Big Beautiful World interview
The following interview is with Petra Kruger, organizer of BBW parties in the Netherlands (Holland). She has organized several parties and has promoted other size acceptance events in the past. The interview was done in June 2010.
Note: This interview has been translated from Dutch, which is Petra's native language. I have attempted to keep the sentence structure intact as much as possible, yet changing it where necessary to make it compatible with English grammar. This is not always an easy thing to do, so I apologize beforehand for any mistakes. Where necessary, I have added text in brackets to clarify something.
Coen: Hi Petra, can you tell us a little about the parties you organize in the Netherlands, when you started and the amount of work involved with it?
Petra: I started with meet-ups for BBW and admirers in 2002, via another Internet group which I had taken over. Simply meeting somewhere and waiting to see how many people would show up. The first time it was surprisingly high with 35 people, which left me wanting more.
In the years after that a few more followed. Together going for bowling and eating out, a boat ride, a day to the beach, etc. Around 2005 there was a bit of a slump and then I stopped.
About three years ago I heard about a BBW party, but unfortunately I had missed it. Attending the next one, I had an opportunity last year to take over. It was a heartfelt need and seemed like a nice challenge. Having organized four parties now we are headed in the right direction.
It is a lot of work; Searching for locations (after all they have to meet certain requirements because of our weight), negotiating about costs, arranging DJ's with equipment, determining the choice of music, working out themes, and trying to have something unique every time.
Flyers also need to be made to promote the party as good as possible. Registrations need to be processed, bookkeeping must be done, inning entrance fees, and then of course being the host at the party myself, welcoming people and keeping an eye on how the party is going.
Also chatting here and there and solving any problems that may arise, and keeping in touch with the location and its personnel, are part of the duties. It's a definite challenge, working together with other people and with the aid of our website. But it's always worth all the effort.
Coen: What is the type of audience that attends the parties? What are the ages and what is the balance in numbers of women vs. men?
Petra: The audience is very diverse; Singles, couples - both relationships and married, men and women of all ages really. Most of the time the registrations are equal to men and women but in the end more women will show up [who pay at the door].
They're coming from far away places such as Groningen and Limburg [corners of Holland] and Belgium [country south of the Netherlands]. Some turn it into a weekend away from home or they sleep at friends.
The diversity usually makes for a good atmosphere. And because these are closed parties it feels safer and more trusting than just picking a bar which is open to other kinds of audiences.
Coen: There are many people who hesitate to go to these parties. Why do you think that is and what would you give as advice for these people?
Petra: There is always hesitation. Often this is because the women do not have the [necessary] self-esteem and for the men because it's still a little in the taboo atmosphere if they admit in front of their friends they like a woman with more to love.
This is why it's good that the party is organized from the website, so people can take in the atmosphere there and meet its members. Then at the party they already know and recognize people from photos, discussions and stories on the website, making it a bit easier to attend.
My advice is always, if you don't take a shot, it's always a miss [Dutch expression]. You can sit at home and let things go by. Or you can participate and having a look.
The parties are for people to have a really great time with good dance music, without having to be bothered by a prejudiced society, annoying looks and comments. On the contrary, you get admiring looks and feel attractive. You meet nice people who are in the same interest group.
Coen: What kind of music is played at the parties and are people able to request their own music?
Petra: The music is diverse, ranging from the 80's to the present. It has to be dance music. Styles range from Salsa and Disco, to Hip-Hop and slow music. The website also functions as a means to ask people for their music tastes and from that a play list is made and used.
Requests can be made, but there isn't always time to do that. We also let the DJ work on the atmosphere. There's 60 people on average, so it's impossible to please everyone.
Coen: Would you, if you had the means to, organize these parties more often? For example, once every six, three or two weeks? And do you think there is a market for weekly events, such as a BBW club? Do you think this is something that may be started in the Netherlands?
Petra: We organize parties about once every three months, because of the amount of work in between them and also to not have an overkill of parties. What's more is that many of the people involved are volunteers who do this on the side of their regular day jobs.
Holland is relatively small and the target audience even smaller. I think to keep this unique and special that once per three weeks is not doable. My dream would be to have five permanent locations, spread over the country. Then every two months do a party in one of these locations.
Under the umbrella of Big Beautiful World other activities can be organized like this year the first BBW calendar for 2011.
Coen: Thank you for doing this interview with me Petra.
Petra: Thank you too.
Big Beautiful World Photos Gallery
Below are photos in a gallery from a Big Beautiful World party.