While I was being lazy last week, an article published in Vogue Magazine caused quite a stir online. I am not a Vogue reader but apparently New York socialites write guest posts and this month’s is just another PR gaffe in the world of beauty magazine thinspiration. A mother shares her ridiculous approach to helping her 7-year-old daughter lose 16 pounds.
Not only is it hard to believe Dara-Lynn Weiss could treat her own daughter this way, but its mind-boggling that she decided to embarrass herself by sharing her “accomplishment.” The initial idea of the post is interesting in that is attempts to discuss what a parent is supposed to do after a pediatrician diagnoses that your child is overweight. The selfish methods that Weiss demonstrates in the article is like a road map for other parents who want their children to develop an eating disorder.
At 4’4″ inches tall, Weiss’ daughter Bea weighed in at 93 lbs which put her BMI in the ninety-ninth percentile for American children. According to the CDC, approximately 17 percent of American children are obese and Bea was one of them. While all she really had to do was give Bea less to eat, she instead took the following actions:
I once reproachfully deprived Bea of her dinner after learning that her observation of French Heritage Day at school involved nearly 800 calories of Brie, filet mignon, baguette, and chocolate. I stopped letting her enjoy Pizza Fridays when she admitted to adding a corn salad as a side dish one week. I dressed down a Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance of the nutrition content of the kids’ hot chocolate whose calories are listed as “120-210” on the menu board: Well, which is it? When he couldn’t provide an answer, I dramatically grabbed the drink out of my daughter’s hands, poured it into the garbage, and stormed out.
I cringe when I recall the many times I had it out with Bea over a snack given to her by a friend’s parent or caregiver … rather than direct my irritation at the grown-up, I often derided Bea for not refusing the inappropriate snack. And there have been many awkward moments at parties, when Bea has wanted to eat, say, both cookies and cake, and I’ve engaged in a heated public discussion about why she can’t.
It is grating to have someone constantly complain of being hungry, or refuse to eat what she’s supposed to, month after month… [It was also] exhausting managing someone’s diet, especially when her brother has completely different nutritional needs… No one likes to see a child or her mother humiliated over something as trivial as a few dozen calories.
I remember the moment I lost my innocent relationship with food in High School, but I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if that moment came at 7 years old. “Only time will tell whether my early intervention saved her from a life of preoccupation with her weight, or drove her to it,” she writes.
If there was a publication to print an article like this, I would expect it to be Vogue where the skinny and fit are photoshopped to unrealistic levels. Take for instance this photograph of Jennifer Lopez that also appears in the same issue. I bet she wishes she a had waist this tiny (she probably doesn’t but you get my point.)
What I don’t understand is the purpose the article is supposed to serve? Is this suppose to be piece where we learn “What Not To Do” like in How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days? Is it suppose to be helpful for mothers?
In High School, I had a friend whose mother would not keep unhealthy food in the house. I later found out she would throw up “unhealthy” meals. I don’t know the extent of her issue but she did have disordered eating habits in hind sight. Back then you were either anorexic or bulimic, and if you weren’t hospitalization-thin, you dealt with it on your own.
Since 17% of children are obese, how do you help them lose weight without causing an inevitable eating disorder? Were you put on a diet a child? Were you able to have a normal relationship with food as your got older?
Jezebel.com called this the worst Vogue article of all time.
The New Yorker concludes that, “There’s only one possible bright side to this maternal travesty: Years from now, when Bea is in therapy, she won’t have to waste those early sessions explaining herself because she’ll just be able to hand over that article and say, “SEE WHAT I HAD TO DEAL WITH?” ”
What do you think about this article? I have to agree with Jezebel and The New Yorker. My heart literally aches for this 7-year-old. I’d like to personally slap Weiss across the face. Parents should be better advised on helping their children lose weight. This is just cruel.