[DWJ] The weight discussion

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri May 18 17:01:53 EDT 2007


Not to freak Otter out or anything (and truly, I don't like talking about
fatness anywhere, so why did I let *myself* get sucked in?) I had a comment
that actually had to do with both children's literature and weight
stereotyping AND the process of gaining weight.  One of the parents
affiliated with the school I work for (at? in the vicinity of?) is Cherie
Bennett, who's probably best known for what I'd call problem novels.  At any
rate, working in this library means I catalogued a lot of her books, one of
which was _Life in the Fat Lane_.  It's about a popular pretty thin (insert
commas as desired) girl who suddenly starts gaining a LOT of weight and
can't stop.  Dieting does nothing--or, rather, it turns out that she has a
medical condition that causes her to GAIN weight when she goes without food.
(Which I thought was fascinating and horrifying.)

My first reaction, in skimming through it, was that it seemed so
shallow--beautiful girl learns the Error of Her Ways by becoming part of the
crowd she used to despise.  Then my second reaction was to wonder if there
really was any other story to tell.  If a stereotype is so widespread, so
fundamentally ingrained in the common subconscious, the first step may have
to be drawing attention to it.  But I have this feeling that doing so is
awfully close to giving that stereotype more power.  I wasn't going anywhere
with this--I was just in the school library straightening up the shelves and
PUTTING BACK THE BOOKS THAT KIDS HAVE SHOVED IN JUST ANYWHERE, WHAT DO THEY
THINK THIS IS, MAYBE I SHOULD COME TO THEIR HOUSES AND THROW ALL THEIR TOYS
ON THE FLOOR and this train of thought started up.

It's probably going to nag at me later.

Melissa Proffitt



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