Fat Free?

The Board of Directors of NAAFA is considering changing the organization’s name so as to make it easier to obtain corporate funding. They are soliciting input, so I urge all of you who have an opinion to let them know how you feel.

Ragen over at Dances With Fat has a pretty good essay on what the change would mean to her, plus there are lots of great comments.

My guess is that the new name will use the word “size” as a stand-in. Size rights is a valid phrase for what NAAFA is fighting for, but NAAFA’s main focus has always been on fatties, not on short-statured folks, for example. And the term “size” doesn’t just mean fatness, it means all sizes. If that’s the direction that the name changing goes, I think there will eventually be a change in emphasis as well.

The comments on Ragen’s blog post are in favor of keeping the word “fat”, and I agree that that makes the most sense if NAAFA is going to be a grass roots organization. But if it wants to go more corporate, a name change might help. NAAFA still does good things – their new Orange County chapter is quite active and it’s fun to read about their doings – but they’re a far cry from the glory days of the 1990s. Maybe a name change is good . . . or maybe the fight against a name change will reenergize their membership.


6 thoughts on “Fat Free?

  1. Yeah, I’m getting a bad feeling about this. For one, it occurs to me that the proposed name change might already be a done deal with a token “let’s see what the members think”. Members give whatever opinions, things go ahead as planned anyway.
    Second, taking the word “fat” out to cater to some stupid internet trolls (hello – this is 2013 – did you just discover they exist?) is very lowly and could the org even respect itself for doing that?
    Third, they state: “Our mission is EQUALITY AT EVERY SIZE”. No it isn’t, you jackasses. Your mission is equality for fat people – stop worrying about the tall, short, big/muscular and other types until you can advocate effectively for some more breathing room for your own members.
    Fourth, we haven’t been told what new name is planned, or what corporate benefits we might hope to see, or even what PR firm came up with this idea.
    PS – “Jackasses” isn’t intended to insult a particular person – it is an expression of some old frustrations with the organization that arose when I was a member in the mid-1980s.

    • Thanks for your comment, and you raise a good point. It occurs to me that if NAAFA has already talked to a PR firm, there’s a good chance that they have a new name in mind. And since the NAAFA Board of Directors is not elected, NAAFA members can only vote with their feet (that is, by leaving). I know the Board members and I don’t think that they are bad people, but losing the word “fat” does seem like a retreat.

      Also, to state the obvious, the people running NAAFA today are not the same ones who did so in the 1980s.

      • Okay I take back the remark about “jackasses”. Consider it to apply to a bad idea, and not people at all. I’d still like to know what corporation(s) would be willing to help fund NAAFA if it weren’t called NAAFA. They’d be better off with Kickstarter at this rate.
        By the way, what changed after the 1980s?

      • Starting in the early 1990s, there was a series of rifts, each one of which reduced the size of NAAFA. NAAFA currently has only a few hundred members.

  2. Pingback: More on NAAFA’s name | Fatties United!

  3. Pingback: Who mourns for NAAFA? | Fatties United!

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