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"Big Beautiful Woman" (commonly abbreviated as BBW) is an acronym most frequently used in the context of, affirmation of or sexual attraction to overweight or obese women. The terms "Big Beautiful Women" and "BBW" were coined by Carole Shaw in 1979, when she launched BBW Magazine, a fashion and lifestyle magazine for "plus-size" women.
The term is a subjective, visually determined concept that does not have an explicit lower or upper weight limitation, and may denote women who may be considered barely overweight to those who are morbidly obese. A 2009 study found that male fat admirers preferred females that were clinically overweight and rated both overweight and obese women more positively than slighter individuals. The study also found that participants reacted more positively to a much wider range of figures than a control group, even rating emaciated figures higher. It concludes "these findings suggest that an explanation for fat admiration may be that FAs are rejecting sociocultural norms of attractiveness".
The term has several near-synonyms with varying shades of meaning:
Although "BBW" may have been first used in the context of BBW Magazine, the term's usage spread over the years, to the point that even women who had never heard of the magazine began to refer to themselves as "BBWs".
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Some women may adopt the term as a personal preference over the term Rubenesque, or full-figured, because they may not necessarily have large breasts or hips. Such terms, and others such as "queen-sized", "plus-sized", or "fat" may lead to feelings of marginalization or non-inclusion for some women. However, some strongly prefer the term fat over other words which they consider unnecessary euphemisms.
The abbreviation BBW can often be found used in personal ads (and online dating services) denoting an identification with (or preference for) such women, and is also used to denote events specifically targeted to such women, and persons interested in them, such as specific gathering nights in dance clubs, restaurants, and fashion stores and shows.
The term is also commonly used as a positive euphemism by those involved with the fat acceptance movement.
There are a wide range of websites dedicated to the topic of big beautiful woman, including sites which are dedicated to sending out a size-positive message towards larger women, some of which denounce the dieting industry as encouraging women to lose weight to conform to what is considered the ideal by mainstream society. Big beautiful women are also on a number of pornographic websites which may include content which is sexually fetishistic in nature (including fat fetishism and feederism).
The acronym BBBW refers to Big Beautiful Black Woman. Another variant is SSBBW: Super-Size Big Beautiful Woman. There is much debate on a definition for a Super-Size Big Beautiful Woman.
While "Big Beautiful Woman" may be prevalent in the Americas and Europe, in Asian countries where obesity may be considered uncommon or deemed unhealthy, other terms are used. For example, in Japan the term debu (katakana デブ, hiragana でぶ) is used, but usually with a pejorative meaning.
Big Handsome Man (BHM), or sometimes Big Beautiful Man (BBM), refers to a physically or sexually attractive fat man. These men are large to extremely large. There are many subcategories of BHMs. Some are men who just happen to be large, while others attempt to become fatter. Some of these men are insecure about their size, while others embrace their obesity and feel confident. Women who are attracted to BHMs are called Female Fat Admirers (FFA). In the gay community, BHMs are called Chubs, and men who are attracted to BHMs are known as Chubby chasers.