In the United States, the pressure for a woman to be thin is undeniable. Nearly $35 billion a year is spent on weight loss products such as pills, machines and supplements. Everyday advertisements remind us that society has an ideal body weight and we are pressured to try every method to obtain this ideal body image.
This is precisely why it’s striking to discover that Japan places even more pressure on Japanese women. Japan goes to extreme lengths to make sure their citizens are maintaining a slim physique.
Last year, a B&B in Osaka called Lady Share House had the rent of their rooms dependent on the tenant’s weight. The rent would increase with every pound gained and decrease with every pound lost. We can already see the problems which may arise from this tactic. What if someone is in the position of financial hardship and is willing to go to extreme and unhealthy measures to decrease their rent price?
A week later, a Japanese weight loss app was released which had “attractive” anime men encourage the user to lose weight. By encourage, I mean these anime characters would say verbally abusive things to the user like, “Fat girl, do some more exercise, okay fattie?”
Every now and then, some Japanese citizens show resistance towards this insane amount of pressure, but these methods can quickly backfire. For instance, La Farfa, a magazine which features only plus-size women, has started to advocate for the term “marshmallow girl.” The aim of the new nickname is to associate chubbiness with cuteness instead of the negative connotations of a nickname like “fatty.” Unfortunately, many readers seemed to dislike the idea of chubby women being associated to food of any kind. One Audrey reader simply stated that they would rather be called fat.
Clearly, good intentions may still be very negative and problematic. This seems to be the case with a Japanese television show pointing out the “right and wrong ways to be a fat girl.”
According to RocketNews24, a Japanese twitter user posted a chart which they saw on a morning television show. The chart distinguished the traits between “OK Chubby” girls and “NG (No Good) Chubby” Girls.
According to the RocketNews24 translation of the chart, the following are considered traits of “OK Chubby” girls:
-Charming and bright smile.
-A big eater.
-Makes an effort an effort to look cute and doesn’t worry about showing skin.
-Clothes are brightly colored.
-Hairstyle and make up is carefully done.
The following are considered traits of “NG (No Good) Chubby” Girls:
-Expressionless and always alone.
-A small eater.
-Clothes are not revealing and attempt to hide figure.
-Only chooses dark clothing.
-Dress like they don’t care or just gave up.
Where to begin? Let’s start with the very big fact that there is no right or wrong way to be chubby. The chart not only makes broad assumptions about women, it’s just plain insulting. How is a woman a “No Good Chubby” simply because she wears dark clothing?
We’re not sure if the chart was trying to be helpful, but it definitely missed its mark. There is no information about the television show which featured the chart, but we certainly hope this was poor taste in humor instead of actual opinion.