The author of the book “Fatso,” who calls herself a weight diversity activist, speaks tonight (Tuesday) at the University of Northern Iowa. Marilyn Wann, an officer with the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, says her message is that fat people deserve respect, regardless of size, and that human rights should not be contingent on the length of one’s waistband.

Wann says “There have always been fat and thin people. There are currently now fat and thin people and there always will be fat and thin people, just like people are short and tall and all different basic shapes and sizes. Given that fact, we can all be our own healthiest, happiest selves based on the medical literature if we take good care of our bodies with good nutrition and regular exercise.” She says we shouldn’t devote our time to turning ourselves into looking like someone else but we should love our bodies as they are now.

Wann is called “The uncontested queen of the modern American fat-pride movement.” She says “It’s really absurd to talk about fat pride. I should never have had to even notice what I weigh, but our culture makes something out of what a person weighs. It definitely gives people messages about who you can be in life based on your weight, so I think it’s a healthy normal reaction to say ‘Hey, I value myself and I’m going to take pride in what makes me different and what has been used to put me down, I’m going to turn around.'”

Some will equate being fat with being in bad physical condition, but Wann says she doesn’t want people to be unhealthy and doesn’t have a death wish. She says people of all sizes need to lighten up their attitudes, not how they tip the scales.

Wann says “Anyone who has ever spent one minute or one day worrying about their body, whether they look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie or themselves, has a stake in celebrating weight diversity and reducing that pressure to try to be someone you’re not. It’s not me versus thin people it’s all of us trying to live happily and be at home in our bodies.” Her lecture entitled “The Real F-Word, Celebrating Weight Diversity,” is slated for 7:30 P.M. in U-N-I’s Maucker Union. Admission is free.