Friday, 10 January 2014

Marshmallow girls † 'Plus size' in alternative fashion

Not too long ago, Victoria of Parfait Doll posted an interesting and exciting article on 'Marshmallow Girls'.

This is basically a term coined in the Japanese fashion industry to describe larger sized girls. When I saw the term, I was impressed. I feel that descriptions of women as 'large-boned', 'curvy' or 'plus-sized' are all somewhat patronising.

Still, I am speaking from a position as a small person. My typical clothing size is Aus 7-8 (US 3-4). Yet even people my size speak of the pressure to be a 'Size 0'. Personally, I haven't felt that pressure from looking at skinny models or actresses.

I've felt pressure from my own family.

As a half-Chinese, half-English girl, I am small, but generously endowed in the bust area and don't have the flat butt that small Asian girls often have. (Seriously, I know girls who buy butt padding. It's real.) I weigh more than 45kg, the 'ideal' weight for an Asian girl my height. I know this is an issue for many Asian girls, this myth that they are all skinny.

A few weeks ago, my mother looked at me and said: that's good, you've lost some weight. When I pointed out to her that my BMI is smack bang in the middle of the Healthy range, she shrugged and said: it's still good to lose weight.

My grandmother will often grab my arms or my cheeks and mutter: 很胖 (very fat). One of my uncles, when I went to Beijing and visited him, said I needed to lose 5 kg.

Luckily, I've never really been bothered by my weight. I'm fit and healthy and I like the appearance of my body. I don't consider myself 'large'. But it concerns me, the kind of culture of negativity around 'fatness'. As if we should all look the same. And as adherents to alternative subcultures, who wants that? Have you ever seen a Korean beauty pageant?

Dear god, they all look the same. Source.

My point is, the term 'Marshmallow Girl' is cute and endearing. I would rather be a Marshmallow Girl than a Plus Size or Curvy girl. Cute and endearing might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's a move, I feel, in a more positive direction.

What do you think about these terms? Should there even be terms at all? And what about the increasing move to label Size 12 ladies as Plus Size? (Hint: I think it's stuuuuupppppiiiiddd)


  1. Size twelve a plus size? That's silly, but I guess calling something plus sized is silly as well. Consumer culture makes it seem like plus size is in less demand which I think is bullshit, it's just as demanded as petite sizing for short people.

  2. no kidding about the beauty pageant. how do they even pick a winner?

    1. Rolling a dice? Closing their eyes, spinning and choosing whoever they stop at?


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