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Contact info for Sweet Valley High re-release complaints

28th March 2008

Contact info for Sweet Valley High re-release complaints

Sweet Valley High books

Several bloggers have written about the re-release of the Sweet Valley High series, decrying that the “perfect size 6″ twins of the 1980s have now been whittled into a “perfect size 4.”

Writes the blog Gawker:

It seems kids in the 80s lived by totally fat standards. Also, Sweet Valley High students now have their own anonymous blog, presumably to hatefully bully the fattest of their classmates.

Fillyjonk at Shapely Prose also chimed in:

After all, you’ve got to up the ante sometimes or girls get complacent. We can’t have the size sixes thinking they’ve achieved perfection — you can’t even get a modeling gig at that size, you cow!

And a different perspective from Mo at Big Fat Deal:

My first reaction was, indeed, to feel indignant and infuriated. But now that I think about it, really, it doesn’t make much of a difference. Elizabeth and Jessica were always “perfect” in a way that I found it impossible to relate to, and the fact that their bodies were “perfect” was no small part of that.

The comments are all spot-on and I don’t have much else to add other than the sound of my head repeatedly banging the desk in frustration. But I do have this to add – contact information.

The series is being re-released by Knopf Delacorte Dell, a division of Random House Children’s Books. Send an email to Random House Children’s Books customer service here or to the following email addresses:

knopfpublicity@randomhouse.com
ecustomerservice@randomhouse.com

Parent company info:
Random House, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 782-9000

Noreen Marchisi is the publicity manager overseeing the series. She can be reached at nmarchisi@randomhouse.com or by mail at Publicist Random House Children’s Books 1745 Broadway, 10-1 New York, NY 10019. Kathy Dunn is the publicist and her email is kdunn@randomhouse.com.

Helpful tips on how to structure letters of complaint can be found here. Keep in mind, these folks probably aren’t the decision makers and it isn’t constructive to yell at them. Politeness – and conciseness – goes a long way.

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 28th, 2008 at 12:10 pm and is filed under Arts and Music, Body Image, Pop Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 16 responses to “Contact info for Sweet Valley High re-release complaints”

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  1. 1 On March 28th, 2008, janet said:

    thank you very much for the tips on how to structure complaint letters! i see from time to time contact information for various appalling things on blogs and never think to write because I don’t know what to say or how. with some guidelines, i think i can take my activism a bit further… one step at a time :)

  2. 2 On March 28th, 2008, Emily said:

    I hate to be the one to say this, but clothing sizes have gotten bigger over the last decade, so what used to be a six is probably now a four.

  3. 3 On March 28th, 2008, Rachel said:

    Emily – I have a problem with anyone promoting a “perfect” size 6 or 4 to young, impressionable adolescent girls. The re-release was a perfect opportunity for Random Books to finally remove this kind of sizeist and potentially harmful language from the series. Instead, they made the standards even more stringent in a time where eating disorders are at an all-time high.

  4. 4 On March 28th, 2008, Emily said:

    Good point, Rachel — there is nothing more “perfect” about a 4 or 6 than any other size. Thank you for pointing this out.

  5. 5 On March 28th, 2008, devil said:

    Emily’s right…today’s size four is yesteryear’s size six. If I live long enough, my size eights will someday be a size zero. Of course, I’ll still be considered morbidly obese by this publisher’s standards.

    You’re right, Rachel. Random Books could have (and should have) stepped up and thrown out the size issue altogether. Instead, they raised the bar to give teen girls even more ammunition to destroy their self-esteem.

    I wonder what would have happened if Random had changed the size from a “perfect six” to a “perfect sixteen”?

  6. 6 On March 28th, 2008, Rachel said:

    Haha, they’d have perfect size-4 MeMe Roth beating down their door complaining that they are “glorifying obesity.”

  7. 7 On March 28th, 2008, Sarahbear said:

    As a writer myself, I wonder what Francine Pascal thinks about this, or if she even had a say in it. Doubtful that she did, but I wonder if she would have condoned it or refused to let it be edited if it were up to her.

  8. 8 On March 28th, 2008, Sarahbear said:

    I didn’t really read Sweet Valley High very much (I was a Baby-Sitters Club gal), so I went to Wikipedia to read up on it. Wiki contains a list of characters, and I was amused, if slightly irked, to note that two characters are specifically mentioned as “overweight” or “used to be over weight.” Lois Waller is noted as a shy, overweight girl who is the daughter of the school dietician. And Robin Wilson, a girl who used to be overweight, but then lost it all and became co-captain of the cheerleading squad. Hmh. Did the books make a big deal of their weight? Anybody know?

  9. 9 On March 29th, 2008, SilverSeraphim said:

    Sarahbear- I didn’t really read the SVH books. I did read the ones where they were in middle school, and I recall in one that in order to get into an exclusive clique Jessica had to pull a prank on Lois involving getting her to eat shaving cream. Jess dressed as her sister (Lois and Elizabeth were good friends), took Lois to an ice cream shop, and managed to replace the whipped cream with the shaving. I believe the main factor in picking Lois as the target was in fact her weight.

  10. 10 On March 29th, 2008, Sarahbear said:

    SilverSeraphim – Ugh… that’s middle school alright… At least tell me that Jessica learned a lesson from this book. Like caving to peer pressure is not a good thing. And that treating people like they don’t matter is horrendous…

  11. 11 On March 29th, 2008, Miss Minx said:

    Sarahbear – I read nearly *all* the SVH’s and I can tell you that in the case of Robin Wilson, one entire book is devoted to her fatness and subsequent weight loss. The first two-thirds of the book goes into near-fetishistic detail about the numerous humiliations she is subjected to by her fellow students. The last third of the book is devoted to her extreme-jogging routine, and ends with the celebratory last chapter in which she is welcomed into ‘normal’ society with open arms for her new and improved body. Seriously – it’s horrifying.

  12. 12 On March 29th, 2008, Brie said:

    Why can you never have an overweight character manages to say “Piss off!” to all the bullies, and gains the respect of her peers not through losing weight (“Finally, you’re one of us! One of us… one of us…”) but through being strong, or, I don’t know, through some other accomplishment that has NOTHING to do with their looks?
    Its not only sizeist, its sexist. The moral of the Robin story was that you have to take up less space to be acceptable and loved.

  13. 13 On March 29th, 2008, dragonfly said:

    I’ve been reading about this all over the blogosphere, but although it is always mentioned in the comments it is never mentioned in the posts. Sizes now are much, much different then they were in the 80s. Vanity sizing is so out of control that if they were a 6 then and a 4 now they’ve probably put on at least 10-20 pounds.

    I think the idea that they are “perfect” size 4′s is more of the issue. The obvious implication being that any other size is not “perfect”.

  14. 14 On April 3rd, 2008, Karen said:

    For what its worth, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not fat by anyone’s definition. If I can be forgiven for going by my weight and measurements from 6 months ago before I got pregnant this time, I looked up the US sizing chart. While I’m sure it is true that yesteryear’s 6 is now a 4, I’d like to point out that, with a BMI of 21.1 I am not fat, but, according to the sizing chart, I’m a size 4. Key difference between the Twins and me: I’m 5’0″, I was pretty sure they were 5’6″. The problem isn’t that they’ve changed a standard, the problem is the standard they are maintaining. To get my BMI a girl 5’6″ would have to weight no more than 131 lbs. I’m not sure what her measurements would be in that case, but I’d be willing to be they are higher than the size chart.

  15. 15 On April 3rd, 2008, Rachel said:

    The problem isn’t that they’ve changed a standard, the problem is the standard they are maintaining.

    The problem for me isn’t so much that they changed a standard, but that they persisted in upholding a standard, any standard.

  16. 16 On April 8th, 2008, julie said:

    I just realized something about poor Lois Waller, about 20 years after first reading about her travails in the SVH books. There was a jazz pianist in the early 20th century named FATS WALLER. This cannot be a coincidence.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fats_Waller

    Get it? Do ya? 20 years later, I finally get it.

    Pretty freaking weak, Francine Pascal. Lois Waller, the Fat Girl. Jeez.

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