Heavier-than-average is top pick by men and women, plus older respondents.
Japanese survey website Mina no Koe recently asked its users the question “What female body type is cutest?” As a country that’s historically had some strict ideals about body fat, one might have expected the results to reflect a the-skinnier-the-better philosophy, but in the end the respondents showed a surprising preference for another physique.
The survey garnered 7,033 responses, and in the final tally the six options were ranked as:
6. Fat (less than one percent of responses)
5. Plump (three percent)
4. Thin (three percent)
3. Slightly thin (15 percent)
2. Medium build (37 percent)
1. Slightly plump (39 percent)
Not only was a heavier-than-average build the top pick, slim physiques earned less than 20 percent of the votes. This doesn’t appear to be a case of lenient female voters stuffing the ballot box either. While respondents weren’t required to give their gender, the 671 men and 767 women who did both made “slightly plump” their top pick, with “medium build” and “slightly thin” being the second and third choices for both groups.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can start regularly eating three-kilogram bento boxed lunches, washing them down with hojicha roasted green tea Frappuccinos, and still expect the Japanese fashion modeling contracts to start rolling in. Mina no Koe allows (but doesn’t require) respondents to give their ages. 1,206 did, and those in the under 20, 20-29, 30-39, and 40-49 demographics all said “medium build” was the cutest. “Slightly thin” received the second-most votes from those under 20, followed by “slightly plump” (“slightly plump” was the second pick for the 20-49 age groups).
It’s not until we get to the 50-59 and 60-plus groups that “slightly plump” becomes the top pick. Still, respondents who gave their age as 50 or above and voted for “slightly plump” only accounted for 185 of the 2,763 total votes that body type received,
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the survey uses no measurable metrics such as weight or body fat percentage to specify what constitutes different body types. The closest thing to a baseline is the term “medium build,” but even that relies on pre-existing Japanese attitudes about what a “medium build” is, and which generally tends to be slimmer than the average physique in many other countries. Still, the survey’s respondents at least seem to think that Japanese women could afford to be a little heavier than they are right now.