[DWJ] weight (was Bad Mothers (was HP))

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu May 17 11:55:26 EDT 2007


deborah wondered:

>Can you never make a fat character lose weight any young adult
>novel without showing weight loss as an essential part of
>character development and perforce showing fatness as a character
>flaw which must be rejected? It's hard to say.

Speaking from a point somewhere just to the east of a fair few dozen young
adults over the past ten years (ie I have children who've been between 8
and 26 during this time and I have been around when their fiends were in
the house) I'd say it is not possible.  Only about two of my children's
friends did not worry about losing a bit of weight (or in some cases a lot
of weight) and discuss it and look forward to it and try to find clothes to
disguise podginess and...  and those two were desperately trying to put on
a bit of weight because they were sixteen and still shaped like Twiggy and
hoped that weight-gain would give them a bust.

Let's face it, that's *normal*, as in "it is the norm", from my
observation.  Male and female, anywhere between ten and twenty (and beyond
in either direction) and whether they had to my eye as near-perfect a
figure as is possible without being ridiculous, ALL of them were what I
think might charitably be called "weight-aware" to a degree I as an adult
found alarming until I discovered that this wasn't symptomatic of potential
eating disorders, it was just what they talked about and apparently thought
about for at least some of their spare time.  If they weren't at least
slightly interested in the question, they wouldn't be in the social swing
at their school.

So anyone in a book who lost weight would be jumping up and down and saying
"whoopee!" and congratulating him- or herself like anything and regarding
it as a triumph of their own will over the Forces of Food and thus a
positive character-trait, if it were true to life.

Minnow





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