Jodi Bryson: A new sex study finds that some men prefer their women with a few extra pounds.
A gorgeous friend of mine is about 50 pounds overweight and a single mom -- but she won't create an online profile until she reaches her goal weight. "I'm not skinny enough for Match.com," she said, so resolute. Turns out she could be ideal just the way she is.
According to a new study published in The Journal of Sex Research, some men like their women heavy; many even prefer their partners obese. They're called "fat admirers" and the findings reveal that they are also likely to find extremely thin women attractive.
The story asked two groups of men to rate photographs of ten types of female bodies. One group did not identify with the FA subculture, which encompasses everything from obese fetishism to the simplicity of positive support within the healthy fat movement. The other group was scouted at an FA event and was identified as FA.
"Skinny people already know about FA, but they call those guys 'chubby chasers'," my friend explained, then turned to her coloring 8-year-old daughter to tell her she didn't like the phrase. I agree; chubby chaser is awful. But I'm not sure fat admirer sounds much better.
In the study, the FAs preferred the photographs of women with a body mass index (BMI) of 29.24, which is just shy of obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. BMI is determined by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters, and the example reported in the story explained that a woman at 5'6 is overweight at 155 pounds and obese at 190 pounds.
Wikipedia has an entry on the FA subject, and describes fat admirers as typically heterosexual males. However, the preference for a bigger partner is inclusive of straight women and gay folks, known eponymously as female fat admirers and gay fat admirers. What's unexpected from the study is that FA men also liked the photographs of dramatically underweight women -- the report uses the word "emaciated" -- with a BMI of less than 15.
Obese and emaciated women struck their fancy? Is FA healthy or not?
The lead researcher said the findings suggest a rejection of "sociocultural norms." That's fine science, but the polarity of obese and emaciated is weird, no? Human physical attraction shows traceable socio-anthropological patterns. Replace the word fat with robust, thick or heavy if you want to, but it's still instinct to want someone because we perceive him as a healthy mate. I recognize that within the subset of FA, there are great guys who simply like more than a little junk in the trunk. But to view obesity or emaciation as sexually attractive is, frankly, suspicious. And I said so.
"If a guy doesn't like me, I just assume it's because I'm fat," my friend said. She's been divorced for six years and dating for four, and whenever we talk about her weight or her diet, she has a familiar tone of resignation. She added: "Just like anything else that's rooted in a superficial desire, there are the authentic guys and there are the creeps."
I'll give it up that the break from wanting a bony, over-exercised real housewife of Orange County is refreshing, but a new PC term doesn't change the fact that fat admiration is a highly superficial preference. On the other hand, what woman at some point in her single dating life didn't hit on a tall guy just because he was tall? And, sorry, but at no time to no man am I ever going to say "Don't date me because you're seriously attracted to my face." Is an initial attraction for being big any different?
We'd love to know your opinion of fat admirers. Is it genuine and healthy fat acceptance? Or is it ... chubby chasing? Please, tell us.