“Big Fat Fish”: The Hypersexualization of the Fat Female Body in Calypso and Dancehall
Department of Literature and Modern Languages
Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal
The stage has traditionally been a space where people expect to be confronted with the spectacular, with acts that amuse and astonish. One of the primary components of the spectacular is that it crosses the boundaries of the normative. These border crossings occur as somewhat dichotomized possibilities. On one hand, a performer may cross the boundaries of the normative because she supersedes socially desirable criteria: for example, she may be extremely beautiful or her voice particularly outstanding. On the other hand, she may traverse those boundaries because she exceeds a socially undesirable standard, and within the context of the Western beauty arena, this could be because she is fat or black. The result has been that fat black women are welcomed into performative spaces because of the transgressive qualities of these spaces, and because the site of the fat black woman’s body is in itself a source of social disruption and she is a poignant embodiment of transgression.
Shaw-Nevins, A. E. (2005). “Big Fat Fish”: The Hypersexualization of the Fat Female Body in Calypso and Dancehall. Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, 3 (2), 13-19. https://doi.org/10.33596/anth.57