When you think about it, what’s more punk rock than being fat? You exist outside the norm, you ignore society’s rules of recommended weight limits, you look good standing next to Wattie, and when you go around the mosh pit, man, you go around the mosh pit.
Fat people are just about the last group it’s still okay to make fun of, God bless us. We are the last group of zhlubs on whom it’s okay to pass moral judgment, as if being big shows a failure of the Protestant work ethic our great country was based on. It doesn’t help that fat activist groups tried to take on the fast-food industry. How embarrassing. It’s not as if Big Macs are advertised as cigarettes once were, portraying a bespectacled doctor at rest in his examination room, slowly unwrapping a burger and sucking it in like a Lucky Strike.
Hey, just shut up and be fat. When you blame other people, you make it seem like being fat is something to be ashamed of. That ain’t punk rock. We’re here, we’re spheres, get used to it.
The Bay Area is actually a hotbed (hotplate?) for fat activism, housing not only the prominent fat activist Marilyn Wann, whose book Fat!So? is a fat-pride manifesto, but also the Padded Lilies synchronized swimming team for fat chicks and myriad zines and Web sites devoted to tha bigga figga. It was Wann’s group of activists that protested 24 Hour Fitness’ ad campaign that featured space aliens and the tagline: “When they come, they’ll eat the fat ones first.” Okay, so they were being a little sensitive, not unlike a frantic PETA peddler lynching a beekeeper, but at least they made the papers.
In the ’90s, fat activist and Oakland resident Max Airborne put out her zine Fat Girl, devoted to fat lesbians and the women who love them. She has since gone on to be a member of the Bod Squad, a group of fat cheerleaders who show up at places frequented by skinny-winnies and make people very uncomfortable, and her band, Creamy Goodness, which sounds like a salad dressing but is actually an all-female rock band — sort of. Its biggest “hit” is actually more of a polka (putting the ooomph in oompah?), titled — what else? — “Fat Girl.”
And it goes a little sumpn’ like this — hit it:
Fat Girl can’t live out no Clark Kent lies
Girdles, corsets, vertical stripes, there is no disguise
She’s omnipresent, she’s an omnivore
You know you can’t hide from Fat Girl
Airborne got caught up in fat activism when she was merely a teenager, though she can’t quite pinpoint the day she decided it was alright to be fat. “It’s an ongoing process,” she says. “There was no magic moment. I had spent a year and a half hospitalized for being fat by my parents. When I got out of there, I met a bunch of people who had been doing fat activism for awhile and had some very liberating ideas. I think they probably saved my life.”
It also helped that big women have traditionally been accepted in gay circles. To quote Roseanne, “If it wasn’t for gay men, us fat chicks wouldn’t have anyone to dance with.” Airborne agrees that dykes have a broader scope of what defines female attractiveness. “Dykes have grown into this attitude of having had to redefine what it means to be a women, and what it means to be valued as a woman. I think that makes us more likely to be willing to accept our bodies,” she says.
Like any self-respecting fat person, Airborne moved to the East Bay and immediately set out to find places to eat after 10 p.m. There aren’t many. She has painstakingly collected a list, and posted it on her Web site, LustyDevil.com. It includes places open 24/7 such as Holiday Bowl in Hayward, the restaurant at the Jack London Inn, and Giant Burger, or merely real late, like Sun Hong Kong and Mexicali Rose (mmmm … Mexicali Rose) across from the Oakland jail, where the recently released and bail bondsmen dine alongside carbohydrate-addicted night owls.
So, you want to be more punk rock? Get fatter. That means plenty of eating after midnight and then sleeping for about ten hours. Anything good on its own is better deep-fried, like a Twinkie, a Snickers bar, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Listen to songs of support, like “Whole Lotta Rosie” by AC/DC, “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen, “SF Fat” by NOFX, and anything by Sir Mix-a-Lot. Don’t trust anyone under 300, and remember, always park in the handicapped spaces so you don’t have to walk very far.