Credit Where It’s Due: The origins of my fat activism.

By | June 23, 2008

In the early 1970s, a small group of fat people in California formed a feminist collective and called it The Fat Underground. I personally credit this group – far more radical for its time than the then-nascent NAAFA was, or is – with birthing fat acceptance as I deploy and practice it today.

Today I discovered an outstanding archive of Fat Underground materials online, hosted by Some of this stuff is a little dated, but overall it’s frankly shocking how well these articles have aged.

From a FU retrospective article published in Radiance ten years ago:

Judy Freespirit: “In the beginning, people giggled when we talked about Fat Liberation. Now . . . there are hundreds of thousands of fat activists and allies all over the world.”
Ariana: “We learned to reshape our minds and lives, not our bodies, in the face of tremendous pressure to do just the opposite.”
Sheri Fram: “We created a crack in the monolithic diet and weight-loss industry, and started a slowly growing revolution.”
Gudrun Fonfa: “By refuting the dogma of the diet industry and rejecting the aesthetics of the patriarchal culture, [we made] activists out of each individual fat woman who liberated herself from a lifetime of humiliation.”
Lynn Mabel-Lois: “We were audacious enough to understand what a failure rate means, and to criticize the medical profession. We expressed our rage and fought back.”

There are many reasons why I no longer call myself a feminist; having said that, I must acknowledge that without feminism, my fat activism wouldn’t exist. Props to The Fat Underground for being willing to take the first stand, I don’t know where I’d be now without them.

Comments are closed.