Home Institution

Mount Holyoke College

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


This research is the product of a month long exploratory study on fatness in the Netherlands and how it intersects with other marginalized identities, including race, class, and queerness. The primary question it answers is the ways in which hypervisibility of fat bodies interplays with the silences surrounding size as an axis of identity. The research removes fatness from solely conversations in the public health field and re-situates it in a feminist, academic framework. Data was obtained through oral history interviews with seven self identified fat people currently living the Netherlands. The results show that childhood, dieting practices, standards of beauty, Dutch national identity, health discourses surrounding an 'obesity epidemic,' and various forms of activism are critical in the participants lived experiences. Suggestions for further research include continued analysis of the ways race and ethnicity intersect with fatness in a Dutch context as well as research into the prevalence of weight based bullying in Dutch secondary schools.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology | Women's Studies


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