By Ana Blue
What was once a secret among many men is now coming out into the open. Men’s love for plus sized women is becoming increasingly visible as society comes to terms with what is healthy. As our culture comes to realize in large that the average woman is a size 14, more and more men are comfortably coming out of the closet with their desires for a woman with a little extra flesh to grab onto. Individuals attracted to people that are overweight are called chubby chasers, a term more commonly used for men who are attracted to plump women. The term can also be used for women who chase larger men, however, it is not an uncommon practice nor really an unthinkable sexual attraction since society does not have such a strong influence on what the male figure should appear as. For some chasers the bigger the better, which is empowering the movement of fat acceptance. Fat acceptance is slowly coming to the forefront with society’s changing views on what is beautiful; however, critics of this type of attraction find it unhealthy and even dangerous.
It is argued that culture has an influence on sexual attraction to larger women. In some countries, being voluptuous is attractive because it represents fertility and in some cultures wealth. Chasers have a variety of what attracts them to a larger woman. For some chasers, there is nothing sexier than a plump woman with full breasts and large hips. Handfuls of flesh on the body can be very erotic to chasers similar to the appeal of large round breasts. For others, it is the love handles, a large stomach, large flaps of fatty tissue and the softness. Some prefer their meaty woman with smaller breasts and buttocks with a large stomach hanging as well as skin flaps hanging in other areas the body.
Matthew Byrom, a BBW fanatic, does not discriminate when it comes to a woman’s size; however, he finds himself attracted more towards voluptuous women. “I just like there being more body to feel, caress, kiss, slap. For me it’s about the visual more I like seeing the parts move around so obviously in that category I love a huge ass and big breasts,” says Byrom.
With more and more curvaceous women appearing in magazines, film and television, society’s standards on what is an acceptable weight for a woman is changing. Each decade has brought about a change in how women are viewed, from Marilyn Monroe’s sultry size 14 to Anna Nicole Smith’s fluctuating weight from sexy Playboy Bunny to a voluptuous plus sized icon. Kate Moss’ skinny chic look is no longer the desire or standard, woman are now encouraged to put down those diet books, throw away those size two dreams and pick up a sandwich.
A recent event of public fat acceptance and admiration happened on the Tyra Banks show where the hostess and her audience members wore red bathing suits with their weight written across it. Proudly displaying their bodies, women were encouraged to walk the runway on the show in order to show the public that it is acceptable to be who you are and love your body. Around the time of the show, tabloids were reporting that Banks had put on up to 40 pounds and was now overweight in her super model retirement. When faced with these allegations, Banks chastised the media on the show and told them to “kiss my fat ass!”
A more recent incident found Jennifer Love Hewitt under criticism for her body in a bikini. Tabloids took what they considered unflattering pictures of the round bottomed Hewitt blasting headlines about her weight gain. Hardly the desire of a chubby chaser, Hewitt defended her body and big beautiful women (BBW) everywhere, “To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini – put it on and stay strong.”
This mainstream fight to change our culture’s view on beauty is bringing more and more fat admirers, BBW lovers and chubby chasers out of the closet with their desires. The most famous chubby chaser is former president Bill Clinton and his affair with the curvy Monica Lewinsky. While the government and media were in an uproar, men all across the country were quietly fantasizing about Lewinsky’s voluptuous body and that cigar. Clinton was not the only president to have an affair with a busty curvaceous woman; former president John F. Kennedy reportedly had an affair with Marilyn Monroe one of the biggest sex symbols of our time.
With fat acceptance moving into the mainstream comes more criticism on the unhealthy aspects of this kind of desire. A more extreme form of chubby chasing is feederism, the act of feeding a partner and/or encouraging eating large quantities to make a partner gain more weight. It is highly erotic to a feeder for their partner to eat in excess in order to gain weight. However, this can be extremely dangerous if too much weight is gained, there are psychological and physical dangers to this behaviour. Some feeders and BBW lovers encourage their partners to gain so much weight that it becomes a toll on their psyche as well as their body. As in any relationship, if one must modify their body to please their mate then it is not worth it nor mutually satisfying. Similar to those starving themselves to be thin, those eating and gaining weight to please their partner face problems such as eating disorders, heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses. Feeders are viewed as controlling and dehumanizing their partner as they see them as a sexual object of their desire and not a person.
Pursuing overweight partners can have an effect on both the chaser and the chased. Chubby chasers are often ashamed of their desires and —similar to homosexuals who have not come out with their sexual preference— may hide their relationships from the public eye. Fearful of what society may think, a chaser may keep his pursuits and relationships a secret, even going as far as avoiding public dates. This shame tends to be caused by the feeling that chasing a larger woman is considered lowering one’s standards. Their embarrassment is typically caused by society’s norms of what is beautiful and may cause a person to act out in different ways. Repressed and sometimes repulsed by one’s desire, a chaser may end up in an unhappy relationship with someone he does not necessarily find attractive. Furthermore, a chaser might become resentful and grow abusive towards his objects of desire because he feels his reason for attraction is wrong.
Though many women are now embracing their bodies and becoming proud BBW, many still have a poor sense of self. This is a problem faced by many that are overweight which may cause one to enter and stay in relationships for the wrong reasons. Those reasons include feeling like nobody will ever want or desire them or the feeling that one cannot do better or does not deserve better. Another problem is the unhappiness with their body image despite their significant other’s approval. While unhappy with oneself, a person may keep their figure because of the desires of their mate and may feel if their appearance changes, their mate will leave them. Manal Mady, a BBW who runs her own pastry business, finds it hard to identify with other BBW who face esteem problems. “I’m really confident as opposed to most girls. Big girls shouldn’t feel the need to be validated; they should embrace the fat and love it as much as men love them,” said Mady.
It is possible to be overweight and healthy however if a person continues to neglect healthy habits such as exercise, eating right and gains weight to be aesthetically appealing to chasers then it creates more of a controversy for those who truly love and accept plus sized women for who they are. Similar to average relationships, there are always people out there who are on an extreme end of the spectrum and create stereotypes that hurt people and their preferences.
Throughout history, a voluptuous woman was the object of many a man’s desire. Somewhere along the line it was deemed that fat is not beautiful, however, with society’s slow realization that big is beautiful and many public figures speaking out –some even flaunting their large affairs— women can easily reclaim what they were once told are flawed bodies. Being a healthy size 14 is now becoming more acceptable than being an unhealthy size four. As these trends change, chubby chasers everywhere will begin to emerge from their closets and openly support the shapely women they find irresistible. With the change of tides, women will begin to feel more confident in themselves and accept their body which will aid in the prevention of negative relationships and embrace the positive ones with men who not only want them for their curvaceous body but also for who they are and wouldn’t change their plus sized woman for the world.
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