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

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 3 17:43:54 EST 2003

--- johanna at nobrandheroine.net wrote:
> > 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.

In my experience as a teacher fat kids aren't
particularly picked on. If a school has a full time
"School Victim" they are more likely to be some thin
weed of a kid. Fat kids are just as likely to be the
bully. I'm not saying that being a noticably
overweight child can't cause social problems, just
that this is not especially the case.

Jon - who was quite skinny as a child but who is quite
overweight now, and quite unable to loose the excess -
possibly because this would mean stopping eating all
those fatty foods I enjoy and doing some exercise.

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