But according to New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the term got tossed around in a much less flattering way.
In her new book out September 9, Off the Sidelines, Gillibrand recalls the time she ran into an older male colleague in the Senate gym, according to excerpts published in People.
"Good thing you're working out, because you wouldn't want to get porky!" he told her, according to the book. Her response: "Thanks, a--hole."
The 47-year-old mother of two doesn't name names, but in interviews promoting the book, she indicates that kind of inappropriate and unwanted advice isn't unusual on the Hill.
Another lawmaker, identified only as a southern congressman, once grabbed then-Rep. Gillibrand's arm while walking down the House chamber aisle.
"You know, Kirsten, you're even pretty when you're fat," he told her.
"I believed his intentions were sweet, even if he was being an idiot," Gillibrand recounted.
And another, after she had dropped 50 pounds of baby weight and got elected to the Senate, was an older senator who walked up behind her and squeezed her waist.
"Don't lose too much weight now," he told her. "I like my girls chubby."
Gillibrand was elected to serve in the House in 2007, and was appointed to the Senate by Gov. David Patterson when President Obama tapped Hillary Clinton to serve as Secretary of State in 2009. She won a special election in 2010, and her first full term in 2012.
A main focus of Off the Sidelines, and of Gillibrand's work as a senator, is on promoting women's issues. So while it stings her male colleagues feel at liberty to comment on her figure, Gillibrand says she's determined to get more women to "speak up, gather strength" and "support one another."
"If we do, women will sit at every table of power making decisions," Gillibrand writes. "If I can work an issue like sexual assault on college campuses and drive a national narrative and know I'm making a difference, then whether or not we pass another bill in Congress, there's still good things I can do."
Since no political interview these days can conclude without asking the subject to divine Hillary Clinton's 2016 intentions, Gillibrand -- a potential future presidential candidate herself -- said she's behind Clinton all the way.
"In my mind, she's definitely running," Gillibrand said. "Anytime I've ever talked to her, I've offered every bit of help in the world and she's never said no."
And while Gillibrand says she doesn't aspire to be the first female president, and she hasn't ruled out trying for second, it isn't currently in the cards.
"I have young kids. I really like where I am," she said "I don't know that I aspire to it. It's a very different job. I feel like where I am, I can accomplish a lot."