Why Is the New Scooby-Doo Movie Trying to Fat-Shame Daphne?

Why Is the New Scooby-Doo Movie Trying to Fat-Shame Daphne?The new family-friendly Scooby Doo movie, “Frankencreepy,” curses Daphne by making her fat. What kind of message does that send to our kids?

There’s a new animated Scooby Doo movie being released to DVD today—Scooby Doo! Frankencreepy—and, unfortunately, the creepiest part of the movie has nothing to do with an overly elaborate plan to scare people away from an abandoned amusement park. Instead, this time, the folks at Warner Bros. Animation decided to subject Daphne, one of the iconic members of the Scooby Gang, to something unspeakable. They subjected her to something that would make her entire juvenile fan base recoil with shock and disgust.

They made her overweight.

(Cue dramatic ‘70s mystery music.)

That’s right. Daphne gets cursed and (horror of horrors) she finds that’s she’s gone from a “size two to a size eight,” even though she’s been drawn by animators who apparently have NEVER seen a size-eight woman in real life before. “Fat Daphne” is drawn like she’s Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka, like she’s puffed up like a balloon. You know, like all of those horribly misshapen size-eight freaks out there in the real world, those social outcasts who are forced to live their lives like… normal women. Like professionals and artists and aunts and sisters and mothers WHO BUY THEIR CHILDREN SCOOBY DOO DVDs.

Ruh-roh.

How completely disappointing. I’ve always been a big fan of Scooby Doo. Even though I’m an almost-forty-year-old man, I will tell you right now—the two-season Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated series that recently ran on the Cartoon Network (which you can find on Netflix) is, in my opinion, better than HBO’s The Leftovers or FX’s The Strain. It was a legitimately great show. So, that, mixed with my nostalgia for the original series, has always made Scooby Doo one of my favorite pop culture properties. I’m a Scooby fan and so is my seven-year-old daughter.

But the decision to fat-shame Daphne in this newest movie is downright repugnant. It’s sad to think that my daughter can’t even watch a cartoon about a dog solving mysteries without negative body stereotypes being thrown in her face. Thanks a lot, Warner Brothers.

Why Is the New Scooby-Doo Movie Trying to Fat-Shame Daphne?The plot of Frankencreepy revolves around Velma finding out that she’s “inherited her great-great-uncle Dr. Von Dinkenstein’s cursed castle in the terrifying town of Transylvania… Pennsylvania” and, of course, wackiness ensues. Traps are set, Velma’s glasses fall off, Scooby and Shaggy are bribed with Scooby Snacks, no doubt. But, since this castle is cursed, the Scooby Gang ends up getting cursed and the absolute WORST thing that Daphne can imagine is losing her looks. Which… sigh… OK, is shallow as HELL, but they could’ve found a way to make that work in a non-offensive way.

Daphne has never been the most progressive character on kids’ TV—too often, she’s been labelled the “pretty one,” while Velma got stuck with the “smart one” label—but there have been more recent takes on the character that have addressed her inherent shallowness in fairly smart and progressive ways. (The aforementioned Mystery Incorporated series did well with making Daphne more than just a pretty face and, as terrible as the live-action Scooby Doo movies were, you have to give them credit for casting Buffy the Vampire Slayer as Daphne and making her main preoccupation to be taken more seriously.)

But, fine, if the creators of Frankencreepy could only see Daphne skin deep, as a teenager obsessed with her looks, they could’ve dealt with the “loss of her looks” in a less offensive way. Why not have her cursed to look like one of the classic Scooby monsters (The Creeper or the Space Kook)? Why not cover her in hair and fangs and turn her into a wolf-girl? Why not give her a third eye, green skin, a tail… why not really make her terrible to look at? (In the most kid-friendly way possible, of course.)

But, alas, that’s not what the Frankencreepy creators did. Instead, they said “How can we make Daphne into something truly ugly? How can we make her the opposite of pretty?” And their answer was… let’s make her overweight. Let’s make her look like people’s friends and sisters and moms. Let’s make her look, not like a supermodel, but rather more like a normal girl you’d see on a normal street, and then let’s have her look in a mirror and RECOIL IN HORROR, just to make sure that all the kids watching at home know that being fat makes you into a monster.Why Is the New Scooby-Doo Movie Trying to Fat-Shame Daphne?
(I’m not even going to get into the hypocrisy of Scooby freakin’ Doo—a show that has, more than any other show I can think of, glamorized consequence-free gluttony for more than forty years—criticizing a woman for putting on a few pounds.)

In Frankencreepy’s slight defense, most of the Scooby gang doesn’t reinforce the fat-shaming in the film (Fred is downright supportive), but the sheer concept of equating being overweight with the loss of physical attractiveness… it’s a vicious message to find in a kids’ animated movie.

As I mentioned, I’m a Scooby Doo fan, but I am severely disappointed in the insensitivity lurking at the heart of Frankencreepy. I hope Warner Brothers Animation is ashamed of what they’ve produced here and I hope that this kind of body-shaming won’t ever reappear in a Scooby Doo movie again.

Daphne and the gang deserve better. And so does my daughter.

NOW TRENDING ON GMP TV

Super Villain or Not, Parenting Paranoia Ensues
The Garbage Man Explains Happiness
How To Not Suck At Dating
Sponsored Content

Premium Membership, The Good Men Project

About Tom Burns

Tom Burns is a husband, a dad, and a veteran of the educational publishing industry, living just outside of Detroit Rock City. He’s also been a writer and contributing editor for a number of web sites, including 8BitDad, and founded BuildingaLibrary.com - a website devoted to helping parents find the right books for their kids. You can find him on Twitter at @buildalibrary.

Comments

  1. Joanna Schroeder says:

    And thank you to GMP friend and reader, Kimberly Young, who alerted us to this issue!

  2. Enough of the BS. Being overweight is not healthy. All the accomodations that are being made of people that choose not to lose the weight are getting ridiculous.

    Yes, we shouldn’t be going out of our way to make fat people feel bad about themselves, but it’s grown rather ridiculous. A doctor can’t point out the health impacts of being fat without being accused of fat shaming. A cartoon apparently can’t curse somebody that’s rather vain without being accused of shaming.

    At some point, people do have to accept a certain amount of responsibility for their actions. I was fat, but I’ve lost about 50lbs., from my peak and am no longer fat. People don’t just get fat over night, it’s years of poor health decisions that lead to it.

    And, no, I’m not going to apologize.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      The links between being overweight and being unhealthy are being proven weaker and weaker and weaker.

      Yes, we know severe obesity can be correlated with being less healthy, but fat-shaming isn’t going to solve that problem. Education about proper eating and exercise are what will.

      Telling little girls that being bigger than a size 2 will DAMAGE them. We know this for a fact. We know children that are told they are overweight when they are small are more likely to be obese as adults, compared to children of the same weight who are NOT told they are overweight.

      Shame is dangerous.

      • Would you mind posting the studies saying obese is healthy?

        Let’s be honest, the people crying out for this fat acceptance movement are not overweight, they are obese. Obesity should be treated the same as anorexia. It is dangerous and should be treated as a dangerous eating disorder. Somehow okaying this unhealthy lifestyle is crazy.

        • Here’s one article – open access, peer reviewed and with references/citations to other peer review studies and articles- that discusses how obesity is not always directly related to other health problems and that moreover fat-shaming does nothing to help people lose weight anyways.

          http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2014/983495/

          • Having unprotected sex doesn’t always lead to std’s. Driving 100 miles an hour while drunk doesn’t always lead to having an accident. Jumping out of a plane and having your parachute not open doesn’t always lead to death. Really! Something has to always happen in order for it to be something we shouldn’t do. Try being 65 or older and being obese and tell me how that works for you. Try being the health care worker who ruins their life with a torn up back because they have to try to take care of you. The older you get the more obesity affects your life and everyone’s around you. Obesity is a horrible health epidemic and is the main reason our health scores for western nations ranks so low

      • No, they’re not. Being obese is a major risk factor for numerous diseases. I’m a tad overweight myself, but I don’t freak out about it. I could probably stand to lose 5-10lbs., which is within the accepted range for somebody my size.

        As Kevin said, the people crying out for fat acceptance aren’t usually fat, they’re usually morbidly obese. A few pounds isn’t likely to have much negative impact, but a person that’s as fat as Daphne is portayed as being is going to have serious health problems as a result. If that person is lucky, it’ll be limited to arthritis and other joint problems.

        Medical science leaves a lot to be desired, but being obese is definitely not healthy.

    • Frank Again says:

      Hear, hear! You’re absolutely right, the entire situation is getting ridiculous. Being fat is not a good thing, and it should be something that people actively (no pun intended) try to avoid. It should be portrayed as negative, and there should be education available to all on how to live a healthy life. I want my daughter to see that being fat is unhealthy and not anything to be proud of. To that end we model a healthy lifestyle and encourage her to do the same.

      No, Joanna, obesity is not healthy. It shortens lives, and is a drain on the public health system. An obese person may not have an illnesses at a given moment, but their odds of illness are vastly increased. There are no studies showing that obesity results in anything but a drastically reduced lifespan.

      Tom Burns, you should be ashamed of yourself for encouraging this fat acceptance nonsense. You are actively contributing to the deaths of many people.

      • So are you.

        Look at the studies correlating stigma with the same diseases you blame on obesity.

        Mind your own business.

    • Wolfheart says:

      Nah,the issue isn’t just fat-shaming-which by itself is a rotten enough message-the more toxic problem is the idea that as a girl or woman your primary value to other people is how you look. That is a terrible thing to tell any child, of any gender.

    • So, by your reckoning, anyone who weighs 50 pounds more than his or her doctor decrees has forfeited the right to be treated like a human being? How about 40 pounds? How about 20?

      Or how about we all mind our own business?

  3. Tom, great article. Warner Brothers needs a reality check. Some people gain weight through no fault of their own, i.e., medical problems and as a psychological defense against a second rape.

    • That’s not true. The vast majority of obesity is because the person chose not to take care of themselves. There probably are corner cases like that girl who had a neurological condition that made her eat constantly, but in total such cases are few and far between. And rarely, are those folks the folks that are whining about being shamed.

      Bottom line here is that people who genuinely can’t help it are few and far between. In fact, health insurers generally have requirements for various surgical procedures for weight loss. The thing though is ithat if the patient would have just adhered to those requirements ahead of time, they’d never would have gotten to the point of needing the surgery. Seems odd to me that if somebody genuinely can’t control themselves that they couldn’t magically do so when there’s the option of having surgery to correct the problem is made available.

  4. Professional umbrage-taking at its finest. What a total joke.

    Note that the plot device is used to show the character as being shallow, but don’t let that get in the way. Great job being a condescending, self righteous douche.

  5. I think the embarrassing thing is how grown adults need to lighten up and stop complaining all the time. Cheer up morons.

  6. Michael Kasdan says:

    Debating this issue aside, commenting by calling writers whose pieces you read “douches” and “morons” really detracts from any intelligent point that anyone could hope to make. Talk about growing up.

  7. First, I agree, the character is definitely not size 8 by site.

    I also agree with many of the post above, we need to stop telling people that being fat/obese is “normal” or “Healthy,” or out of the individual’s control.

    Our children, teenagers and adult do need to know that being overweight is a health issues. Educating people on those health issues is extremely important, especially now that my Obama Care is going to help pay for the long term affect.

    While obesity does need to be dealt with, it’s should be ridiculed or mock. Like anorexia, people need to be educated about obesity.

  8. Wombatish says:

    I dislike how they handled it (implying that is a size 8, etc) but was glad they made Fred accepting at least.

    BUT I hate how none of the articles discussing the movie have commented on her hair.

    It’s not O.K. to make obese/overweight people feel uncomfortable (when that is, ultimately, something that can be changed/affected by lifestyle – and I say that as a fat girl, btw) but it is just fine to shame frizzy/curly hair? Something you’re very much born with and can only try to change temporarily?

    Fuck. that.

Speak Your Mind

*