A Person First, and Overweight Second: Body Image in Doctorow’s “In Real Life”

Diversity in literature (or movies) is about more than race and gender — body image is an important topic to discuss.

The following is an article on body image I wrote for Pop Culture Uncovered. Check it out!

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Pop Culture Uncovered

In Real Life is a graphic novel based on Cory Doctorow’s short story “Anda’s Game,” initially published as part of his 2007 collection Overclocked. It was supposedly inspired by a true story in which a Mexican man announced at a conference that he paid players to amass virtual wealth that he could then sell to Western players.

However, we’re not here to talk about economics or even MMORPGs. We’re here to talk about body image – and both versions’ vastly different approaches to it.

Though a number of things differ between the short story and its comic adaption, two major things remain the same: one, Anda is a young gamer who joins an all-girls MMORPG clan called the Fahrenheits, and two, Anda is overweight.

In the short story, Anda’s weight struggles are a key plot point: she’s medicated for a skin condition called Acanthosis Nigricans which often precedes obesity-related diabetes. She…

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8 thoughts on “A Person First, and Overweight Second: Body Image in Doctorow’s “In Real Life”

  1. Isn’t it formulaic when young women are written about that we are troubled in some way; especially when the writer isn’t female? And later we go into metamorphosis and become pretty. I used to think that was what happened to girls when I was twelve because that was the only version of puberty that I constantly saw.

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    • Ugh, I remember seeing a lot of that myself 😦 It’s such a shame that society places so much emphasis on looks and beauty when there’s so much more to life than that.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

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  2. Oh! I somehow forgot to comment the first time I read this, but thank you for sharing! It was very interesting. ^_^

    On another note, I have nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award. Here is the post (if you allow links, if not, you know where to find me): . You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to – I know not everyone likes that kind of “chain”. Whether you do or not, I’m glad I had an opportunity to share your blog with others. ^_^

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