Let's Nip This National Conversation About BBWs Right in the Bud

Good afternoon. I need a drink because Drake just dropped a verse about BBWs in the middle of “Only,” Nicki Minaj’s latest track.

“She says I’m obsessed with thick women and I agree. That’s right, I like my girls BBW. The type that wanna suck you dry and then eat some lunch with you. Yeah, so thick that everybody else in the room is so uncomfortable. Ass on Houston, Texas, but the face look just like Claire Huxtable.”

Within minutes, Hot 97 was discussing what, exactly, is a BBW. Twitter blew up. For those of you who are new to the Internet: The generally agreed-upon definition is “Big Beautiful Woman.” (Not to be confused with Build-a-Bear Workshop, which is publicly traded under the symbol BBW.) According to Wikipedia, the term originated in 1979, with the launch of BBW Magazine. It caught on because really, who wants to use the term “Rubenesque”? Sounds too much like the sandwich. I think of it as the kind of term you originally saw in web 1.0 personal ads; these days, with fat acceptance making “plus-size” and plain old “fat” more popular, you see it most commonly in the context of pornography. Some people acknowledge a separate category—the “Super-Sized Big Beautiful Woman,” aka SSBBW—but generally, it’s used to mean well-and-truly plus-sized.

On the one hand, there’s some overlap between the terms “BBW” and “thick,” and in that sense Drake’s just keeping it on-brand with the pro-ass glory that is “Anaconda.” On the other: Anybody who’s ever seen YouPorn knows it’s a term with a pretty specific connotation. And if Drake were having sex with a bunch of fat girls, surely we would have seen some photos on Instagram. Unless it’s all hush-hush, in which case thanks for the shout out but no thanks.

A simple terminology fumble, or outright trolling? Your guess is as good as mine, but one thing’s for sure and that’s dropping the acronym “BBW” makes this line pretty damn gross: “The type that wanna suck you dry and then eat some lunch with you.” Maybe he means chill girls who aren’t afraid to deep throat and eat ribs, but it sounds like he’s trotting out the old stereotypes about fat girls and head. And food! We’re always stuffing our faces with something! And not even dinner—just lunch.

Anyway, Drake’s authorial intent is pretty irrelevant to the hailstorm of bullshit this will likely unleash. It’s hard enough to argue for pretty simple fat-acceptance ideas like “plus-sized clothing good” and “rude, shitty doctors bad” without some self-appointed Internet expert appearing to concern-troll you on caloric intake. Introduce sex into the conversation and lots of people seem to lose any scrap of ability to act as mature adults respectful of the feelings and dreams of others. Strap in, because it’s gonna be a long week on the Internet. Good rule of thumb: Unless you’re fat or attracted to a fat person or persons (and not in a Drake trying to be cute way), just shut your mouth about BBWs. Anything else and you’re running the risk of either a) upsetting fat people or b) discouraging the people who are genuinely attracted to them.

The thought of the inevitable national conversation about fucking fat women makes me queasy, because I spent most of my early 20s hoarding evidence that men would, occasionally, under the right circumstances, fuck fat women. (This attitude resulted in some really stellar decision-making, believe you me. But I’m much better now!) Every scrap of corroboration, like that 2011 Village Voice article, went into a mental file folder that I’d haul out at particularly low moments, like whenever I made the mistake of reading anything about fat women anywhere other than a very specific set of blogs.

I don’t expect Drake’s verse will make it into the folder. A few paparazzi snaps of a smiling Drake leaving a nice restaurant with his arm wrapped around the waist of a woman who’s a size 24, on the other hand, would’ve been an automatic addition. Any famous dudes out there who’re genuinely into BBWs, take a note.

Image via Getty.

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