This morning, Beyoncé’s highly anticipated fourth Vogue cover spread and story were released. The superstar was granted unprecedented control over the shoot, which features her draped in couture with minimal makeup and natural hair. The cover story itself reportedly had no editorial oversight from the magazine, and is an intimate portrait of Beyoncé’s last pregnancy, her heritage and legacy, and more.
Also unprecedented was Beyoncé’s casual use of the term “FUPA” in her interview, slang for “fat upper pubic area” or “fat upper pussy area.” The word has probably never appeared in a Vogue story, and the acronym was not spelled out in the interview.
She used the term after describing the weight gain she experienced after giving birth to her twins earlier this year: “To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real.” That mommy pouch, she goes on to note, is her “little FUPA” and she’s totally fine with it. The internet, naturally, proceeded to explode.
I first heard the term FUPA when a college friend of mine proudly pointed out that slight weight gain had given her one. However, her characterization was something of a misnomer. A genuine FUPA, (or panniculus as the medical community describes it), is the loose layer of fat tissue left over from rapid weight loss or pregnancy that hangs over the lower abdominal area. It can also be caused by obesity, and in rare cases hang over the abdomen and to the knees.
But in most cases, FUPAs and their iterations are totally harmless. And the profusion of advice on using diet and exercise to rid oneself of a FUPA is yet another example of the stigmatization of a totally normal—usually female—bodily attribute.
Beyoncé’s FUPA pride is inspiring to many, but it’s worth noting that the pop star considers it only a temporary condition, one that she’ll at some point shed, presumably with the help of the best personal training money can buy.
“Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it,” she says. “But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.”