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Letters - Fall 98

Radiance For All Ages

Dear Radiance,

I have been reading your magazine on and off for several years and finally began subscribing two years ago. I feel compelled to write and tell you how much I admire, appreciate, and applaud your magazine. I also subscribe to BBW and Mode, and while I do enjoy them, I feel that they don’t really promote acceptance for all women regardless of size and age. I feel that Radiance provides something that all women need. Radiance provides more than just fashion spreads and basic articles.

I’m still quite young (thirty), and I have a beautiful plus-size mother. We can both relate to your magazine. My mother is an intelligent and inspirational woman who still has trouble accepting herself as she is. She and my father gave me self-confidence through their constant love and support so that I have had a somewhat easier time accepting myself as I am. But, I can’t give them all of the credit—Radiance has been my shelter from the storm of ridicule and prejudice that I face in my life. I’m thrilled to see that back issues are available and will be ordering as soon as I can. Thank you, Radiance, for being a friend!

I’d love to hear from others who need support and can provide it, too! If we want the world to take us seriously and hear our proud roar, we’ve got to stick together!

Ann Hillman
New York
e-mail dnahillman@earthlink.net

Dear Alice,

Just wanted to thank you for your wonderful magazine. I am a new subscriber, having only received two issues thus far. I read your Spring 1998 issue several times, enjoyed it immensely, and then filed it away with my other “keeper” magazines.

Radiance is doing a great service for those of us who have been made to feel like society’s misfits. Some of us have gone many years feeling inadequate and not quite good enough. No matter what others think, we are still vibrant, beautiful women who have much to contribute. I find the articles that you print affirming.

For the most part, I have been able to lead a “normal” life. I was married, had four children, and did Earth Mother at-home, child-rearing until my last child was in school. Then I rejoined the work force full time. Six years ago I found myself divorced, struggling to make ends meet financially, supporting my last at-home child, and dating. That’s when I started to understand, and experience firsthand, the prejudice that exists against large women.

At one point, I was told outright by a man I was seeing that he wanted someone tall and slender, someone he would look good standing next to! Another said, “Look at you. No wonder you’re divorced!” That’s when I quit dating. All I was finding were insensitive buttheads, and I’d had enough. I know that there are some men out there who appreciate “soft and fluffy” women; I’m just tired of looking. And my life is just fine right now. My job keeps me busy; my dog is my constant companion; my grandson is the light of my life; and my women friends support, share, and care.

We all have our stories, don’t we? Radiance, keep up the good work!!!

Kay Brimeyer
Dubuque, IA
e-mail kjkhope@mwci.net

Women Just Like Me

Dear Radiance,

I just discovered your magazine. It’s refreshing to see women who look like me! I am tired of extremely thin models and reading about the latest program to get the perfect body. I will not spend money on these publications anymore.

I was always a chubby child. In my early adulthood, I wore size 13/14 and I felt pretty. It was not until I entered the university that I became obsessed with my size. I listened to my peers fret about their weight and I endured comments such as, “Wouldn’t you like to lose weight?” and “You shouldn’t be eating that.” I became ashamed of my size and no longer felt pretty. I wanted to be thin, to wear size 9 and weigh 120 pounds. This is when I began to diet and deprive myself. After a few weeks of dieting, I began to binge and eat more than ever. After these binges I felt like a failure and wondered why I couldn’t stay on a diet. The goal of exercise became to lose weight, not to move for fun or fitness. This cycle went on for fifteen years of hating myself with each pound I gained (I am currently a size 22). When I look back at pictures of myself, I see an attractive young woman. I feel sad that I could not see this earlier.

I am educating myself on size acceptance, body image, and stopping the diet–binge cycle. I went on my last diet in November of 1997. Two months after this diet I reached my highest weight ever. Magazines like yours are my tools to help me achieve self-acceptance. It is my spirit that counts and not my dress size. I have two goals for this summer: to wear shorts to the gym and to take a deep-water exercise class.

I am so happy to see kids in your magazine. I hope that this will help promote size acceptance at an early age. Keep up the good work.

Ruby Vejkajs
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada

Dear Alice,

The Summer 1998 swimsuit issue was fantastic! I especially enjoyed the swimsuit layouts and the comebacks. I have a growing collection of pictures of large women looking happy and self-assured, which always gives me a boost. It’s so good to see women with bodies so much like mine beaming with confidence and romping on the beach!

Some of the comebacks you printed were choice. I’d like to put this out to my fellow readers. What would you say to a person who boasts about how “good” he or she has been, not eating this or never touching that? How about when you offer someone something and he or she replies, “Oh no! I have to watch my weight.”

These are some of the times I would like to educate people. Interestingly, some of these comments are from people who seem to have “gotten” it, who have been educated to some extent. I guess that the hold of a society that worships thinness is still strong on them. So once in a while, I would like to have a comeback that would make the person’s jaw drop.

M.H.
San Francisco, CA

A Centerfold Speaketh!

Dear Alice,

You made me a centerfold! Such surprise, such shock. Your Summer swimsuit issue is, as usual, fabulous, but the fact that I’m in the issue—me—in a bathing suit, barely an inch and a half from a centerfold staple, is utterly amazing. It’s exhilarating. I can’t tell you how many average-sized friends expressed astonishment that an over-forty woman—any over-forty woman—dared expose her body in a bathing suit to friends, let alone in a national publication. I’ve become a hero to a certain select crowd of friends and supporters. THANK YOU!

In my surprise and delight, I rushed out to a newsstand to buy more copies of Radiance, and found—none. None at all. I’d love to believe that with me as a centerfold the issue had simply sold out, but, alas, such was not the case. Most of the newsstand owners had never heard of your magazine. I tromped to four—and I live in the center of Los Angeles, California, hardly off the beaten path. How can we improve the circulation of wonderful, deserving Radiance? I have an idea. Here’s an open letter to certain Radiance readers:

Dear Fellow Readers,

Your gushing, devoted letters to Radiance show me that you enjoy the magazine just as I do. Don’t you then realize that when you “share” the magazine with others, you are depriving Radiance of new subscribers, new readers, new fans? Encourage these people to subscribe and get their own copies! Think about it: if you check a book out of a library, the author never gets a percentage of the sales. The same goes for a “shared” magazine.

Radiance needs you, needs your friends, needs the support of everyone. We can have more color pages if and when there’s a larger subscription base. Alice Ansfield can prove to advertisers that more and more people are reading, if and when there’s a larger subscription base. Advertising dollars translate into a better magazine. PLEASE! Stop sharing your magazine and instead encourage your friends to buy their own copies of Radiance. The future of Radiance is up to you.

Diane Saltzberg
Los Angeles, CA
e-mail dlsaltzberg@earthlink.net

 

Ed. Note: Without taking away from Diane’s sentiment here, I do want her and you to know that the Summer issue had not yet been delivered to the newsstands, bookstores, or grocery store chains when she rushed out to find it. Subscribers receive their magazines first. However, what she is asking for here we at Radiance applaud.

Finding Size-Friendly Doctors

Dear Alice,

Thanks for a bigger and better-than-ever Summer issue. The essay by Sioux Polvi on her mortifying visit to a new gynecologist inspired me to write and ask you to address in an upcoming issue the legitimate resistance many fat women (myself included) feel regarding visiting a doctor.

We don’t want to be insulted, we don’t want to be pressured to step onto a scale, and we don’t want to hear our weight blamed for every ailment. Consequently, many of us stay away from medical practitioners unless we’re in dire need; then we take who we can get. And they’re not always the best or the most sensitive. While Sioux’s problem had a simple solution—find another doctor—she could have just as easily encountered another fat-hostile medic. Perhaps some of your readers can offer suggestions on how to find or screen for fat-friendly doctors. Imagine if there were a national registry, complete with listings of specialists. If all of us had access to doctors who truly lived by the Hippocratic oath (“First, do no harm”), the longevity of fat women might well increase.

Susan Breslow Sardone
New York
e-mail bresloco@writingthatsells.com

Dear Everyone at Radiance,

First, let me say that your magazine was a voice in the wilderness for me. About two years ago, I was sick in my soul and not too healthy in body either. I was so beaten down by our fat-hating society that I felt as if I would never raise my head again. Even with a loving, supportive husband, the constant reminders that I was a second-class citizen drowned out his gentleness. I was afraid to see my doctor, even though I was sick all the time. In one month, I would have four or five colds!

Then, on a whim, I picked up your magazine. I would like to say that I read it and immediately turned into a confident, self-assured, bold woman. But even after several months of reading, I was still doubtful. I was my own enemy! It took about a year for me to “come to the light”, so to speak. I finally had the courage to go to my doctor. I didn’t care if he said to diet. I was ready to speak out for myself. He turned out to be a wonderful, caring man who said I could be healthy and big. Nutrition and easy exercise were more important than any number on the scale. Sadly, and fortunately, he diagnosed me with type two diabetes. Sadly, because it is a frightening disease, but fortunately, because now I had an explanation for my frequent illnesses. The high sugar was affecting my body’s well-being and my mental health as well. Now my blood sugar is under my control, and my life is so much better. In a way, you saved my life by giving me the courage to face my demons. Demons I know that many other women share. Thank you. Thank you so very much.

Melinda Kimbrell
Great Falls, MT

Ed. Note: Readers, please see the classified ad we’ve included in this issue about the list that has been started (online) for size-friendly health professionals worldwide. Also, watch for our Winter 1999 interview with medical activist Lynn McAfee.

 

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