Friday, January 13, 2006

The SSBBW

I've been told that my lengthy rambling discourse on the SSBBW was a bit tough to read, with thoughts and ideas mixing together. Of course, that's because my mind operates in that way, starting out on a path and stopping at each branch to explore where it goes, never getting very far along the path but enjoying the trip nevertheless. But, I figured I'd try to flesh out the SSBBW toolbox, those features that seem to only exist on women as they move along the spectrum from skinnier to fatter in the transition region from BBW to SSBBW.

Of course, my first digression is how I define what's a SSBBW. And having finished that, see that I never make it in this blog entry beyond defining what a SSBBW is and if there is any importance to that distinction.

The SSBBW

In my view, the difference between the BBW, a/k/a the Big Beautiful Woman and the SSBBW, the Super Sized Big Beautiful Woman historically is related to the women's fashion market. In the old days.. 60's, 70's and 80's the normal sized world ended somewhere about size 14 and anyone above that was in the wilderness of fat woman polyester. As a few stores began to cater to the market beyond the edge of the Fashion World, the term BBW began to be applied to these sizes. They started at size 16 and moved up to size 24 or so. Women's sizes were also around, which started with higher numbers, which only had the effect of thoroughly confusing us guys to the extent we ever tried to buy something for a woman in our lives. Beyond the fringe BBW market was wasteland. Any women beyond the pale of the BBW market was essentially on her own. Muumuus and other shapeless garments owing their provenance to Omar the tentmaker were about all that existed for this forlorn and forgotten segment of humanity. In the diaspora of fat women some brave vendors(many of them fat women themselves), forged a new flame of clothing for women beyond the BBW world. These clothes came to be known as super sized bbw clothing. Now these initial clothes were limited runs, limited distribution, small potatoes operations. Many of the clothes were merely more of the same or scaled up versions of the bbw clothing, though new colors, patterns and styles designed for fatter women's bodies began to develop. But, at least it was a start. As the women who wore the BBW sized clothings came to be called BBWs, so the women who wore the Supersized BBW clothing came to be called SSBBW.

Hmmm, I feel like I'm telling the tale of the discovery of fire.. some gorgeous fat women, rubbing her supersized thighs together feels the warmth and wonders if she could do the same with sticks to make fire.. and has her FA life partner rub the hell out of some sticks till smoke and then fire appears..

Anyhow, this seemed to be a pretty easy point of demarcation. If you fit into the BBW sizes you were a BBW, if not, you were a SSBBW. Many of the more fashion forward SSBBWs came to Naafa conventions primarily to buy their wardrobes at the trunk sales there and escape the polyester prison of their existing clothing.

Of course, things never really stay the same and the BBW clothing manufacturers began to expand the range of clothing that they offered at the high end. Stores which catered to BBWs began to carry limited items in bigger sizes and stores catering to SSBBWs began to pop up, though usually also including some of the smaller BBW sized garments. Next, the internet arrived and clothing shopping would never be the same.

In recent years a number of different schools of thought have arisen as to where the line is between a BBW and a SSBBW. Some hold to the view that the original clothing size limits are the real line between BBW and SSBBW. Of course, as in all clothing, the actual size of a number has been moving slowly up, so that a size 24 fifteen years ago was much smaller than a size 24 is today(note--I don't wear women's clothing, but this is what I've read and many women have told me).

Another view is that there is some absolute weight limit that forms the line. Common boundary numbers are 350 or 300. Of course, a woman's height seems to effect the size garment that women of similar weight would wear and how fat they look. A 350 pound woman who is 5'2" would probably look much fatter(and have bigger girth dimensions) than a 350 pound woman who's 5'11". The taller woman would clearly look heavier than average, but not nearly as rounded and fat looking as her shorter fat sister.

Still another view is that there is some weight limit that forms the line adjusted based on height. This is more of a BMI based system. This seems to be the standard that a plurality of folks follow, but it is a very subjective standard because of a peculiar characteristic of fat women. Some women seem to be denser than others. This has nothing to do with their minds or intelligence, but what is known in science as specific gravity, measured in kilograms per cubic meter or pounds per cubic inch. Many fat women are particularly "fluffy" and seem to be much larger than their weights would suggest. Others appear quite "firm" and their bodies seem too small to weigh as much as they do.

I have another suggested approach, but before I suggest that I must confess that I think it really makes no difference. If a woman believes she is a SSBBW that's fine with me. If a woman doesn't like the SSBBW tag and would prefer to just be called a BBW that's also fine with me. Nowadays the tag is often used as a code word in interpersonal fencing/flirting/chatting to indicate how large a woman is. The term no longer has any real significance in the fashion area, with sizing being wedded to dimensions and size charts giving women a clearer sense of what size will fit them from any given manufacturer. Because the word doesn't have any real precision associated with it because different people use the same term to mean very different things, in a sense its lost its ability to function as an important term.

My approach, having now stated why its not at all important, is related to the way in which a woman's body grows as her weight increases. As a woman begins to take on the SSBBW toolkit, by developing a belly apron, derriere shelf, hanging upper arms or thighs, etc. in my view the woman has become a SSBBW. For some women this transition takes place at relatively lower weights, perhaps in the mid to high 200's. For others it doesn't begin until the 400's. And some rare women seem to continue to grow in perfect proportion to their skinnier shape and that of other smaller women. For these rare women I rely on my quasi scientific "Wow she's big" standard. Generally, in my view when a woman begins to take on at least one of the elements of the SSBBW toolkit she has moved into SSBBW terrain.

Enough for now...

5 Comments:

Blogger Charlotte said...

There we go, much better!

It's quite fascinating, getting into your mind like this. Ian never quite broke it down like you have. I'm sure he's got the same ideas in his head. I'll have to ask him to read this.

I think you're going to have a great blog once you get into your groove. Certainly better than my first three posts!

13/1/06 9:00 AM  
Blogger emily pound said...

"The wilderness of fat woman polyester", indeed. When I was a teenager in the 70s, trying to find jeans that looked good and fit me was IMPOSSIBLE. They simply did not make them in my size. So, while the other girls around me flaunted their tight little asses in Sergio Valente jeans or the like, I was forced to buy mine in the mens' dept of dept. stores. You can imagine what THAT did for my burgeoning sexuality and self-esteem.

Shopping for clothes can still be an ordeal at times. The market has finally evolved and improved, but despite having more choices of clothes to wear and stores to buy them in, I still feel like I'm only being grudgingly catered to and most of the time, ripped off.

13/1/06 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Frannie said...

You are so right that the choices are better for the larger body today! I am a true clothes horse, and have many things stocked in my closet "just in case" since I can't run to the store to pick up a new outfit. Instead, I plan ahead and always have a few new things in store for that special event that may come up. Be it a funeral, a wedding, or a party - if I look, I will find something right for it in my closet. I am so grateful to have the choices I have today as a SSBBW. I think my choices today are better then when I was a small BBW in my twenties. It takes some time to look, and to be cautious on fabrics, etc., but there is a lot to find today for the SSBBW.

29/1/06 1:52 PM  
Anonymous didgyreandgimble said...

"Muumuus and other shapeless garments owing their provenance to Omar the tentmaker were about all that existed for this forlorn and forgotten segment of humanity."

Oh, have I laughed at that sentence! How many times have I complained that I was frigging tired of wearing the latest fashion in tents! Luckily for me I learned to sew at the tender age of 10, including pattern making (dolls are wonderful models you know). I was able to use this skill along with some basic patterns to design/sew some better than average pieces for myself. They didn't hold a candle to some of the stuff available today--for bbws under 4x. I am a 5x and have a really hard time finding stuff to fit. There is only 1 store where I live where I can find stuff to fit that doesn't look like Omar the tentmaker designed it. Sigh... I haven't been able to sew for many reasons irrelevant to this discussion for a very long time.

4/4/06 2:40 AM  
Blogger hugehugefan said...

The Fat Jabberwocky should understand that the options available beyond 4X are much broader and more accessible than ever before and the internet has brought skilled, creative minds and nimble fingers to the desktops of ssbbws all around the world.

Fear not that your inability to perform your own sewing has robbed you of choices. Rather, it has forced you to other choices and your experiences will ably and rapidly tell you whether those choices are of appropriate quality and durability and style to meet your standards.

5/4/06 11:15 PM  

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