There are a lot of books, like mine, which are specifically about overweight characters. Body image and weight may or may not be the primary issue of the book, but the author is clearly thinking about it and, hopefully, approaching it thoughtfully.
But when you look at books where it’s not one of the main issues, authors all too often resort to making the baddies or the butts of jokes be the fatties. So, this made me try to think of books with fat characters who are neither evil nor used, unwillingly, for comic relief.
Hassan from John Green’s An Abundance of Katherine’scomes to mind. He is a funny character, and sometimes uses his weight for humor, but he seems in control. He’s a fully realized character. If I were an overweight teen boy, I wouldn’t feel assaulted by this depiction.
That’s kind of where my list starts and ends. There have to be more, though, right? I’m hoping I just can’t think of any because their weight is such a small part of who they are that they don’t spring to mind. Can anyone think of any other characters that are incidentally fat and not stereotypes?
I have to admit that I was a little cyncial when Dove started their Campaign for Real Beauty. However, I just saw this video, and think I need to give them more credit. I guess it’s been around for a couple of years, but it’s new to me.
Secrets of Truth & Beauty is one of many books recently or soon-to-be released that address various aspects of the issue of body image. SpeedReader of MyFavoriteAuthor has organized a Body Image Week with many other bloggers and authors participating with book reviews, author interviews/guest posts/videos, a couple of challenges and a great book giveaway at the end. I’ll be guest posting on Sunday!
So check them out today to see the full schedule of the week’s events and where the various posts will be showing up around the blogosphere. And don’t forget to accept the Body Image Challenge today! Everyone who accepts the challenge and reports back at the end of the week will be entered in the giveaway to win:
WINTERGIRLS (signed) by Laurie Halse Anderson
MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS by Sydney Salter
THE SECRETS OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY by Megan Frazer
MODELS DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES by Erin Dionne
There’s a great profile of Anna Faris in this week’s Entertainment Weekly. There’s a lot in there about the double standards for men and women in comedy.
“What is that all about?” Faris wonders. ”Is it that funny women are scary?”
Seth Rogen (ah, Seth!) has a quote about what he can get away with as a male comic versus what women can do:
”I can be in movies smoking weed and dating high school girls and shooting people with machine guns and the studio doesn’t bat an eye. But as soon as a girl does something remotely unlikable, they say, ‘We don’t want a b****y girl in the movie! No one wants to watch a b***h!”
Personally, I’m afraid it’s as much about attitude as looks. Good comics often look really goofy, ugly even. And Hollywood doesn’t like an ugly girl. What do you think?
So, I am not exactly what you would call up on the innerworkings of the Republican party. It turns out that Meghan McCain (daughter of Senator McCain) has been angering some within the party with her views on where the party should go from here. And the response of female pundits was thoughtful debate? Um, not so much. Laura Ingraham responded by . . . criticizing Meghan’s weight.
Meghan has a great response on her blog at the Daily Beast.
But here’s the thing that really got me thinking. When I saw her picture, I thought, “But she’s so pretty! Why are they picking on her?” And in the end, isn’t saying we shouldn’t criticize her because she is in fact attractive playing into the same game? It’s still making the discussion about her looks rather than what she has to say. Yes, she is pretty, but she’s not competing on America’s Next Top Model, she’s making an argument about politics.
I wrote a whole book with body image and prejudices at its core, and I’m as susceptible as everyone else. Not a big surprise, of course, but something I will keep working on improving.