Wednesday, September 05, 2007

J. K. Rowling is a big, "fat" hypocrite


So I'm a big Harry Potter fan and have read all of J.K. Rowling's books therein.

I've also recently visited J.K. Rowling's blog where she has posted a "rant" about fat stereotyping and thinness.

In a nutshell her rant involves how awful it is that society uses the word "fat" as an insult, how society is too focused on weight as a whole and much she likes Pink's latest single Stupid Girls which according to J.K.,

"satirises the talking toothpicks held up to girls as role models".
She reports that she finds the "fat insult" to be,
"strange and sick."
and then she then goes on to blast skinny folks in general stating in reference to her daughters,
"I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before 'thin'."
So basically J.K.'s rant places her vehemently against the use of the word "fat" as an insult, and clearly demonstrates her willingness to wield the word "thin" as one with "thin" for her denoting empty-headedness, self-obsession, lack of originality and dullness.

Hypocritical behaviour all by itself, for if you are against the notion of using excess weight as an insult it should follow that you'd be against using lack of weight as an insult too.

All the more hypocritical though for the author of the Harry Potter series to complain about fat stereotyping as throughout her series she milked those same "strange and sick" fat insults for all they were worth in her portrayal of Dudley Dursley, Harry's fat cousin and muggle nemesis.

So what fat insults does she cultivate in her books?

That fat people are lazy, stupid, gluttonous, angry, will-less, pigs.

Think I'm exaggerating?

Here are some quotes from her books:
"Dudley looked a lot like Uncle Vernon. He had a large, pink face, not much neck, small watery blue eyes and thick, blond hair that lay smoothly on his thick, fat head....Harry often said that Dudley looked like a pig in a wig."

- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

"Aunt Petunia obviously scented danger too, because she said quickly, 'And we'll buy you another two presents while we're out today. How's that popkin?' Two more presents. Is that all right?' Dudley thought for a moment. It looked like hard work. Finally he said slowly, 'So I'll have thirty... thirty...' 'Thirty-nine, sweetums,' said Aunt Petunia. 'Oh.' Dudley sat down heavily and grabbed the nearest parcel."

- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

his piggy little eyes [were] fixed on the [television] screen and his five chins wobbling as he ate continuously

-Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban

"Dudley looked furious and sulky, and somehow seemed to be taking up even more space than usual."

-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"Dudley had reached roughly the size and weight of a young killer whale"

-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"Dudley who had already finished his own grapefruit quarter was eyeing Harry's with a very sour look in his piggly little eyes"

-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
She also had Dudley eating candy dropped on the floor, growing wider than he is tall, and to really hammer home the pig analogy, Hagrid, a wizard grows him a pig's tail,
"Dudley was dancing on the spot with his hands clasped over his fat bottom, howling in pain. When he turned his back on them, Harry saw a curly pig's tail poking through a hole in his trousers....Meant ter turn him into a pig, but I suppose he was so much like a pig anyway there wasn't much left ter do."

- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
J.K., I love your books, and agree with your rant that society is far too quick to judge on the basis of weight. Such a shame that despite a clearly tremendous imagination and a brilliant gift for words, that you've decided that while "fat" insults are "sick", "thin" insults are acceptable. It's also a shame that given how self-reportedly anti-fat-insults you are, that you utilized classic fat stereotyping to help sell over 400 million copies of your books and in so doing helped to solidify those same fat stereotypes in an entire global generation of children.

J.K., you are a big, "fat" hypocrite.

Bookmark and Share

39 comments:

  1. Dudley is a fictional character, and is not being held up as an example of how anybody should or should not be.
    In her blog entry, J.K. Rowling is talking about real people being held up as an example of the ideal which people, more specifically us females, should be striving to emulate.
    There's a massive difference between the two things.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous11:46 am

    You are really grasping at straws for this blog, aren't you? What a pathetic attempt at making a comparision where there is none to be made.

    ReplyDelete
  3. theresa1:20 pm

    I have not read these books. Is the only negative character heavy? Are there characters who are described as heavy that are good? Just from your exerpt I got the impression that this character was not meant to be considered very 'human' and was morphing to an animal (pig).
    Just my thoughts. Again I have not read the books. What is the photo of?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Theresa,

    The picture is the movie's representation of Dudley and his father Vernon.

    Dudley serves as one of J.K.'s main vehicles for comic relief - and the comedy is virtually always at the expense of his weight.

    As far as good "heavy" characters, I certainly can't think of any that leap to mind. Hagrid is a good large character (he's half giant), but he's not really written as heavy.

    Those folks who are clearly written as fat are Dudley, Vernon and two others Crab and Goyle and all are portrayed quite negatively.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmmyeah, uh, Molly Weasley is written as heavy, as are Neville, a couple of mentioned Hufflepuffs and a couple of professors and Hogwarts staff. Hagrid IS in fact, written as heavy, while all the Malfoys are quite trim, along with, oh I dunno... Bellatrix and Voldemort.

      You "certainly" must have not read the books much, if at all... this blog is reeeally grasping at straws here.

      Delete
  5. Anonymous3:47 pm

    That is all fine and good, but aunt Petunia is thin, as are all the deatheaters. Neville is chunky, and so is herbology professor and they aren't evil.

    ReplyDelete
  6. So apparently I'm not the first person to point out this hypocrisy.

    Here, in its entirety, is an editorial from Simon Walters from London's The Daily Mail - he's done a far better job than I did in making the case.

    "Imagine a childrens book where the attractiveness of the heroine is established in the first chapter by comparing her with another female character who is revoltingly fat, stupid and violent. On top of that, the fat girl spends most of her energies to bullying and beating up the slimmer, brighter heroine—with the support of the fat girl’s parents. Judging from her remarks last week about our ‘skinny-obsessed world’, J.K. Rowling would be the first to condemn such a book for brainwashing young people into thinking thin means beauty and brains, while fat means ugly and brainless.

    But change the sex of the characters in the novel mentioned above and you have Rowling’s own brilliant creation, Harry Potter. The fat boy is of course Dudley. The slim and attractive boy is Harry. The opening chapters of most of the Harry Potter series are devoted to Harry’s life of misery with Dudley and his parents, Vernon and Petunia Dursley, Harry’s uncle and aunt. They are the most derided of minorities: small-minded, lower-middle class, suburban snobs.

    But that is not enough to make Dudley a truly repulsive figure of fun. Rowling—who wrote on her website that she didn’t want her daughters growing into ‘empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated-clones’—gives him one more handicap. He is fat. Dudley is not just fat. He is disgustingly fat. In her fist book, The Philosopher’s Stone, the reader is introduced to Dudley thus: ‘Dudley was very fat and hated exercise, unless of course it involved punching somebody. His favorite punch bag was Harry, but he didn’t often catch him. Harry didn’t look it, but he was very fast. Dudley was so large his bottom drooped over the side of the kitchen chair.’ Dudley, fat and slow. Harry, deceptively fast. Presumably because he is slim. Why else? The readers view is soon confirmed, albeit subtly: ‘Perhaps it had something to do with being in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age.’ There it is in Rowling’s own words—our hero Harry is skinny.

    Ah, I hear you say, but Rowling wasn’t talking about boys on her website. She was talking about her fears for her two daughters and the pressure on them to emulate models such as Kate Moss. But young boys are now as weight-consious as young girls, and almost as susceptible to peer pressure not to be fat. In Rowling’s defense, it is true that the main female character in Harry Potter, bossy Hermione Granger, is no Kate Moss lookalike. However, by any normal yardstick, she is pretty. Which is why the pretty, slim—and talented—Emma Watson was chosen to play her in the films.

    Harry’s girlfriend, Ron Weasley’s sister Ginny—pale and with long, flowing, red hair—has an air of Hamlet’s Ophelia about her. Rowling frequently uses dancing metaphors to describe Ginny. In one section she waltzes across the floor ‘like a ballerina.’ There are few fat ballet dancers. Confirmation of Ginny’s beauty comes from Pansy Parkinson, the girlfriend of Harry’s enemy Draco Malfoy. She tells Malfoy: ‘A lot of boys like her. Even you think she is good-looking. And we all know how hard you are to please.’ Meanwhile, Rowling happily mocks another Hogwarts pupil, Marietta, whose ‘thick layer of make-up did not obscure the odd formation of pimples etched across her face.’ Is that her fault?

    But Rowling is in awe of Fleur Delacour who is sweet on Harry. ‘A young woman [Fluer] was standing in the doorway, a woman of such breathtaking beauty that the room seemed to become strangely airless. She was tall and willowy with long blonde hair and appeared to emanate a faint silvery glow.’ Tall and willowy? Skinny-obsessed? Not Rowling. Poor old Dudley Dursley is not the only fat boy who is a figure of fun.

    Goyle and Crabbe, Malfoy’s two young henchmen who try, and usually fail, to catch up with fleet footed Harry, are straight from Central Casting: ‘Grinning stupidly, they stuffed the cakes into their large mouths,’ Rowling writes with relish. ‘Both are thick set and extremely mean.’ She barely mentions them without a disparaging reference to their size. Sure, not everyone in Harry Potter who is overweight is bad. Mrs.Weasley, who is played by Julie Walters in the movies, is described as ‘plump.’ But here Rowling lapses in to another stereotype. Mrs.Weasley’s plumpness is the matronly kind, the maternal comfort that Harry has never had. And what of Harry’s own mother, Lilly, and his father, James? We meet them only through the magical Mirror of Erised, which brings their images back to life again.

    Is his mother the ‘matronly’ kind and his father bull-necked like Dudley’s equally corpulent and odious dad? Not a chance. Harry’s mum, we learn, is a ‘very pretty woman.’ No plumpness or thick ankles, then. And his father is a ‘tall, thin, black-haired man.’ There’s that little word again: thin. Rowling deserves credit for using the book to extol the virtues of sticking up for the underdog. Or, at least some of them. Harry has no family; the Weasleys are poor and Hermione has few social skills. But they all stand together, defeat the forces of evil, and still find time to protect other victims such as stammering Neville Longbottom. Which is admirable.

    Yet her latest book ends with another pile of derision heaped on fatso Dudley. In one of the early Potter novels, she writes: ‘Dudley had a large pink face, not much neck, small watery blue eyes and thick blonde hair that lay smoothly on his thick fat head. Harry often said Dudley looked like a pig in a wig.’ For every school boy with black hair and glasses who has been called Harry Potter in the playground, there is another fat boy who has been called Dudley—fat, stupid, nasty Dudley. Maybe its time for Rowling to create a new hero, male or—even better—female, who is fat. After all, as she said herself: ‘Is fat really the worst thing a human being can be?’"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:30 pm

      Just to point out one thing.
      Meanwhile, Rowling happily mocks another Hogwarts pupil, Marietta, whose ‘thick layer of make-up did not obscure the odd formation of pimples etched across her face.’ Is that her fault?
      In fact, it really was her fault. If the author had read that section of it properly instead of just grasping straws from it, they would have realised that Marietta had brought that misfourtune upon herself. She had betrayed Dumbledore's Army (book 5), but she didn't realise that Hermione put a curse on the agreement that they had all signed- whoever spoke would have pimples over their forehead spelling out 'sneak', to identify the snitch.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous11:38 am

      Marietta was described as pretty, JKR was just trying to describe her, when she said they thing about the makeup

      Delete
  7. Anonymous1:35 am

    I'm not sure exactly when this blog was written, but I wonder whether you, as a self proclaimed "Harry Potter fan," have read this editorial, "Fat is a Feminist Issue," by another Harry Potter fan in response to the opinion piece written by Simon Walters.
    http://www.hp-encyclopedia.com/opinion.php?page=fatfem&id=23

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous4:21 pm

    j.k. rowling was just saying she hates the fact that society insults people for being fat and that weight is such a big deal in harry potter dudley isn't the only fat charicter neville longbottom is and so are quite a few other charicters that are portrayed as brave individuals the whole thing about dudley is his parents have spoiled him his whole life and made him fat and stupid. j.k. rowling is not a hypocrite she is a geniouse and a great person who's ideals on society are almost always right.
    sorry for the bad grammer i was sortof ranting and i can't spell for the life of me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous11:17 am

      Thank you so much for making that clear. JK Rowling is indeed very smart and amazing

      Delete
  9. First, I emphasise that I hugely admire Rowling as a writer. Among many other things, I find the Harry Potter series very uplifting. It seems to reflect an inspiringly positive worldview on the part of its writer. I’m always happy to see new material from her.

    However, I also find it staggering that she can't see the hypocrisy in her "rant." Those writing in the rant's defence have said that Dudley is not the only fat character in the books, and that various other weighty characters are positively depicted. However, their physical appearances are not greatly emphasised.

    In contrast, the descriptions of Dudley's overweight body are as thorough as they are derisive. The narrative directs quite a few variations of the “strange and sick” “fat insult” at him.

    When I was about thirteen, enthusiastically following this series, I found myself thinking something along the lines of: “At least I’m not as fat as Dudley (I hoped), or J.K. Rowling might not like me.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3:29 am

      Thank you for being a voice of reason in these comments. I have read these books many years ago, I am now more aware of fat shaming. Since, I have been reading Harry Potter to my 7 year old, I find JK Rowlings writing about Dudley and other characters uncomfortable and bully-like. She uses fat is a main descriptor for various characters, but particularly, for Dudley, who is a child.

      Delete
  10. Anonymous9:10 pm

    The reader can see clearly that Dudley's fatness is a result of how spoiled, overindulged and damagingly pampered he has been throughout his life.
    His fatness is not what makes Dudley an unlikeable character. What I mentioned above about his upbringing, as the reasons for his weight - are also the causes of his unlikeable characteristics, which make him an antagonist of the plot. His bad parenting has stunted his character, and Dudley is often described as a bully and a coward, as well as being overindulged and greedy. Bring another character to mind? These are all traits of Draco Malfoy! The renowned good-looking character who is even more bad-mouthed throughout the book than Dudley!
    J.K. Rowling is far from a hypocrite, and her 'rant' is inspiring and lovely. Surely this blog should be recognizing this instead of making false fat=bad connections.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Couldn't have said it better myself.

      Delete
  11. Anonymous4:06 pm

    Let's also remember that Dudley redeems himself at the end. He stands up beside Harry and against his parents who are clearly at fault for spoiling him rotten all those years.

    Dudley also goes through a growth spurt around book five and loses all that fat.

    As for the pimple comment from the other blog, her pimples were a result of a magic spell from when Marietta ratted on Harry and the DA group. It was supposed to be funny that she couldn't cover up the pimples that spelt out the word 'rat' on her forehead.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous1:45 pm

    What it all goes down with is can fat people be attractive or not - what people really are doing is saying that J.K.Rowling has purposefully depicted fat people as unattractive and "bad" and skinny people attractive and "good".
    Dudley is a good argumentation point for that.
    However, there are a number of "bad" and unattractive characters that are depicted to be skinny - for example Snape (with his yellowish uneven teeth and oily hair)is very often mentioned to be skinny. Even though he didn't turn out to be all that bad in the end, his charesteristics as a horrid teacher with an unpleasant personality hardly can be called attractive. And as someone already mentioned, Dudley turned out to not be so bad either.
    When it comes to obese but attractive and good characters Molly Weasley is a good example: even though she's often mentioned to be heavy has she ever been depicted as unattractive by her looks or by her personality traits? If Rowling would think fat people can't be attractive, surely she would have made a bigger point out of her unattractiveness. Even Neville, being fat, has never actually been called unattractive, and is one of the most well-liked characters. One other clearly good-looking character is Madame Rosmerta, who is called curvy. Obviously curvy can also mean thin but big hips and breasts, but her being middlle-aged it is likely that she isn't all that skinny either.
    Fleur Delacour, being both thin and pretty, is actually not that likeable of a character. Even though she isn't a bad character, she is very vain and belittles people who don't care about their looks as much as she does. She seems to be overlooked in her opinions by the lead characters and actually ridiculed at, readers can't really take her obsession over her looks seriously (such as in the fourth book her fussing over getting too fat for her yule dress because of the heavy food in Hogwarts - Hermione makes a joke about it. As well as Fleur saying in the seventh book that Tonks should've taken better care of herself and nobody really listens to her opinion). Clearly the lead characters don't think of it as a big deal.
    The reason for my long rambling is that in my opinion Rowling has just used obesity as one physical trait characters might or might not have and uses it to her advantage - Snape is often called bat-like, for example. Dudley's obesity is probably just meant to enhance the difference between his and Harry's life situation; in other words Dudley getting whatever he wants without any control by a parent and Harry not getting even the normal amount of food and care-taking. Obesity isn't clearly even the only trait that is meant to be unattractive: his hair is thin and flat, his eyes small and watery. Rowling continuously uses unusual traits to colour up her world, and whether it's freckles that look like pimples (like in Ron's case), or a magical glass eye in a face full of scars, or bony knees, it's meant to make it easier for the reader to get into the books and enjoy the vivid language. If you really want to blame someone for unfavouring obese people, blame writers like Stephanie Meyer. How many characters in Twilight happen to be obese or even unattractive? Rowling has written a series of books that are truly accessible by a normal-looking reader and created a world where people are accepted because of their talents or good traits and not because of their looks, like in the real world sadly often happens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:11 pm

      I agree 100%, thank you for making this point so clearly.

      Delete
  13. Existing Bloke3:20 pm

    There are favourably written characters who are clearly on the weighty side. But next to them, Dudley’s weight is unusual in its excess.

    Dudley’s excess weight is described in detail as something ridiculous and unsightly. His obesity seems to be due to his own careless indulgence, which may have been nurtured by his parents spoiling him.

    Elsewhere, I’ve read a suggestion that some people naturally don’t feel fully satisfied after a meal, and so feel the need to eat more.

    When the otherwise kindly Hagrid first meets Dudley, he says: “Budge up, yeh great lump.” He then says to Dudley’s father: “Yer great puddin’ of a son don’t need fattening anymore, Dursley.” I feel that this scene, and the descriptions of Dudley in the first four books, contrasts with some of JK Rowling’s eloquent, well-intentioned rant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3:31 am

      Great response!

      Delete
  14. Anonymous3:21 pm

    There are favourably written characters who are clearly on the weighty side. But next to them, Dudley’s weight is unusual in its excess.

    Dudley’s excess weight is described in detail as something ridiculous and unsightly. His obesity seems to be due to his own careless indulgence, which may have been nurtured by his parents spoiling him.

    Elsewhere, I’ve read a suggestion that some people naturally don’t feel fully satisfied after a meal, and so feel the need to eat more.

    When the otherwise kindly Hagrid first meets Dudley, he says: “Budge up, yeh great lump.” He then says to Dudley’s father: “Yer great puddin’ of a son don’t need fattening anymore, Dursley.” I feel that this scene, and the descriptions of Dudley in the first four books, contrasts with some of JK Rowling’s eloquent, well-intentioned rant.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous7:55 pm

    I hate to tell you but the reason Dudley is fat (if you read the 6th Harry Potter book) is the conquence of Petuina-sp? and Veron not loving Harry like a "second son".

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous11:11 pm

    In Half Blood Prince, Dumbledore accuses the Dursleys of inflicting “appalling damage” on Dudley, implying that Dudley’s unfavourable qualities have been sown by his parents’ over-indulgence of him. Dudley is depicted with a highly enthusiastic approach to eating.
    I’m not sure if the narrative definitely intends this to be seen as a consequence of being overindulged by his parents.
    If it is, then I’d question this characterisation as an even portrayal of obesity.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous3:30 pm

    Dudley isn't lazy because he's "fat". He's "fat" because he is lazy. And not all of the bad characters in this book are specifically "fat" or "skinny". I don't think that JKR meant that thin people in general are empty headed. I think she was making a statement about how the world in general tends to be more worried about appearances then brains and creativity. I think thats what she meant. She wants her daughters to care more about what is in their hearts and minds then about being "skinny" or "fat".

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous11:58 pm

    I honestly thought that the point of bringing up Dudley and Vernon's weight in the book was to compare him to Harry. Harry who was undoubtedly starved and probably severely underweight due to maltreatment and malnourishment.
    Dudley isn't fat because he's evil, he's fat because he's favored, in a sense. More of a privilege thing, really.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous5:44 pm

    Horrible people come in every shape and size in her books. Petunia is bone thin and she's a despicable person as well. One thing you fail to mention in your rant about a FICTIONAL character. Just because one or two of the adults on her book or fat and horrible people doesn't mean they're the only horrible people in her book. Hagrid was as big as a house but he was the most loving, sweet guy in the whole series. Get your argument together before you try to throw down with JK Rowling's Harry Potter fans.
    Just sayin'.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous10:38 am

    Look J.K Rowling called Neville fat(well close to it) too didn't she. She made people all different sizes! Look at Hagrid he is big, Neville described as round-faced but we still love them! She doesn't make all the evil people fat does she? Look at all the death eaters. Honestly I cant think of a fat one. Just cause she made the Dursleys big, so what? She puts FAR worse people in her books yet not all of them are fat! (Sorry MEGA Potterhead here and I will always defend J.K. Rowling unless I really agree with the point taken) Before you post this you should have thought about the other big people in the series and how loving and kind they are
    Sorry just had to put this point over to you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Anonymous11:42 am

    oh yes, and also Draco is a butt hole but he isn't fat, is he? Death eaters aren't nice, but they aren't fat. crabbe and goyle are MUSCULAR. Petunia is described as skinny but can be vicious. Oh, and spoiler alert: Dudley turns out having always liking Harry as a friend. JKR is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous11:48 am

    Harry Potter morons who clearly have reading comprehension challenges - JK writes Dudley's weight as an intentional insult.

    Period.

    It doesn't matter if others' weights aren't made fun of, just that she herself intentionally makes fun of weight.

    That's hypocritical given her personal rant.

    Deal with it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous8:03 pm

    In the case of the character Dudley, his size is caused by his sloth, greed & gluttony - his ever-expanding body is the external evidence of these character flaws. And when writing fiction (especially children's fiction), the majority of the writing must be descriptive of the characters' physical world, rather than their mental worlds (ie, the fiction writer's mantra of "Show, don't tell").

    ReplyDelete
  24. Anonymous8:05 pm

    Well said!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous6:12 am

    I think the whole problem with this is that Dudley is NOT HEALTHY. He is grossly obese, due to the overindulgence of his parents. J.K in her "rant" was not supporting people being unhealthily obese, putting a strain on health systems and making themselves suffer - she was saying that people within a healthy weight range should not be accused of being of less value than those who are unhealthily skinny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apparently, according to studies, some people naturally feel a need to eat more than others. I believe JK Rowling’s portrayal of obesity is based on common-sense assumption. According to Rob Grant's satirical novel "Fat", there's very little (or none, can't remember which) evidence that being fat "is anywhere near as terrible for your health as it's made out to be." According to this researched novel, standards in epidemiology have faded to a point where "you can one day read an article claiming tea causes testicular cancer, and the next day read an article claiming tea protects against testicular cancer." Between the ages of four and seventeen, I had much excess fat, and it caused me no obvious health problems.

      Delete
  26. Anonymous7:09 am

    What it all goes down with is can fat people be attractive or not - what people really are doing is saying that J.K.Rowling has purposefully depicted fat people as unattractive and "bad" and skinny people attractive and "good".
    Dudley is a good argumentation point for that.
    However, there are a number of "bad" and unattractive characters that are depicted to be skinny - for example Snape (with his yellowish uneven teeth and oily hair)is very often mentioned to be skinny. Even though he didn't turn out to be all that bad in the end, his charesteristics as a horrid teacher with an unpleasant personality hardly can be called attractive. And as someone already mentioned, Dudley turned out to not be so bad either.
    When it comes to obese but attractive and good characters Molly Weasley is a good example: even though she's often mentioned to be heavy has she ever been depicted as unattractive by her looks or by her personality traits? If Rowling would think fat people can't be attractive, surely she would have made a bigger point out of her unattractiveness. Even Neville, being fat, has never actually been called unattractive, and is one of the most well-liked characters. One other clearly good-looking character is Madame Rosmerta, who is called curvy. Obviously curvy can also mean thin but big hips and breasts, but her being middlle-aged it is likely that she isn't all that skinny either.
    Fleur Delacour, being both thin and pretty, is actually not that likeable of a character. Even though she isn't a bad character, she is very vain and belittles people who don't care about their looks as much as she does. She seems to be overlooked in her opinions by the lead characters and actually ridiculed at, readers can't really take her obsession over her looks seriously (such as in the fourth book her fussing over getting too fat for her yule dress because of the heavy food in Hogwarts - Hermione makes a joke about it. As well as Fleur saying in the seventh book that Tonks should've taken better care of herself and nobody really listens to her opinion). Clearly the lead characters don't think of it as a big deal.
    The reason for my long rambling is that in my opinion Rowling has just used obesity as one physical trait characters might or might not have and uses it to her advantage - Snape is often called bat-like, for example. Dudley's obesity is probably just meant to enhance the difference between his and Harry's life situation; in other words Dudley getting whatever he wants without any control by a parent and Harry not getting even the normal amount of food and care-taking. Obesity isn't clearly even the only trait that is meant to be unattractive: his hair is thin and flat, his eyes small and watery. Rowling continuously uses unusual traits to colour up her world, and whether it's freckles that look like pimples (like in Ron's case), or a magical glass eye in a face full of scars, or bony knees, it's meant to make it easier for the reader to get into the books and enjoy the vivid language. If you really want to blame someone for unfavouring obese people, blame writers like Stephanie Meyer. How many characters in Twilight happen to be obese or even unattractive? Rowling has written a series of books that are truly accessible by a normal-looking reader and created a world where people are accepted because of their talents or good traits and not because of their looks, like in the real world sadly often happens.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Oh get a life, will you?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anonymous5:38 pm

    Even though they are fictional chaeacters, Rowling said that her beliefs reflect her characters in the series. Looks to me that she is oretty hyprocritical anf arrogant. Just because she has got some talent, doesn't mran you should blind yourself and start worshiping her.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous11:17 am

    In your rush to over-analyze what was a very easy to understand statement you simply missed the point of what J.K. said. Don't search for meanings that are not present.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Anonymous3:12 pm

    As a teacher I've found that any students or staff who are significantly overweight are made very uncomfortable when reading these passages, so I don't use the books.

    ReplyDelete