September NAAFA Newsletter

I forgot to post the link to this month’s NAAFA newsletter last week; sorry about that. But here it is, and I’ve pre-clicked for you so that the link below takes you straight to the fat news. Enjoy!

August NAAFA Newsletter

Fans of fat news will be happy to hear that the NAAFA Newsletter is available right now right here:
Why be happy, you may ask? Because included with other fine articles is the Media and Research Roundup, where you can find the fat news for the past month. You don’t even have to subscribe, although if you do (click on Join Our Mailing List on the right side of the newsletter) you’ll get the NAAFA Newsletter every month for free.

Let me know if getting the fat news this way works for you.

Fat news through 4/4

March 2016: When given an assignment asking what BMI is and how to calculate it, an 8th grade student provides an answer that is amazing, enlightening, and can teach us all a lesson.

March 27, 2016: Dyanne Weiss discusses the type of discrimination fat people face in social, educational, and workplace environments, starting from childhood right through to adulthood.

March 27, 2016: Laura Bogart explains how the big business of clean eating, weight loss and fitness create a new and discriminatory class system that equates thin bodies with health and prosperity.

March 29, 2016: Red Sox baseball player Pablo Sandoval is facing some negative reaction from fans because of his weight. Dietitian Jonah Soolman believes performance, not size or weight, should be the basis of criticism of a professional athlete, and we agree.

March 30, 2016: Amy Pence-Brown, who gained worldwide attention by standing blindfolded in a farmer’s market in a bikini allowing people to write on her body with marking pens as an act of activism for body acceptance, is interviewed prior to her April 2nd TEDxBoise talk.

March 30, 2016: Charlotte Cooper’s post on the beginnings of NAAFA (1st link) points out that the history of fat activism is a treasure and should be documented for future generations. We agree, and have archived several newsletters on our website (2nd link).

March 30, 2016: Is fat shaming dead? According to Carly Lewis it is staggering on its last legs, and she tells us her reasons for thinking fat shaming and fat jokes are on their way out, and body acceptance is on its way in.

March 31, 2016: Mona Awad, author of 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, and Sarai Walker, author of Dietland, discuss their books, both of which feature fat main characters on their own journeys to self realization.

April 4, 2016: Globally, people are still getting fatter, and now more people are fat than underweight; however, average lifespans have also been increasing. Researchers explain that countries with the highest incidence of obesity are high-income countries with better healthcare access, and warn of future lifespan reductions.

New links, through 3/5

Late again, and in fact this collection of links covers two weeks of gleaning the web. Also, I’m identifying the content by the end date and not the starting date of the week. Enjoy.

February 2016: Researchers discuss three studies regarding beliefs and weight stigma, finding that negative evaluations of fat people depend upon the perceived amount of effort they’ve put into losing weight. Evidence_for_a_Pro-Effort_Bias

February 22, 2016: As more universities add fat studies to their curricula, discussion of body diversity and body politics spreads. As an example of the spread of body-positive culture, Reddit removes a fat hatred site under its new harassment policy.

February 22, 2016: As the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) contemplates allowing weight to determine insurance rates (contrary to the tenets of the Affordable Care Act), David S. Seres gives a practical explanation why such discrimination should not occur.

February 24, 2016: Based on preliminary data from a survey, the prevalence of obesity has surpassed 30%, even though activity rates have improved.

February 24, 2016: The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) offers a free webinar on sharing the HAES message.

February 24, 2016: Travelers concerned about the width of airline seats are the unintended beneficiary of a new regulation, meant to assist parents traveling with an infant’s car seat, requiring airlines to post the width of the narrowest and widest seats in each class of service for each make, model and series of planes used in its operations, with the measurement done from inside the arm rest.

February 25, 2016: We’ve long heard that losing 10% of body weight can yield some health improvements. A new study shows that losing even 5% of body weight also achieves many health benefits. So maybe it’s the behaviors and not the weight loss . . .

February 25, 2016: Baseball player Pablo Sandoval has been the target of fat-haters, with all the usual myths and stereotypes coming into play. Registered dietitian and credentialed personal trainer Jonah Soolman explains why assuming Sandoval (or any other athlete) should lose weight to improve performance is simply wrong.

February 25, 2016: Caroline Dooner explains that everybody deserves respect regardless of size or health status. Health is not a moral issue but disrespecting others “because we think they aren’t doing life right” is.

February 26, 2016: Melanie Sheppard shares her experience seeing Dawn French (once again fat) on stage radiating confidence as she discussed her body, relating French’s attitude to her own journey to loving and accepting her own body.

February 26, 2016: Everyday Health talks about four classes of medication where weight can be a factor for determining effective dosage due to how the medications are processed and concentrated in the body.

March 1, 2016: Sandra Aamont, PhD gave a TED talk that went viral about the risks of dieting, and has now written a book Why Diets Make Us Fat. Aamont wants people to know that healthy is better than thin.

March 1, 2016: Margot Meanie provides seven tips on how to achieve a body positive home to help you on your journey to body love and acceptance.

March 3, 2016: Archeologists believe that the prevalence of figurines such as the Venus of Willendorf shows that fat people existed even during the Paleolithic period when food was scarce and life demanding.

Questions about NAAFA

If you didn’t know, NAAFA is the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, and was the first fat rights group. It was a truly important force in the fat acceptance movement in the 1970s and the 1980s, through part of the 1990s. To put it kindly, it is less so today. Its website is; take a look if you like.

But rather than tell you about NAAFA, I’d rather ask you.

  • Had you heard of NAAFA before?
  • What’s your impression of NAAFA?
  • Is NAAFA relevant? Why or why not?
  • Should NAAFA be doing something that it isn’t?
  • Anything else you’d like to say?

Let’s discuss!

Note about the Fatosphere


Ever since June of last year, traffic here at Fatties United is down, way down. We used to see a big spike after every post, and now, some posts get noticed and some don’t. For example, Part 1 of my two-part Skeptical Inquirer series didn’t cause a ripple, but Part 2 caused a nice little peak in readership.

This change is related to the switch of the Notes from the Fatosphere feed from Google Reader to Feedly. It appears that we got dropped from the feed for some reason. I think it must be accidental, and it looks like other blogs also got dropped. In fact, the feed’s looking quite thin these days. (Another factor is that some readers lost the feed in the switch.) Feedly, which was mentioned at the time of the switchover as being the new host for the feed, is pointing to the wrong URL, it seems. The correct URL is now shown below.

I’m going to see if I can get us back on the feed. In the meantime, I still think it’s a useful way to get the word about fat positivity, so if you’re at all interested, go ahead and sign up again:

What’s happening with fat poz blogs?

Jiji writes:

Well, I guess Notes from the Fatosphere is dead. Maybe it’s a positive for me as I’ve decided that all of this fat acceptance stuff is bad science. You see, I used to read Notes daily and it seemed like there were just so many resources saying that no matter what I try, I am not going to be able to change my body, not going to ever get the respect and acceptance that come with being thin. Now that Notes is gone, I can’t find any such resource. I’ve searched, but there just isn’t anything out there. This site, for instance, has been dormant for ages. So I’m giving the dieting thing another go and the more distance I put between myself and Notes from the Fatosphere, the more confidence I’ve built that I’m going to be able to do it this time! So, I guess, thanks!

This comment on an old post raises some points that are worth talking about. Firstly, to be honest, I don’t use Notes from the Fatosphere much (even though NftF carries Fatties United) because there’s just too much volume for me. So I don’t know why NftF isn’t working for Jiji. But I will say that fat positive blogging is not dead. Here are some of the fat poz blogs that I check regularly:

I’ve listed adipositivity even though it’s down because I know that Subtantia Jones is working to get it back up. And all of these, even adipositivity, have had recent activity. And Jiji is simply wrong to say that our site has been dormant for ages; our last post was 11 days ago. (And yes, we’d like it to be more active.)

But I agree that there aren’t enough fat positive blogs. Anyone who agrees, please start your own fat positive blog!

Regarding dieting, I think our views on that are pretty clear.

And finally, I wish Jiji well.

Who mourns for NAAFA?

I’ve already discussed my feelings about NAAFA’s potential name change. (NAAFA has said that it is considering a name change, and has requested member input, but has not provided any specifics of what the new name would be.) But what I feel right now is grief, because the NAAFA that people think exists, the one that they are trying to keep from removing “fat” from its name, the one that they are trying to keep from essentially unmaking itself, is already gone.

NAAFA still gets press, and I commend its leaders for that. But NAAFA has few members (my guess is about 200 current members), and only two active chapters (Capital-DC area and Orange County) that I’m aware of. NAAFA’s leaders are doing their best with what seems to be continual decline of the organization since the early 1990s. I don’t envy their task.

How could NAAFA be dying when there are so many fat-positive blogs, tumblrs, facebook groups, and other signs of furious fat activity? Because those things aren’t NAAFA, and the way it’s currently configured, NAAFA doesn’t have a way of bringing those things into itself without exposing itself to more risk that its leaders want. (To be fair, there’s a lot more to it than that, and reasonable people disagree about what NAAFA should do.)

A NAAFA that’s no longer NAAFA means that NAAFA is gone. (That’s obvious, right?) But think of it this way. If the NAAFA follow-on can do good things, great. If not, then there’s room for a new organization that could be bigger, more inclusive, and more influential. (I’m not planning to start such an organization, but I’d join it.)

So as you talk about the possible name change:

  • Have some kindness for NAAFA’s leaders, who are just trying to keep it alive.
  • Think about what NAAFA realistically could be, not about what it has been.
  • Consider starting your own group, but if you do, make it as inclusive as possible. I’ve had it with organizations that are for a select membership only.

Hugs and love to all NAAFA members, past members, and other fatties and allies!