Entertainment Weekly had a short feature in the books section of the latest issue that really got me thinking about first impressions and appearances – where both books and people are concerned. You see, there’s a reason why I don’t have a picture of myself as my avatar/gravatar/profile pic. I know that most of my blogging and Twitter friends have an image of me in their heads, though I would have no idea what that picture might be. I’m sure the most of you would be surprised to know that I’m a large woman. And not Reubenesque or slightly heavy for my height, but “Southwest Airlines would charge me for two seats” big.
I’ve always resisted putting photos of myself up online because of the first impressions or assumptions people make of me in real life – assumptions purely based on my appearance: lazy, no self-control, uneducated. That’s one of the things that I love about the blogosphere – people get to know me purely for my mind and from the words that I say, the books that I read.
I could give you a history lesson of all the reasons for my weight issues and food addiction: self-protection, hiding, shame, anxiety, depression, emotional eating. But that’s not what I want this post to be about. I want it to be about not hiding anymore, not worrying about the impression people online might have of me if they know what I looked like.
(Please don’t think I’m making light of the issue of obesity. Believe me, I know all the health issues, the reasons why I need to get a handle on it – and the past winter has been about starting to take those steps. It will be a long and painful journey, but one I know I need to take.)
And, I wanted to bring up the issue of book covers and plus-sized characters. The feature that Entertainment Weekly ran was about the covers of books with overweight protagonists, and how many of them feature a “normal-sized” person. (And let me say up front that I’m not blaming the authors of the books – just wondering why the publishing industry feels the need to do it.) Some examples:
I could give you many more examples, but this post is taking long enough to write. Any good books with plus-sized characters to recommend? What do you think about the issue of misrepresenting characters on book covers – whether it is misrepresenting race or size or anything else?