The current Horn Book Magazine includes a letter from Madeleine George, author of Looks, one of the books Kathryn Nolfi calls out as fatphobic in her article from the January issue, “YA Fatphobia”. (I discussed that article a bit here.)
I think George raises a particularly interesting question here:
More importantly, though, I take issue with the idea that only “positive” portrayals of fat characters can show fat readers that their lives are worth living. This strikes me as a typical error on the part of liberation movements of all kinds, particularly in their early stages: the boosterish demand for more representations that show members of a marginalized group in a rigidly “positive” light; and the attendant attempt to rid the world of “negative” representations that activists fear will veer too close to the stereotypes that have long disempowered them.
I haven’t read her book, so I can’t comment on whether it is or is not fatphobic. But her letter is well-written and worth a look. Mostly I’m just boosting the signal for this issue in general; I’m glad it’s been getting so much attention in Horn Book lately!