“Big Beautiful Women” (commonly abbreviated as BBW) is a neologism most frequently used in the context of affirmation of or sexual attraction to women who are overweight or obese, whose bodies have excessive adipose tissue.
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 BBW is a 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.
The term has several near-synonyms with varying shades of meaning:
- Full-figured or Rubenesque – the latter term refers to the art of Peter Paul Rubens, best known for portraying full-bodied women.
- Voluptuous and zaftig usually connote ripeness, sensuality, and a body shape involving large breasts and wide hips.
Although the term BBW may have been first used and copyrighted in the context of BBW Magazine, over the years plus-size women (even those who had never heard of the magazine) began to refer to themselves as “BBWs.” Today, BBW is often found in personal ads (and online dating services) denoting an identification with (or preference for) women with more body fat and thus promoting the idea of such women as a socially acceptable preference.
Some women adopt the term BBW as a personal preference over the term Rubenesque, or full-figured, because such women 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.
BBW is commonly used as a positive euphemism by people involved with the fat acceptance movement, who often reject the descriptor “obese”. However, some strongly prefer the term fat to other words which they consider unnecessary euphemisms.
The term BBW 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, fashion stores and shows, etc so that an environment of acceptance is achieved by having like-minded or like-bodied persons in attendance.
The acronym BBBW refers to Big Beautiful Black Women. Another variant is SSBBW; Super-Size Big Beautiful Women, which refers to women who are above a US dress size 26.
A large number of BBW websites are pornographic, or even sexually fetishistic in nature (including fat fetishism and feederism), but others only celebrate the act of gaining