Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A 'Sweet Valley High' Flashback

Another Lifetime Member at WW, Shani, recently blogged about the 21st Century revival of the Sweet Valley High franchise.

The books from the 80s frequently described the California twins' beautiful blonde hair, blue eyes, and "perfect size six" physiques. Only now, as Shani says, they're size 4.

The subsequent posts on this blog have had some interesting observations. I couldn't help but weigh in with one of my own:

[I]n the fifth grade, I received book number 4 in the series, "Power Play," as a Christmas present from a classmate I considered one of my best friends. The main plot focused around one of the twins' machinations to keep an overweight classmate (as was I at the time) out of her sorority. The young lady did everything that was asked of her during her pledge period, no matter how humiliating, and one of the twins finally resorted to blackballing her [at the final vote] to keep her out.

In diet terms, this event was the young lady's "lightbulb moment." She ran five miles every day before school, ate salads at lunch, and became a total babe. A rich student who called her Queen Mary only months before started stalking her. She tried out for the cheering squad and was made co-captain. She went out for football queen and won, beating one of the twins. The sorority tried to retract their blackballing of her, but she wisely declined the invitation.

Having now lost my weight, I identify a lot with this secondary character (her name was Robin Wilson). I really hope she doesn't make a revival, especially since such a big deal was made out of what she ate, how she dressed, etc. prior to her transformation. I don't want young girls who are now where I was to think something is wrong with them, as I believed for many years.

Maybe that gift wasn't really a gift after all.

It was a warning.

I was hoping that this particular story would not be rehashed, but it looks like it's going to be. As if girls this age don't have enough of being told they're less than.

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