The Fat Woman Measures Up
Carolyn Hlus was a lecturer in English literature at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.
Although there may be a dearth of literature focusing on fat people, specifically fat women, C.M. Donald’s The Fat Woman Measures Up does not demonstrate the need for such a literature. What surfaces from the collection, however, is the sense of a confident and self-assured voice; in this respect, the book should interest other fat people seeking consolation and should improve society’s attitude towards them.
Many of the poems, as might be expected from the title, deal with the fat person’s preoccupation
with physical appearance. Sometimes these preoccupations are self-oriented: the problems of dieting are considered in “The Fat Woman sees the diet out” and “In this hospital here”; the problems of finding clothing in “Fashion”; and the problems of justifying the state of obesity in “Survival of the Fattest” and “Being Fat can be.” At other times, the poems are concerned with the fat person’s image in society and her difficulties in male-female relationships. Other poems explore the fat woman’s difficulties finding employment and being accepted in everyday social situations.
Although The Fat Woman Measures Up does not “measure up” as fine poetry, it humorously explores many aspects of the lives of fat people.