More Women are on Diets than in Jail (1974)

Title (as given to the record by the creator): More Women are on Diets than in Jail
Date(s) of creation: November, 1974
Creator / author / publisher:  Fat Underground, Sister
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA
Physical description:
 one page with typed text
Reference #: FU-MoreWomen-Sister-1974
 Largesse Fat Liberation Archive
Links:  [ PDF ]

More Women are on Diets than in Jail

The closer you come to violating a central tenet of society, the more heavily that society punishes you. Fat women hit the bulls-eye.

–Lynn Mabel-Lois

We often cannot get jobs, or if we do get them after countless men telling us we “don’t fit the weight requirement,” the jobs we get are low-paying and tedious. We are told by doctors to “come back after you lose weight” as a response to any health problems, as though thin people never get sick. We are put on diets that make us sick and then told that it is our own fault that we are sick. Some doctors refuse to treat us altogether. We have difficulty finding clothes, and if we are able to find clothes that fit they are expensive, and poorly made, and usually dark blue or brown (so slimming, my dear.)

We cannot get insurance of any kind, so that if we get sick from constantly dieting we are often afraid to get medical care (if we could find it) because of the expense. We spend our days looking at advertisements in which we are the enemy. We are afraid to eat in public, because we know people will stare at us disapprovingly and use our bodies as object lessons for their children. We cannot go to movies or concerts because the seats are too small, and if we have to fly anywhere we are extremely uncomfortable in the airline’s “luxurious” seats. If we are in a car accident, chances are we will be seriously hurt because seat belts do not fit us, and there are no seat-belt extenders for cars. Many of us have no lovers, and the few friends we have “overlook” our bodies, because when they see them, they cannot avoid hating us. They have been programmed to punish us.

More will-power and better diets are a smokescreen for political oppression.


Discrimination against fat people is usually defended on the grounds that people who are fat have chosen to be fat. The choice may be seen as deliberate–fat as depraved. Or it may be seen as subconscious–fat as neurotic. A lot of energy goes down in our culture to keep people convinced that fat people eat foolishly and excessively, and that thin people eat sensibly and moderately. We are all offered heaven or hell, a promise or a threat. The promise is that any fat person can become thin by choosing to eat like a thin person. The threat is that any thin person can become fat by choosing to eat like a fat person.

If going on a reducing diet is how fat people choose to be thin, tens of millions of fat people are not getting what they choose: over 99% of all reducing diets fail. If eating sweets and double servings is how thin people risk being fat, hundreds of millions of thin people are getting off free: nutritional studies over the past several decades show that most thin people eat the same or more than most fat people! Put another way, fat and thin people eat basically the same: use food the same, worry about food the same, and enjoy food the same. The clever billion dollar reducing industry is based on a lie!

(These facts have been widely published and well-established and I urge the reader to look them up for herself. Good sources are the following: Overweight; Causes, Cost and Control by Jean Mayer, The Truth About Weight Control by Neil Solomon, and the U.S. Public Health Service Report Obesity and Health issued in 1966. The first two are popular books by obesity experts. The last is an easy-to-read medical summary available at the U.C.L.A. Medical Library, which you don’t have to be a doctor to use.)


Suicide at age nine

–Lynn Mabel-Lois

When I was nine years old, I was on a diet with pills, as I’d been on, off and on, from the age of four. I wasn’t losing weight. I told the doctor that there was something wrong with the pills. He started screaming that I was disgusting, crazy and revolting. I went home and decided to kill myself. I swallowed a month’s supply of the pills. Nothing happened.

Fat people all over America ARE killing themselves, but not by eating.


Fat people are killing themselves with diets that starve their bodies. I am not speaking of “fad diets” such as Grapefruit, Atkins, Stillman, etc., but of so-called “sensible diets”, such as Weight Watcher’s and those balanced 900-1800 calorie wonders published by Carnation and other food producers and dispensed by our society’s physician-gods as the highest priests of social control. A fat body on a restricted food intake undergoes the same metabolic and chemical changes as any starving body, and many of these changes are damaging and permanent. Reducing diets are difficult to adhere to because the starving body sends out hunger signals which the fat person is told to ignore. In effect, “Don’t trust your body!” 

Is it self-destructive to submit to daily hormone injections; eat only meat (with or without fat) until your body is in the dangerous state of ketosis, ingest only non-caloric liquids and vitamin supplements, starve your body “sensibly”, gulp amphetamines, have your mouth wired shut (choking and tooth decay are among the most obvious threats to health), or to submit to intestinal bypass surgery which five percent do not survive? The remaining 95% suffer chronic diarrhea because their bodies can assimilate almost no nourishment (protein, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats) from the foods they eat? Or is it self-destructive to be responsive to your body’s hunger signals and maintain a weight that has NEVER been proved a threat to health?

The message for the fat is “Cease to exist fat, even if that means ceasing to exist. Just don’t impose your ugly fat body on our visual field!”

Invisible is neuter.


Any eight year old kid would just LOVE to be invisible. Slinking down streets unnoticed, watching it all and taking notes; that old Colgate “invisible shield” routine, right? But it’s not quite the same when you’re 28 and a fat woman. In 20th century Amerika to be a fat woman is to be a neutered blob, bovine at best, with nothing that could possibly matter between your legs or in your head. Invisible in a world of female niggers on the flesh block, our only source of power is sexual appeal to the ruling class; and we know exactly how appealing fat is to our red-blooded Amerikan males, don’t we? Invisible is neuter. Because I’m sexless I can be a “friend.” Men can feel comfortable saying the most outrageous things about other women around me. I, like older or “ugly” women, don’t count as a sex object, so what’s the difference–as long as I don’t ask for anything and don’t expect anything.

Oh yes, it’s sure as shit I’m invisible in terms of viable power, and that’s not to be confused with physical invisibility. There, my friends, I’m a standout! A walking joke!To be mocked by children on the street, the ubiquitous construction worker, assorted creeps hooting out of car windows with gems like, “Who’d want to fuck you!” or “Get your big knockers over here!” I’m not a person to the supermarket checker as she scans my purchases for evidence of how I “let myself go.” Anyone out there somehow gets the. right to make some kind of remark about my fat, either nasty, or cloying like the concerned lady on the bus with her “tsk, tsk, such a pretty face, why don’t you do something about your weight, dear?”

All prejudice against a sect of the human species is due to programming.

–Gudrun Fonfa

Anyone who has ever read National Geographic knows that each culture has its standards of beauty. There are two essential primitive roots to looksism.

1. Identification with the tribe (for economic survival and protection from enemies.)

2. Within the tribe, competition for mates (fear of scarcity of procreative mates). This affords each society ultimate control of their contemporary aesthetics.

Looksism is the standardizing of a look (body image) and the discrimination

against those who do not meet or conform to the prescribed image. Societies set broad acceptable limitations, because it is important to create the illusion that individuals are choosing their personal aesthetics, i.e. which bone to put through your nose.

Looksism encompasses sexism and ageism and racism, and other forms of discrimination that nullify people’s consciousness. We are in the era of packaging. The aesthetics of human beauty is the aesthetics of packaging, when the content is secondary to the package for the purpose of successful salability. Fat oppression is the clearest example of how society programs our aesthetics. Their measure of success is that you don’t even know you’re programmed!

In reality we have been thoroughly programmed to fight our hunger pains, rather than to realize that our only real power is the power we win from struggle against our real oppressors. Denying the validity of hunger to meet an aesthetic standard is the epitome of social control. It is frightening to note that the fashionable weight norm for women has gotten smaller and smaller over recent decades. Who is benefiting from women’s “voluntary” starvation? Research information that disproves the blatant lies about fat has been suppressed by the American Medical Association, with the benign consent of the government. Starving people can’t think clearly and can’t fight rebellions. The American economy could not sustain the blow if all people stopped dieting.

Feminists need to learn the fine art of total skepticism. When the system propounds a philosophy, it’s generally selling you down the river, especially when they tell you it’s for your own good. For those of us whose individualism felt incorruptible, it is agonizing but imperative to contemplate the fallacy of believing in those personal aesthetic choices. We will have to utterly disown the past, and reconstruct our sensibilities.

Well, I bought the crock of shit for years.


I thanked the kind ladies for their latest diet tips, slinked around corners full of hooting men, somehow sure they were right and that I didn’t deserve to exist at all, much less walk the streets! Fuck that! I have a right to good health, to jobs, schools, plenty of sex, stylish clothes, swimming at the beach, riding a bike. I HAVE A RIGHT TO LIVE FAT!! I’m a mean fat lady now! I even threaten darling children with bodily harm when they insult me. I’ve learned to take the initiative (an old Amerikan virtue) hooting first at the men. (You’d be surprised at how quickly they wilt with one demeaning reference to their genitals.) I’m a nuisance in the stores. Yeah, I guess this means I’m getting uppity. It will be a long time before I can simply get down to the business of living and not having all my thoughts and the way I run my life determined by the culture’s view of fat. It will be a long time until I’m truly visible as a person. But I’m alive now, and I want my needs met now! I might have to threaten and I might have to demand and I might not get it then and I might walk away crying. But they’ll no longer be tears of shame for being a fat woman in Amerika–They’ll be tears of fury!!


By members of the Fat Underground, with special thanks to Carol Schmidt, for her editorial help.


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