In this research project we – Dide and Noortje – aim to explore the experiences of people who self-identify as full-figured, large, fat or obese. We are interested in understanding how they deal with stereotypical ideas about fat people as lazy, unproductive, unprofessional and unhealthy. How do these ideas impact their everyday working lives? We interviewed 22 women and 2 men and talked at length about their experiences. Below you find five poems we wrote based on our research findings. We are in the process of publishing a few academic papers on this research. You can find them here and here. We will add links to the other papers when they are published.
As a note of caution: in everyday talk ‘fat’ is often used to convey insult or negative moral meaning. We use the word fat differently here: as a descriptive term that offers possibilities to reclaim ‘fat’ and detach it from the common negative meanings and associations.
The poems represent the various ways in which our participants experienced and dealt with stereotypes about fatness in the context of their work. They are titled Being anxious, Being super-smart, Being impeccable, Being funny, and Being confident / rebellious. One participant, Chris van Ede, responded to our poems by adding her own poem as a reaction to ours.