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July 17, 2003


Daily News takes a look

Daily News takes a look at odd sub-genre of chick lit: "fat chick lit." Lifting superficial character traits from successful books (BJ'sD) sure is easier than being creative! Do media conglomerates endorse fat chick lit books because you can't actually see the characters? What if these books are made into movies -- won't they get more fake fat people like Renee Z to play the leads anyway, pioneering the way for fat people acceptance by showing they're not actually acceptable? Or remember the time Gwyneth Paltrow was a fat girl, so everyone could make fun of "her" for 90 minutes? Very progressive.

Maybe my savvy blogging partner will add something about all the gender/identity issues this raises, like are women supposed to read these books and identify with the fat chicks and feel better about themselves, or is it really just an excuse to feel superior to them?

Anyway, if you want to read reviews of some of these books, check out Dangerously Curvy Novels, a website devoted to the subgenre. -adm

    OK, so my two cents. I noticed the latest book in the store by Jennifer Weiner, who wrote Good in Bed, the main focus of the Daily News article. New book is called In Her Shoes, and it's about two sisters, one fat and intelligent and responsible, one thin and flighty and bitchy. At the start of the book, according to the review on Amazon, the younger thin sister steals the older fat sister's boyfriend. I guess we're supposed to react to this with a knee-jerk "I hate those skinny bitches, they have it so easy", wherein lies my main problem with "fat chick lit". Feeling like your morality or attractiveness or intelligence is attached to your weight, no matter what it is, is a sure-fire way to feel bad about yourself, and also judge others unfairly. Your weight can change, after all.

    Also, getting women to identify with a book's character primarily through the character's weight is kind of cheating. We all have our own visualizations of literary figures (so to speak); empathizing with a character, or seeing yourself reflected in a book, is about personality, emotions and experiences. Reducing a character's (and a reader's) identity to her weight is an insult, and probably not what these writers had in mind. Sounds like some good and popular writers are getting their intents manipulated by publishers' marketing campaigns, after some PR person realized that the average American woman is a size 12. -amy

Update: We got a response from Dangerously Curvy Novels.

posted by adm at 11:10 PM | #


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