Size & Race: Being Plus Size and Asian

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Disclaimer: This is a subject I’ve wanted to write about for a while. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, but anything offensive or hateful will be deleted.

We’ve talked about how women of certain races are almost expected to be curvy/thick/bigger, but what if your ethnicity was expected to be tiny… and you weren’t. If I asked you to describe what an Asian woman looks like, what would you say? Words that would come to mind for me right away would be: small and petite. The words “small and petite” definitely do not come to mind for Plus Size Princesses, but there are plenty of Asian PSP’s in the world.

I don’t think we can continue our size & race discussion without talking about the experience of being Plus Size and Asian. I am not Asian, but I’ve heard people make ignorant comments like “I didn’t know Chinese people could get fat” and I’ve had conversations with some Asian TBGB readers about the pressure that comes from their family to lose weight.

We all know that being overweight can make you feel like the odd-girl out, but if people look at you and assume that you should be thin because of your background, it can make that feeling more intense.

As I thought about this subject, I reached out to Allison Teng from Curvy Girl Chic. Allison is one of the most adorable Plus Size Fashion bloggers around and… she’s Asian! I thought bringing her into the conversation would be a good way to hear from a PSP who understands more than I ever could!

Allison and I had a long email exchange and she was super open and honest, so I thought I’d just share our conversation with you… here goes!

CeCe: So, when it comes to being Asian and +size, what has your experience been?

Allison: Being plus size and Chinese/Taiwanese really wasn’t that tough when I was younger. I was just another fat kid, if that makes sense. Race didn’t really factor in. It wasn’t until I went back to Asia that it really hit me just how large I was compared to ALL the other people. EVERYONE in Asia is tiny (skinny and short!).  Sales people don’t just ignore you like they do in the US. They STARE. So unnerving.

CeCe: Wowza! How about your family? Are they supportive of you? Do they pressure you to lose weight?

Allison: My family is AWESOME, and relative to other traditional Chinese families, extremely forward-thinking. Still, having them accept my size was kind of a growing process. I’m lucky though, that they’ve always focused on the health aspect of weight, rather than losing weight just to be skinny. I know they worry and nag because they care. And I can live with that. My extended family, on the other hand, is MUCH more traditional. I’m pretty sure I’m the largest person my grandfather has ever laid eyes on, and the last time I saw him in Taiwan, the first thing he was to me (in Mandarin) was “Wow! You got even fatter?!” …seriously. I’m pretty secure in myself, but that definitely threw me for a loop!

CeCe: LOL @ being the biggest person your grandfather has ever seen. Fat is such a different concept in other countries. I’m Nigerian and when we went back my cousins were like “you’re fat” this and “you’re fat” that… I’m like dying inside because americans don’t talk about weight so bluntly. They didn’t mean harm, to them its just the truth!

So, now for the juicy stuff lol! What’s your dating life been like?

Allison: When I was single, you can bet that Asian guys NEVER hit on me. Everrrrrr. I live in one of the most densely Asian cities in Southern California, and when I have received male attention, it has N-E-V-E-R been from an (East) Asian guy. The attention I got was always from hispanic, black, or middle eastern guys, never white or east asian guys. But now I’m with my ever-so-awesome boyfriend now (he’s half-white, half Vietnamese).

CeCe: Awwww… Hooray for awesome boyfriends! Do you have any general words of advice for Asian PSP’s?

Allison: My advice to big girls in the Asian community is the same advice I give to big girls everywhere–don’t waste time comparing yourself to others! I’m never going to be that skinny, pale-skinned Asian girl with stick-straight, long dyed hair and big anime eyes, but that doesn’t matter! Focus on doing things that make you feel good about yourself. As hard as it is, try to filter out the negative media and instead, focus on whatever make you happiest.

Be sure to follow Allison on twitter, say hello and tell her you’re a PSP from TheBigGirlBlog! (@CurvyGirlChic)

So now its YOUR turn to chime in… we’d love to hear your general thoughts or you can answer these questions:

Are you an Asian PSP? If so, what’s your experience been like? If you’re not an Asian PSP, do you find that you assume things about other cultures when it comes to their weight?

Sponsored link: There’s a new BBW dating site that’s launching… its called www.biggestadmirer.com if any of you are looking into online dating you might want to check it out (and let me know if you like it!)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Glen-L-Johnson/100001912719695 Glen L Johnson

    lol @ big anime eyes. As a fat black man I never thought about big and asian to be honest. It is amazing the amount of discrimination that goes around the world when it comes to size.

  • yaqueen

    Another great discussion Cece! I’ve noticed this in my daily life but it’s great to see a discussion about it in your usual thoughtful fashion.

  • http://twitter.com/FabFroChick FAB FRO CHICK

    i enjoyed this post. Allsion has a new blog follower.

  • Vanessa

    I love this. I am plus size and Asian and a huge proponent of plus fashion. It’s true what Allison says – asian guys don’t like us! I’m from an asian country and going home is always a huge anxiety rash inducing circumstance because of all the comments i’m afraid to get about my size. But I learned to love myself in the US where people seem to like the way i look and the men, even more. :)

  • Plus Size “Indian” Princess

    Those Asian guys don’t know what they are missing! Allison is gorgeous!! :)

  • http://www.skinnyemmie.com/ Emily Sandford

    Love this discussion!

    I am half Asian (half caucasian) and my entire family on my dad’s side (they’re in Hong Kong) act like I’m a major freak. It’s bad enough where I won’t go to Hong Kong for the foreseeable future because I hate being blatantly judged when I’ve worked hard on self-acceptance. Cousins talk about being fat when I can’t see an ounce of fat on their bodies. I’m also tall (5’10), so that doesn’t help with not fitting in. My dad has been quite harsh in his judgement on my weight throughout the years, and it took me until I was in my mid-20′s and living as a successful, independent adult to finally put my foot down and demand I not be talked to that way. It’s still a real sore spot, but I haven’t had to endure any more derogatory comments since.

    • J C R 8487

      Omg good for you. Family sometimes are hurtful and don’t they mean it but you have to create boundaries.

    • http://thebelatedbloomer.blogspot.com/ Belated Bloomer

      Good for you Emily! I’ve also grown up with derogatory comments but recently, I told my family that unless they can see me for the unique beauty that I am, I’ll have a harder time seeing myself in a positive light. They probably felt guilty and am now more positive and support of me!

      http://thebelatedbloomer.blogspot.com

  • http://twitter.com/goldeelocks1908 Goldeelocks

    We could all take a note from Allison’s book and being uber confident period! She’s clearly amazing. She already did exactly what I was going to suggest. Date interracially and keep all options open. Someone is definitely going to want to snatch up all those awesome curves! ;-)

  • Samantha Chin

    I loved reading this! I am an Asian PSP, Chinese specifically. There is pressure in my family to be thin, but I try to ignore them. I have had similar experiences as Allison in dating- I have been asked out once by an Asian guy, but he was adopted by a white family (so I dont think it counts!) I do get hit on by some white guys, but mostly black guys. I’ve never been to China, or anywhere in Asia, but can’t imagine being comfortable there. Thank you both for this post!

  • Elle Bee

    I’m an Asian PSP and am so thankful for your attention to this particular issue and for Allison’s sharing. I can so relate. Amen on the confidence is key advice!! Am curious about Allison and her bf’s love story and how it is now dating an Asian guy.

    • http://www.curvygirlchic.com/ Curvy Girl Chic

      Hey Elle! <3 Can't shed too much light on dating an Asian guy–he's probably the most Americanized half-Asian guy I've ever met! Hahaha

  • Monicajones

    You are Nigerian Awesome we are quite blunt in Africa so you should not get too offended when people tell you that
    I am a big black girl who loves herself a lot so nothing anyone says bother’s me.

  • Cherry S

    Allison is right. I know exactly how she feels. I am half white/ half Vietnamese. Like most asians I am short only 5 feet. Being plus size is not acceptable in the Asian community. I have only had one Asian boyfriend which didn’t last long because it seemed he was ashamed to introduce me to his Asian friends and family. It was fine if we hung out with his non-Asian friends! Needless to say that relationship didn’t last long. You just have to be happy with yourself and that’s the bottom line.

  • fatgirlsonlyblog

    I am a white big girl. While reading this post I realized that even I, a PSP, have had judgements when I’ve seen a plus size Asian in the past. I’m sorry Allison. It really shed some light on my own insecurities as a plus size woman. Your comment “Sales people don’t just ignore you like they do in the US. They STARE. So unnerving.” is really relatable for me because I feel that all the time and I never thought about how YOU would feel being in that situation. Thank you for this post Cece, and I will also check out Allison’s blog. Thank you.

  • YummyPrincess

    after reading i’m just like :D
    if i could have the half of her self confidence!!!!
    i’m from Cameroon in central Africa; it was lil difficult for me coz i’m the fattest of the family and sometimes people were just pushing me to lose weight or talking evsingle minute about my weight…
    Now i’m living in india…thought it would be different but no it’s worst
    not that people are not fat or overweight but all around, my class mate and neighbors could even replace your name by “fatty”!!!
    it’s just too much to push on it evtime, i know i’m not skinny so it’s enough :(
    but what to do???

  • Pireyna88

    I come from a Dominican background and NO ONE
    In my family is anywhere overweight, I have reading
    Post saying that Latino and black men are more accepting
    I cant say that is my experience, I think the key to being
    Truly happy and finding a mate is being content with yourself
    Just the way god intended for you to be. I might be a Tyra banks
    Or some one like that but I deserve to be happy. Now I’m in a
    Particularly different situation because I was a size
    26 a year a go and I’m currently a size 16 so I kind of feel
    Like I’m starting from scratch and to honest Im scared but at the same
    Time excited for what the future brings and reading
    This blog has helped me realize that I am not alone. I’m very happy to
    Find

  • J C R 8487

    I’m not a Asain PSP but in my high school one classmate was Asain and plus size and she had great style but to tell you the truth she was the biggest Asain I’ve ever seen. I was always so happy she was plus size and stylish because for me it was important we all put our best foot forward. I hate when my boyfriend says Chinese can’t gain and let me tell you I now live in a very highly dense Asain neighborhood and I see big Asain women and they are well dressed I love it!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/53D5FYBETUJE7AEIYPKKGFT6XQ MinaF

    First of all, I want to say I am a proud white 45 year old PSP (I love it and will use it from now on!). This is my first time posting on this blog. I have been following Allison for the past few months and have been so impressed with her posts and her fashion sense. I love to translate her outfits for my age. Then I come to this blog and it is just awesome. Secondly, I wish when I was in my 20′s I had somewhere to share my thoughts and ideas. Blogs were just a dot in someone’s brain. We are comrades in arms regardless of our size, ethnicity, or age. All your comments on this interview are so encouraging to me. Thirdly, I am on the otherside of life and I can tell you that my husband likes my curves. He just wants me to be healthy. I teach middle school and work hard to be a role model for my students because they are so bombarded with images that are so unrealistic. I am thankful that they have places like this to go and read about confident women. Finally, you guys impress me with your confidence. Live your life confidently and remember you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by a Creator that loves you just the way you are. I wait with bated breath to see what you will post next…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/H22FYJCOGXU3OBHHUO2QI2QU3Q Cindy

    A fantastic discussion and post! I’m a asian PSP as well. It is just so difficult to exist in the part of the world as a PSP where we are being stared at, laughed at, discussed about everywhere we go. Talking about dating, thus far, no ASIAN man had ever had the guts or the nuts (for that matter) to bring a PSP out as their gf and be proud of it. In fact, i have met a lot of asian guys who are SECRETLY in love with PSPs. And trust me, this really kinda sucks.

  • http://thebelatedbloomer.blogspot.com/ Belated Bloomer

    I am an Asian PSP and unlike Allison who (I adore as well) is based in the US, I live in Asia. More specifically in the Philippines. So yes, people are generally tiny here (Filipino and Chinese community), especially for US/European standards. Even when going to Hongkong which is treated here as a the closest international shopping destination, I usually can’t fit into their local clothing brands. I am the biggest girl in both sides of my family, height and width-wise. And that’s not mentioning that I’ve already lost a lot of weight a few years back.

    Growing up, it was VERY HARD. I couldn’t find clothes that fit and those that did, made me look older than my mom. I wore baggy pants from the men’s section even though I was dying for flare jeans. I wore big t-shirts when all I wanted was a cute, feminine cut sportshirt. I wore RUBBERSHOES and birkenstock sandals because they were the only ones that fit. And I even avoided heels because I already felt gigantic!

    It took a lot of time…and a lot of growing up before I realized that I will never feel confident unless I start loving myself exactly as I am. As some international brands flock into the country and local brands start to develop plus-size ranges, I am now able to wear the things I used to only dream about. Seeing how few asians are plus-sized, (Allison’s blog being just one of two that I follow), I also started blogging to add to the numbers and hopefully be a positive influence to other PSP’s.

    I still have a long way to go, but it’s a start. And Allison, this blog and other inspiring blogs played a part in igniting that. :)

    http://thebelatedbloomer.blogspot.com

  • http://jasiferlionsclub.blogspot.com Jennifer/Jasifer

    I’m half Asian, and the last time I visited my relatives in Philippines in 2007, within the first couple of days there, I got several remarks regarding my size and weight. There was “Jokes” being made, like “Oh, omg, what happen to your body? haha” and different diet tips were handed out followed by “if you eat that you will look very beautiful and get boyfriend”. Followed by when I was getting my hair done the hair dresser asked me “why are you so….fat?” It was really hurtful, the first days I would stay in my room all day because I didn’t feel comfortable, people were staring, my relatives didn’t seem to understand that what they said was hurtful. It was just HELL!
    The little confidence I had then was dragged down to the ground and beyond. In Sweden friends and relatives DON’T!….and I underline DON’T! comment on anyone’s weight or size, it’s considered rude! There’s no need to state the obvious if you know what I mean, lol.
    Nor get involved in your eating habits and everyday life routines.
    So I had a major culture shock when I got all those comments and remarks about my size and weight.
    Because Filipino’s are short and petite, and I was short AND fat. It’s like Filipino don’t know how to deal with it haha. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely proud that I have Filipino blood in me, I love the country and my relatives. But I wish the people would have a better approach to plus size Asian women and not treat them any differently that others. Skinny or not…we still have feelings and we’re human beings.

    I love my curves, and my body image is much better today! Thanks to blogging and being a part of this amazing plus size community! <3

  • Dianeteh

    Definitely a stereo typing that Asian girls are petite, demure and sugary sweet. I am not exactly plus size but am definitely off the charts on height, standing at 5’9″. It’s great in the U.S., even though I’m taller than the average gal about town; but lo and behold, back in Malaysia where I come from, people STARE big time, and kids point and ask their moms to look (perhaps, at this Martian monster?!)!!
    When I step into a full elevator, people look me up and down, esp to check out what heels I’m wearing!!
    Even though I’m a decent average size in the U.S., back home, I have to wear XXL. i.e. if there’s any at all!! The worst part is my Size 10 feet don’t fit into any decent looking shoes, period!!

  • http://chubbetteadventures.blogspot.com Chris Williams

    I love this post! I’m also a PS Asian and I can say that my family also talks about weight bluntly. I went back home to the Philippines in December and my aunt who I hadn’t seen in 4 years looked at me and said, “Well it’s a good thing you’re pretty because it helps to distract from the neck down.” It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? If I didn’t know any better I would find it insulting, but it’s just how our culture, and specifically my family talks about weight.

    Although it’s taken a bit of time I’ve learned to accept myself as I am. I used to be skinny and even then I was striving to be smaller. I was miserable. Now I am comfortable in my own skin, but it has definitely taken some time for me to accept myself. Today… I’m happy, I’m confident and I’ve realized that people pay attention to who I am and not what size I wear.

  • Kreativeblizz1920

    Omg! Cece I love ur blog. I’m also Nigerian, Being my age an some what active in the community has really affected me. Especially when it comes to dating and attending social events. Nigerian can be so harsh and evil. I walk into clubs and parties stylish and cute. But the comments that come from ppl are heart breaking. so, is dating! So many guys find themselves attracted to me but refuse to bring it to light. Anyways, I stop here but keep up ur good work

  • Sophie

    I’m on the other side of this. I’m a white Australian PSP dating a Chinese guy. Needless to say, we are an odd looking couple! But my weight has never been an issue with him and I don’t feel the size difference. While his mother is very accepting of me, his father does not approve because I’m not Asian (weight is not the issue). Yay for Asian guys that like white girls!

  • Johnny X.

    You are really HOT ! Don’t pay any attention to the haters.

  • Ryou

    I’m totally late to the party, but I’m eager to leave my two cents as well, so here goes…

    I’m a multiracial individual, I’m Indonesian (East & West Javanese, to be precise), Caucasian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern all at once. However, I was born and raised in Indonesia, where being a “Vietnamese size two” is the only way for you to fit into their “One size fits all” clothes.

    Due to our diverse background, everyone in my family has bigger bone structure than your typical Javanese, and while I’m not very tall, my sister and cousins are. This means that no matter how skinny I get, I’d never be as thin as the ideal — Meaning my wrist would still be gigantic and I still won’t be able to buy bracelets that fit. You can probably imagine that I was forced to hide my femininity behind baggy clothes from the male department since my teen years, enough to make me give up on being a woman at all, at one point.

    The most unnerving fact is that weight is the only indication of fatness they have, as in, it doesn’t matter if you’re six feet tall or four foot tall, if you’re female and you weigh over 55 kilos, then you’re a fat hippo. On the contrary, the pressure to be stick-thin is not present for males, at all.

    The person who gave me the most pressure to be thin is my aunt, who is also very insecure about her weight. Even after I got engaged she would still go on about how I would never find a partner, to which I always reply that I don’t need a partner who only loves me for my looks. After I got married, though, her excuses shifted to health, which I also find hilarious because she smokes like a locomotive, while I don’t smoke or drink — Nor do I eat much junk food at all. In fact, I would get crap for eating AT ALL, because SHE fears I’d get even heavier. She always goes on about how she’s a doctor and she knows these things, while in reality, as an eye surgeon, she barely had any education about nutrition.

    I am now pretty content with my weight. This is my body, as ugly and obscene as some shallow people would think, I am not going to change for people who don’t matter to me — And of course, the people who matter don’t mind.

    I apologize for rambling. Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience. I hope one day people would realize that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, color, etc. Being perfect is boring if it means you have to sacrifice your individuality!

  • The lonely sightseer ♥

    I’m so happy someone wrote about this subject! Being a plus-sized chinese girl (In America), I just felt like an outcast in my highschool. I always look at the other asian girls and think, “I must disgusting or something has to be wrong with me to be this much bigger than them” and I believed this for so long and cried about it many times. Just because I felt so different and lonely. I know it’s a teenager thing, but it’s really hard to hear from all your smaller friends that they get hit-on a daily basis when I myself have never gotten that. (Sorry for the life story!) I just want to say that I’m happy that i’m not he only asian girl that’s plus-sized out there. That i’m not alone. And thank you Allison, for boosting my confidence :)