I’ve been active in the Fat Acceptance community for some way, shape, or form for about a year now. I’ve been much more active in recent months, and that’s when I noticed the ‘are you an FA’ phenomenon.
I have a wonderful boyfriend who loves every inch of me exactly as I am. I suspect it would be the same if I magically woke up tomorrow and was half the weight I am today. He loves my body, but if I decided to lose weight, he’d be able to find just as much to love about it then as he does now.
In the past few months, I’ve been barraged with many variations of the same question. ‘Is your boyfriend an FA?’
What exactly is an FA? Generally speaking it means ‘Fat Admirer’, although it can also be used as shorthand for Fat Activism or Fat Acceptance. But for my intents and purposes, we’re going to go with the former meaning.
Different people have different opinions on what exactly a Fat Admirer is or what the term entails. It’s a broad term, up there with ‘what constitutes fat’. Different people are going to have different opinions on it. Today, we’re just going to leave it as meaning ‘someone who likes fat people’. They can be male, they can be female, they can be anywhere in between. From what I’ve seen, it’s generally men who like fat women who use this term to describe themselves.
‘Is your boyfriend an FA?’
IS my boyfriend an FA? I guess if we’re going to cut this question down to its most basic terms. My boyfriend loves me. I’m fat. Ergo, I guess in some ways, yes, he is.
But at the same time, he’s anything but. It’s something he would never define or label himself as, and honestly, rightfully so. In the same way I would never use the words bbw, ssbbw, thick, curvy, chunky, juicy, round, or anything else to label myself. I’m fat. Obese, if we want to get medical about it. No need to pretty it up or justify it with a label.
So no. My boyfriend is NOT an FA because he doesn’t identify as such.
I wonder who decided these labels were necessary? In some ways, it’s nice. If you search ‘fat admirer’ on google, all kinds of sites for ‘FAs’ and ‘BBW’ come up. And if you’re new to the movement, and if you’ve felt ostracized your entire life for your preference, I suspect it must feel pretty good that there are others out there who are like you. To realize that there communities out there that are chock full of people who like the same thing you do, the same thing that society says you’d be crazy to be attracted to. Having a label for your attraction might feel pretty good at first.
But as included as you may feel, these labels tend to be very exclusive, as well. Are FAs ONLY allowed to be attracted to fat women? Are they supposed to find thin women repulsive? How fat is ‘fat’? And perhaps most importantly, why are you defining your attraction utterly by someone’s weight, when in the end, attraction consists of so much more?
When people ask me this question about my boyfriend, I try to defuse the situation with a tongue-in-cheek remark. ‘Nope–he’s an AA. An Amber Admirer!’ Most people get the point, chuckle, and move on. But a good number of them pursue it. They ask me if I’m the first fat girl he’s dated. If he’s attracted to other fat girls. If he only likes fat girls. I understand why they ask me instead of him. I tend to be much more high-profile online, whereas he prefers to keep his opinions more private. But what I don’t understand is why it matters. What relevance does it have to anyone else? I wonder sometimes (since many of these questions come from anonymous sources) if the people who ask are fat girls themselves with lower self esteem, hoping that a ‘normal’ man might one day love them, too.
In my ever so humble opinion. I think these labels tend to be more destructive than anything else. They separate people. It can be downright alienating! I mean, there aren’t huge groups and forums online for ‘blonde admirers’ or ‘c-cup admirers’. I understand that ‘liking’ fat people can be somewhat of a taboo in today’s society. But these groups that are ONLY for FAs and fats is really only serving to further marginalize and segregate, and thereby further ‘fetishize’ the concept of liking fat people. When it reality it should be of no more consequence than preferring dark hair or small boobs.
I say, throw the labels out. Your preferences are your preferences. You shouldn’t have to list them, defend them, or be defined by them!