Dawn French has never shied away from using her obesity to get laughs, but this Christmas will be the first in ten years not to see her advertising chocolate. Her greedy line — ‘it’s not Terry’s it’s mine!’ — doesn’t sit well in the context of an obesity crisis that was said to contribute to 30,000 deaths each year in 2002. Five years later obesity rates had increased for every age group with the proportion of overweight or obese children rising to 30 per cent.
Dawn French’s autobiography takes the form of a series of letters addressed Dear Fatty (that’s just so funny!). Sadly, the most important letter — ‘Dear Fatty: You’re going to die early!’ — is missing.
Once voted the world’s wittiest woman (Thatcher came eighth!) for jokes like, ‘if I’d been around when Rubens was painting, I’d have been revered as a fabulous model — Kate Moss? Well, she’d have been the paintbrush,’ Dawn French is now attempting professional suicide. She’s calling for an end to fat jokes. Poor Dawn complains that, ‘people need to learn to take everyone as they are,’ so Kate Moss will suffer fatty’s acid tongue no more.
Bullying is a very bad thing and losing weight is hard to do, but holding up our hands — as Dawn French asks — and saying, ‘it’s about teaching people how to accept you,’ is wrong because we should not accept that being fat is okay.