Size @ Work

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 have also published a few academic papers on this research. You can find them here, here and here.

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.


Being Anxious by Dide and Noortje


Being Super Smart by Dide and Noortje


Being Impeccable by Noortje and Dide



Being Funny by Noortje and Dide





Response van Chris van Ede


One thought on “Size @ Work

  1. Your paper was wonderful to read and I am so happy that you are using poetry to discover and distill. Thank you for such a great piece. Here is a link to my own poetry, performed in Slovenia at the AoMO conference in 2016 and subsequently published with no request for an academic explanation wrapped round it, which was so liberating!

    I also have a website with all my work based poems included, alongside more personal work. The address is

    Maybe we can work together in the future?

    Best wishes

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