“Fat is beautiful”: The unconventional beauty standard in Phuket, Thailand


There is a famous saying by Adeel Ahmed Khan, ‘Beauty’ is what gladdens the heart. Neither a symmetrical face nor a shapely body – If the sight of you generates happiness, you’re beautiful.”

Different cultures hold many unconventional beauty standards dear to the heart. Although it may be unconventional to a foreigner or someone who does not have a vast knowledge of what the culture entails, it is a thing of pride for those who own such a culture.

In a village in Phuket, Thailand, being fat is considered beautiful, and only women above a certain weight were deemed eligible for suitors and marriage.

Here, only women who weigh 200 pounds(90kg) and above are referred to as beautiful and sexy; and anyone who weighs lesser is ridiculed and deemed unfit for marriage.

The men resident in this village’s dream is to marry women who weigh 200 pounds and more.

An old custom that is practiced in this village is for women over 200 pounds to contest in a beauty pageant; aspirants would weigh on a weight scale to determine if they are eligible to run for the pageant. The higher the weight, the more qualified the aspirant is.

It is believed that the fatter the wife is, the more successful the husband is termed; because of this belief, the bachelors usually go for the single fat women.

The men dot their wives; they cook, wash the dishes, and provide for them while the wives eat, sleep and look beautifully fat. In a bid to add to their weight, the women eat a lot of rice as it contains high carbohydrate content.

Their motorcycles are built with exclusive seats to allow the wives to fit into the seat comfortably; this is usually in the form of a side carriage. The men then go about the village parading their fat wives as a symbol of status and wealth.