Weighing In: Jeepers, Scooby, being an 8 not a curse

Published on Saturday, 23 August 2014 17:36 - Written by Coshandra Dillard cdillard@tylerpaper.com

Oh, the horror of being a size 8 — at least that’s what the writers of Scooby Doo’s “Frankencreepy” implied. Social media gave Time Warner a lashing following the release of its latest installment of a Scooby Doo straight-to-DVD movie last week.

Fat shaming has been a “thing” recently. People have been calling out celebrities, media and other entities that perpetuate negative body stereotypes.

The odd thing about this cartoon version is that the writers really don’t know the definition of fat. As part of a curse, the slim, fashionable Daphne supposedly morphs from a size 2 to a size 8, yet she balloons into a plus-size woman. In the words of Shaggy, “Zoinks!”

The average woman wears a size 12 to 14 and, depending on height, does not appear as large as the size 8 Daphne in the cartoon. So what gives?

The point of the “curse” in the video is to take away something each character holds dear. For example, Fred loses the Mystery Machine and Shaggy and Scooby lose their appetites. So, we understand that Daphne is superficial for obsessing about her physical appearance. By the end of the story, they realize what’s most important, which is their friendship.

But the problem is, young, impressionable children may still be stuck on the fact, according to the cartoon’s standard, that being a size 8 is a bad thing. In reality, it’s something for which most women would strive.

You may believe it’s silly to dissect the intentions of cartoon writers, but we do this in real life. If you’ve blurted out “I have fat arms” near someone who is twice as large as you, or said, “I would die if I was that size,” that is in the same vein as Daphne’s perceived horror of being a size 8.

We should care because children’s perception is influenced by what they see on television. We can limit screen time and also shelter them, but those messages come through anyway. That’s why it’s important to speak with children about the values important to you. What you don’t talk about, they’ll pick up somewhere else.

We should covet the need for healthy habits and if necessary, losing weight, but it’s also important to acknowledge and celebrate our perfectly imperfect flaws.