I haven’t finished the book but I’m about a third of the way into The Predicteds by Christine Seifert (a YA books with sci-fi undertones about using science to predict a person’s future potential for criminal acts or other behaviors).
I’ve come to a scene which I feared was going to derail this book into the hated Fat Trope territory and was so happily surprised to meet a main character I found sympathetic and reasonable. In YA lit! When surrounded by Fat Talk!
I seriously smiled and clapped for the author.
While the character is not the large and confident fatty I’d love to read about she’s at least got some lovely perspective on the Fat Talk Phenomenon that was rather awesome and worth applauding.
Let’s hear it for someone getting it right for a change!
Here’s the quote:
“God, I’m fat,” January says, looking down at her scrawny legs, her skinny arms dangling at her side.
“You are not,” Dizzy says. Then she sighs heavily and pushes her plate away from her. “I shouldn’t be eating this. I’m going to look like a cow in that [bathing] suit.” She glumly tosses the top back in the bag. Dizzy is hardly fat. Nevertheless , she and January continue to go back and forth about who is fatter, each claiming to be a bigger blimp than the other.
I heard these kinds of conversations before at Academy. I understand that it’s a ritual, something that is supposed to make girls feel better, but it never does, because the conversation always repeats, stuck in a loop forever. I feel lucky that I have never been part of this. I’ve just never felt bad about my body. I’ve never felt too fat or particularly skinny. Melissa [my mom] did something – at some point in my life – that made me feel okay about who I am. Too bad she couldn’t bottle that and sell it. We’d be rich.
(Page 102, The Predicteds)
Notes in brackets are my additions to make the out of context quote a bit easier to place IN context. While I’m not sure I fully believe there are many teens out there who don’t have body issues I would LOVE to live in a world where that was more the norm. The fact that such a scene with Fat Talk/Fat Bashing could even take place in a YA novel and have the main character remark that it seemed to be an entirely silly and self-defeating ritual was encouraging to me. Perhaps one of the first and largest steps towards self acceptance (and acceptance of the rights of others to the same) is to step out of these negative rituals, to see them for the damaging hate-fests they are and begin to see them as NOT a part of necessary social discourse.
I remain ever hopeful that such could at one point be the case!