Ages 4-8? Sure, heap on the fat hate. Never too young!

I just got this book listed in my Reader queue: My Dog Jack is FatFor ages 4-8.  The entirety of the product description for this rousing tale for our youth? “Carson gets fatter as his dog gets thinner from diet and exercise”.

If you’re so lucky as to find a few pages using the “surprise me!” feature of the “Look inside this book” function; you’ll find that the boy keeps encouraging his dog to set aside his lust for fried chicken (seriously?) and constant snacking and canned fizzy drinks so that he can better chase after tennis balls (while the dog rather cleverly responds that the task might actually be easier instead if the boy learned to throw the ball straight…still; as we know this “hero” of a dog ends up with the Fairy Tale thinner body from simply working out and eating better; I don’t have much hope that the story is at all a positive reinforcement of the idea that body sizes and shapes are not determinants of ability or health). That’s right.  Let’s make sure kids from as early an age as possible begin to realize that moving for fun is not the point if you’re not losing weight.

Yeah, so if anyone out there is under the delusion that we’re making fast headway against this ideal that if anyone “over” an aesthetically defined “weight” simply stopped shoving cakes into their lazy mouth and moved off their gelatinous butts for more than a refill on their sugar-laden sodas they would quite magically and wonderfully have a “normal” body shape/size, let this be a very quick reminder that we are SO not over this moralistic concept as a nation (world?) yet.  Despite mounting evidence that it is nothing more than bullshit; flashy, quick-sensationalist headline-creating, easy bullshit sells and difficult concepts take much longer to take hold. The world still does not want you to find happiness in the self you have; unless that self is already (or has become) thin(ner).

So with that lovely reminder that Fat Hate is still alive and well in the “duh, just fucking move around more and stop eating so much you fat bastards/bitches; I’m sick of looking at you” and marketing happily to our children to indoctrinate them early into the marvels of hating themselves and others based upon the amount of certain cells in their body, I’m off to meet the ‘rents tomorrow and enjoy my Graduation weekend!

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9 thoughts on “Ages 4-8? Sure, heap on the fat hate. Never too young!

  1. Ladies and gentlemen, hail the future of children’s literature!

    The obvious fat hatred aside, shouldn’t good literature challenge what you think? No kid will come away from this with anything but reinforcement of fat hatred. Shouldn’t good literature NOT contain contrived and stereotypical plot developments? Weight loss is the most contrived success story ever. Fail on every level.

    • I’m not sure that there isn’t still a place for a book with simply great images and simple concepts but I certainly agree that reinforcing negative stereotypes (with the loosely and erroneously based hopes that it conveys a message of Movement as Good and Food as Necessary while all it really does is reinforce the idea that Food = BAD and Running around to Lose Weight = GOOD) is not where we should be going.

  2. Don’t get me wrong, simplicity and imagery are good sometimes, but this obviously contains no good imagery and is simple to the point of being simplistic.

    Maybe it was intentional? After all, so many people think fat kids are stupid, so they must think only stupid books are worthy for them. It’s a conspiracy, no?

    On a more serious note, no matter where you are, there is NO escape from fat hate. Everyone nowadays wants to insert fat hatred into everything. I actually had to write an essay on obesity in ENGLISH 101. When I took science classes, almost every discussion of evolution involved something about how fat people are unfit according to Darwin’s standards. Children’s literature has, in this sense, sunk to a whole new low, and it’s targeted at kids as young as 4. Ick!

    • I think it sends a frightening message at just how entrenched the thoughts and behaviors are getting. More and more it isn’t just out there; the phone call is coming from INSIDE!

  3. I know this sort of horse hockey shouldn’t still surprise me – and in a lot of ways it doesn’t – but I keep hoping that SOMEBODY is getting the message. I also know some people ARE getting the message (or at least starting to question ‘received wisdom’ a little). And then something like this comes along to discourage me.

    Guess that means we need to work that much harder to fight the ingrained prejudice, hate, and idiotic levels of vitriol. Small children’s lives are at stake.

    Have a wonderful time with the folks, and CONGRATULATIONS!

    • Heeh. I was thinking of like those awesome jello jigglers things when writing it (something I could never freaking get to make correctly; but whatever).

  4. I’m trying to figure out what the intent of this book was, actually. Was it that exercise and good eating will make you healthy? Or being fat is unhealthy and undesirable, so your aim should be to lose weight? Because hey, if your DOG can lay off the KFC and lose weight, well, by gum you should to…it’s just that easy! I don’t get it, and it’s not a book I would read to my kids.

    I’ve been plowing my way through a lot of the books your site has recommended, mainly “The Obesity Myth”, and it is EYE OPENING. I keep having to stop and underline passages, cramming them into my brain so I can spew them back out at ignorant people who tsk at my weight and sadly shake their heads.

    The thought I keep coming back to, however, is the notion that ridiculing, mocking, and discriminating against fat people is the only prejudice sanctioned by the government. If you tried using that attitude to deny a black/Hisapanic/disabled person a job, medical treatment, or service in any way, you’d be hit so fast with multiple lawsuits it’d make your head spin. But denying a fat person a job or proper health care seems to be perfectly justified and widely acknowledged to be “the way things should be done”. After all, we’re all fat for the same reason, that we can’t stop stuffing bad foods down our throats, and we just sit on the sofa watching Springer all day. Right?

    *headesk*

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