Mark Allums mark at allums.com
Tue May 15 13:19:00 EDT 2007

deborah.dwj at suberic.net wrote:
> I can accept some stereotyped fat negativism in literature -- if
> I couldn't, I wouldn't be able to *read*.  But fat symbols are a
> bugbear of mine, and the treatment of Dudley and Aunt Marge
> always makes me grind my teeth.
> (For more on fat in children's and YA lit there are some great
> freely available articles out there; try Rebecca Rabinowitz, "Fat
> characters in recent young adult fiction", from KLIATT, 2003, at
> <http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-108266685.html>.  Her paper
> "Half a Hundred Masks But Not a Chance: Fat Characters in
> Contemporary Young Adult Fiction" was just presented at PCA, and
> if any of you contact me offline, I can put you in touch with her
> so you can get a copy.)
> (DWJ does a little bit of fat stereotyping but she also plays
> against it.  Nan, for example, saves the day without ever losing
> weight -- this is a very big deal for me.)

There are some fat characters in children's lit that are portrayed 
favorably.  In keeping with the gay/etc. lit mentioned in some other 
posts, one example is the book the movie "Angus" is based on.  Can't 
remember the title off-hand.  I'm sure a Googling would take care of it. 
    In it, a boy has a gay father, and when they made the movie they 
actually "fleshed out"* the character a bit, but chickened out about the 
gay father.  (The book is a bit sparse.)

And people are coming 'round about fat characters.  Probably because 
we're all fat now, and getting fatter.  (Speaking for/about USians here. 
  I blame Archer Daniels Midland, makers of High Fructose Corn Syrup.) 
Your proof is the in the popular people who are plus size:  Oprah, Jack 
Black, Queen Latifah, several popular people on American Idol (not that 
I watch that, or anything), to name a few.  The anorexics still rule, 
but now they are constitutional monarchs, not absolute.

--Mark A.

*A sort of double entendre, that.

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