Feminism Made Me Brave: Connections and Complexities Among Feminist Fat Activists

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Women's and Gender Studies



Publication Title

And Finally We Meet: Intersections & Intersectionality Among Feminist Activists, Academics and Students


The title of this anthology, "And Finally We Meet," is particularly apt for the conversation that took place between us, Lynn McAfee, a 61-year-old feminist fat activist, and Amy Farrell, a 46-year-old feminist, fat studies scholar. Lynn was one of the founding members of the California-based Fat Underground, a radical feminist group that formed in the early 1970s. Since the late 1970s, Lynn had gone on to work tirelessly as an advocate for fat people, helping to found the Council on Size and Weight Discrimination and becoming an expert on safety and health issues related to pharmaceutical weight loss products. For years, Amy had been reading about Lynn's activism as she researched the book she was writing, Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture. As a professor in Women's and Gender Studies and American Studies at Dickinson College, Amy had frequently shared the work of McAfee and other fat activists with her students, who were studying the connections between fat denigration and gender oppression. When Amy contacted Lynn to see if she would be interested in collaborating on an essay for this anthology, she quickly agreed. So, when we met one beautiful morning in Lynn's Pennsylvania home to talk about our lives and work, it seemed as if we had known each other for a long time, even though we had just met. What follows are our responses and conversation regarding a shared set of questions.

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