So, here's a question: how much of the fat attraction is a taboo response to the 'obesity epidemic' rhetoric and the whole puritan hangup on pleasure/leisure in US society?
BTW, I'm making no claim one way or the other about this, just curious to see how you interpret this hypothesis.
This subject fascinates me greatly and I'm interested at writing about it at length in the future, but here's the tip of the iceberg: this question is a big asterisk in my feelings on the fetish/preference debate. Shitty, yeah, but allow me to wax theoretical. Because I do believe that besides the internet, the other component of exponential growth in the fat community is that fat is more extremely, violently taboo in 2009 than it ever has. In the preceding decade, anorexia and bulimia and "heroin chic" and diet pills entered the mainstream lexicon. The 1990s also desensitized my generation to so-called taboo "sex," with the internet the final nail in the adult-filter coffin, resulting in the availability of the scantily clad female body everywhere from magazine shelves to MySpace. Except all the viewable sex is thin and fit, and visible body fat has been relegated to pornography in itself. I don't think the cumulative rise in the number of self-identified fat admirers since is coincidental, though plenty of fat admirers would disagree and claim to just like what they like. The desensitizing of thin sexuality has given fatness a notoriety that causes closet FAs to take thin wives as a cover from their families, private sector colleagues and themselves (any number of fatties I know could tell you stories of finding out they're the other woman).
I'm also interested in researching the even more preposterous claim of my own that beauty is cyclical; that fat is making a comeback very, very slowly for different reasons than when it was first popular a hundred-or-so years ago for representing power and wealth. Being fat in 2009 supposedly represents the lower class, dovetailing with unfortunate perceptions of blacks and Latinos and a base "consumer" culture that you can supposedly avoid if you're white and can afford a Bally's membership or digest Fast Food Nation. But black culture is the most imitated in America and around the late 90s, Latin culture (and J.Lo - famous for her unconventional body - in particular) has become a marketable obsession as well. As is the wont of a world where the privileged obsess over the unattainable credibility and freedom of the less so, it's not entirely foolish to suggest fat could be next.