Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Picture Books Shouldn't Teach Toddlers To Be Self-Conscious About Weight

A patient brought in this picture book.

It's apparently from a series of picture books about "Pot Bellied Buddies"

It's about a bunny who as a consequence of eating too many carrots, no longer fits in his bunny hole.

And so what did the bunny do?

Well he decided to "cut back a little, and exercise"

Another patient brought in a Thomas and Friends book.

In it, kids are introduced to, "The Fat Controller"

And when exploring other Thomas and Friends characters I learned there's also a "Thin Controller". There are no other body based descriptors of any other characters. Weight is apparently an important distinction.

In the past I've noted weight biased messaging in:

A beloved and award winning children's author's book
Harry Potter
The Princess Bride
A kid's movie whose entire premise rides on the suggestion that being fat is horrific
The Muppets reboot
Scooby-Doo
Johnny Test
Max and Ruby

and

An attraction at Disney's Epcot Center.

That weight hate and stereotyping is so prevalent in children's books and movies speaks to how deeply ingrained weight bias is in society today. Parents, please be on the lookout for this sort of messaging, and when (not if) you come across it, use it as an opportunity to have a thoughtful discussion with your kids about why it's wrong.

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