For years in romance the heroines were willowy, waif-like, and sometimes the dreaded curvy. Curvy was code for big, and they usually went on a successful diet, which led our hero to see that she was beautiful. If she stayed curvy then there was usually a part of those books was when the hero’s hand could span her waist. So either she had an extreme hourglass figure (like Jessica Rabbit) or he had a freakishly large hand.
With the Indie Revolution came more realistic characters. Authors wrote about what they wanted to read and many like to read about characters that share their traits. So we started to get the BBW-Big Beautiful Woman. She usually had issues with her body, and the hero coaxed her to show off her beautiful body, which made us love him more. “Oh look, it took this wonderful man to make her feel good about herself.”
I wish that I could say that times have changed enough that we wouldn’t have to label our books with the BBW designation. I mean we don’t categorize – Tall Male or petite female do we? But why would I expect publishing to change when I still do a quick check when I enter a room to see if I am the biggest woman there?