literature, updated

so as I was driving home from work today, Jo-Ann Roberts and Jen Sookfong-Lee were discussing the re-issuance of older books by publishers. The books that publishers tend to reissue are not so much the classics, but more the commercial successes, and many of the new editions are of children's books. Some of the books that publishers are re-issuing include the Sweet Valley High series for pre-teens (girls, mainly). To keep the books current with kids in this day and age, they've had to edit a few things. They've taken out references to typewriters, lavender high-tops, and other dated fashions and technologies. They've also updated the girls themselves.. You remember how the main characters were a perky, preppy, pair of blond twins named Jessica and Elizabeth? They were described in the original novels as "a perfect size 6". Well, in the updated versions, they've had some lipo and are now described as a "perfect size 4".

Who the hell decides these things? The fact that you were telling young girls that any dress size was more desirable than others was bad enough, but at least a size 6 is reasonably healthy for many young girls. Now they have to strive to be even skinnier to be "perfect"?? I'm not sure if it was the publisher or the author who made these changes, but whoever it was, shame on you. With all of the publicity focused on eating disorders and the pressure that young girls face to be thin, determining the perfection of your antagonists based on their dress size is just despicable.


JennyMac said...

Please tell me the lipo part is NOT true? I remember these books..and certainly lipo for teens is in incredibly poor taste.

You are a bagpiper in your spare time? LOVE IT. I was a competitive highland dancer growing up and my brother used to play with Simon Fraser.

kirsten said...

I believe that they used "lipo" in a figurative sense - they basically just decreased the "perfect" size of their main characters to reflect.. well, I don't know what that reflects.. Current cultural stereotypes??

I was a competitive highland dancer too - originally from Vancouver Island. Before moving up north, I piped with Maple Ridge (now New Westminster Police). Small world!

Kim Hosey said...

That is so ridiculous. I thought you were going to say they changed it somehow to be more culturally sensitive, which, depending on the change, I'd still be conflicted about changing the original. But this? So dumb.