The BBW World – Then and Now (Part 1)

Some of you who have contacted me to privately discuss the substance of some of my blogs know that I have many blogs already written and stockpiled, just simply waiting for me to have an event that will trigger the use of the blog, and how it relates to my life at the moment.

About a month ago, I had a small get together with friends from the community. The original plan was to have a cookout at my house, but due to the weather not being cooperative, we had no choice but to rent a conference room at the local hotel, and turn the event into a “pot luck”. This had all the makings of a complete disaster.

The fact of the matter, however, was that it was fun, even though we did nothing but sit in the conference room for 6 hours and nibble on all different foods prepared by everyone who attended. There was fun, serious discussion and everything in between.

This weekend reminded me of my first entry into BBW/FA forums around 1997. I remember doing a Lycos search (remember Lycos), and finding Dimensions, the website that greeted me to BBW/FAism. I participated in other forums throughout the rest of the 90’s in an effort to better understand my preference for the fat female form, garner support from people who felt the way I did, and maybe even find a little romance. I talked with many people (women AND men) in places like Dimensions, Bulge, FeederUK, and a few others whose names I can’t remember now, simply because they came and went so quickly. There were a few Yahoo “Clubs” (now called “Groups) that I participated in as well, even going as far to moderate some chats where discussion of who we are took place. It was free, enlightening, and for the benefit of all. Groups of folks would occasionally get together for social events, and besides dancing and hanging out together, there was a great sense of community. Then, around the turn of the millenium, something happened.

Fat people became a business.

Some people realized that making money off of fat people didn’t only involve designing size 32 clothing. People began to realize that they could make more money remaining out of work and at home, by having websites that guys would pay to join in an effort to view pics, videos, and to feel “closer” to that model.

Dances oriented to the attraction to fat women began to spring up all over the country, which ultimately led to the birth of the fat “bash”, where one could participate in men heading to a location where a gaggle of fat women could be admired, and the women could bask in the “glory” of being revered, a complete turn from what they experience in their day to day lives. For me, it seemed kind of strange, since my preference for fat women seemed “covert”, compared with my friends. The guys who preferred blondes didn’t have to go to a weekend event to spend time with them, they just went to a bar. I didn’t feel my preference was much different, and always wondered why our events have often felt secretive in a way. While I have respected the privacy of the people who have attended the New Jersey Bash, I’ve always dreamed that one day we’d be able to hold an event and not have to shut out the rest of the world, but fat bashing and fat discrimination prevent me from doing so, and until fat/size activism becomes more effective, it’s doubtful that would happen.

I’ve long held that whenever profit is the SOLE driver of business practices, bad things can happen. I used to own several video stores back in the 80’s-90’s, and at one point was approached by video pirates who “promised” that my profits would skyrocket if I used their illegally copied videos rather than the real (higher priced) thing. Yes, I took the plunge, and several weeks later swore them off as customers began to complain with every rental. I realized at that point that I’d rather make less, and have peace of mind.

So, what does that have to do with the BBW/FA world today? Plenty, especially when it comes to social/dating events.

I think that many of the organizers of these events are solely motivated by profiteering from the community. A great example is the “BASH” that was held in PA last year. That event promised the world, and delivered little. For handing over $80 for the weekend, you got to attend 2 dances, and little else. Those promoters laughed all the way to the bank, leaving many disappointed supporters. I’ve heard another bash is in the works, and hopefully there will be fewer suckers this time around. Let’s face it, 2 dances aren’t worth that kind of money………….

Now, is EVERYONE a sucker these days? I’d say no, but there are enough of them in the world to allow ruthless promoters to continue.

So, where would one go these days if they wanted to attend a BBW/FA event? I think it depends on what you’re looking for. After all, if it’s only about hitting the hotel room to get drunk and have sex, then ANY bash or dance will do. If one is seeking something other than that, you might want to look at the folks who promote, and ask them what they are about. What else do they offer besides a dance? Is there a fashion show? A musical release party? How about an afternoon of games? (The Heavenly Bodies group run by Heather Boyle up in Massachusetts do this better than anyone!). Are you interested in support groups? If so, ask the promoter to come up with discussion groups! How about make up tutorials? For the guys, how about FA roundtables? If the event doesn’t offer it, ask if YOU can start one, and get it on their event schedule. More important, realize that if they turn you down for any of these, they aren’t interested in giving back to you, even though it’s your money that supports them.

Look for promoters who support other fat and size acceptance projects. Spend your money with them, rather than someone else who doesn’t give a shit about you, and what you go through on a daily basis, waiting for events like these to come along.
Make them WORK for their money. Berna and I did when we ran each and every NJ Bash, I’m proud to say. It was never our intention to retire by taking everyone’s money over the course of the weekend. Our theory was that it was more important for us to hear that we threw the best events than it was to rake in the cash. We made our events fun, social, and affordable.

So, what does one do if they can’t find events that suit their needs? Perhaps an alternative is to hold your own event, even if it’s on a smaller basis. There’s a guy in NJ who has been doing just that for several years now, and although he attracts a handful of people to each one of his activities, he’s not motivated by profit, and has something going on every month. My little get together a few weeks ago is another example. Remember, the NJ BBW Bash started off years ago as a little group of folks who chatted on the Dimensions website, and decided to have a small get together. Build it, and they will come.

………………………….unless of course, if your sole purpose is to get laid, which you can then wait for the next event in Philly. Don’t look for me, though.

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