In talking with some friends, I've recently been reminded of the gap between various fringe fetishes. It's easy to lump them together, but the lines are rather clearly drawn. Most of the time it stays civil--until someone assumes that group A is the same as group B, or feels that group A should be a member of group B.
I don't necessarily disagree with these friends who reminded me of this schism. As has been documented, I was here at the beginning of inflation fetishism online; there were 12 of us with AOL, Prodigy, or CompuServe accounts. Through Usenet, I'd made contact with Buster, who had already been seeking out fellow balloon fetishists via classified ads for years, and Sievert, who'd spotted a porno tape in college featuring an inflatable corset and he wanted to know if anybody could help identify it. We were so small then that one mailing list was fine and we were all happy to have found someone, anyone, with a similar interest. But about a year later, we'd hit over 200 and the more specific interests started to show themselves. Some people were into pool toys; others more into balloons as objects; still others were into BE and not all of those people were into other body inflation. It was for the best that we split off--it wasn't an angry thing, it just became clear that the seeds we'd planted did exactly what they were supposed to do: they took root and grew!
Now, however, it's not nearly that insular. The web, Wikipedia, YouTube, bearchive, you name it--there are tons of ways to see inflatable fetish content, and I'm happy for that. But the "hey, whatever you're into is fine with me" has devolved into more of a "blueberry vs. helium vs. fat" type thing.
Is that separation for the best? Maybe. I think beggars can't be choosers, but clearly, with the explosion of the web, nobody's begging any more; it's okay to be selective. And with so much content out there, I am surprised that people assume one is the same as the other.
For the record? Weight gain, not so much. Yes, I see some nice shapes and pleasing curves out there, and I've read some stories that I liked, but I don't generally gravitate toward the feeder/feedee community, and I'm not into WG in general. Blueberry girls don't do it for me either, though again, I sometimes catch something there that sticks with me. (The original scene is still awesome.) And I certainly like seeing what the various artists are up to in each community--Pixel Prevert was a strong supporter of the blueberry girls, and man, his stuff was over the top in terms of quality and special effects. I wouldn't want to miss his stuff, no matter what the topic.
I guess I'd like to see us respect the differences without judgement. It strikes me as very much like Ford vs. Chevy--maybe it doesn't matter if you drive a Toyota, but to some people, it's how they identify themselves, and to say "American-made car" without distinguishing is, to them, offensive. I can't say I'm any different.
I'm an inflatable fetishist. Weight gain and blueberries just don't have the same effect on me. But they can have a wild effect on you, and I don't feel threatened by that. I can still celebrate it.