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

Kathleen Jennings kathleen.jennings at gmail.com
Fri May 18 00:40:08 EDT 2007

Weight loss as (part of) character development doesn't necessarily
bother me, although I will always notice it and wait for the author to
justify it, and usually they don't. On the other hand, weight gain as
part of an overall character's journey always pleases me - e.g. Enid
Blyton's Children of Cherry-Tree Farm being fattened up by all that
good country livin'.

I have lost quite a bit of weight over the past two years, and it
grates me ever more when people regard that as a good character trait,
even to the point where weight-loss + average work ethic = 'excellent
employee' while no-weight-loss + stronger work ethic = 'consider
consulting a life coach'.

The weight change did not require particular willpower and how it came
about was a symptom of other changes in my life at the time which were
probably more notable from a character development point of view.

One of the partners at my firm ran into me a couple weeks ago and
said, gruffly, "You've lost weight. You're not sick, are you?" I said,
"No!" but only because I was too surprised to say (sincerely), "No!
But thankyou for asking because you are the ONLY person who has".

Now, when people I know lose weight and I feel I am expected to
comment, I ask, "Was it intentional?" and if they say yes, and they
have been trying hard I will probably congratulate them on the work
they have put in. But I have friends who have lost weight because they
are sick or stressed or have an eating disorder and I cannot regard
weight loss in and of itself as a positive character-trait or
necessarily indicative of one. And in some circumstances, too-strong
willpower can be a bad thing.


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