I read the poems our poets wrested from their bodies, minds and hearts,” Zellman adds. “You see, many and maybe even most of us were taught that people contained in poems — and especially women — were supposed to embody the culturally acceptable ideal of slimness. Fatness was taboo. Mentioning it as an issue was taboo. What these poems do is defy this taboo and speak of living life, loving, laughing, aching, revolting, reimagining the world and days spent in it as fat people, sometimes calling attention to our fatness, sometimes simply being in the world as fat people.
“For me, the message we bring so tellingly to other fat people, especially but not only women, is ‘We are not alone. We are all unique and yet we experience so much that is the same. We cannot be bypassed or not counted any longer. We write ourselves as who and what we are. We write fat poems. We write as fat people. And we are proud to do so.”
Fat Poets Speak 2: Living and Loving Fatly, published April 2014, contains poems by some of the original Fat Poets’ Society members (Zellman, Barron, Kaplan, Owen, and Worley), another poet who took the Fat Poets’ Workshop at the NAAFA convention the following year (Eileen Rosensteel), and four New Voices (Durette Hauser, Deb Lemire, Dr. Deah Schwartz, and M.M. Stein). The Fat Poets’ Society is donating the royalties from Fat Poets Speak 2 to fat activist Ragen Chastain. Royalties from the first volume are being donated to NAAFA.
Through Pearlsong Press, the voices of fat scholars are also heard. Our nonfiction includes Lonie McMichael, Ph.D.’s Talking Fat: Health vs. Persuasion in the War on Our Bodiesan examination of the rhetoric of the “war on obesity,” and Acceptable Prejudice? Fat, Rhetoric and Social Justicewhich has been called “Fat Acceptance 101,” as wellas Pattie Thomas, Ph.D.’s Taking Up Space: How Eating Well & Exercising Regularly Changed My Lifewritten with her husband Carl Wilkerson, M.B.A, and containing a foreword by Paul Campos.
As for fiction — we’ve republished Lynne Murray’s award-winning Josephine Fuller mystery series, which went out of print in the early 2000s, and have made those novels (Larger Than DeathLarge TargetAt Largeand A Ton of Trouble) available as ebooks for the first time. We’ve also published two new novels by Murray, the romantic comedy Bride of the Living Dead and the paranormal adventure The Falstaff Vampire Files.
We’ve published seven novels and a novella by Pat Ballard in addition to her short story collection , a free nonfiction ebook (Something to Think About: Reflections on Life, Family, Body Image & Other Weighty Matters by the Queen of Rubenesque Romances), and her self-help guide 10 Steps to Loving Your Body (No Matter What Size You Are), which the author ofEating Disorders for Dummies calls “your body’s best friend in pocket form.” Other fat-positive romantic fiction includes The Giving Season by Rebecca Brock, Kiss Me, Nate! by Judy Bagshaw, and the rollicking soap opera in print Measure By Measure by Rebecca Fox and William Sherman.
In addition to The Falstaff Vampire Files, in which Sir John Falstaff — yes, that Falstaff — is undead and misbehaving in San Francisco, fans of fantasy and paranormal adventure can enjoy large as life heroes and heroines in Fallen Embers and Blowing Embers by Lauri J Owen, Fatropolis by Tracey L. Thompson, and Zellman’s FatLand and FatLand: The Early DaysThere’s a supernatural tinge to the thriller The Program by Charlie Lovett, whose book proposal had me at “evil weight loss clinic.” (Lovett is also the author of the only young adult novel we’ve published thus far, The Fat Lady Sings.)
Not every book Pearlsong Press publishes deals specifically with size, weight or physical health issues — some of our books are age-positive, or spiritually oriented memoirs, or self-help, or literary fiction — but none are fat-negative or promote a weight-centered approach to health or wellbeing.
As Pearlsong Press has grown, the publishing and bookselling world has been rapidly evolving, accelerated by the growth of the internet and advances in technology that make it easier for books to be traditionally and self-published. The past decade has seen several fat-positive nonfiction books published by academic presses and other companies. Kudos, among others, to BenBella Books for publishing Linda Bacon’s Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight,  Seal Press for Virgie Tovar’s Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion, and Beaufort Books for publishing Rebecca Weinstein’s Fat Kids: Truth and Consequences, due October 2014 and featuring a chapter on “Collateral Damage in the ‘War on Obesity’: Fat Kids, Dieting & Eating Disorders” written by yours truly in her role as clinical psychologist.
Yet, as the number of books of all kinds published each year has risen, it’s been harder for potential readers to find them. Many bookstores have closed, challenged by the rise in internet sales and the poor economy, with those remaining open often stocking their shelves with products other than books in an effort to increase revenue. As I write this, the publishing world is monitoring the faceoff between publishing giant Hachette and retailing giant Amazon over pricing of ebooks and the timely shipping and ordering of print books, issues which cut into publishers’ and, ultimately, authors’ income.
The buzz word these days in publishing is “discoverability” — the ability of something to be found. It doesn’t matter how good a book is if no one knows it exists, and it’s hard for a book to be sighted or a new voice heard among the plethora of books and ebooks competing for attention.
In a sea of books promoting slenderness as the route to health and happiness or fatness as the cause of personal and even global disaster, how can the few (but growing) number of fat-positive and HAES® friendly books published by Pearlsong Press and others be sighted and plucked out of the watery unknown? Without, I might add, needing deep pockets to pay for advertising and publicists and strategic placement in bookstores?  One option is the Fat Friendly Fiction blog started by Pearlsong Press and author Lynne Murray. (I have plans for a Fat Friendly Nonfiction blog, but not yet the time to establish it.)
Another option is for publishers and authors to connect with potential readers and encourage word of mouth through teleconferences, video chat, webinars, and other forms of social media. With that in mind, a few years ago I started a series of teleconference call conversations with Pearlsong authors and readers as a way of promoting our books and authors and HAES-friendly fiction and nonfiction. You can download recordings of many of these Pearlsong Conversations at http://www.pearlsong.com/fatstudies.htm.
Personal challenges including the demands of caregiving elderly parents have temporarily halted my ability to facilitate more Conversations, but I hope to start them again soon — possibly with a video chat component. If you’re interested in participating or listening/viewing the recording, stay tuned to or subscribe to the Pearlsong blog , Facebook page  or Twitter feed.
In the meantime, I encourage you to buy (or check out of your library) and read and recommend fat-positive and HAES-friendly fiction and nonfiction published by Pearlsong Press and others. Let’s help fat-positive and size-diverse books and authors — and publishers — become beacons spreading health and happiness at every size.

PE5CROPPEDPeggy Elam , Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and former journalist in Nashville, TN. She was iVillage’s Emotional Health expert from 1998-2000 and hosted the Health at Every Size show on Radio Free Nashville from 2005-2011. She was interviewed by filmmaker Julian Dahl for his documentary FAT in 2009 and is one of the experts featured in that film. She founded Pearlsong Press in 2003.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The insult of the negative fat meme

The insult of the negative fat meme

Besides all of the discrimination and efforts to control their weight by non-productive and non-constructive diets and medication (weight loss surgery proved extremely cost-ineffective and was scrapped in most areas early in the rule of the Pro-Health and Diet Administration), the worst thing about being fat, refugees from the Other Side/USA wrote in their journals when they were in FatLand, was being tagged with memes, images and symbols that insulted them and made them sub-human, made them symbols to be ridiculed, harassed and hated and at odd times, pitied.

The worst one, a new FatLand resident wrote, was the one that labeled fat people passive. "Couch potato" was one that was often referenced, as was "piggy lazing in mud." This, the writer wrote, seemed to associate fat people's supposed "passivity" with their being sent to the Reeducation Centers. It seemed to imply that fat people deserved the horrific singling out and mistreatment they received in the Centers and that it was natural for them to receive it because they were passive and "soft" and useless.

"This," she said, "was the worst. "It was bad enough being singled out for your supposed lack of health and unattractiveness, but then to be considered passive and useless, and only worthy of being sent to a Reeducation Center, made me so sick inside that I cried almost every night. It felt as if my own country was telling me that I could do nothing of worth for them, that I was not worthy of being a citizen and living in it."

"That is when I knew that I had to try to get out of there, even if I died in the process. For I was either going to get out or die trying. I refused to be sent to a Reeducation Center."

According to the rest of the account, this FatLander arranged with the FatandProud group in her area to help her transport herself to Canada, to an airport where the then-fledgling FatAir, the airline of FatLand, operated. She took FatAir to FatLand.

And there, she reported, she started to live again and recover her worth as an individual and as someone who had something to contribute to the economy and social wellbeing of her new country.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

"This Land Is Mine"

This is one of the songs I think of  most when I wrote/write FatLand.


Dido - This Land Is Mine  All words copyright Dido.


"This Land Is Mine"

From behind these walls I hear your song
Oh, sweet words
The music that you play lights up my world
The sweetest that I’ve heard
Could it be that I’ve been touched and turned
Oh Lord, please finally…finally things are changing

This land is mine but I’ll let you rule
I let you navigate and demand
Just as long as you know…this land is mine
So find your home and settle in
Ohhh, I’m ready to let you in
Just as long as we know…this land is mine

After all the battles and the wars
The scars and loss
I’m still the queen of my domain
and feeling stronger now
The walls are down a little more each day
Since you came, finally…finally things are changing


Follow the days I’ve travelled alone
In this cold and colorless place till now
It’s what I had to pay


This land is mine and I let you rule
I let you navigate on demand
Just as long as you know…this land is mine

Friday, June 13, 2014

Full June Moon

There is a considerable pagan/neo-pagan group in FatLand. As a matter of fact, FatLand is considerably more tolerant toward pagans than the Other Side/USA, so even a few pagans who were not/are not fat have emigrated from there to FatLand.

The full June moon is a time for celebration in FatLand, in any case. GymNotTrim conducts its first midnight and clothing optional swim. There are three swims: women-only, men-only and coed. It is magic to swim under the stars and see the night clouds flashing by. Of course, if it rains, the swims are held indoors. It's still fun, but not quite as much.

After the swims, people can pitch tents or sleep in the open in sleeping bags or in low cots, if they wish (these can be rented from GymNotTrim for a nominal fee). Members get to go to the swim/s free; others pay, but not a lot.

There is of course a wonderful snack/mean of hors d'oeuvres of all kinds. Vegans and vegetarians find many pleasing choices, but meat eaters and fish eaters also find many tasty morsels. And those cute little cocktail franks and mini meatballs remain on the menu.

As do rather sumptuous brandy alexanders and more serious dry martinis.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


This is a side story about a woman who belonged to a group on the Other Side/USA closely related to FatLand:  FatandProud.

All my life I was a pretty peaceful soul. I was a proofreader. I owned a modestly priced condo in Inwood, at the tip of Manhattan. I was considered reliable and competent, two attributes which arose out of my loving my work. I took one week vacations in various parts of New England and brought along my work. I walked in the park nearest to my condo in autumn. I had a few peaceful, modestly interesting romantic relationships that didn't last past a year. I was devoted to my parents and my cat. I had a few good friends and two with whom I met each week for some meal or other. In short, a contented and productive life.

Oh, yes. I was also a member of FatandProud because I am fat and read articles by and about several strong, proud, fat women who voiced what I had been thinking for a while, which was that diets do not work and that it is so much happier and easier to lead a life which does not involve hating yourself and your body.

We met monthly for a while. Then, when the Pro-Diet and Health Laws were passed in 2010 and then more of them in 2014, we began to be viewed as subversive. At first we thought it was humorous. Then, when several of us received calls from the FBI, we started to feel otherwise. And we started to meet weekly.

In 2014 we set up our Fat Underground Rescue Team. We were saving fat people from the Reeducation Centers, in which they were brainwashed and starved, often without their losing a pound. Sometimes we did manage to spring them, but more often we worked to help them escape to FatLand.

Early in 2015, I received my call.

"Ms. Pomeroy," it began, "I am Clarence Knightley from the FBI.  We would consider it extremely helpful to our peacekeeping efforts if you could tell us the names of the people from FatandProud who are helping you maintain the Underground Railroad."

"Am I under arrest?" I asked.


"Then am I free to go?"

"If you tell us the names of people who are helping you in the Underground Railroad."

"Am I free to go?"

"I am sorry to say that your efforts have earmarked you for a Reeducation Center. So that question is basically moot."

"Thank you, Mr. Knightley," I said, and hung up.

How strange it still felt, to be considered "subversive" for being fat and helping to free fat people who were not causing trouble to anyone or anything but had been labeled undesirable citizens because they were fat and because many corporate entities found it convenient to scapegoat them. Insurance. Big Pharma. Diet Companies. Fitness Companies.

But in any case, I was now one of the targeted and had to move fast. I could not text those who had to know, but emailed them through a hidden network we maintained. I simply typed "420," our prearranged code, and they knew. Within minutes a car was sent for me and I got in with one bag and my cat, who would be taken in by sister FAP members. I kissed her goodbye as I transferred to a van with a back in which I was told to hide by lying down and covering with a blanket that matched the seats. They then took me to the Denver airport, where I boarded a flight to Canada under an assumed name with a different passport, made up for me and kept in my escape bag at all times. I then passed through their customs and blessedly then into the FatLand Air Section, rather new at the time, but still incredibly good to see.

The FatLand Air head sat me down and asked if I wanted to go to FatLand or work with FatAir, the FatLand airline, to get people out of the OtherSide/USA. I chose the latter. I knew that my FatandProud friends would need rescuing, and soon.

I missed them all. And I did end up taking a hand in rescuing them. But that is a story for another time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

No racism in FatLand

No racism in FatLand. Why? No one is made to feel inferior by virtue of job, income, looks, race, gender, belief system.

FatLand has people of all races and colors and ethnic groups and belief systems and sexes and genders.

FatLand has serious punishments for bullying. The worst ends one's residence in FatLand.  "Bullying" in FatLand includes negative statements made against anyone for any attribute or possession. This includes all of the above.

FatLand has some punishments on the books for discrimination against anyone who wishes to enter any establishment or business and anyone who seeks to prevent anyone else from purchasing anything or renting anything. However, they have never been applied. No one seems to want to or need to discriminate.

FatLand has no jails. There is no chance for racist subcultures to develop.

People in FatLand are allowed to opt out of racist and sexist channels on the net or anywhere else. They are also encouraged to point them out so that others will know about them. There are several people to whom these bigoted channels are reported in FatLand.

People can choose any job they find and request a trial period during which they are judged and tested -and paid- for their ability to do a job. So there is no inferiority associated with any particular job or kind of job.

People can participate in sports and activities they appreciate without either being pressured or stopped from doing so.

People are encouraged to use FatLand facilities and to find friends. Thus we don't experience the frightening phenomenon of anti-social people with axes to grind (and guns).

Oh, and speaking of guns - they are outlawed. No one is allowed to possess them. Not even most law enforcement personnel (of whom there are not many). So no one fears that people of any one particular group may possess them.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why It Hurts

It goes like this. Friends who have "liked" and appreciated your Fat Acceptance posts on Facebook suddenly, probably not even thinking much about it, post something about the "Childhood Obesity Epidemic" or "Children need to maintain a healthy weight." And it is as if they've punched you straight in the stomach or slapped you in the face.

These friends have absolutely no clue that a) you spent at least half of your childhood and teenage years and probably at least some of your college years dieting/starving, after which the weight came right back, and then some. These friends also have no idea that you were actually pretty athletic, at whatever weight you were, and walked your slimmer friends into the ground (not literally) and played volleyball intramurally and climbed statues and gave killer massages and...so to say "healthy weight" is rather a misnomer because you were healthy. It is just that some doctors and insurance charts kept pushing you to lose because your numbers didn't match the numbers on the charts. But you didn't know that then. It just seemed weird and wrong.

These friends do not know that the slimmest you ever were was 123 pounds when you were 12 years old and 5'6", and you had a very bad case of bronchitis and could hardly eat. Ironically the charts listed this as a "normal" weight, but your ribs were sticking out. As you recuperated, you gained weight. And you felt a lot better, but you knew at the same time that you weren't supposed to feel better if you were getting heavier.

So your friends who echo these phrases have absolutely no clue about the childhood of  fat kids who feel healthy and get exercise and eat pretty much what their thinner friends eat. And yet they echo the set phrases of whatever campaign has set its sights on mouthing off about fat kids, most of whom are perfectly all right. Why are they fat? Genetics? Metabolism? Sleep patterns? Chemicals? Who knows? Because guess what - any attempts to control their weight end up causing them a) to gain weight b) to develop eating disorders.

However, if your friends are so very concerned about them, they might consider joining a campaign to give all kids access to places to exercise and the freedom from bullies that would let them do so. It won't cause them to lose weight, but it will give them opportunities to move.

And for goodness' sake, hope that your friends are aware that their fat friends probably were healthy when they were young, or would have been if they weren't being put on every diet known to peoplekind, and then some.

So...next time your friends automatically get set to write about "childhood obesity" or "kids needing to maintain a healthy weight," hope that your  friends think about  their fat friends, whom they may be hurting without even realizing it.

And hope that they write about something else.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Promoting Obesity"

One of the most often-used phrases to fat-shame successful fat people in 2013-2014 was that they were "promoting obesity." This was of course used about FatLand in the same time period by OtherSiders/Americans. An article syndicated in several publications and online stated that by providing a territory to which fat people could immigrate, FatLand was promoting obesity.

FatLand already had several news services, among them the FatLand Free News, managed and partly owned by Margaret Clancy. She told her star reporter, Ava Bryer, to compose an editorial in response.

This is what Ava wrote.

Since FatLand is a territory to which fat people who have been discriminated against, shunned, harassed and imprisoned can now go and in which they can now live as citizens free of discrimination and harassment, you might indeed say that we are "promoting obesity," although of course FatLand does not recognize words invented to classify fat people. In a way, I suppose you could say that when Israel welcomed people who had escaped the concentration camps, it was promoting Jewishness. When the United States became a refuge for  people who were fleeing the Irish famines (I would not be able to say "welcomed," considering the reception that most Irish people got when they arrived), does that mean that the USA  was promoting Irishness? And when Thailand opened refugee camps for people fleeing Burma in the 1980's, did that mean they were promoting "Burmeseness"?

What this statement becomes when analyzed is a study in ignorance and stupidity. When a subset of people flee from a place in which they are being destroyed and murdered, whatever feature or ethnicity they possess that sets them apart from others who have decided to destroy and murder them is not being "promoted" in their new safe(r) haven. The people who possess it are merely being given a chance to survive. If one does not believe that people persecuted for their looks or ethnicity or religion should survive, then he or she is clearly earmarked as a bigot of the worst sort (not that there are any good bigots around, but there may be degrees).

So to say that by providing a place to which fat people can (and probably should) flee from the Other Side/USA, FatLand is "promoting obesity" is like saying that it is promoting their survival.

And I say to the author of this borderline idiocy: Got a problem with that?

Monday, May 19, 2014

To A Former FB Friend

Dear Former FB Friend,

It never ceases to amaze me how people can experience the disconnect that causes them to write in frightened tones about the DEATHFATZ Obesity Epidemic, and yet understand that their sister who diets and diets may diet her way into an eating disorder and regain the weight she lost.

As someone who counsels lesbian and bi couples with love, tolerance and wisdom, you still don't seem to understand that fat people are a much-maligned majority and that some of that love, tolerance and wisdom would be most helpful and pertinent when dealing with fat people, who really don't need to be stigmatized as an epidemic. First of all, people are older and taller these days. Many people gain weight when they are older. Taller people tend to get higher BMI readings because of the flaw in the BMI measuring system. People who diet may often diet their way to gaining weight, since that is the only thing that dieting seems to predict with success.

And I would also add: So what? Is the problem that you, a thin, blonde white female, cannot stomach the idea of fat people existing happily without stigma? You said you read FatLand. Didn't this mean anything to you? Didn't you see how the territory in which mostly fat people lived managed not only to grow, but to thrive when fat people were not stigmatized and were not stopped from making their contributions to a society that welcomed both them and their contributions?

If you knew, would you continue to write about us as an "Epidemic"? Would your sister be part of an epidemic? Or is it that you just don't like looking at fat people?

I tried to get to get across to you how fat people feel about not being represented in the ongoing discussion of their fate and their health. I thought you understood.

I guess I was wrong.

Sincerely, Frannie

Friday, May 16, 2014

Non fat readers.

Our non-fat readers are, I believe, not very well understood by us. (Sounds like I'm comparing them to yogurt...)We have not even taken any surveys or asked them any questions. I think that some curious Fat Studies dissertation writer should attempt to sample slim and/"average" folks who read Fat Studies pages and Fat Acceptance and Size Acceptance Lit. What do they hope to achieve or accomplish? What do they wish to know? Do they have many fat friends? Where did they find out about FA first? How do they feel about Fat Acceptance and HAES? Are they themselves afraid of getting fat, given the pressure in our society to be slim?

What do they see when they see us, listen to us, maybe even hug us? Oh lord, I feel a poem coming on..

Thursday, May 15, 2014


As I stayed with my mom in the hospital, I had time to envision FatLand hospitals.


Gowns for all sizes. Seats that are comfortable for people of all sizes. Equipment that is calibrated to get accurate readings for each person (my little mom needed a pediatric cuff, which theyt  didn't figure out for three days) for blood pressure, temperature, pulse, electrolytes, nutrients. Stretchers and beds that could be extended to fit people of all sizes. Furniture for those who stay with patients that would fit us well (middling on this, for the hospital in which we stayed.)

Nurses who don't discuss one's size. (They did comment on my mom's smallness, although not in an insulting manner. I am sure that I would have run into many size-related comments had I been the patient.) Doctors who don't discuss one's size. (Ditto what I just said in the last sentence.)

Waiting rooms with capacious chairs (the hospital in which we stayed did have them, amazingly). Chairs for people of all sizes outside, too. (Hats off the the hospital for this, too.)  Ambulances that provide stretchers for people of all sizes (without commenting on them).

Is this all too much to ask for Other Siders/Americans in our lifetimes?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Oppressed Non-Olympics

It's not that we are more oppressed or less oppressed than other groups..it's more that they say the same things about us as they did about other oppressed groups before they rebelled and began to redefine themselves and their relationship to their oppressor(s).

They say..we're less intelligent. We are lazy. We are dirty. We don't know what's good for us. We  don't listen to others who supposedly know better than we do about what is fair for or good for us. We are not talented.  We provide a bad example. We are bad fatties, not the good ones who are constantly trying to lose weight.

We are not interested in sex. We are too interested in sex.  We promote obesity by participating in sports and other activities openly.  We act proudly.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mother's Day in FatLand

Mother's Day is a very special day in FatLand, not only because it venerates moms, but because in FatLand, the ideas of softness, nurturing, loving and feeding are not looked down upon.

In the past 100 years, these qualities associated with mothering have come under attack because it has become more and more de rigueur for CEO's and other business-oriented people to appear and perhaps even be hard, nasty, unkind and unforgiving, especially when pursuing ways to increase profits. The qualities considered necessary to make a good CEO are often in exact opposition to those considered necessary to make a good mother.

This is yet another reason that thinness has been prized as a body type. Thin people do not have bodies that are easy to hug. Thin people are not associated with kindness or nurturing and lovableness.  See where this is going? The more kindness is considered passe or weak, the more fat people are also considered these things.

Mother's Day in FatLand takes on another added dimension because many who emigrated had to do so without their parents. Thus it was important for counselors to express nurturing and kindness to the new FatLanders, as well as the ability to understand and give them incentives to appreciate themselves and become and feel that they were part of FatLand.

Thus Mother's Day in FatLand continues to be much more than an occasion to send a card with flowers (although these things are certainly welcomed by those who receive them).

Monday, May 5, 2014

No Diet Day in FatLand

In FatLand, people celebrate No Diet Day, not as the day that they shouldn't diet, since they don't, but as a day on which to cook and bake their finest and most luscious meals, snacks and desserts. Many restaurants have sidewalk cafe exhibits and tastings, and there are music and clothing exhibits and outside art showings and fiction and poetry readings. A gigantic all day festival, in other words.

However, yet another aspect, a more serious one, is commemorated in the FatLand Archives and Cultural and Historical Museum. Not only are records, books and archives relating to dieting mentioned, but the roll of the numbers of people who died as a result of dieting is read. This roll is recompiled every year. It is kept meticulously.

In schools, students discuss what diets were and what they caused. Exhibits vary from year to year. One exhibit that gained some notoriety was that of a scale. FatLand students had never seen a scale. A video showing kids lining up to get weighed was also shown. Some students cried on seeing the cruelty and insensitivity of this procedure. The teachers who were showing the video started a discussion on why The Other Side/USA utilized this mostly useless system and then how it was proven to be dangerous as well as useless. They directed the discussion loosely into why living in FatLand liberated people from being weighed and from having to diet.

Lunch was then served, with a make-your-own sundae bar featured for dessert.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fat Talent

One of the most wonderful things about FatLand is that people with talent do not undergo harassment when they demonstrate their talents. Especially those which were associated with being slimmer on the OtherSide/USA, like dancing, various sports and acting in romantic movies.

People on the OtherSide/USA would often say that certain moves "looked wrong" wheun done by fat people, even when they were performed expertly. In their minds, fatter bodies were already so "wrong" that anything they did was automatically wrong. But when enough fat oeople started to perform in FatLand, whether dance, ice skating, figure skating, synchronized swimming or other activities and sports, people began to see that dances and sports performed by fat people were often beautifully done, with a grace and soft fluidity all their own. And yes, they looked different than when thinner people performed them, but the difference was just that - a difference, not a detriment.

So what it seemed/seems to need on The Other Side/USA is simply for more fat people to start dancing and figure skating and doing gymnastics. That way more people see that there can be different kinds of grace and beauty, that the look of a dance or sport they are used to does not dictate its worthiness when accomplished by those who are fat.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy Happy Chart

When the first Neighborhood and Block Counselors were chosen, their job was defined as making sure that FatLanders were "adjusting" - feeling more or less okay, making friends, walking around, eating as they wished. However, counselors soon found that it was difficult for them to define endpoints. For what were they aiming with the people they counseled?  Contentment? Ease? Peace? Cheerfulness? Happiness?

Those did sound like good words and good states to achieve, but they soon found that every person had her or his level of positivity. Sometimes this appeared as quiet contentment. Sometimes it resembled ease or peace. Occasionally there were people who were more vocal, more emotional and more easily detectable as "happy."  

After getting together and meeting, the counselors decided that they would first and foremost aim for contentment with the people they counseled. If and only if someone wished to feel more involved and excited, and specifically said that she wished to feel more strongly positive about her life, then they would talk with and advise her as to how she might reach, what she might add or adjust to attain the level of cheerfulness and maybe then, happiness, which was something that others had already reached, sometimes on their own, sometimes with help.

They even drew up a chart for themselves, but which also became famous and sometimes something of a joke around FatLand.  CONTENTMENT-> EASE-> PEACE-> CHEERFULNESS-> HAPPINESS.
The "Happy Happy Chart," jokers and sometimes the counselors themselves called it. 

But it worked.