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

Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) Philip.Belben at eon-uk.com
Thu May 17 12:56:18 EDT 2007


Minnow commented:

> 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.

Sorry Minnow, I don't buy that for a moment.  From "not observed in
fairly large sample" to "impossible" is a very big leap indeed.  (And
are you sure your sample even covered a good cross-section of the
various social sets?)

When I was a teenager (1980s) I was unconcerned about my weight.  In
fact it is about the only time of my life when I haven't been obese!  I
have no idea whether it was the norm for other kids my age (I suspect it
may have been for the girls, but this may be a gender stereotype
operating in my own mind).  True, I wasn't in the social swing at
school, as you put it, but so what?  I was a loner with one or two close
friends and my own interests, thank you very much.

> 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.

Isn't one of the important lessons of this whole stereotypes argument
that the norm is _not_ universal?  In DWJ especially there are _so many_
characters who do not fit the norm!  This usually causes problems, but
the resolution is seldom for them to become normal, it is almost always
for them to recognise that their differences can be just as much Good
Things as those things valued by their peers.

So, the fact that an attribute (or set of attributes) doesn't fit the
norm is in now way a reason for it to be impossible to write about a
character of that sort.

Philip (having difficulty keeping up with list traffic at the moment)
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