Japan Introduces New “Chubby Girl” Idol Group

It’s no secret that Japanese women face quite a bit of pressure when it comes to weight. There are B&Bs where the cost of rent is dependent on the tenant’s weight and apps which verbally abuse women until they lose a few pounds.

Even when Japan tries to be more accepting of heavier women with terms like “marshmallow girls,” many of these actions cause unintended harm. For instance, a morning television show claimed it was perfectly acceptable for women to be heavy, but there are “right and wrong ways to be a fat girl.”

So when the Japanese entertainment company, AVEX, revealed that they were joining forces with fashion magazine CanCam to create J-Pop’s first official “fat” idol group, we were all taken aback with the news.

As RocketNews24 points out, “In Japan, being an idol is serious business. Getting caught in anything that has the potential of crushing a fan’s dreams could easily result in the idol getting fired. Simple things that common people partake in without as much as a blink of an eye, such as dating, smoking, or even putting on weight, are huge taboos for many members of Japanese idol groups.”

Clearly, Japan is trying to break away from their conventional image of a J-Pop idol. Asian Junkie believes that with the recent fad of “marshmallow girls,” it was only a matter of time that the pop industry would get in on the trend.

Auditions began August of last year. Out of  3,500 applicants, ten girls have finally been chosen to be part of the new J-Pop idol group, Chubbiness.

Rather than focus on being slim, the girls are encouraged to maintain their figure. To emphasize that they are proud of their weight, each member has revealed their favorite part of their body.

The big question is whether or not these girls are actually chubby. To many of us, most of the members of Chubbiness aren’t actually very round at all. In fact, many fall under the average weight category, but apparently these girls are no where near the thin figures of typical Japanese idols.

Check out their official website here.

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Fitness Mom Under Heat AGAIN, Suspended From Facebook for ‘Hate Speech’

I’m sure you all remember the fitness mom, Maria Kang, who faced a lot of heat for putting up a photo of her impressively fit body alongside her three children. Of course this wasn’t the problem. The controversy was about the caption that came along with the picture: “What’s your excuse?”

The 32-year-old, half Malaysian Chinese and Filipina mother of three was bombarded with negative reactions saying that she was bullying others. These people felt that the comment made it seem like others were making excuses for weight gain. They argued that there are various reasons for weight gain and by not being sensitive to those issues, Kang was being obnoxious and pretentious.

Her photo caught so much attention that she soon found as many, if not more, supporters. A countless number of people flocked to her aid and commented that her hard work was inspiring.

Now, Kang is back in the hotseat, but for an entirely different reason. Kang stumbled upon an online article which featured plus sized women posing in lingerie. Kang then felt the need to publicize her thoughts on facebook and wrote the following:

The popular and unrelenting support received to those who are borderline obese (not just 30-40lbs overweight) frustrates me as a fitness advocate who intimately understands how poor health negatively effects a family, a community and a nation. While I think it’s important to love and accept your body, I was a little peeved because I think that we’re normalizing obesity in our society.

 

Facebook removed the post and shut down Kang’s account claiming the post was a “hate speech.”

After News10 reached out to Facebook, they claimed that the suspension was a mistake and reactivated Kang’s account. However, they did not restore Kang’s post. As a result, Kang has voiced that her freedom of speech was taken away.

Yet again, Kang finds herself with a number of haters and supporters. Those who agree with her claim that people should be allowed to post their opinion on facebook and by taking down her post, they have taken away her freedom of speech. Others who supported Kang in the past do not agree with her actions this time around.

“I feel like that’s bullying other people,”says Jayana Hinkle. “She can celebrate her success story, but when other people are trying to accept themselves, she just totally shoots that down. I don’t think that’s fair.”

Facebook pointed out that Kang is welcome to repost her comment, but Kang argues that Facebook should repost the comment, not her. Kang remains strong on her opinion.

“It’s never my intention to say someone should look a certain way.” Kang said. “But I am not going to stand here and say being obesity is okay and we should accept that as the norm.”

 


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Breaking The Asian Myth | “Asians Don’t Get Fat”

We’ve heard a lot of stereotypes about Asians.

There’s the very incorrect myth that all Asians have the same kind of hair. Apparently, being Asian automatically means straight, sleek, black hair. Then there’s the dangerous myth about Asians and breast cancer. Some believe that Asians don’t need to worry since we have the lowest breast cancer rate. The reality is that Japanese American women have the highest rate of breast cancer among Asian Americans and this type of cancer is the leading cause of death for Filipino women. Obviously, there are important differences between the various ethnicities which categorize under the umbrella term “Asian.”

And now, we’ve come to a myth that many of us have heard since childhood:
You’re lucky you’re Asian. Asians don’t get fat.”

This is the part where we all let out a collective sigh. Obviously, that phrase is extremely problematic. Asians are human and fully capable of putting on weight. Sure, this stereotype holds some ground. Many Asians are indeed fairly thin or petite, but by no means is this the case for all Asians. Setting the boundary that Asians don’t get overweight can create quite a few problems for our community.
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Take Maria Kang (above) for example. Controversial photo aside, it is clear that this mother of three had to work hard to get the impressively fit body that she has now. Among the negative comments shot at her, there were a number of people saying that her achievements are nothing to boast about because she’s Asian and “Asians are naturally thin.” Suddenly, hard work of any sort is simply waved off as nothing.

Make no mistake– there are certainly Asians on the heavier side. Now imagine how a heavy-set Asian feels in the midst of such high expectations? What does a woman do when society makes her believe that her culture is genetically engineered to be thin, but she is not? Now more than ever, Asian women are turning to surgery to fit these high beauty standards. With the ideal weight for Asian women getting smaller and smaller everyday, we began to wonder just how true this stereotype is. Lucky for us, we weren’t the only ones who saw flaws in the idea that “Asians don’t get fat.”

NBC recently took a closer look at where Asian Americans rank on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and noted two very big problems which would lead to incorrect results.

It is true that according to the survey, obesity does not appear to be an issue with the Asian American community, but it is important to take note of their definition of obese. In order to judge obesity, the NHANES looks at body mass index (BMI). A BMI above 25 is considered overweight and a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. By these standard, only 10.8 % of Asians are obese compared to the 33% of white, 42% of Hispanics, and 48% of blacks.

The problem? The BMI of an Asian is not an accurate indicator of whether or not that person suffers from the health risks related to obesity. For instance, Asian Americans are at risk for diabetes with a BMI of just 24 and at risk for cardiovascular disease with a BMI of 19. By the NHANES standards, these BMI’s are not even considered overweight and yet it is enough to bring the complications of obesity to Asian Americans.

The second major problem is the giant umbrella term “Asian.”  NBC notes that this term “is defined the same way the 2010 U.S. Census defined the term: Americans with descendants from the Far East, Southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent — that includes Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand and Vietnam.” By categorizing so many types of Asians into the same field, it is easy to overlook the results of the individual ethnicities.

According to a CDC report in 2008, Filipinos are 70% more likely to be obese compared to the other Asian Americans while a number of Vietnamese and Korean adults are underweight. Clearly, obesity issues vary amongst the different types of Asians. Scott Chan, the program director for the Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance, points out, “Combined together, it looks like we don’t have a problem. It kind of propagates that ‘model minority’ myth — that Asians are healthier, we’re skinny, we’re fine.”

So as much as we buy into the idea that Asians are naturally thin, it is quite a danger to our community. Do some Asians get fat? Yes. Should we worry about the health risks associated with obesity? Absolutely.


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