Many of us have an impression that Japanese girls are slim and petite (which many of them really are), but one of the sad truths behind their stick-thin figures is a rather serious case of discrimination from society. While voluptuous women are popular in certain parts of the world, being even slightly chubby (not obese) is a big no-no in Japan and chubby girls often get called “debu” (fatso) online and sometimes to their face.
But recently, a new nickname for such chubby ladies has started trending among Japanese netizens, which hopefully will change the attitudes people have towards them. Behold, the rise of the “marshmallow girls”!
In case you’re wondering what’s the standard for a Japanese woman’s figure, the comparison visual below has been fairly popular among the Japanese cyber community:
The numbers show how plump the figure is thought to be, and assuming that “0% chubbiness” is the representation of the average “acceptable” size, you should get a pretty good idea of how strict Japanese society is with curvy figures.
But chubby girls are cute too! When interviewed, Mr. Saichu, a man with a self-proclaimed “tummy fetish” commented that the society is deeply biased against “fatties”, and usually criticize that they “lack self-discipline, or neglect maintaining a balanced diet, that’s why they got fat”. But he personally thinks that a chubby girl’s tummy has a heavenly “marshmallow feel” and that the “fats that have accumulated expresses her historical growth as a female”. He also thinks that “marshmallow girl” is an apt nickname for chubby girls and hopes that the cute naming will lessen the discrimination towards them.
Unfortunately, a biased mindset is not something that can be changed overnight. Japanese twitter users have been unrelenting, commenting that:
“Call them whatever you like but a fatty is a fatty.”
“That’s confusing, calling them debu or pizza (a demeaning nickname for plus-sized girls who look like an oily otaku) is just fine.”
“The only thing sweet about them is how sweet they are to themselves in terms of health management.”
“Marshmallow Girls, they melt when flamed.”
“Change that name to boneless ham.”
“They’re more like mochi (glutinous rice cake) than marshmallow.”
“Stop trying to rationalize fatsos!”
“‘Meat bun girl’ sounds like a better name.”
Not all chubby girls got their full figures from diet related issues. And there’s more to a girl than a model-like figure. I personally know a few chubby ladies who are charming, talented and have exuberant personalities. What’s your take on the issue? Are “marshmallow girls” popular where you come from? Share your views in the comments section below!