Fat Fetishism Written by: Mistress Tracy, 02/07/2007
Accepting Fat: The BBW and her admirers
"Hugh Hefner once said that he would never permit a fat woman on his
property, let alone in the magazine."
Katharine Gates, from Deviant Desires.
In contemporary society, any woman with even more than a pound of flesh on
Western culture's impossible scale is seemingly reviled, publicly at least,
and in essence, admirer's love for large or fleshy women is forced into the
closet more than perhaps homosexuals were in the 20th century. I'm not sure
that I will blame this on Hugh Hefner or his alleged statement, but something
somewhere sure changed for this to have happened.
In ancient prehistoric cultures, large woman were put on a pedestal as an ideal
of femininity and fertility. The standard of beauty in ancient Rome, at least
judging by statues like 'Aphrodite of Rhodes', seems more representative of
the average American woman today (5'4", 140 pounds) than the models we
too often see in our fashion magazines and in our porn. In some cultures, big,
round women were considered the epitome of health and/or wealth and beauty.
One need only study art history to come across
the nudes of Rubens, which is where the term rubenesque, meaning plump or round
in an attractive way, hails from, or the histories of cultures
like the Hottentot of Southwestern Africa, who appreciated a butt bulging with
There are many factors contributing to the negative perspective regarding the
big or robust body, yet it can't be ignored that a large influence has come
from weight loss, beauty, and advertising industries. According to Carol Fredrek,
diet and dietary products represent a 33 billion dollar a year business, which
shouldn't be so surprising especially since she also points out that one of
every four TV commercials is geared toward attractiveness, and that women's
magazines contain 10.5 per cent more ads about dieting than men's magazines.
It's hard to know if there was such a thing as fat fetishism
in previous eras, particularly among cultures that held the larger, more shapely
and feminine form in high esteem. Perhaps in those days, when scarcely a 5'8",
115lb waif could be found, people secretly admired, longed for, and fetishized
skin and bones. Now, one thing is for sure, according to Katharine Gates in
her book called Deviant Desires, "fat people are certainly never represented
as objects of desire. We are supposed to find fat sexually repulsive."
It seems an almost strange and contradictory statement in countries like America,
where 50 percent of all women wear a size 14 or larger, where 10 to 15 per cent
of the population prefers a fat woman to a skinny one, according to Gates, and
where 8 out of every 10 adults over the age of 25 is overweight.  Yet, ask
someone if they're sexually attracted to a fat person, and I'm sure the response
won't exactly be positive, even if they are attracted.
Not only do fat people face negative and discriminating attitudes, but fat
lovers and admirers must also contend with societal scorn. I have on occasion
been out with my long-time friend and her average-sized husband when I have
noted the not too subtle stares and ridicule about her largeness. I have even
sometimes observed people laughing or, at the very least, feel sorry for him,
particularly when they are being openly affectionate. It's quite a sad commentary
on human nature in my opinion, and not in the least healthy for anyone.
While full-bodied individuals probably face more open discrimination than any
other group, for admirers the overall cultural attitude regarding fat and the
fear of such open public derision can have a detrimental effect. According to
a policy statement on the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA)
website, "denial of one's preference may lead to a disruption in personal
growth and inadequate development of social and interpersonal skills. It may
also lead to unhappy relationships with average-size partners chosen simply
to conform." 
I do not consider the love of a fat
person to be either a fetish or a partialism. Personally, I
see it as a preference like big hips or small ones. Yet, here at Fetish Fish,
we do have a category for fat. Rabbit, the owner of Fetish Fish explains that
some categories, while not true fetishes, were added to give more variety. "As
for fat, I think what prompted me to include it is that its one category that
really goes against the mainstream/vanilla idea of beauty and sexiness. I think
it falls in the broader and more common definition
of fetish, i.e. sexuality outside the norm."
When it comes to sexuality, the desire for a large body is not exclusive to
straight men. There are many women who admire and long for a larger man, and
the gay community has their own group of chubby chasers. Yet, the fat man is
more readily embraced by Western culture than the fat woman, so I will focus
my attention on BBW admirers.
BBW stands for big beautiful woman, and contrary to what might be a popular
belief, fat admirers (FAs), like all people, have both body type and weight
preferences. Many admirers love the pear-shaped body, some prefer the hourglass
figure and a few enjoy the apple shape, and while there are those who love their
ladies 'super-sized', most are satisfied with a woman between 200 and 250 pounds.
On adult sites that I have reviewed which cater to the BBW enthusiast, it's
not uncommon to find scenes where a measuring tape is used to uncover the reality
of a woman's size and, on many sites, a model's biographical details emphasize
both her weight and waist measurements. While numbers are obviously an excitement
for many admirers, there's more to the adoration of fat than a large number.
While French psychologist Alfred Binet is better known as the father of the
IQ test, he was also one of the first to theorize about fetishism. In 1887,
Binet suggested that fetishism referred to the sexual admiration of an inanimate
object. Richard von Krafft-Ebing extended the term to encompass body parts,
yet Binet's study focussed on fetish arising from early childhood associations.
If fetish is an equation between an erection and an object or body part at
the moment of that first erection, then it stands to reason that an erection
at the moment of a male being held in his mother's arms might from then on be
related with his excitement, in this instance, for her large, feminine and powerful
body. "Fat women are appealing because they
remind us of when we were being pressed against the gigantic breast of our mother,"
writes Gates referring to a statement by culture critic Leslie Fielder outlining
that a child in his mother's arms, isn't that much different from a man in the
arms of a 600-pound woman.
To add to this a bit further, Carol Mackintosh, in a fun, self-loving article
on Dimensions Magazine's website, lists ten reasons "why her honey adores
her big gorgeous bod." Among them she includes all those tender places
to store estrogen, the quivering produced across her entire torso when in the
midst of it, and sometimes a guy just needs to collapse into some soft, loving
arms.  In other words, what admirers seem to enjoy is a combination of size,
femininity, warmth and sexual thrill associated with making love to a BBW, which
as Ms. Mackintosh describes in so many words as a, literally, earth-quaking
There are additional subsets to fat admiration including feeders, who are more
often male FAs with fantasies of watching women eat and grow significantly fatter,
and one can't discount female and gay FAs, but what about BBWs? How do they
feel about 'BBW fetishism' as culture has so deemed it?
"I write about BBWs because I am one, and I like to have real characters
in my stories that women can identify with. I don't think of it as writing a
fetish story, just as writing a story about real people," said erotic and
porn author, Victoria Blisse in an interview. "I have no problem with it
being seen as a fetish because in a way it makes it kind of special, and that
is what people take offence to, I guess."
Indeed, BBWs and their admirers are offensive to most North Americans, yet
in a culture that values Pamela Anderson's big tits, J-Lo's big butt, and any
man's big penis, it's almost ironic that big people are not equally put on a
pedestal. But, as the authors of 'Different Loving' state, the sexually acceptable
is always bound to the cultural point of view, and to be out of sexual sync
with that puts one at a distinct disadvantage. 
For those who do long for a large fleshy body, and I don't mean Entertainment
Tonight's Vanessa Minnillo dressed in a fat suit, the road to loving, admiring
or even fetishizing a BBW can be an arduous and sometimes psychologically hurtful
one. Something sure needs to change in culture in order for admirers to openly
and, without fear of ridicule or scorn, express their love of big women.
Spain, Italy and Brazil have certainly made inroads in the fashion industry
by refusing to allow models under a certain weight to appear on their runways,
supermodel Tyra Banks has recently announced that she's a happy, healthy, 160
pound woman, and groups like NAAFTA make fat acceptance their personal business
through lobbies and support. Yet, perhaps it's not the fashion, weight-loss,
or advertising industries that need to be changed; perhaps North Americans themselves
have to get over their fat phobia and learn to accept themselves and their own
bodies before cultural changes and fat acceptance can follow. Until then, it
seems that fat admirers will remain in the quiet and underground realm of fetish.
 Fredrek, Carol. Scales
are for fish, not for women. Rising Women Magazine, 22 Jan. 2007.
 Gates, Katharine. Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex. Juno Books,
New York, 2000. Page 181.
 Independent Authors. Obesity
Statistics. Wellness International Network Ltd., 19 Jan. 2007.
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. NAAFA
Policies: Admirers. 26 Jan. 2007.
 Gates, Katharine. Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex. From interview
with Dimensions model Supersize Betsy. Juno Books, New York, 2000. Page 184.
 MackIntosh, Carol. Top
ten reasons why my honey adores my big, gorgeous bod. DimensionsMagazine.com,
A Shardco, Inc., 24 Jan. 2007.
 Brame, Gloria G., Brame, William D., Jacobs, Jon. Different Loving: The
world of sexual dominance and submission. Villard, New York, 1993. p. 359.
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