Research and images compiled by Selene Zhang and Katrien Jacobs

Baidu Tieba (Chinese: 百度贴吧; pinyin: bǎidù tiēbā; literally: "Baidu Paste Bar") is the largest Chinese communication platform provided by the Chinese search engine company Baidu. It is an online community closely connected to search engine services, which is one of the main businesses of Baidu. Web users search or create forums by typing in a keyword, and if that forum has not been created before, it will then be automatically done so.[1]

In 2014, it was reported that 46 million adults were overweight or obese in China – 27 percent of them women and 28 percent of men [2]. If one looks for this information using the search engine Baidu, there are more than 20 different forums available. Upon investigating some of these forums, it is clear that they are run by Chinese people who have become interested in fat or overweight fetishes, while some are used by sex workers to promote their services. 

Chinese overweight women are posting their photos online, either showing their bodies proudly, or looking for sexual encounters, or even establishing themselves as sex workers. Most of the women who are looking for lovers would post their location or contact information under their photos as some people persistently ask for their contact information.


 

Women are very happy to post photos and showcase their overweight bodies in these forums, which are very different from the Chinese norm. There are a fair amount of male customers who enjoy these bodies. For instance, in response to a post named “I’m new here, 22 years old, 165 height, 110kg.”[3] from xxxjj6688, there are over 210 positive responses:

 “So plump!”

“You’re beautiful and I like you! Give me your WeChat!”

“Love you. I want you to become my wife!”

“Do you want to call a boy?”

“I want you!”

“Do you have a husband? Can you give me your contact?”

“Big breasts! Beautiful fat woman!”

“I’m 28, male. You want me to warm you up?”

“Good body shape. I want to be pushed by you.”

“Please sit on my face. Please treat me as your chair. Please step on me, body or face.”

“It would be the best if you could sit on my face!”

Sometimes, males also post calls for “sexy fat girls”. Someone sneakingly took and posted a photo of a fat girl in the bus, saying “If I have a wife like this, I may accept to live a shorter life! But I haven't met one yet!”[4] The other men responded enthusiastically, “I want a woman with a lot of meat on her body,” “It is so hard to find a fat lover!”[5]”I had my first sex with a fat woman.”[6]”PM me if any fat woman wants to become a sex toy”[7], etc.

However, at the same time, in many other posts fatness is seen as a social ill and health problem and there are discussions on how to become skinny and advertisements for diet pills. Moreover, some male users continuously downplay the obesity factor and reply “You are not at all fat to me.”[8] There are countless of posts with titles such as “It is too hard to lose weight!”[9] “I was born in 1994. Please lose weight together with me if you are also from Nanchang.”[10] Fat women also encourage themselves with classic sayings such as “Fatness is not a crime. God is just afraid you’re going to be too wonderful if you would be slim.”[11]

[1] “贴吧”, BAIDU百科, December 24, 2015, http://baike.baidu.com/view/2185.htm?wtp=tt, Retrieved March 1, 2016

[2] Yuan Ren, “Why China's 'fat' women refuse to sweat it out in the gym”, The Telegraph, November 12, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/why-chinas-fat-women-refuse-to-sweat-it-out-in-the-gym/, Retrieved March 1, 2016

[3] “肥妞吧”, BAIDU TIEBA, http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4323162332, Retrieved March 1, 2016

[4] xxxjj6688, “新人报道22岁 身高165 体重220斤”, BAIDU TIEBA, January 26, 2016 http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kw=%E8%82%A5%E5%A6%9E, Retrieved March 1, 2016

[5] “胖妹妹吧”, BAIDU TIEBA, http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kw=%E8%83%96%E5%A6%B9%E5%A6%B9, Retrieved March 3, 2016

[6] “胖妹妹吧”, BAIDU TIEBA, http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kw=%E8%83%96%E5%A6%B9%E5%A6%B9&ie=utf-8&pn=50, Retrieved March 3, 2016

 

[7] 187330097, “找一个胖女太难了”, BAIDU TIEBA, February 3, 2016 http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4374585978, Retrieved March 3, 2016

 

[8] 鲅鱼宫主, “你们真的一点都不胖”, BAIDU TIEBA, February 6, 2016 http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4358651143, Retrieved March 3, 2016

 

[9] 胡小胖爱糊涂, “减肥太难了”, BAIDU TIEBA, January 12, 2016, http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4355890962, Retrieved March 3, 2016

 

[10] 敏敏敏儿1210, “94的,有南昌的吗,一起减肥吧” March 3, 2016 http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4386967210, Retrieved March 3, 2016

 

[11] 玲子429611, “胖子都是潜力股!!”, March 2, 2016, http://tieba.baidu.com/p/4385144133, Retrieved March 3, 2016