fat marge

How Finding A Fat YA Heroine Changed My Life

Fat girls have nothing, and fat girls are told they are worth nothing. Fat girls have Aunt Marge Dursley, and Dolores Jane Umbridge, and eating disorders to beat and people to prove wrong by losing a lot of weight and letting out Their True Self, aka the Thin Girl Within. The Thin Girl Within is worthy; she is radiant and triumphant and beloved. She cannot be all those things and also be fat; at least, not in the young adult fiction I had at my perusal when I really, really needed someone to tell me it was possible to be radiant, and triumphant, and fat.

I stood in the front of this airport bookstore and read the first chapter of Eleanor and Park, which is only a couple of pages long, and then figured I should probably buy it before I read the entire thing. This makes me sound like I was calm. I was not calm. I felt like someone was gently squeezing my heart, the way you might squeeze the hand of somebody you’ve known and loved for a long time.

Eleanor is fat. Eleanor is fat and dresses loudly and talks loudly and has loud opinions about everything. Eleanor is fat and smart and terrified. And Eleanor ends up OK, and loved, and still looks like me. She doesn’t change. She is entirely herself, and it’s enough. Eleanor is the first fat YA girl I’ve ever read about who didn’t have to change herself to have a happy ending. I met her when I was 23 years old.

A wonderful article by Kaye Toal at Buzzfeed, it hit me right in the feels.

As much as I love JK Rowling and as true as this quote “Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat’ worse than 'vindictive’, 'jealous’, 'shallow’, 'vain’, 'boring’ or 'cruel’? Not to me.” I feel that JK Rowling shouldn’t be saying something like this when almost all her fat characters like Vernon, Marge, Dudley, Umbridge, Crabble and Goyle  are shallow, vain, cruel and evil.