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Fat Peoples' Experiences of and Responses to Sexualized Oppression: A Multi-Method Qualitative Study

Liam Heerten-Rodriguez, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Fat peoples – people whose bodies are larger than what is socially acceptable or desirable within their communities – experience significant bias, prejudice, and discrimination. Fat peoples’ experiences of this oppression have been extensively documented across a number of life domains. However, little is known about how fat peoples experience oppression that occurs within the sexual domain. Additionally, little is known about how fat peoples respond to experiences of sexualized oppression. In order to address these gaps and answer multiple research questions that were distinctly phenomenological and grounded theory in nature, this study employed a methodological approach described by Annells (2006). Constructivist grounded theory and interpretative phenomenological analysis methods were merged at the sample and data collection stages, then separated at the data analysis and reporting stages. Participants (N=60) who self-identified as having a larger than normative body size engaged in an in-depth interview focused on their sexual experiences. A constructivist grounded theory strand of the overarching study design was advanced to data analysis and resulted in a grounded theory which explains the process through which fat peoples respond to experiences of sexualized oppression. In this process fat peoples make an assignment of blame, assess the situation, select a response, and revise and reassess their assumptions based on the outcomes. Fat peoples’ responses to sexualized oppression were multiple, nuanced, and contextual. The grounded theory constructed within this study demonstrates that fat peoples are active participants in the stigmatization process, taking steps to both reduce harm and reshape the experience.

Subject Area

Psychology|Sexuality|Social work|Social research|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Heerten-Rodriguez, Liam, "Fat Peoples' Experiences of and Responses to Sexualized Oppression: A Multi-Method Qualitative Study" (2019). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI27665967.
https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI27665967

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