Self acceptance begins with refusing to let others do harm to you. Fat Acceptance begins when what you weigh NOW is NOT an issue. Fat activism begins when you speak out against those who harm. The Flabulous Teighlor and Rotunda's Yohannon speak up for those harmed and caution those who are considering allowing someone to harm them.
* Love yourself. Be strong. Live now. *
|Where's Trish||by Yohannon of Rotunda.||Reprinted by permission.|
|Feederism: Waiting for Gordo||by Teighlor.||Reprinted by permission.|
|Tread Carefully: The Road to Immobility||by Teighlor.||Reprinted by permission.|
|How do you Describe a Valley to a Blind Man||by Teighlor.||Reprinted by permission.|
(The Blight of Feeders in the Size Acceptance Movement)
by Yohannon http://www.rotunda.com/people/yohannon/text/no_feeders.html
November 1, 1997
In 1987 I first earned the wrath of some in the Size Acceptance movement (though it hadn't really been christened that at that time) by coming out against the concept of "Feeding". It was supposed to be a quick and dirty article that would be published in this small regional NAAFA newsletter with a total readership of maybe a hundred people.
I hadn't figured on the un-written NAAFA rule that once it's in ONE newsletter, it's fair game for re-printing in any newsletter that felt like it. I guess people were pretty desperate for material back then.
To make a long story short it came to the attention of the newly formed "Dimensions" magazine, recently spun off from what was the NAAFA FA-SIG (Fat Admirers Special Interest Group) newsletter by it's editor, Conrad Blickenstorfer.
Conrad didn't take to my assertion that Feeders were (if memory serves me correctly) sub-human nazi like scum no better than rapists. What can I say...I was 23 and far more prone to inferior hyperbole then.
Anyway, he pretty much insinuated that I wasn't a "true" FA, despite the fact that I carefully made the distinction between erotizing food and force feeding. He said other things, but that's the point that stuck in my mind the most: That strange concept that feeding and Fat Admiration was somehow synonymous.
Ten years later and the battle for the soul of the size acceptance movement is once again on, only this time it looks as if Conrad, through his editorship of Dimensions, is firing the first salvo. In the October '97 issue Wilson Barbers, a Dimensions favorite, writes a piece that dares suggest that people in the size acceptance movement haven't truly accepted either their own or others size if they didn't accept weight gain fantasy and feeders.
While so tautologically fraught with flawed logic as to be almost comical, this piece illustrates the war that has been waged in various corners of the size acceptance movement for the last ten years. Feeders have insisted that their lifestyle is a valid form of fat admiration, while those of us who have "squicked" are equally adamant that they are not.
While Dimensions has always been more or less open with it's pro-Feeder stance, this new confrontational approach is an attempt to redraw the battle lines to include the feeder's fetish with my personal preference for the fat human form. I find that idea physically nauseating in the most literal sense.
Of course, I can't have that strong a reaction without asking myself some really hard questions: Right off, is this reaction similar to the homophobic reaction of a closet queer? In other words, as that homophobe bashes gays he, deep in his soul, knows that perhaps he *is* queer, did I harbor some secret fantasy that involved weight gaining, either as a feeder or feedee?
Not an easy question to ask oneself. Nor is it an easy question to answer. But I had to wonder, why was it I could be so accepting of so many sexual lifestyles well outside the mainstream, both in myself and others, and yet be so disturbed by this one?
In that original article my main objection to feeders was the manipulative nature of inducing a woman, so used to forced restraint to eating, into a lifestyle of out of control consumption. To me, it was no better than insisting that someone lose weight in the name of love. Since that time I encountered the concept of non-consensual feeding, something that I hadn't even vaguely imagined then. Ironically, the writings of feeders such as Wilson Barbers and Karl Niedershue provide vital clues as to how someone might find themselves eating unhealthy amounts of food, gaining weight to the point of near death, all under the guise of the consent of the "feedee".
It's a simple approach, and insidious: You convince your target that they aren't truly accepting their size if they resist eating anything put in front of them. It can start gradually, so that the target isn't really aware of the progression until they start to feel ill, or their weight begins to effect their mobility. By then, it's usually too late for the target to truly object: The feeder has complete control of the feedees life. Access to the phone, hygiene, and (of course) the feedees meals are all at the mercy of the only person left in the feedee's life -- the feeder.
Almost every form of sexuality that, whether I wish to indulge in it or not, has a strong element of OPEN consensuality to it. When I consider the ones that I DON'T approve of (pedophilia, for example) there's a clear lack of consent, or consent is (at best) fuzzy. A forty year old might convince a 16 year old to have sex, but it's still unethical (and in a lot of places, illegal) .
Even where feeding seems 100% consensual, there's an element of furtiveness that I find disturbing. In the article written a decade ago, I discussed what I saw as the feeders pattern. Ten years have filled in a lot of the blanks I had then, so here's an update in hopes that I can spot the place where the feeder lifestyle diverges from so many of the others I accept:
1) Acquire a target.
Easy enough: you go to dances, conventions, anywhere where you can find someone who's new to the movement. Ever see the sight gag where someone is trying to break down a door tries harder and harder, pulling themselves back for one last try...only to have the door open at the last second? Years of cultural criticism of one's weight and body can lead to a vulnerable condiditon where someone could be swept off their feet and gaining weight before they're even conscious of the decision made for them. Steps 2 through 5, illustrated here, pretty much sum the process up:
2) Insinuate themselves in the targets life.
3) Make themselves emotionally necessary to the target.
4) Begin to alter the target's lifestyle in a way that encourages weight gain.
5) At a critical point (usually after the weight gain is substantial enough to be more than a normal fluctuation) he target objects: Either the feeder is successful in convincing the target that everything is fine, or the feeder (or feedee) leaves. Some of the common arguments (based on actual feeder dialog):
"You're only now accepting of your body to eat 'normally'...you're finding your true [higher, of course] weight set-point."
"If you loved me, you would gain just another x pounds"
"I worked all day to make that dinner/desert for you...the least you could do is finish it"
6) If the feeder is successful in his or her arguments, the target requires more and more assistance from the feeder.
Another approach here is to start doing the shopping, an apparently gallant gesture -- except the store is suddenly "out" of diet soft-drinks (I know people who prefer the sugar-free taste...it certainly isn't a weight loss approach for them!), healthy snacks, low fat foods, and so forth.
Communication with anyone who might intervene on the behalf of the target becomes limited in almost direct correlation with the target's increasing size (and decreasing health).
So, the feedee continues to gain weight, until:
7a) The target wises up and gets out.
This isn't as easy as it sounds. The problem is that the feeder begins to take a proprietary approach to the target, almost a to the point of considering the target their property. It's remarkably similar to chronic domestic violence, where someone attempting to escape the clutches of the abuser often winds up back in the same situation -- to be abused again.
7b) The target can't gain anymore weight.
The ultimate tragedy of the feeder pathology is simple human endurance -- eventually the target can't put on another pound. Assorted weight related problems, exacerbated by immobility and hygienic breakdowns, results in a case of diminishing returns. Sometimes there's no way around it -- the target HAS to start eating healthier and exercising, thus losing the weight. Mind you, the'll probably always be far larger, than average, even "super-sized", but that's a factor of where their true set point for their weight is.
There are two possible outcomes, sometimes simultaneous:
8a) The feeder leaves, either before or after acquiring a new target.
And yes, this sometimes include some affairs and "cheating". Sometimes, it's with the full knowledge of the feedee, though, unlike the polyamorous lifestyle, it's more out of resignation over their own inability to satisfy the feeders needs rather than a true open relationship. Remember, we're usually talking about someone so desperately lonely that they'll consent to gaining weight in the first place to keep their "lover" -- why stop there?
8b) The target dies.
In Either case, the feeder moves on.
Even as I write these steps out, I'm trying to think of the best possible scenario for a feeder/feedee dynamic, and I simply can't find it. Even if you assume complete and utter honesty and communication between the two elements of the relationship, even if you assume complete consensuality, you still run into item 7b eventually. Then what?
There is no "goal" in gainer fantasies. It's an open ended system being applied to human physiology, essentially close ended in nature. There's only so far you can increase a human beings size, yet the sexual gratification in feeder fantasies and reality are based in the ongoing and continual process of weight gain.
When I think about my preference for fat partners, I have a specific fantasy in mind. The reality is actually fairly simple to fulfill...I like someone who's strong, large, independent, has a sense of humor and intelligence. I tend to leave a lot of the details open, as you never know who will fulfill those criteria and when: A lot of times I'm surprised by the people I develop relationships with.
Other Fat Admirers do have specific sizes they fantasize about (the bigger is better mentality), where they dream of making love to a woman who weighs X number of pounds. A bit of a simplisitc approach to attraction, in my opinion, but still valid...and one that doesn't set of the same alarms that Feeder fantasies do.
As I examine other fetishes I have encountered on and off the net, I see a pattern throughout most: There's a goal in mind that involves a specific set of criteria to be met, with full consent, and usually both parties walk away intact afterwards (or, in the case of even the most extreme S&M, with superficial damage in the forms of welts, cuts and bruises, which is usually healed in about a week).
So that divergence I spoke of occurs at step 7, where we find a one severely damaged or dead human being. I realize there is at least one other fetish that squicks me just as much as feeding, regardless of whether the act is consensual or not: Feeding is essentially a form of time delayed snuff, only the feeder usually finds a cowardly way of avoiding the end result of his work.
So my strong reaction isn't tied to some sort of submerged desire...it's simply the same outrage that any feeling person would feel at the abuse of one human being by another. While I am a strong believer in the ideal of self-responsibility, there are too many parallels between the feedee and the domestic abuse victim to easily dismiss the situation with a simple shake of the head and a muttered "They made their choice".
But before we get lost down that particular black hole, let's return to the document that started this whole debate in the first place, Dimensions Magazine. For one thing, I'm sure a lot of you are asking "Who the hell is Trish?".
Trish is one of the first two members of Conrad's special section on the Dimensions web site, known simply as the 500 club. To get in, you simply have to weigh in excess of 500 pounds and pose in scantily clad outfits.
There are now a total of 3 members in this exclusive club...only Trish is no longer one of them. Thus the title. The answer is perhaps the strongest motivating force behind this article, even more so than Wilson's foray into newspeak journalism.
Trish was a feedee in a traditional weight gain relationship. Details of the situation are sketchy at best, but it appears that, a few months after her significant other left her, Trish died of weight related causes. While I would hope that the removal of her pictures was a sign of respect, no comment on her death can be found anywhere on the Dimensions web-site. Word has it that Conrad is trying to keep news of her death quiet. However, the lack of even a simple memorial page is as loud a condemnation of the lifestyle as any I could possibly write, even before I discovered of the three remaining members of the "club", one has reached step 7b and is dieting to lose the weight she was so proud of.
Members of the size acceptance movement should really think about how they stand in the face of this feeder/feedee lifestyle, and consider what it's place is in it: Is it, as Wilson Barbers insists, a valid part of the work we're doing as fat people and their allies to end size discrimination? Or are they an abberent embarrassment on the level of NAMBLA (the NAtional Man Boy Love Association) insisting that they were a valid part of the gay rights movement?
My own position is pretty clear to me. I reject Feederism as the stubborn recurring wart on the movements backside that it is, and hope that, as the queers rejected the pedophiles, that we all can band together to eliminate this disgusting for of predatory behavior from our midst.
In the mean time, I hope that this article serves as the memorial to Trish that no one in the pro-feeder camp bothered to write.
May 29, 1998
Tread Carefully The Road To Immobility
This week Iíve asked a fellow Netizen to help write an editorial geared toward those of you who wish to intentionally become so fat as to be immobile, or have a partner do so. Tracy R. has allowed me to quote from a very well- thought-out post she made on the Dimensions Weight Room Web Board recently as her contribution. Here are her thoughts followed by some comments of my own:
Posted by Tracy R. in response to "still seek a feeder who feeds me to immobility...........no joke!!!!!!!", posted by 22YearOldBoy on Thursday, 21 May 1998, at 11:57 a.m.
I need to understand why a young person would want so badly to be immobile.
Do you know any immobile people? Do you know what life is like for them?
Are you prepared for this?
Answer these questions, and then make your decision.....
- Have you made arrangements for your financial situation? How much per year must you need to live on? Do you have it saved up? Can you work from your bed? Will you be able to qualify for public assistance if you cannot?
- Do you have adequate housing? What will you do if you cannot work or earn a living? Will welfare pay your rent? How about utilities? Electricity? Gas? Water?
- What about your medical care? Do you have good health insurance? Do you have a doctor who can make house calls? Will your insurance cover house calls and home health nurses?
- What about your personal hygiene? Do you have a customized bathroom with adequate toilet and bathing facilities? Do you have somebody to diaper you and clean you up if you cannot make it to a bathroom? Do you have adequate padding on the bed if you cannot get up? Bedsores are nasty, is there someone who is trained in the hygiene and comfort of the immobile who will help you?
- What if your feeder leaves you? Do you have a support network in place so that you are not alone? Will somebody periodically check up on you just to be sure you are okay? Also, what if your feeder is abusive? Do you have an emergency plan? What if the feeder hides the phones? Do you have somebody who can drop by and keep tabs on you periodically?
- What if there is a fire or flood, or other natural disaster? Have you made plans with the local emergency rescue team to provide special accommodations for you? Is there at least one door/window you can fit out of? How will you be carried from your home if it is burning or flooding?
- Are there plans for your mental and emotional well-being? Will you have people stop by and keep you company? Will you have access to the Internet? Books? Movies? If you decide to further your education, can you take classes through videotape or from TV?
- What if you decide you cannot stay involved with your feeder? Do you have a plan? Is there transportation you can call to get you away if the situation turns nasty? Is there an accommodating domestic violence shelter where you can go? Do you have the money and resources if you need to get legal action against the feeder? Do you have an advocate?
I can accept a person getting off to getting fatter, but I have a problem understanding a person who wants to be made totally dependent and helpless. It sets off a BIG red flag in my little psychology-trained brain.
Why do you want this?
It has always seemed to me that the difference between sanity and insanity is action or inaction. Many of us entertain thoughts and fantasies that we would never want to carry out in real life. For instance, psychologists consider it quite normal for any of us to, at one time or another, entertain the thought of suicide, fleeting though that thought may be. It is when we carry out some of these potentially dangerous thoughts that we cross the line into insanity.
Having had personal experience being practically immobile myself, I can tell you that, with or without the neurological condition that made me bedbound, being totally dependant on another human being for virtually everything is one of lifeís worst situations. There will come a time when joy will turn to bitter resentment for both parties. The dignity of the immobile person is greatly compromised. Before you get to that point, the question should be, what if you or your feeder changes their mind? Where will you be then? More often than not, itís either in a nursing home or with resentful relatives.
Think of feeding up to a state of immobility as the equivalent of asking a surgeon to remove your left leg because you think it will be sexually stimulating. Purposely choosing immobility is no more sane than that.
Sanity versus insanity - the choice is still yours. May you all be blessed with more of the former than the latter.
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