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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 fatty pockets.

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. [1]

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." [2]

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. [3] 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." [4]

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. [5]

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. [6] 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 experience.

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. [7]

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.

References

[1] Fredrek, Carol. Scales are for fish, not for women. Rising Women Magazine, 22 Jan. 2007.

[2] Gates, Katharine. Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex. Juno Books, New York, 2000. Page 181.

[3] Independent Authors. Obesity Statistics. Wellness International Network Ltd., 19 Jan. 2007.

[4]National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. NAAFA Policies: Admirers. 26 Jan. 2007.

[5] Gates, Katharine. Deviant Desires: Incredibly Strange Sex. From interview with Dimensions model Supersize Betsy. Juno Books, New York, 2000. Page 184.

[6] MackIntosh, Carol. Top ten reasons why my honey adores my big, gorgeous bod. DimensionsMagazine.com, A Shardco, Inc., 24 Jan. 2007.

[7] 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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