Japanese idol group la BIG 3 are the latest manifestation of this year’s chubby trend, which has seen the phrase “marshmallow girl” embraced (by some, anyway) as an alternative to other, less complimentary names for bigger girls. The trio released their first music video last week, an upbeat little number called “Pochative ~ Body mo Heart mo Glamorous”, a celebration of chubbiness that encourages women everywhere to – wait for it – “be positive!”
It’d be nice if the video wasn’t all about food, though. Was it really necessary for them to be gazing at fried chicken, and using ice-cream cones and sausages as microphones?!
la BIG 3‘s selling point is that the girls are a bit on the bigger side – the video’s short description even lists their combined weight. The single “Pochative ~ Body mo Heart mo Glamorous”, which takes its name from a portmanteau of pocchari (“plump”) and “positive”, sees them dance around holding, looking at, and sometimes eating plates of food, all the while singing about the importance of being positive. It’s a bit odd, to say the least.
▼ Group members Ruby, Sacchan and Ui Ando remind us that they like food. What with them being human and all.
You can watch the full video here:
Here’s a rough translation of one part:
Plump, plump, positive!
Hamburg, fried chicken, yakiniku,
Pancakes, macaroons, donuts,
la BIG 3 aren’t Japan’s first “plus-size” idol group: back in January, Avex put together a group that, with breathtaking self-awareness, they actually called “Chubbiness” . It’s worth pointing out, however, that Japan has one of the lowest rates of obesity in the world, and their “plus-size” models often don’t look chubby at all by western standards. “Pochative ~ Body mo Heart mo Glamorous” appears to take its thematic and aesthetic lead from Chubbiness’s first music video, “Manmadeiiya”, which was also all about how it’s okay to eat donuts, and you’re fine as you are .
So why are idol groups being marketed like this? Can’t they just be pop stars that happen to be bigger? Why do they have to be special chubby pop stars that sing exclusively about being chubby?
Conventional idol groups exist to sell things like records, concert tickets, and more generally the brand – merchandise, tickets to meet them at handshake events, and other products through extensive commercial tie-ins. But la BIG 3 weren’t put together by a record label. They were put together by La Farfa, the plus-size magazine which all three girls model for as dokumo – (semi-)amateur “reader models”.
So, what do la BIG3 exist to sell? Well, I bet we’re not going to see them announcing an album or a tour any time soon. But they might shift some copies of the magazine that made them.