Providing a contrast to the collection of stick-thin limbs and tiny smiling faces that most Japanese girl groups consist of is J-pop newcomers “Chubbiness.” Though since they’ve been named after the very thing that sets them apart, their launch clearly isn’t the high-moralled normalisation of girls who are thicker than Cheese Strings it claims to be, but a “Cute fat girls! And they’re singing!” marketing gimmick. We’re sure that comes as no surprise to anyone.
Interestingly, their first video Manmadeiiya (“Fine as we are”) sees them depart from the jolly fat-person stereotype, depicting the girls competently filling a variety of culturally-significant positions that are strictly reserved for women under a certain size – newscasters, actresses… No, of course it doesn’t. It does attempt to promote a positive message, that it’s ok to be “fat,” but opens with the girls (who would be considered average weight or slim by western standards) shovelling down sugary treats while cheering, then goes on to see them hugging doughnuts and complaining that their breasts are getting sweaty from doing a little run.
Just to be clear, we would think it was great if a group of “marshmallow girls” (as girls who are even slightly chubby are sometimes referred to in Japan) were making an authentic public declaration that they’re comfortable with their body type, but not when it’s clearly a commercially-driven exercise masterminded by a bunch of old men who’ll make lots of money from manipulating young girls and reinforcing the message that fat girls are not only lazy and greedy, but have to be jolly in order to gain social acceptance.
We’d even take the awful crap AKB48 put out over this.