Size Acceptance and "The Girl of Fire And Thorns"
A few months ago we talked about fat hate in children's books. We talked about how fat characters are rarely the hero and quite frequently one of the villains. Things aren't always so much better in the world of young adult literature. While in her review of Rae Carson's The Girl of Fire and Thorns Cat found many things to like about the novel, she questions why there needs to so much emphasis on the fact that the main character, Elisa, is not thin. What is fat? What is overweight? And as Cat asks, why CAN’T we have larger, more normal-sized heroines in stories?
I was sure that this was just another one of those stories where the main character is all “woe, is me! I am so plain and fat and ugly and no one shall ever love me” and yet every male falls over in love with her as soon as they see her. The fact that Elisa was fat was thrown around way too much at the start of the story and it was very discouraging. Turns out though, that perhaps she was overweight, as it’s mentioned through her desert journey that she slims down from little food and exercise (a month-long trek through a desert would do that to a person, I guess). I figure the people she was with were nothing but skeletons by the time they reached their destination.
There was also the calling out of “You’re fat!” by a 6-year old boy, which I suppose was supposed to prove that Elisa was indeed overweight and not just saying she was fat. Of course there were all those references to how much she loved pastry and how she’d eat when upset. I just found it… unnecessary. I’m the last person to get all soapboxy and be, like, “We need better role models for the young and impressionable youth people! Make Barbie eat a cookie! Kill all supermodels!” but even I found the fat references too much.