|The lead photo accompanying the Vogue article (via New York Magazine)|
After seeing the online explosion about this yesterday - nothing like a little Mama Drama to drive book sales - this Vogue subscriber actually picked up the magazine and . . . read the article. Shocking, I know.
What I come away with is a . . . jumble of feelings. Weiss is a parent who thinks she's doing well by her daughter but one who is also deeply torn about her own eating issues, who acknowledges the deep unpopularity of her & her doctor's choice to implement this diet.
She admits to denying Bea food when she was hungry. She admits to publicly berating Bea, other family, and wait staff over food choices. She states about her own daughter, in an international fashion magazine, ". . . that fat girl is a thing of the past."
*pauses to hit head on keyboard*
The little girl in me - the slightly chubby one who started middle school on a diet mandated by a coach*, the anorexic one who graduated high school with a scholarship and an eating disorder, both hard-earned - she grieves. Grieves for the daughter and the mother - yes, both - though of course it's the daughter who is the ultimate victim, the one who will have to live with that article & eventual book forever. Are we to expect anything different, though, in a society so deeply torn about which messages we send about women's sizes - "Fight obesity!" "Love yourself for who you are!" "Beauty comes in all sizes!" "But you'll only see size 0 represented in a magazine!"
(*Thankfully, my family quickly figured out this wasn't ok - I quickly dropped the diet and the sport.)
The adult in me acknowledges that obesity, childhood obesity included, is a very real health concern, particularly here in the US. We won't solve it by not talking about it.
The writer in me believes, however, that there has to have been a better way to talk about this issue. All of us who blog about our families struggle to toe that line between honoring our people and over-exposing them. We write in part to connect with others, and I can understand Weiss writing that to reach out to others dealing with similar issues. What I cannot understand is the forum in which she chose to do so, and the language by which she chose to do it; it crosses that indelible overexposure line. "Fat" is forever, so to speak.
The parent in me realizes I'll have to make some unpopular decisions that others might not understand, and that someone else not understanding doesn't necessarily make those decisions wrong.
The parent in me is also ashamed to admit these things make me glad to be raising a boy instead of a girl . . . show of hands, who was surprised this article was about a mother getting her daughter, not her son, to diet? Me neither.
Perhaps most importantly, the parent in me will not be buying this book, nor any of the other recent "Freak-o-Momics" (thank you, Carolyn Hax, for that turn of phrase) literature publishing houses are pushing at us. I have enough to worry about with raising my wee boy CEO; respecting women of all sizes - no, people of all sizes - is a lesson he'll have to learn elsewhere, clearly.
Did anyone else read this? Whaddaya think?