Fat v.s. Overweight and Obese Characters

 Literature Blogs

Being a writer out of my home leaves both eating and exercising at both the top and the bottom of my list of things to do when I’m not writing. HOWEVER, good news: I’ve lost 5 pounds in the past 2 weeks, and hope to continue on this downhill trend. For the first time in my life, I’m counting calories and am disciplined with my exercise. Yeah, me.

Times are changing.

This week I heard some disturbing news. It has to do with the amusement park ride, “It’s a Small World” in California. Seems the ride kept breaking down. They finally discovered the reason: the average weight of the visitors has… er… grown over the years since it was first built. This general increase in weight by the riders has caused the bottom of the boats to scrape against the machinery moving it along, causing the ride to malfunction. What a sad, sad, sad state of American affairs we live in these days.

I’ve also noticed a change in vocabulary. Doctors aren’t allowed to say “fat” any more, or they can get sued. We are either “healthy, overweight, or obese.”

This week I watched a show from the 1970’s about a military school, and each of the young men looked about the weight of a fifth grader of today.

So what does all this mean? Can we or should we write about children or adults who are… um… abundant in figure? If we don’t write about children or adults who have “more” to them, then are we writing about the real world today? Or should we remain in our fictional dream of thin? Now-a-days, actors and actresses who want to maintain a “healthy” look must go to the gym for 2-4 hours a day. Whatever did we do back then, when we were thin and didn’t go to the gym all those hours?

I hate worrying and wondering about this. But what about the characters in my stories?

Hmmm…

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3 thoughts on “Fat v.s. Overweight and Obese Characters

  1. Part of me says absolutely have one or two overweight characters. It is part of today’s world and should be part of our writing.

    On the other hand if we make it sound commonplace and normal are we saying it is OK?

    I’m anxious to see some of your replies.

    Sharon

  2. I agree with Sharon – it is part of today’s world, so it seems only realistic/believable to include it in our writing. After all, isn’t it our job to write to our audience, relative to our reader?
    We live in a changing world…like the majority used to be smokers, now look what’s happened to that? Or how it has changed in intimate love stories, now more stories are written with reference to using protection.
    Yes, as a writer I think it is our job to keep up with our ever changing world…or, don’t we become dinosaurs??
    Susan

  3. Seems like any of those overweight kids would surely love to see someone like them be the hero/heroine of a book. Your writing doesn’t have to promote obesity, but address that some people are, as you put it, abundant when it comes to weight.

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