Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When a really fat person spills their flab into your airplane seat ...'s because the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance recommends they put the armrests up.

"When you get to your seat during pre-boarding, raise the armrest between seats. This may give you the inch or two of extra space you need. The chances are that the passenger who will be seated next to you won't say anything; if he does, smile pleasantly and say that you'll both be more comfortable if the armrest is up."

Chances are I won't say anything? I'll be more comfortable? Oh yeah, I'm always more comfortable when I have half a stranger in my lap on my way to NY from Chicago. My God.


Today I happened upn this article in Slate. Apparently the NAAFA and it fellow organizations are at the vanguard of a whole new movement. Amazing stuff really.


In the war on fat, fat isn't just winning, it's crushing the opposition. A new study reports that in the course of a lifetime, 9 out of 10 men and 7 out of 10 women are going to become overweight. The CDC says that a third of the country is currently obese. This puts a large portion of the nation's population in an unenviable predicament, since antipathy toward the fat, it's frequently remarked, is the last sanctioned form of bigotry. But bigotry is traditionally the plight of minorities, and the fat are fast becoming a majority. So, is America's spreading waistline at least a plus for anti-fat-discrimination efforts?

Perhaps. What is clear is that not all fat citizens are obediently jumping on the diet bandwagon: A growing number are organizing to demand that society transform its bodily ideals, instead of agreeing that they should try to transform their bodies. The best-known of the fat activist groups is the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA), but there are dozens of others, from the Fat Underground, which devotes itself to disrupting Weight Watchers meetings with pro-fat guerrilla theater, to rabble-rousing zines like Fat!So?, "for people who don't apologize for their size." Read though these Web sites and manifestos and you encounter a political movement in the making, one that a lot of us overfed Americans may soon be thinking about joining.

As in any rights movement, the rhetoric is a mixture of self-empowerment credos and anger. The latter is directed at the diet industry for exploiting the fat (to the tune of $46 billion a year), at society for its ongoing cruelty to the fat, and at the medical establishment for providing condescending substandard care to the fat. A particularly incendiary topic is weight-loss surgery (stomach stapling or more radical measures like rerouting the intestine). Full Article