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Old 04-09-2006, 04:28 AM   #1
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Exclamation Harry Potter Author Slams Uber Thin Models and Thin Obsessed Industry

.K. Rowling goes off on stick-thin celebrities
Posted Apr 6th 2006 2:04PM by Karen Walrond
Filed under: Business, Lifestyle, Media

From People.com: J.K. Rowling, author of the fabulously popular Harry Potter children's series, decided to take a break from fantasies of wizardry and witchcraft to go off on the obsession that many celebrities have with being thin. On her website, in a post entitled "For Girls Only, Probably...", Rowling rants about a magazine model who was so thin, she was clearly "either seriously ill or suffering from an eating disorder." She goes on: "(The model) can talk about eating absolutely loads, being terribly busy and having the world's fastest metabolism until her tongue drops off, but her concave stomach, protruding ribs and stick-like arms tell a different story."

Rowling continues by saying that she wrote the post because she didn't want her daughters, currently ages 1 and 12, to grow up in a thin-obsessed world. "I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny a thousand things, before 'thin,'" she said.
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Old 04-09-2006, 04:53 AM   #2
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I love to see things like this. The more famous people who begin demonstrating that there are more important things than fitting that "thin=beauty" ideal, the easier it will be to accept everyone, regardless of superficial things.
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Old 04-09-2006, 05:13 AM   #3
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This sort of thing is pretty common from celebs, especially women. "Oh, being thin is terrible! Shame! Pity!" Then of course they cave to thin culture. Look at Rowling herself.

I start being impressed with people when they start taking action, and not a second before. When she or others like her starts writing respectable fat characters or starts being an activist that doesn't just talk, then I'll start being impressed.
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Old 04-09-2006, 06:12 AM   #4
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SL, I'm kinda confused at your first comment:

Quote:
This sort of thing is pretty common from celebs, especially women. "Oh, being thin is terrible! Shame! Pity!" Then of course they cave to thin culture. Look at Rowling herself.
From what I get out of the article, she's saying "I'd rather my girls enjoy life, rather than being obsessed about their appearance." I'm sure as a newfound celebrity over the course of her books, she's struggled with image professionals or people wanting her to conform to the look of a celebrity, and I don't think she does it. She is who she is. Just because she's thin doesn't mean she doesn't support the idea of enjoying life to its fullest, and not denying that right to those of us who are fat.

And respectable fat characters? Mrs. Weasly is fat, Nevil's fat, Hagrid's fat, they aren't respectable? Yes, she also has other characters who are fat, but also have issues, isn't that true to life? It doesn't matter what size you are, bad people come in all shapes and sizes.

As seen in the other thread-- she writes all kinds of characters, and is about brokering relationships between them. In her cliques of children you have geeks, weirdos, know-it-alls, clumsy kids, loners, and pranksters, to name a few. Despite their differences, these kids come together and use their traits to compliment each other. the dynamic between the kids and how they are growing closer together while still taking their own road is something that attracts me to keep reading her books.
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Old 04-09-2006, 06:17 AM   #5
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I suppose I'm being unfair. She's getting kids to read at least. I've had it out for her since I saw an interview with her back in 2003. I was not impressed. She does seem to have some sort of size issue. She tends to portray people in a very stereotypical way.
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSadeianLinguist
This sort of thing is pretty common from celebs, especially women. "Oh, being thin is terrible! Shame! Pity!" Then of course they cave to thin culture. Look at Rowling herself.

I start being impressed with people when they start taking action, and not a second before. When she or others like her starts writing respectable fat characters or starts being an activist that doesn't just talk, then I'll start being impressed.
correction and not to be racist but mostly ( not all) white women celebs.
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Old 04-09-2006, 04:04 PM   #7
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She has really changed her tune quite a bit, and good for her.

Quite a while ago I did an article LAMBASTING her for sending mixed messages. I was, and am, and always will be a fan. But some of her earlier work was very fat-confused.

Good for Jo. I love it! (The article, btw, was written just before the release of the first film. If you would like to check it out, it's in my Body Image archives: http://www.christineolinger.com/harry.htm)
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Old 04-09-2006, 04:25 PM   #8
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in her last book, I believe Ron has a bit of a crush on a plus sized waitress in Hogsmede... she didn;t put much into it, but it swas something like Harry catching him glancing over at her at the counter
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Old 04-09-2006, 04:40 PM   #9
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Madame Rosmerta... she isn't so much plus size as very tall and extremely voluptuous. But it's a small nod, I think, you're right.

I have noticed a distinct change in a lot of her awarenesses, but she still DOES have a tendency to make fat characters either stupid or in some way corrupt and unkind. Honestly, the earlier novels read to me like she went without food quite a bit as a child.

Still love her, though.
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Old 04-09-2006, 05:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguisette
Madame Rosmerta... she isn't so much plus size as very tall and extremely voluptuous. But it's a small nod, I think, you're right.

I have noticed a distinct change in a lot of her awarenesses, but she still DOES have a tendency to make fat characters either stupid or in some way corrupt and unkind. Honestly, the earlier novels read to me like she went without food quite a bit as a child.

Still love her, though.
Ok thanks for the clear up!!!
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Old 04-09-2006, 05:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anguisette
Madame Rosmerta... she isn't so much plus size as very tall and extremely voluptuous. But it's a small nod, I think, you're right.

I have noticed a distinct change in a lot of her awarenesses, but she still DOES have a tendency to make fat characters either stupid or in some way corrupt and unkind. Honestly, the earlier novels read to me like she went without food quite a bit as a child.

Still love her, though.
Wasn't she a starving single Mom when she started writing the books? I remember reading she had trouble making ends meet and would write in a cafe over coffee because it was warmer than her flat. That might have had an effect on her characterizations of fat folks and food. *shrugs*
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:50 PM   #12
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Actually, she did an interview with A&E, and she did the writing on napkins because she couldn't afford paper at the time, and she wrote outside her flat because she felt trapped at home. She and her daughter got out every day as much as possible because she felt trapped living there.
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Old 04-10-2006, 11:42 AM   #13
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I love it that size acceptance is growing by leaps and bounds like it is. There are actually a lot more REAL sized people then there are twiggies anyway, WE HAVE MEAT ON OUR BONES NOT BONES ON OUR MEAT! LOL
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missaf
Actually, she did an interview with A&E, and she did the writing on napkins because she couldn't afford paper at the time, and she wrote outside her flat because she felt trapped at home. She and her daughter got out every day as much as possible because she felt trapped living there.
Thanks for the information....not sure how I missed that as I am a huge fan of Ms. Rowling's books and also of A&E. I remember a part of the interview I saw (maybe on HBO?) where she talked about not having enough money to buy paper and using napkins. Maybe my addled brain turned that into her being too poor to buy sufficient food.
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Old 04-10-2006, 09:47 PM   #15
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Here's the episide description

http://www.aetv.com/biography/bio_ep...episode=136644
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSadeianLinguist
When she or others like her starts writing respectable fat characters...
She has: Neville Longbottom.

Even his name implies that he's fat. He's constantly described as "moon-faced," and I think she calls him "chubby," or something to that extent. At least once, she compares him to Harry's cousin Dudley, who is described as "wider than he is tall." So, while the kid playing Neville in the films might be losing weight, she didn't write anything about him losing weight. And Neville's a HERO. Neville's amazing.

Other characters in her books are described as being fat who are good people. Madam Rosemerta's description lets us know she's obviously not THIN, while probably not fat, but Ron has a crush on her. And, the most obvious one, Mrs. Weasley is fat, and it's an expression of her being motherly, loving, etc. to contrast Aunt Petunia being stick thin - which is obviously a bad thing.

She writes characters whose insides manifest themselves on the outside regularly. She doesn't use fat as an exclusively negative or exclusively positive trait. The most negative examples of fat are in Dudley and Uncle Vernon, but it's more about their gluttony and disregard for anyone other than themselves, which manifests itself in their being fat. However, Aunt Petunia is evil, and her being thin is one of the ways we see her evil insides being manifested on the outside.

Neville Longbottom kicks ass, too.
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:22 PM   #17
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Not to nitpick (god/dess, I hate that I am going on this swamptrip) but "negative" and "positive" don't always have mutually exclusive-- or even symmetrical-- relationships with "unhealthy" and "healthy."

Stereotypes that show fat people in a positive light are potentially damaging, too. A "merry domestic" fat woman is a stereotype. A "loveable loser" is a stereotype.

Sometimes they appear to be positive, but they are still a reflection of prejudice.

Now, again, I acknowledge how much Rowling has improved in her awareness of all SORTS of things, including multiculturalism, since she began this amazing journey. I just had to chime in, since the "positive/negative" thing was not necessarily the issue. In fact, one of my main concerns with the first few books was the completely assymetrical relationship between characters and food. And eventually other literary reviewers and critics picked up on it... and eventually she DOES address that assymetry. It happened gradually, but I will again say kudos to Jo for always bending with the best interest of her readers in mind.

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Old 04-12-2006, 12:27 PM   #18
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Neville isn't a loser, though. He starts out that way, sure, but in Order of the Pheonix, he just isn't.

And there's nothing wrong with Mrs. Weasley's character. She's one of the most respectable mothers I can think of in children's literature.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:51 PM   #19
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Neville's the underdog, and slowly, as OoTP progresses, you learn that he will play a pivotal role in Harry's life.

I LOVE Mrs. Weasley, she's the closest thing Harry has known to a mother, and the motherly advice and embraces she gives Harry fills a void for him.
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