Harry Potter And Obesity Essay

555 words - 3 pages

Obesity Surgery, 12, 298

Correspondence

Harry Potter and Obesity
To the Editor:
This past Sunday, I took the kids to see “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, a G-rated film narrating the story of an 11-year-old child, orphaned by two sorcerers, and raised in England by his uncle. While in his uncle’s custody, he is abused by his aunt, uncle and a stupid cousin of the same age. Friends of Harry’s parents (wizards themselves) located and sent him to a school where he develops into a great sorcerer. The school was located in an old medieval styled castle, whose atmosphere reflected a 19th century elite college. Harry becomes an adolescent hero who surmounts many obstacles by demonstrating intelligence, courage and loyalty to his schoolmates and teachers. He eventually saves the world from evil. The ethnic ...view middle of the document...

The film portrays Harry’s adoptive parents and cousin as evil and stupid. They force him to live in the basement and forbid attending school. The uncle’s family is all obese, whereas Harry is thin and fit. There are several incidences of laughter in the audience when his cousin gets into trouble and cries to his mother. The ridicule of the cousin’s obesity is amplified by his conversion into a pig. Harry, being a thin, intelligent, loyal and courageous young man, contradicts his cousin’s depiction as a fat worthless cry-baby who resembles a pig. I hesitate to make the accusation that the film’s director specifically targeted, discriminated and ridiculed obese people because of their weight. Within this concept, the film documents general attitudes and hatreds towards the obese: our children would prefer to be orphaned, mutilated or poor, rather than to be obese. However, one must remember that theatres projecting films of this nature are in the thousands and reach a very broad and sensitive audience. The film sends the message that obesity equals stupidity, incapability, and ridicule, impressing children, teenagers and everyone. It attempts to be funny, but incidentally worsens the quality of life of obese children and teenagers, who are led to believe they are ridiculous, incapable and stupid, when, in reality, they are affected by a severe infirmity of which they have no culpability and that does not reflect on their intelligence. Obesity remains very difficult to cure and objectively reduces life expectancies. To say that fat is beautiful is not necessary; however, we believe that greater attention must be given by the media towards people who suffer discrimination induced by medical conditions like obesity. Gian Franco Adami, MD Dipartimento di Discipline Chirurgiche, Università di Genova, Largo Rosanna Benzi 8, 16132, Genova, Italy. E-mail:adami@unige.it

298 Obesity Surgery, 12, 2002

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