Professor Jean Webb, from the children’s literature research center at the University of Worcester, called for more balance in the way fat pupils are represented. She claimed that many books portray fat characters as mean and unpopular, and that this will have negative impact on our culture.
Many children’s stories, including Harry Potter to the Billy Bunter series, also depict the chubby kids as greedy, lazy and nasty.
“It’s a delicate area and you must not marginalise particular groups,” Webb said. She also claimed that the character of Dudley Dursley in JK Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter series was one example of how an overweight child is portrayed as bad. “Dudley is a fat little rotter and his fatness is presented as a moral failing,” she said.
Judy Blume’s well-known book, titled Blubber, deals with an overweight girl who is picked on in school. In the sequel, the character then sheds her pounds and thereby gains many friends as well as a boyfriend. Some are saying this to be a negative example for young children.
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