: [Fwd: Bullying, DWJ, and Harry Potter...]

johanna at nobrandheroine.net johanna at nobrandheroine.net
Mon Feb 3 17:09:37 EST 2003


> I suspect "fat" is picked on because it's something capable (mostly) of
> change. Humans on the whole pick on people who are different (so do
> cows. And birds). Skin colour can't be changed (unless you're Michael
> Jackson), height can't either. Features, except by expensive plastic
> surgery, are there for good. But weight *can* be changed without huge
> expense. In most people. So it's seen as "more OK" to point at.

Interesting... I feel like the idea that weight is controllable is less
true than it seems. I mean, if it really was as simple as Slim-Fast
commercials would have us believe, wouldn't there be less obese people
around? (If only so they wouldn't have to put up w/the grief they get) The
equating of "overweight" w/"of dubious moral quality" (ie. lazy or bad or
just worth picking on) still irks me.

I guess I just see stuff like this--like "fat" being used to signal "bad,
lazy, loser-ish person" in fiction--as not just offensive, not just
untrue, but also just plain lazy characterization. In a way it's easier to
get things across--I think someone mentioned that re: Harry Potter. But if
someone's writing that a character is fat & using that as shorthand to
mean they get picked on at school & stuff... well, I'd rather they spent
their effort on describing how they got picked on. And not just leave it
at: "He was fat." That's a bit of an exaggeration, but I hope I got my
point across at least somewhat.

Obviously, of course, overweight kids DO get picked on, & so it's
realistic, too... I just wish they weren't also painted as undesirable
nearly all the time. Silly.

Johanna
P.S. I'm also liking very much this discussion on monarchy in fiction--I
do have a weak spot, despite myself, for king-type stories (love
Aragorn!), & actually after I finished reading the Chrestomanci books I
noted in my journal that part of the reason I liked Chrestomanci so much
was that he had the power. Ha! Not a very nice thing to realize about
oneself.



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