Michiko Ohashi (C), wearing a costume decorated with snacks, performs with other members of pop group Pottya at a fan meeting celebrating her birthday in Tokyo, Japan, October 16, 2016. (Photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
Recently, I came across an online article about a Japanese pop girl group that challenges the concept of obesity prejudice. Whenever people think about the typical Japanese person, they would automatically assume everyone is skinny, healthy, and possesses a strong work ethic making Japan one of the most respected and beloved countries in the world. Let’s think about it: Japan remains one of the leading countries in technological innovation responsible for producing some of the best automobiles, video games, and electronic devices known to mankind. However in the pop idol world, image is crucial to an artist’s success.
In the music business today, artists are expected to project a certain image that will appeal to the masses. This is wrong because everyone is unique and has their own sense of identity. Forcing young people globally to accept a one-size-fits-all mentality can influence them to become followers instead of leaders. Young people have too much pressure put on them by society to attend school, work hard, get a job, and provide for their family. In Japanese culture, it becomes the blueprint that they should follow to acquire success, but it may lead to unhappiness in the end. We need to start becoming leaders and taking control of our own destiny.
The name of the Japanese pop girl group brave enough to confront the issue of obesity prejudice is Pottya. They were named after a slang word for chubby about four young girls promoting a plus-size image in the music industry. I acknowledge them for staying true to themselves. People that think outside the box are ostracized, but became pioneers later on in their respective fields. The way a person looks does not determine their success or how they can go in life. In America, some of the most successful people in the entertainment industry that do not fit a particular image include hip-hop artist/actress Queen Latifah, singers Kelly Price and Jill Scott, and comedian/actress Mo’Nique.
Even though Pottya does not fit the stereotypical image of every other girl group in Japan, it shows young girls that they are beautiful and have the capability to make their dreams come true no matter what they look like on the outside. It provides them with hope and courage to navigate through the negative forces that many of us struggle with every day. No culture is perfect, but someone has to step up and make the sacrifice if people want to see changes. Even though Japan is still considered a homogeneous society, you will have Japanese people that are considered obese. There might not be a large percentage of them, but they still exist. I think people need to stop associating overweight people with being lazy. This is a huge misconception because people can be lazy regardless of their physical attributes. It is a person’s choice to become lazy.
Beauty is viewed differently across the world and people should learn to love themselves and stop letting society tell them what to think. The greatest gift that any person on Earth can give themselves is their ability to love themselves openly and unapologetically. No one will love you like you love yourself!!!!
Click on the link below to read the article in finding out more about obesity prejudice and check out Youtube video about J-pop girl group Pottya’s influence in breaking stereotypes for plus size girls in the music industry: