Raw Material

Marilyn Wann,

Age: 30

Selection: "The FAT!SO? Manifesto" (page 101), with photos by Debra Iyall

Recent review (from Factsheet Five): "Fat empowerment has never been so fun as FAT!SO?, a hot-pink zine with good writing, smooth design, and a feisty attitude."

Sample copy: $3.50 from P.O. Box 423464, San Francisco, CA 94142 (checks: FAT!SO?)

When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
The first issue of FAT!SO? came out July 1994. I started my zine because, on the same day, this guy I was dating told me he was embarrassed to introduce me to his friends and I received a letter from Blue Cross of California denying me health insurance. I am a healthy, 250-pound non-smoker, and cute as a button. But I am also fat. So on both a personal and an institutional level, I was not even allowed to join in the game. A fatso was born. And the FAT!SO? motto: Don't apologize for your size! So you're too big, too small, too short, too tall. Too much here, too little there. So? So what! Size ain't shit.

Why publish a zine?
I was so angry about these two incidents that I felt my silence would somehow indicate that I agreed with how I was being treated. And I absolutely did not. I'm a writer with a lot of experience working on publications, so I did what I knew how to do.

Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
Think of the coolest thing you could possibly do and then find a way to do it. There's always a way.

Butt boardWhat's your favorite part of doing a zine?
The fame and fortune. Going to the post office box every day and getting letters from people who tell me how much they love FAT!SO? and how good it makes them feel. Leaving FAT!SO? propaganda toilet paper installed in public bathrooms in airports, doctor's offices, art museums, anywhere that has a loo will do.

Fill in the blank: In my other life, I'm a ...
Freelance journalist.

Fan Mail
Fat!So?: The Book

News: Tuesday February 16 1999 8:18 AM ET

Overweight Protesters Slam Fitness Club's Ad

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - About 25 overweight protesters picketed a San Francisco fitness club Monday to protest against a new billboardclaiming that, when space aliens finally do encounter humans, "they will eat the fat ones first.''

Fat!So?"I can't believe that a gym would have so little concern about the health of people,'' said protest leader and author Marilyn Wann, whose book "Fat!So?'' seeks to challenge social stereotypes about fatness.

"I represent the 97 million Americans who are fat. We're 55 percent of the population, it's really not safe to alienate us because we might just sit on someone,'' Wann told KCBS radio.

The protesters were angry at 24 Hour Fitness for a new billboard above a city freeway that depicts a leering, alien face and carries the message "When they come, they will eat the fat ones first.''

The fitness chain, which runs gyms throughout the western United
States as well as in Asia and Europe, said it had not meant to offend anybody with the advertisement.

"We all know how hard it is to lose weight,'' the company said in a
written statement. "Sometimes humor helps make things easier, and can even be motivational.''

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