Whether you call it inner-thigh chafing, chub rub, chafe rash or something else entirely, it means the same thing—it’s when our thighs rub together, creating friction and between-the-legs rashes that make everyday living unpleasant and, at worst, super painful. While we know that inner-thigh chafing isn’t just an affliction of plus-size people, chub rub is still the most popular slang term for the dreaded issue. But in this day and age, language means something—and not everyone is cool with the term.
And we get it. When we were babies, chubby was synonymous with cute. As many of us got older, these once-endearing terms became weapons used to make us feel bad about our bodies. But just like our body positivity heroes, we’re reclaiming these words as our own. We’re reframing what they mean, taking the fire out from under them and using them as they were once meant to be: as descriptors.
While we totally support you using whatever words you choose to describe your own body, we’re choosing to embrace the term chub rub and here’s how you can, too:
1. Stop demonizing fat
Listen, we lived through the early aughts, too. We know the deep-rooted trauma that came from being young and impressionable during a time when it was trendy to be super thin (or as it was then called, heroin chic). It was pretty much impossible to come out of that era with any healthy relationship to food, our bodies or being fat. But when we know better, we can do better. We know now that being fat, plus size or curvy isn’t a bad thing, and when we can teach ourselves and others that fatness isn’t bad, and unpack our feelings towards words that convey fatness, we can all become more comfortable with the term chub rub.
2. Understand how chub rub happens
We know by now that inner-thigh chafing isn’t just a plus-size problem. People who are thin can experience chub rub, too. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like—it really comes down to your pelvic structure, which often dictates how close your legs are together, and genetics, which play a role in where you store fat. Sweating, wearing irritating fabric, movement, and having dry or sensitive skin all can lead to inner-thigh chafing, too. Everyone has skin on the insides of their thighs, and most people (even thin folks) can experience chafe under the right circumstances. Some even like to refer to this skin as chub. If we all have it, then doesn’t the term chub rub become a little less alienating and a little more universally relatable? Even folks who are conventionally thin (like one of our models, Taylor) can struggle with chub rub under the right circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with having chubby bits of inner thighs that rub together, and the size of those thighs is less important than how sensitive the skin is to friction, heat and moisture. This isn’t to minimize the experience of fat people, but rather to destigmatize the problem entirely and say that everyone can benefit from chub rub shorts (fun fact: we at Thigh Society sell as many XS shorts as we do 6XL!).
3. Find the ways you like to talk about your own body
Instead of worrying about how other people choose to talk about their own bodies, figure out how you like to describe yours. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable using the term fat yet. That’s okay! The point is that we all have agency to describe our bodies in whatever ways speak to us. For some, reclaiming terms like fat and chub rub are empowering. For others, it’s too soon. The more you lean in to your favorite terms, the more accepting you will become of others.