Thursday's child (peacockish) wrote in ed_ucate,
Thursday's child

My respect for JK Rowling has just plummetted...

This is a post a friend of mine made concerning the rant JK Rowling made on her website (url given below). She basically said everything I thought when I read it, but never got around to articulating. I'd love to know your thoughts.

"Here's my rant on an uninformed rant taken from the official J.K. Rowling website ( 

Gee, it's sweet and touching and all that JK Rowling decided to speak out about the weight issue, but she needs to be careful how she categorizes people and maybe get a little EDUCATED on what she's ranting about!!  I'm really mad at her right now (yes, this is reactive and written in anger and emotion).

JK Rowling obviously knows very little about eating disorders.  As such an influential public figure, she could do a lot of good and spread awareness about whatever she chooses, but instead she reinforces stereotypes.  Some activist. 

See the following, her words, unedited:

"I've got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don't want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones; I'd rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before 'thin'. And frankly, I'd rather they didn't give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons. Let them never be Stupid Girls. Rant over." 

What?!  For those who know, have you ever envisioned Hermione as a perfect candidate for an eating disorder?  I sure have.  She would be a classic case.

Eating disorders are NOT about vanity and stupidity.  All the "emaciated clones" I have met have been without exception above-average in intelligence, kindness, creativity, talent, independence, individuality, you name it.  These are people who take goals seriously, perfectionistic, especially sensitive, doubt their self-worth, and are deeply hurting.  Who hasn't been on a diet?  Guess what - if you apply that same vigor and determination that makes someone excel at school, or in writing for that matter (Rowling also said "you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I'm not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain..." – thanks for your wisdom, millionaire.) to a diet, you're going to get someone with anorexia – which is not a diet, it's a serious mental illness.  How does that make them more vain than casual dieters?  And the only empty-headedness that follows comes from malnutrition and maybe fainting spells, not the kind she's talking about. 

She is right to say that what is inside us is more important than how we look.  But what she completely assumed is that people with EDs are vain and only care about their looks - which couldn't be farther from the truth.  Rowling needs to learn this most fundamental truism we always hear that - surprise! - is true:  IT'S NOT ABOUT THE FOOD.

She is buying into, PROMOTING all the stereotypes that make people (men too) ashamed to admit they have a problem, based on the fundamentally FLAWED assumption that we want to do this, and eating disorders are no more than what they appear to be on the surface.  Dismiss depression.  Dismiss anxiety.  Dismiss abuse.  Dismiss scientific evidence about eating disorders.  Dismiss the individual.  Dismiss our worth. 

I do not appreciate the sarcasm and simplicity with which she addresses this serious problem.  And I believe she has grossly misidentified the problem.  Maybe instead of blaming the individual she could start by looking at society…look at the harmful messages women receive about their worth.  The simplistic solutions we're offered.  If only it was as easy as the advertisers and JK Rowling say it is…then no one would have an eating disorder. 

And please, please, please do not use Lindsay Lohan as the poster child for eating disorders.  We're not all like her.

And yes, even the skinny ones are "a thousand things before 'thin.'"  We are more than our bodies, girls.  I wish other people could see that too."

Any comment? Thoughts? Criticisms on my part?


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