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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

261

Daughters! What Are You Gonna Do

"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."

The mom who put her daughter on a diet and wrote about it for Vogue now has a book deal. Its working title is The Heavy, but maybe we can come up with something better. How about I'm Trying to Do My Best, Although I Probably Shouldn't Be Writing This Book, I Know. Or even: You're Ruining Your Kids, Too, in Your Own Way, I Bet, Right?

Also: with the resurgence of fairy-tale influence in pop culture, maybe Rapunzel-, Snow White-, and Little Mermaid-style diet programs will also make a comeback. ("I lost her to a witch / I keep her in a coffin / I turned her into foam.")

261 Comments / Post A Comment

nyikint

The Case for Nurture: Edition Eating Disorders

Tuna Surprise

Hmmm, maybe Proceeds From the Sale of This Book Will Go, In Part, to Fund Bea's Therapy Bills?

noReally

I think I'd wait for the daughter's memoir. It ought to be a real cooker.

Megasus

I was so mad when I heard this!! The best we can hope for is that it will be a huge flop, and they all get remaindered, and then we will buy the remainders for a song here at the 'Pin, and we will burn them all in a big fire.

Xanthophyllippa

@Megan Patterson@facebook And eat cookies AND cake while we watch them burn.

Megasus

@Xanthophyllippa Obviously!

fondue with cheddar

@Xanthophyllippa With ice cream!

Xanthophyllippa

@jen325 With toppings, too!

graffin

As a new parent, I will encourage my child to eat healthy and keep health as the focus. A child shouldn't worry about weight. Actually, nobody should worry about weight.

Plus, what is up with not letting your daughter indulge at a party? I bet that while that mother was arguing with her child about cookies and cake, she was on her third glass of wine.

wharrgarbl

@graffin But when you're thin, you're clearly healthy, so it no longer matters what you put in your piehole, right? Or is it that thin people are like unicorns and can magically transubstantiate toxins and nutrient-poor foods into ambrosia and nectar?

LeafySeaDragon

@graffin lol i went to a parent meeting for a preschool once and there was literally a wine and cheese bar.

a small sea

@graffin I actually read a few excerpts of the article and there are definitely parts where it talks about how the daughter would want a cupcake from the pantry and the mom would say "no, let's not eat those because they aren't healthy" or whatever and would then sneak off later and shove a few in her (the mom's own) mouth. This is seriously full of projection and probably the most effective way to try to give your kid an eating disorder. AND THEN SHE PUT ALL OF THIS IN VOGUE/THE INTERNET!?

Lily Rowan

@a small sea Why the fuck do you have cupcakes in the house if you think they aren't healthy AND/OR think your kid needs to lose weight?? JFC.

Are They Biting Ducks?

@wharrgarbl I love this comment so much I'm considering asking it to marry me. At the wedding we'll have cake AND cupcakes.

wharrgarbl

@Are They Biting Ducks? A generous dower of cookies will also be provided.

Are They Biting Ducks?

@wharrgarbl And we will serve hot chocolate made with FULL FAT CREAM. MWAHAHAHAHAHA.

... sorry, I got a little out of control there.

caddie

@Lily Rowan The depressing answer to this, according to the Vogue excerpt I read, is that the little girl's brother was being fed separate, non-diet food at every meal. So the cupcakes were probably for the brother.

MilesofMountains

@caddie So she had to watch her brother eat all the things she wasn't allowed? That's horrible. I remember when my brother had a (very very mild) wheat allergy, and guess who had to eat gross rye loaf "toast" for years? THE WHOLE FAMILY.

Lily Rowan

@caddie That is horrifying.

wharrgarbl

@MilesofMountains Yes, yes. But everybody knows boys are actually important.

mlle.gateau

@caddie This fact just took every horrible reaction I had to this column and intensified it by like a thousand.

wharrgarbl

@mlle.gateau But "her brother has completely different nutritional needs"!

EpWs

@wharrgarbl Read: "Her brother is a boy so he doesn't have to be skinny for society to accept him!" /headdesk

wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Coooooompletely diiiiiiiifferent nutriiiiiitional neeeeeeeeeds. Sooooooome of whiiiiich iiiiinvolve cuuuuuupcakes.

Xanthophyllippa

@caddie Oh, good. So the daughter will end up fucked up due to severe body image issues, and the don will end up fucked up due to excellent training in misogyny.

EpWs

@wharrgarbl Bitch please, ALL my nutritional needs involve cupcakes.

Ophelia

Whaaaa?? I don't even know what to make of this. My sister was chubby as a little kid, but also active and rambunctious, so my mom (who generally fed us healthy food) signed her up for soccer (in addition to general running around, bike-riding, etc.). Eventually (age 11 or so?) she grew 6 inches in a year, didn't gain any weight in the process, and went from what would probably be "obese" in this crazy woman's mind to totally normal/on the skinny side. BECAUSE THAT'S HOW PEOPLE GROW.

LeafySeaDragon

@Ophelia my kids grow out than up. and your mom was doing it right! don't shame your kids, give them something fun and healthy to do.

Ophelia

@LeafySeaDragon Exactly! And it meant that for both of us, we now LIKE doing outdoorsy, active things (I just didn't have such a dramatic transformation, since I grew gradually instead of all at once), and neither of us obsesses about food.

sudden_eyes

@Ophelia Precisely. All my son's friends grow this way. Sports or some other kind of vigorous physical activity are always a good idea, but seriously, most of them will be fine, as long as there's healthy food to eat ... Meanwhile my own kid (14) only ever grows up, not out, and he frets about it, even after I point out - cheerfully - that he's built exactly like his father and will be just fine. MOMS, KIDS ARE ALREADY WORRIED ENOUGH ABOUT THEIR BODIES, SO JFC BE SUPPORTIVE.

anachronistique

@sudden_eyes The other thing that gets me is that some kids just handle weight differently than others! My brother and I were fed the exact same thing in probably identical quantities growing up, lots of hippie food and very little "junk food". Both of us played sports and tore around the neighborhood with other kids. I was always chubby. He was always skinny. OMG HOW CAN THIS BE??? Clearly my parents were sneaking butter into my sandwiches.

H.E. Ladypants

@anachronistique Yes, that was exactly the way it was with my sister and I, too! And I spent years being nervous because she was rail thin and I wasn't.

And low and behold we've grown up and now she's a bit curvier than me but she's also had a baby and I've got four inches on her and maybe bodies are really individual things? That will change throughout our lives. That sound about right?

That sounds about right.

sudden_eyes

@H.E. Ladypants Exactly. Change is certain and bodies are def. individual things. My little sister and I were both toothpicks, but I grew up to be 5'3" and zaftig and she's 5'9" and STILL way thin (even after having three kids). We're both fine.

anachronistique

@H.E. Ladypants Yeah, if I hadn't fallen down the eating disorder pit I would probably look like my sister, who has a butt and boobs and a little belly, because we are the same height while our brother has a good eight inches on us. Genetics! Wacky fun!

slutberry

@H.E. Ladypants My sister is tall and lean and leggy. I am short and curvy and curvy. My other sister is short and thin but curvy. My other sister is tall and skinny skinny but with wide skinny hips. My other sister is tall and bodacious. GUYS I DON'T UNDERSTAND, WHICH ONE OF US IS DOIN' IT RONG?

wharrgarbl

@teffodee Well, everyone you mention is a lady, right? The answer is obvious, you silly goose. You're all doing it wrong! There is no right when you're a lady!

Passion Fruit

@H.E. Ladypants That DOES sound about right! Fuck yes.

slutberry

@wharrgarbl Aw, crap dammit.

Daria Morgendorffer

@Ophelia The chubby kid growing up into a svelte adult was what I was hoping for - but alas, I grew to 6' and so did my chub. I will someday be the swan my mother always told me I'd grow up to be - when I am 65 and crazy.
I haven't read the article, so I can't really comment on that, but generally speaking about childhood obesity rates, healthy eating habits really need to be instilled in kids. From other's comments, this mother is not instilling good habits and patterns.

britishpetroleum

@Daria Morgendorffer Agree. There are issues to discuss when it comes to childhood obesity, access to healthy food, instilling healthy habits, etc. I read this article, and it's mostly about one woman's disordered eating and neuroses that she puts on her daughter, with no self-awareness whatsoever (or maybe she's self-aware, but it's not directed in the right area...). Glad she's getting paid to write a whole shitty book on the topic.

I don't know why I read Vogue, honestly.

Ophelia

@Daria Morgendorffer Yes, agreed - the point wasn't necessarily that my sister grew without gaining weight, more that a "chubby" kid who hasn't had a growth spurt isn't automatically a candidate for a crazy diet. People grow at all different rates, etc., and I doubt even an excellent pediatrician can predict that.

Bitterblue

...I don't want to live on this planet any more. Excuse me, does anyone know how to terraform Mars? I don't suppose we could add "Ask an Astrophysicist" to the Hairpin.

hahahaha, ja.

@Bitterblue: "Ask a Newt Gingrich," with the moon instead of Mars? He seems to have all the answers.

Bitterblue

@ietapi But I'm pretty sure his answers would be "on the backs of the poor" and "but no girls allowed on the moon".

hahahaha, ja.

@Bitterblue: Dang ... that does throw a wrench in the works. I guess we'll have to start our OWN colony on our OWN moon, and Newt won't be invited.

dj pomegranate

@Bitterblue I bet we could convince him to do it and then USURP! Like, "Hey, Newt, you could send all the ladies to the moon as, you know, like a labor colony!" He would dig that. But then we would get up there and secede and have lunar wine parties!

(Related: calling someone "moon" in Arabic is a compliment, like, "Your beauty is like the moon!" This is totally appropriate because we Moon Colony Ladies will all beautiful, and Newt will never be beautiful.)

LauraRebecca

@ietapi "OWN colony" and "OWN moon" -- Oprah must be involved!

Ophelia

@dj pomegranate I believe the correct way to entice Newt to let ladies on the moon would be to pitch it so that they're all prostitutes and/or childbearing colony-providers. Labor colony indeed.

dj pomegranate

@Ophelia But since everyone who uses birth control is a prostitute, this will be a really easy pitch!

sudden_eyes

@Bitterblue I like to imagine that on the opposite side of the sun there's another Earth where things are going exactly as they should, and all we have to do is move there - it wouldn't even be that hard. This is a soothing thought at 4 a.m. when contemplating Rick Santorum.

hahahaha, ja.

@sudden_eyes: As an astrophysicist, I can tell you that this is 100% true, and also we are currently opening a portal to a parallel universe in which the stupid birth control "controversy" doesn't exist, and in which it sometimes rains miniature cupcakes instead of water, and the cupcakes are awesome.

Ophelia

@ietapi But...but what did we do to deserve to be in THIS version of the universe? Sigh.

sudden_eyes

@ietapi I dibs the red velvet ones!

hahahaha, ja.

@Ophelia: mumblemumble quantumfluctuations mumblemumble corioliseffect mumblemumble edictofnantes mumblemumble

LeafySeaDragon

@ietapi WITH BLACKJACK! AND HOOKERS!

Megasus

@Bitterblue Let's call it Pinlandia!

mlle.gateau

@ietapi "If We Can Send A Man To The Moon, Why Not Newt?" - BEST BUMPER STICKER EVER.

slutberry

@Bitterblue Oh! Oh! Oh! The Gentleman is an astrophysicist, and one of his favorite topics is Mars! Ask An Astrophysicist!

EpWs

@teffodee Dear Gentleman Astrophysicist: Why are we not on Mars? Can we maybe just send Newt and Santorum there instead? Thank you! Also please send mini cupcake rainstorms.

Bitterblue

@teffodee Yaaaaaay! Dear Gentleman Astrophysicist: How much money would I need to put down as my goal in Kickstarter in order to terraform and move to Mars/the moon? How many people do you think I could get to volunteer and go with me? How many of them should also be astrophysicists? Are you and teffodee looking for a job opportunity on Mars?

slutberry

@Bitterblue Paging @Gentleman to the comment thread. Paging @Gentleman to the comment thread.

melis

"What about this apple?"

"I don't know, is it poisonous?"

"Mm, I think that the white cheek is not poisoned but the red cheek, which is so comely to look upon that I feel I must eat it or perish of longing, is definitely poisoned."

"God, I don't know, how many points is poison?"

"Mm. Good question Is poison a carb?"

Ophelia

@melis Depends. Is it arsenic or ricin? Because ricin is totally a carb.

thebestjasmine

Everything about this makes me legit tear up. That poor poor little girl.

Ellie

@thebestjasmine I know. It's so sad, she sounds so REASONABLE in contrast with her crazy mom.

I do feel a little bad for the mom too. When she says "I have not ingested any food, looked at a restaurant menu, or been sick to the point of vomiting without silently launching a complicated mental algorithm about how it will affect my weight" - it's terrible to live like that. I feel so bad for her. I used to be anorexic and was still pretty disordered for a long time after that and that's exactly how I felt - it takes up all your mental energy and controls your entire life. It's so wonderful not to live like that anymore and I appreciate it every day. It's great to be able to live like a normal person. I think her attitude toward her daughter's diet is reprehensible, but I can understand the impulse to try and make her daughter thin by hook or by crook, so that her daughter won't have to be consumed by those thoughts day in day out, and can be "thin and happy." Of course, it's the totally, 100% wrong way to go about it, but I still can kind of understand the impulse. Therapy all around!!!

wharrgarbl

So, I think I'm going to deliberately misremember this so that it's a mother arguing with her diabetic daughter about why she can't have cake at a party, acknowledging that it sucks ass to have to monitor her food and not participate in certain group-bonding rituals, especially at her age, and saying that she's sorry her daughter drew a shitty genetic hand. The end.

Daisy Razor

@wharrgarbl I still get teary trying to explain to my celiac daughter why she can't eat what everybody else is eating. There are a lot of things I would trade to have a slightly overweight daughter versus one who's in the 5th percentile of her age group for weight.

log lady

@wharrgarbl oh, she drew a shitty genetic hand all right.

Ophelia

@Daisy Razor Yeah, I was allergic to a lot of stuff as a kid, which meant I often couldn't eat cake at birthday parties and such. But I also had a mom who would bring egg-free cake and Tofuti to parties if needed. <3 u, Momm-ie!

EpWs

@Ophelia Tofuti explain for please? Also go your mom!

wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Tofutti. Ice cream substitute in case ice cream will make you ill/kill you/scandalize your morals by enslaving animals.

anachronistique

New life plan:

1) Win the lottery
2) Start new career as the Fat Shame Fairy: dress in tutu and fairy wings, find people like this woman, and do a belly-jiggling dance outside their houses till they agree to stop being terrible
3) Profit!*

* the profit will be sweet satisfaction

bowtiesarecool

@anachronistique Ooh! Ooh! But only if the costume looks like the Evil Donut Fairy from that dreadfully designed Disney attraction. Because dude, how much more awesome would you be if you had a magic spatula wand that made donuts?

Ophelia

@bowtiesarecool I'm just saying, if she has a magic spatula wand that makes donuts, I'm going to follow her around, just in case she drops one for me.

LeafySeaDragon

@anachronistique this reminds of the plot of bet me by jennifer crusie which is an excellent romance novel. just like all of her books. there is a zaftig woman who is not allowed to eat bread who ends up with a handsome bf who feeds her krispy kremes.

anachronistique

@bowtiesarecool I need a magic spatula wand, like, yesterday.

a small sea

@anachronistique But by Step 1: Win Lottery, you really meant Step 1: Steal Underpants, right? Followed by Step 2:..... and Step 3: PROFIT!

area@twitter

@anachronistique I would like to fund this project, where should I send my largesse?

Craftastrophies

@LeafySeaDragon That is my favourite Jenny Cruise, which means it;s maybe my favourite book, ever. I totally stole from it the line 'some things are just meant to be made with butter: I am one of those things'. Other favourite line: 'my real mother would let me eat bread'.

@anachronistique, make a kickstarter and I will totally chip in.

Verity

@LeafySeaDragon Yes! I love Bet Me.

Craftastrophies

@Verity I'm reading that again, now, because of this thread :)

I was also trying to find a study I read, that compared the treatment and discussion of fatness/body issues in romance novels. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

LeafySeaDragon

@Craftastrophies i really loved hot blondes by susan johnson for her take on BI. the book itself was so so, but the heroine takes a stand when her love interest was telling her she was gorgeous beautiful, etc while simultaneously telling her to not work out/eat healthy. she took him down! i sum up: i work hard to look the way i look and i do it FOR ME and it is insulting of you to undermine my lifestyle choices! BITCH!

ok, so i added that last part but the attitude was there.

my fave crusie novel is faking it. all of her heroines have body image/age/attitude issues. i love her handling of it. all of her novels are empowering. i couldn't relate to her may/dec romance one, but it was still well written.

Craftastrophies

@LeafySeaDragon Faking it is my second fave. I feel like Tilda is the heroine I want to be, Min is who I actually am. But MAN I love Davy - I do like my heroes slightly... bent.

I also really really love Strangebedpersons. I love that all her characters are slightly cranky and not perfect and even though there's a happy ending, it's a believable one that involves compromise and things not always being magically fixed.

I liked this chat with her fellow writers about what makes a good hero http://www.arghink.com/2012/01/15/the-three-goddesses-chat-heroes/

paddlepickle

This lady is gonna bring quite the rebellious teenager phase upon herself. Can't wait till the kid turns 13. She's gonna be an awesome fat lesbian punk kid, I just know it./optimism

log lady

@paddlepickle I'm picturing Isobel from Weeds and LOVING IT.

frigwiggin

Oh my god, this woman seems SO INTO HERSELF. "I dramatically grabbed the drink out of my daughter's hands," "I often derided Bea," "I once reproachfully deprived Bea." Such a struggle for you! So exhausting! Such a sacrifice! How is her conclusion at the end of this anything other than "I am a monster"?

sudden_eyes

@figwiggin This. Her hissy fit at the Starbucks barista is particularly memorable. Also, can you imagine what it's going to be like for Bea in school now that all her classmates' moms have read this article?

@serenityfound

@sudden_eyes I do count calories (because I am tres terrible at portion control and it's the only thing that works to keep me from eating ALL THE COOKIES) and that Starbucks fit was RIDICULOUS.

"OH NOES! THERE IS AN 80 CALORIE RANGE THIS THING COULD BE IN, DEPENDING ON THE SIZE AND WHETHER IT HAS WHIPPED CREAM! IT'S THE END OF TEH WORLD!"

Maybe if you were having them multiple times a day but, geez lady, 80-100 calories is usually a drop in the bucket (especially for a kid's caloric intake). What about teaching Bea that it's okay to indulge as long as you balance it out in the long-run? Or encourage her to have a less sugary, but still delicious flavored "steamer" instead?

Also, that poor barista for having to deal with that woman's fit. I hope they took a polaroid of that woman and put her up on a "wall of shame" a la Community.

fabel

@@serenityfound yeah, this part killed me. First of all, a person can burn 100 calories in their sleep. Second of all...there is a "range" because of whipped cream, milk fat, and size. THIRDLY she wasted a perfectly good hot chocolate because of her inability to figure that out

@serenityfound

@fabel The wasted hot chocolate is the saddest part of this story. (and that, if she poured it in the trash, some poor barista had to clean up that wet, soppy mess from inside the bin)

AniaGosia

@sudden_eyes I would be tempted to sneak her a cookie.

area@twitter

@figwiggin here's the kicker for me: "deriding". You are deriding your 7 year old child based on her appearance. Look at your life. LOOK AT YOUR CHOICES.

LeafySeaDragon

i have only read excerpts from this and it makes me ill. she is handling it SO BADLY. when i was little there was always the skinny kids the 'normal' kids and a couple of really chubby kids. i'd say at every elementary school i've been to at least 1/4-1/3 of the kids are overweight.

i applaud any parent who looks at their overweight child and makes an effort to change their eating habits for the better. you can't just ignore it and your kid will magically get better. btu like i said, this lady is DOING IT WRONG

in a related story i took my kids to a bday party this weekend. a lady served them cake and then offered them coke or root beer. my 5yr old looked at her blankly. i prompted him that she meant soda. he looked at her, shook his head and said, "soda is bad for you! it rots your teeth and makes you crazy!" so i had to tell him we were at a party and it was s special occasion, so it was ok. he gave me mad side eye and both my kids ended up with root beer. it was a little embarrassing, but i know that i have no reason to be embarrassed.

@serenityfound

@LeafySeaDragon That is an awesome story. It seems like such a better strategy to establish healthy eating/nutrition habits at home & get "embarrassed" by explaining the exceptions in public than straight up shaming your kid & denying her/him a momentary indulgence in public.

Emma Peel

@LeafySeaDragon Sometimes kids do get better, though, at least if they're chubby vs obese. A lot of kids grow out before they grow up. 7 seems really, REALLY young to worry about this.

Ophelia

@M. A. Peel Particularly since this kid clearly wasn't clinically obese? I think there is a point at which one might need dramatic, health-driven intervention, but that definitely sounds like it wasn't the case here.

LeafySeaDragon

@M. A. Peel chubby is not an issue, but really really overweight? it may have to do with the neighborhoods i've lived in (no great! bad even!) but there are a lot of seriously overweight kids. a chunk of that lays on school lunches (ewwwww) and educating parents to to cook and eat healthy.

Craftastrophies

@LeafySeaDragon Yes, but how much worse is it for a kid to be overweight AND have an eating disorder/chronic poor self esteem because your parents are constantly sending you the message that you are too fat for them to love properly? A lot worse.

I prefer to think about it in terms of making better, healthier choices, rather than fat. Because that is not really the point - some of those kids are going through growth spurts, some of them are just always going to be fat, but ALL of those kids, fat or thin, deserve to have good food, and the skills to make good choices, and places to do fun activity, AND be loved and approved of by their parents and others. Part of that is letting kids indulge sometimes, like at your party or Bea's French Day, otherwise they end up binging and hoarding when, at some point, they go off to a sleepover or college or whatever, because they haven't learnt to deal with choices and what will make them feel good.

My partners kids will say things like 'I think I've had enough sugar now, I'm feeling a bit hyper. Maybe I'd like some vegetables with vitamin B in it to counteract that.' Then I make this face o_O because that is something I only learnt as a 20-something, and STILL struggle with. Sweet things were always super restricted in our house, and so now when I have them I always eat too many and feel ill. Always. Even as an adult who has all the tools to make good decisions, because that pattern and fear that there will never be sweet things ever again is so deep that I can't get rid of it.

julia

My vote is for alternate title number 1.

Tragically Ludicrous

Why are people like this getting paid to write things? She's already a rich socialite and total asshole!

leastimportantperson

The Heavy, or, You Can't Judge Me, You Don't Know My Life Except for That Article and This Book but Still Just Shut UP

Judith Slutler

For Bea, the achievement is bittersweet. When I ask her if she likes how she looks now, if she's proud of what she's accomplished, she says yes...Even so, the person she used to be still weighs on her. Tears of pain fill her eyes as she reflects on her yearlong journey. "That's still me," she says of her former self. "I'm not a different person just because I lost sixteen pounds." I protest that, indeed, she is different. At this moment, that fat girl is a thing of the past. A tear rolls down her beautiful cheek, past the glued-in feather. "Just because it's in the past," she says, "doesn't mean it didn't happen."

Um, it doesn't sound like "the person she used to be" is weighing on her. It sounds like she realizes her mom's approval is totally conditional upon her not being "that fat girl" anymore.

Sad, sad, sad.

LeafySeaDragon

@Emmanuelle Cunt OH LORD 16 POUNDS THE HORROR

i'm trying to avoid reading this article but i may have to dip in.

@serenityfound

@Emmanuelle Cunt The thing that bothers me most about that quote is that it twice mentions "beauty" and the way she looks. Because she obvs couldn't have been beautiful before.

Also, why would losing 16 pounds make her a different person? She should be the same "person" - just able to make better/healthier choices and a bit lighter on her feet. Your weight should not be the fucking entirety of your identity.

Judith Slutler

@@serenityfound What gets me is that she knows she's the same person, but her mom doesn't seem to. It's just so awful.

H.E. Ladypants

@Emmanuelle Cunt Yeah, that was the part that utterly kills me. It's like she's doing everything she can to crush that girl's sense of self outside this one criteria of "thin."

I know my mom wasn't perfect (no mom is) but my god, this essay makes me want to call her and tell her sixteen times how much I love her.

fabel

@Emmanuelle Cunt Ya, that part was awful. Her daughter's basically trying to be like "Look, but I'm the same person! It's the inside that counts!" & this woman is insisting that that "fat girl" is gone for now.

@serenityfound

@fabel "...because that's what you were, Bea. You were 'the fat girl'. The only one. And everyone thought of you that way. But now you're 'the pretty girl'! Because you're thin. And everyone loves you!"

Craftastrophies

@@serenityfound 'Don't worry, sweetie! That mean fat girl can't make you sad any more!'

Ugh. that made me so SAD.

Nicole Cliffe

KILL IT WITH FIRE. No, seriously, though. This is so exploitative and messed up and ahhhhhhh can't even. First of all, I hate you. Secondly, almost all little girls bulk up before puberty TO FUEL THE FIRES OF CHANGE WITHIN. Thirdly, whatever, I understand that you're trying to follow your doctor's instructions, but can you show me where he said TO WRITE AN ARTICLE AND THEN A BOOK ABOUT YOUR FAT KID?

Everything is the worst.

@serenityfound

@Nicole Cliffe SERIOUSLY. I have a sister who's 10 years younger than me and has been pretty overweight for her age/height since probably age 8 or 9 and completely understand how vital and frustrating it can be to try to help them get healthier and make better choices. BUT THIS IS BULLSHIT.

Judith Slutler

@Nicole Cliffe RIGHT??? My doctor was always like "you are overweight" / "you are underweight" / "you are overweight" for every single annual checkup I had, because ummm, growth spurts happen? Jesus Hussain Christ

wharrgarbl

@Nicole Cliffe And seriously? Some doctors are fucking assholes. Some doctors are even *drumroll* shitty doctors. And some doctors are fucking assholes who suck at their jobs. I question whether a doctor prescribing a calorie-restricting godzilla stomp across the diet of a seven-year-old could do anything but fall into the third category. That's the sort of shit that, if it needs to be done, needs to be done while working closely with a pediatric nutritionist.

@serenityfound

@wharrgarbl And I seriously, seriously doubt that her doctor said that a 7 year old should go on a severely calorie-restricted diet (which probably robs her of calcium and all kinds of other nutrients she needs) that would make her lose 16 pounds IN A YEAR. Like, that's a crazy achievement for an adult. Even the doctor who designed the "diet" they "followed" says this lady is batshit.

wharrgarbl

@@serenityfound While she grew two inches! 16 pound weight loss, while she grew two inches. I mean, seriously.

fabel

@@serenityfound Yeah, that doctor is now trying to distance herself from this woman, who clearly just took the "obese" diagnosis & ran with it.

The calorie counting obsession describes throughout the whole thing was sickening. Like, the issues she clearly had with food and control was put on her poor daughter.

@serenityfound

@wharrgarbl grumblerumblemissingoutonessentialnutrientsgrumblerumble

slutberry

@Nicole Cliffe I just went through this thread all, "Guys? Guys? Can we KILL IT WITH FIRE already? Where... where is the FIRE? Why has there been no FIRE yet?"

And then, all at once, there you were.

PistolPackinMama

@teffodee I lost about ten pounds at the age of six when I was sick as heck with undiagnosed type I diabetes. The weight loss freaked my parents and doctor the heck right out. 16 pounds is so much weight for someone that small.

The Mythical Codfish

@Nicole Cliffe I like the Jesus Hussein Christ bit. Just sayin'.

City_Dater

I'm not even a parent, yet I know that having a "heated public discussion" with a 7-year-old is a sign you're up to something borderline crazy.

Nicole Cliffe

Also, BEA, since you will eventually read this, because that's how the internet works, everyone is on your side and thinks your mom is a wingnut. I look forward to purchasing your eventual memoir, and will buy you cake AND cookies at the bakery of your choice once you are of age. <3 u, unfortunate children of women with control issues.

bean1

@Nicole Cliffe Yes, Hi, Bea! I subscribe to Vogue. It's pretty, and I love clothes and jewelry, and a lot of the articles are interesting. But you know what? I read this article before all the hoopla (subscriber!) and your mom meant well, and probably loves you like crazy, but she did it all wrong. Food is delicious! And you don't need to be hungry, ever, because if you eat nutritiously, and are happy, that's enough. I hope you can find a healthy relationship with food, and yourself, and pretty dresses (no matter what size you are!) because I bet you're pretty great. And they make pretty dresses in all sizes.

anachronistique

@bean1 You can even get pretty dresses that look like cupcakes, if you feel like it.

atipofthehat

@Nicole Cliffe

Bea, we are your people, and we are STRONG

Nicole Cliffe

Strong, and well-nourished.

olivebee

Oy. My mother was never this bad but this certainly brings back a few painful memories. I have always been pretty thin (especially so during childhood), but I stopped growing (height-wise) at age 12, so once middle school and high school hit, I naturally put on weight that comes with puberty and growing up. Because all my friends were several inches taller than me, my mom always lamented that I wasn't as skinny as them. She would make very subtle but nonetheless pointed comments at dinner about how I might want to keep an eye on my weight. Then, I lost 12 lbs my freshman year of college (all the walking and biking!) and have been the same weight ever since, and yet when I go home to visit my mom, she complains about how I am too skinny now and I look unhealthy. I CANNOT WIN.

Moms are the worst. Or maybe just weight-focused people are the worst.

sudden_eyes

@olivebee Oy, I so understand. I was thin as a rail until well into college, so escaped any pushing in adolescence; my mother seemed normal and supportive. So I was TOTALLY UNPREPARED when my body developed fully, when I was maybe 20, and she suddenly started freaking out about my weight. Which she has done ever since. The pre-wedding stuff was nightmarish, and ever since I had a child and put on some pounds that have been hard to shed, she's been relentless. I love her to pieces in all kinds of ways but she cannot seem to figure out how unhelpful and maddening this is.

@sudden_eyes This is my story exactly. I was a skinny, athletic kid and my mom was fine about my body... until I was about 20-21 and got the Earth Mother Hips and Boobs and Thighs body. My shoulders got broader, my boobs got bigger, my hips are wider, etc. I'm 25 and my mom is still freaking out. I freak out, too -- I would (not so secretly) love to be back to a size 6 and have a concave little torso. I would freak out less if my mom was just chill with my body. She, by the way, is very slim and has the perfect skinny Norwegian lady build, whereas I look just like my dad's family (Polish and Italian, descended from peasants).

My mom is awesome. It's this one issue that makes me feel so awful, and it's almost as though there's a big separation between my relationship with my mom and my body's relationship with my mom.

sudden_eyes

Whoops, I managed to wipe out my own post instead of editing it. Let's try again.

I completely agree with your final paragraph. It's amazing. Whenever I mention my junior year of college? When I got mono and double pneumonia and lost between 1/5 and 1/4 or my body weight, and was exhausted and emaciated? My mother says, "Oh, that was when you looked really good."

Nicole Cliffe

"Everything I Know About Parenting I Learned From Lucille Bluth"

melis

"You want your belt to buckle. Not your chair."

Nicole Cliffe

@melis One word: sleeves.

melis

Ice cream? I don't think so. That chubby little wrist of yours is testing the tensile strength of this bracelet as it is.

Dancercise

Dinner's ready. We're having "Lindsay chops."

Nicole Cliffe

@Dancersize We're all going off this silly diet right away. Not you, Lindsay.

redheaded&crazy

They do have father-daughter dances ... but that was before we did your nose.

melis

'What? I just wanted her to be ready in case some bully at school was as clever as I am."

No bully ever was.

Dancercise

You might want to let that fire go out before you stick your face in it.

Yankee Peach

As a former publishing drone, I can't help but wonder about the type of acquisitions editor who read this article and said to herself "Why this little girl hasn't been ridiculed enough, get me her Mommie Dearest on the phone. Stat."

Honestly, this whole Tiger Mother genre is giving me the mean reds.

applestoapples

I also grew up with a mother who projected her shortcomings onto me when I was very young. Thankfully, she didn't have the wherewithal to publish her self-aggrandizement-disguised-as-self-sacrifice in a national publication.
I hope this woman's using some of that publishing money to set up a therapy fund for her daughter.

Ophelia

@applestoapples She is, but she's probably going to blog about it, so...

sox
sox

I haven't read the Vogue article, only what's posted on Jez, but please, please tell me there is a place where the mother acknowledges that she had culpability in her daughter getting to a point where the doctor diagnosed her as morbidly obese? I mean, the mother says she liked the "diagnostic tone" of the morbid obesity, but honey, there are a lot of rest stops along the road from healthy weight to a potentially fatal outlook and as the parent, you are the driver taking your child along that road. Children under 7 aren't cooking themselves dinner, ya know?

hotdog

full disclosure: I haven't read the full article. But like...why is it NOT ok to say that your kid can only have one cookie? Or only one piece of cake? No one in my family ever had a weight problem, and we were allowed to eat voraciously, but not have two cupcakes, ummm...ever? I thought frozen grapes were candy for the LONGEST time.

Oh wait. I just read it. Mom's a psycho. There are ways to make sure your kids eat healthy without slapping hot chocolate out of their hands. I mean, starbucks is also a calorie hell-hole, with no redeeming nutritional quality, so why take your 'clinically obese' kid in there at all? This whole thing is psychotic and SO NYC it kills me.

Nicole Cliffe

@hotdog I know, until you read the article it could conceivably be responsible parenting. Article is a disaster.

phipsi

@hotdog Do you have a link to the full article?

wharrgarbl

@phipsi I'm thinking it's behind a paywall. It's apparently titled "Weight Watchers" and in the April issue of Vogue. Googling just turns up articles about it with no links to the article itself.

sudden_eyes

@phipsi I can't find it online - I think one is supposed to go purchase the April Vogue. So I've only read the excerpts at Jezebel, et al.

So yes, please, hotdog, do you have a link to the full article?

fabel

@sudden_eyes I subscribe to Vogue & I read about this clusterfuck of insanity online before remembering that I had the issue sitting at home, un-read.

Yeah, you hope for the best when you see the excerpts, but the article really highlights how wrong it is.

hotdog

@phipsi sorry to my vogue-seeking proletariat; I started to write my comment, then cancelled it, then ran down to the 7-11 and actually perused it while deciding to buy a diet coke. Then came back up to my office (ha!cubicle). Obviously the best way to read it.

bskinz

Gah, this is ridiculous. I was a fat kid, and my grandmother and aunt constantly belittled me and made me feel bad about it. Fast forward to high school, where i developed full blown bulimia and got super thin, but was depressed and cutting myself, while listening to dashboard confessional and eating ice cream (i know). Now i'm out of college, and fat again, but ultimately a happier person. I wish someone had told me it was ok, and that the adults in my life shouldn't treat kids like that. Ugh, sorry for the rant/oversharing

Passion Fruit

@bskinz Glad you were able to move out of that unhealthy thinking/coping, bskinz. That's a real accomplishment. Go you!

LMac

Give her some veggies and sign her up for soccer, you vodka-soaked nightmare.

JessicaLovejoy

@LMac HEY. You leave vodka out of this.

melis

Leave vodka out of everything.

@serenityfound

@melis Especially out of martinis...

melis

VODKA MARTINIS FAUGH

staircases

@melis Except my mouth, thanks.

melis

@staircases faaaaaaaaaugh

@serenityfound

@staircases FOR SHAME. #GinForever

phipsi

The Best Time My Mom Suffered From Orthorexia and Projected Her Issues Onto My 2nd Grade Cupcake Habit

phipsi

@phipsi The Best Time I Was an Overweight Child But My New York Socialite Mom Thought It Was Not Ok To Run Around in Central Park in My Expensive Frocks

slutberry

@phipsi The Best Time I Burned Everything With Fire.

JessicaLovejoy

Man, fuck this lady, but that description of French Heritage Day (Brie, filet mignon, baguettes, chocolate!) was inspiring. I'm American, but my first name is French. Can I get in on this somehow?

dj pomegranate

@JessicaLovejoy When we start our Lady Moon Colony, we can have French Heritage Day as often as we want!

area@twitter

@JessicaLovejoy Doesn't that sound delicious?! I would like baked brie with walnuts and brown sugar on top like my auntie makes.

beanie

@JessicaLovejoy it made me wish I went to a fancy school. The best thing we ever got was King Cake (which is admittedly very good).

EpWs

@JessicaLovejoy For serious! I stopped being horrified for just a second because FILET MIGNON?

Nutmeg

When I was 11, my mom called me over to her in order to poke me in the stomach and laugh, "You're getting a belly!" Now, I can look back and realize that she has a lot of shame about her body and being overweight and that she was afraid I grow up to be like her, overweight and therefore ashamed. She didn't know that her comment, and similar ones over the years, were a large part of why I became ashamed of my body and so fearful of becoming overweight. But to be able to even realize that about my mother took years of therapy for my eating disorder, where I spent way too much time and money crying about, "But what if I get faaaaaaat???" and therapists telling me, "Uh, yeah? What if?"

I am basically the same weight now as I was at the height of my eating disorder and it is a "low end of 'normal' BMI" weight, which I have had to accept WILL CHANGE as I grow older (and, to be honest, already has- which is a large part of why I said the big fuck-you to knowing my weight because it doesn't matter), and I think I might finally be at a point where that is okay? I mean, I'm friggin' 21 years old, and nobody in my family maintains their young adult weight. I am going to gain weight and look a lot like my mother, but whether or not I spend my whole life ashamed of Every Pound Gained and endlessly fighting that inevitability is a choice, and I choose to live my life in a way that is not quite so fruitless.

elizabeast

I really wonder if this woman ever had a conversation with her daughter about what obesity means, and what healthy eating is. Because I understand that if a doctor told me my child was obese and at risk for diabetes and other health problems I'd probably jump right in and change my kids diet, but I'd also have a lot of CONVERSATIONS with my child about what the hell is going on. The article makes it seem like this woman said to her daughter, "You're fat and I'm going to make you skinny," and then proceeded to cut her food intake.

Ophelia

@elizabeast And even more so, it sounds like this woman said to her kid, "You're fat, which I hate, so I'm going to make you beautiful, and if you are beautiful you will be a better person." Which is so horrible I just don't even know where to start.

allofthecrafts

lets play a game called "best ways to screw up your child!" oh, wait, this lady already won.

this ordeal is the sort of thing that makes me afraid to have kids...because what if i go nuts and do something like that?! especially coming from a disordered-eating background (like this women obviously does, too)!
OH I KNOW, i declare we will subsist solely on cupcakes, that simplifies it. mmm, cupcakes.

Texian

Gah! Hate this mom and her ilk. Those 16 pounds would do FAR LESS damage to young Bea than all this woman's crazy. She is 7 FFS! What happens when she reaches puberty and things really start to change? Now I'm so sad.

highfivesforall

My cat's name is Bea, and she is not allowed to have cake either. We don't discuss it though, I just push her off the table.

Nicole Cliffe

@highfivesforall See, I WOULD be interested in purchasing a cat-themed graphic novel from you.

Tragically Ludicrous

@highfivesforall My bicycle's name is Bea, actually. (It's an omafiets, or "granny bike," and my grandmother's name was Bea.) It can also not have cake. It's my cake, you're a bicycle, you don't even have a mouth.

atipofthehat

@Tragically Ludicrous

"...people who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who nearly are half people and half bicycles.”

I let go a gasp of astonishment that made a sound in the air like a bad puncture.

“And you would be flabbergasted at the number of bicycles that are half-human.”

—The Third Policeman

Tragically Ludicrous

@atipofthehat Bea is sort of clanky and doesn't break good and has flower stickers all over, but is mostly pretty sturdy and has a very classic profile, so I'm okay with that I guess.

Craftastrophies

@atipofthehat Two nuns were riding their bikes down a road.
First nun: I haven't come this way before.
Second nun: Yes, I think it's the cobblestones.

hahahaha, ja.

I can put up a strong front regarding matters of weight and self-image 99% of the time, but the instant my mom says something about my body I break down and revert to being an insecure teen.

frigwiggin

I'm actually going a little blind with anger about this, the more I think about it. Fat-shaming makes me want to vomit in this woman's face.

Craftastrophies

@figwiggin But vomit has SO MANY CALORIES!

cuminafterall

When I was about Bea's age, I mentioned something about diets. I think I'd heard about them on TV and thought it was a thing cool, grownup women did? I don't know. Anyway, my mom, who was very unhappy with her weight, told me, "Never go on a diet! Eat healthy food, but never diet." Nearly 20 years later, I have healthy eating habits and exercise regularly. Also, my mom has taken her own advice and changed her eating habits, which she adorably calls a "life adjustment, not a diet."

What I'm trying to say is, it's possible to work through your own body issues without taking it out on your kids. NO EXCUSES, VOGUE LADY.

@serenityfound

@cuminafterall Yes "life adjustments"! That's always how I try to approach/explain it to people.

@cuminafterall I like this.

ayo nicole

@cuminafterall Your mom sounds rad.

cuminafterall

@ayo nicole She is!!!

Daisy Razor

Now I've stumbled here/Failed to make it mine/They say I'm plump,/but I throw up all the time

noReally

"Only time will tell whether my early intervention saved her from a life of preoccupation with her weight, or drove her to it."

Oh I think you've pretty much got the problem solved, right here. I mean, you haven't been on more than one diet in your life, have you?

Eliza Wharton

Yiiiiiikes. I always find it super fascinating to read these horrorshows (saves me a call home, hoping that a new, sane mother picks up). It's sort of sweet for this lady to leave her daughter a time capsule to be opened later in therapy.

area@twitter

I hate and detest the way this woman is messing up her little girl, but I love everyone in this thread.

@serenityfound

@area@twitter I love everyone in this bar!

noReally

One thing here? This idiot woman wrote something that she thought other people could identify with. Vogue published something that even women who would do exactly what she did will understand is meant to be contemptible. 

I am reminded of NYT, and the various rich ladies (esp. on infertility topics, Hi Alex Kuczynski!) they have featured as 100% loathsome, certainly to their surprised dismay.

Vogue set the bitch up.

carbonation

@noReally Oh wow, I just fell down a rabbit hole reading all one million comments on Alex Kuczynski's surrogacy article.

frigwiggin

@noReally @carbonation Whoa whoa whoa. "Die without having created a life, and die two deaths"? Thanks, lady! My eventual death will be double-sad!

EpWs

@figwiggin Double-sad for me too! And why stop at just double? Won't all of our deaths--except Michelle Duggar's--be, I don't know, dodecahedraly sad for all the lives we never created?

frigwiggin

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher God forbid the worth of someone's life come from their friendships or profession or hobbies. CHILDREN ONLY CHILDREN ALWAYS CHILDREN

Faintly Macabre

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I got my period at 11. My mother started menopause around...45? So, figuring a kid a year or so, plus maybe a couple of twins, that's at least 30 imaginary children I'll be taking with me when I go. Basically, I am a self-contained massacre.

EpWs

@Faintly Macabre Cheers! Here's to the many, many years (30 pregnancies minus, say, 2 sets of twins equals...TWENTY ONE YEARS PREGNANT, dear god in heaven) we won't have to abstain from alcohol due to bbys.

WaityKatie

Former fat kid tormented by the dieting plans of naturally skinny and super-controlling mother, here. All I can say is thank goooodddd my mom never got a book contract. I hope this woman appreciates how lucky she is if her daughter doesn't grow up to hate her, but I'm guessing she'll still be only worried about what size jeans her daughter is wearing, regardless.

beanie

Having worked retail many years, I have seen more than a few mothers fat shame their daughters while trying on clothes. It always made me feel awful/try to intervene because I was about to cry for these poor girls. WHO DOES THIS?

tortietabbie

I was a fat kid who grew up into a fat adult, and my mom tried really hard to not criticize my eating habits or shame me about my body, but she still had a TON of hang-ups about her own body/weight and was constantly putting herself down and trying ridiculous diets. So on the one hand I was hearing "you're beautiful exactly as you are!" and also I was hearing, "I'm so fat and ugly." I know being a parent has to be hard as shit and I know my mom did the best she could! But still. I grew up in that environment and still turned into a fatty with HUGE food issues. I can only imagine what fate awaits poor Bea. :(

(My mom did try to make up for her years of missing out on explicit fat shaming by cornering me on one recent Christmas and explaining to me that I was probably going to die from being so fat. Our relationship has not recovered. Thanks mom!)

@serenityfound

@tortietabbie Ugh, this is so hard. My littlest sister is overweight (thanks, polycystic ovarian syndrome!) and I've always struggled with mine but have also always been "thinner" than she is. I'm always walking the thin line of trying to encourage her/myself to eat healthier but still communicate the message that she/we're beautiful and worthwhile regardless of our weight.

...but I promise to never corner her at a Christmas party like that. That makes me sadface.

JanieS

@tortietabbie I have a similar issue with my mom. She was pretty good about trying to foster positive self-image and all that, but was simultaneously angsting about her own weight/looks. And now she wonders about my low self esteem, and it's like, "what do you expect - you call yourself ugly and fat, and I look just like you except 4 inches shorter and 20-30 pounds heavier!" And the only time she compliments my looks is when I've lost weight.

tortietabbie

It's such a hard line to walk. I was so thankful as a young person that my mom wasn't like my friends' moms, who were pushing their daughters into hugely restrictive diets and making constant comments about their weight/worth. I know it's so much more complicated than "you ruined me, mom!" but at the same time I'm sort of angry with her on behalf of my younger self and so, so sad for her that she looks in the mirror and is still consumed by self-hatred. We do the best we can with what we have, but FUCK. I want to break this cycle.

Passion Fruit

@tortietabbie I know it's so much more complicated than "you ruined me, mom!" [...] Hahaha, but is it, really?

[JK. Or at least 80% JK. <3 u, Momz]

Daria Morgendorffer

@tortietabbie Yeah, I can't take when my mom puts herself down, because everything that she sees as being wrong with her, is worse for me. If that makes any sense.
Also: how is it a nice thing to complement somebody on losing weight? My uncle will NOT stop talking about a few years when I weighed about 20-30 pounds more than I do now. Every time he brings it up, I laugh and say, I don't care about that. And for the most part I don't! But why remind somebody of a time that might not be so fondly remembered?
Constantly praising weight loss just makes the pressure to maintain that weight all the more extreme, which is more stress than I or anybody else needs!

cherrispryte

I can't even read any of the actual article. As someone who WAS on a diet at age seven, let me tell you: that shit WILL fuck you up. There's no "maybe," it's a sure thing. AND IT WILL NOT WORK. 95% of diets fail, and the biggest predictor of weight gain? weight loss. By fucking with her daughter's metabolism at such a young age, this shit-stained taint of a human being is setting her kid up for a life-long struggle on more levels than she could possibly imagine.
I hate kids as a rule, but I kind of want to adopt Bea so we could be chill and eat cupcakes together.
Also, I realize violence is bad, but if, say, I were at a bar and someone came up and told me that they put their seven-year old girl on a diet? I might wind up getting forcibly ejected from the place. I literally cannot even. This makes me so mad and sad and disappointed.

Ka$hleen

@cherrispryte seriously, when did my mom get a book deal? and why didn't she tell me? askfsijf

Ka$hleen

@cherrispryte "do you REALLY need CAKE AND ICE CREAM? you're going to be as big as a house!"

cherrispryte

@Ka$hleen "No, you can't get the same kind of ice cream your sister got. Get something fat-free."
And there is my grandmother's classic "you'd be perfect if you only wore a girdle" to me, aged 8 or so.
Apparently, from the time I was a toddler, the pediatrician was instructing my mother to "water down her apple juice." THAT WORKED GREAT, ASSHOLE.

atipofthehat

@cherrispryte

You'd be perfect if you held a flaming sword in your hands and smote—

Wait a second! You ARE perfect! Thanks.

Passion Fruit

@cherrispryte Ugh, god. That is awful, I am sorry that happened to you.

Diana

@cherrispryte

Sorry, but what does this comment mean? I'm not trying to defend anything about this story, because obviously this woman did this in the worst possible way in the history of people eating food. But there are certainly children in this country who need to go on a diet, and their metabolisms are already fucked up which is why they need a diet. Obviously their diet/metabolism problems are the fault of their parents because they aren't buying their own cheeseburgers, but you make it sound as though the very idea of any child under the age of 10 trying to lose weight is absurd on its face. I think it's more absurd that we have literally millions of children in this country facing serious health problems stemming from their dietary choices. I've had my own problems with eating disorders, so you don't have to tell me that this needs to be approached in a sensitive way, but I also don't believe that a parent should never, ever try to make up for past mistakes by teaching their children how to fuel themselves better.

PistolPackinMama

@Diana What bothers me most about this whole article is, rich socialite new yorker daughters aren't the highest risk category for childhood obesity. This woman and her issues are important, but they aren't representative of the "obesity epidemic" everyone gets so worked up about.

It is children living in communities of poverty who are. The other thing that is a problem for such communities is accessing adequate nutrition period. Inexpensive, available food is also the kind of food getting the real kibosh in these discussions.

Telling poor parents to put their children on a diet is... what? Like, no, really, what? You're struggling to feed your kids three meals a day, they have subsidized breakfast and lunches at school, perhaps. You're maybe skipping meals yourself to make sure your kids get to eat? And you're supposed to put your kids on a diet?

21% of the children in the US live below the official poverty level. And we know that official poverty levels aren't really reflecting what actual poverty and actual food insecurity are really like. Going on a diet does not mean parents making "better choices" about food. It would mean eating less of whatever food is available, which isn't always a lot of food anyway.

This is not the parents' fault. If we want to find "fault" here, looking at food policy and poverty reduction efforts and food availability would be a good place to start.

It makes me kind of stabby that the parental choices are being criticized because for the highest risk populations for obesity, "choice" is at the bottom of the list of issues at work here. "Malnutrition" is at the top. Malnutrition, associated with weight gain.

Not to mention that children are not adults and so making them go on adult diets is kind of whack, I expect. And on top of that being healthy, as far as I can tell, does not include hellish interpersonal relationships between children and parents.

I swear, in this country, it seems like almost no one has a healthy relationship with food. Not poor people, who are limited in their options, and not middle class people, who are soaked in terrible food attitudes, and not wealthy people, who do stuff like this mom does. If you manage to have a healthy relationship with food, you are doing it against all the odds.

PistolPackinMama

OK- I just found so many numbers I am about to pass out from Statistics Overload. And I have to read student papers. But can I just say, now I am really depressed?

I super-depressed.

PS: Cherrispryte. I am really sorry you had that experience as a kid. BLAH. I SAY BLAH.

LeafySeaDragon

@PistolPackinMama both of these comments MUCH more eloquently describe what i was trying too.

PistolPackinMama

@LeafySeaDragon As a felonious student of mine did once say I "always have something to say, don't [I]?"

fabel

@Emmanuelle Cunt Ya, that part was awful. Her daughter's basically trying to be like "Look, but I'm the same person! It's the inside that counts!" & this woman is insisting that that "fat girl" is gone for now.

PistolPackinMama

@wharrgarbl I can't seem to reply to comments at the mo. But in case you see this... diabetic kids can pretty much eat anything these days. If parents are restricting their cake intake at parties, typically it is not because of the diabetes.

All hail the invention of RNA insulin!

wharrgarbl

@PistolPackinMama Well, that's good news. I was mostly using an example from when I was younger. See @Daisy Razor and @Ophelia for alternate suitable reasons for the mother to be telling her daughter not to eat the cake in your own mis-remembering.

needsmoresalt

Vogue is really having a run on fucked-up women dragging their poor kids into the spotlight: "Asher, now eight, was scrolling through some pictures on my BlackBerry the other day. Suddenly he started crying—little animal-like sounds from deep within him. He had come across a shot of himself, sharing a hot chocolate in New York the previous December with the man that both he and I had loved. It was like seeing a photograph of a person who had died. 'I miss him,' my son said simply."

Ophelia

@needsmoresalt Jesus.

oh, disaster

I have so many thoughts, feelings, and bad memories that it's all coming out in sad. I sincerely hope the best for Bea.

alannaofdoom

I have to call my parents now and thank them for not being this woman.

Lorelei@twitter

Every goddamn time someone is going on about how their fucked-up relationships with food and weight are about "health" all I want to do is yell, again and again, MENTAL HEALTH IS HEALTH.

MENTAL HEALTH
IS
HEALTH

MENTAL HEALTH IS HEEEAAAAAALLLLTTHHHH

And destroying a 7-year-old's relationship with food and her body is fucking DEVASTATING to her mental wellness. I mean, this is just me, and I face neither of these issues so I'm just talking out my ass, but from where I sit right now if you made me choose between diabetes and an eating disorder, I'd pick the fucking diabetes.

Craftastrophies

@Lorelei@twitter This, this a million billion trillion times.

D.@twitter

I think this woman is definitely mishandling the situation. After I read her article in "Vogue," though, I started to wonder what I would do in her situation. I mean, she didn't just decide to put her daughter on a diet for kicks. The girl was designated clinically obese. This wasn't an arbitrary judgement; her pediatrician told her that her daughter was too fat. When designing the diet, she consulted professionals. I don't agree w/ HOW she's conducting things (e.g. public shaming, continued inclusion of processed food), but if I had allowed my child to grow obese, I would take a similar doctor's admonition as a sign that SOMETHING needed to change, and NOW. So while I object to her strategy, overall I think she's on the right track. Sometimes, even a younger child needs to have its eating habits regulated, and not just be given whatever it wants, whenever it wants.

cherrispryte

@D.@twitter You are just so wrong, on so so SO many levels.

Texian

@D.@twitter I did the math and Bea was at the 95th percentile for her age and considered overweight not obese. Losing 16 pounds and growing 2 inches in a year only reduced it to the 87th percentile. 7 percentage points vs a lifetime of feeling less than because your mom is obsessed with appearances? Bad deal for little Bea.

Megasus

@D.@twitter But based, on the girl's picture, and the fact that she lost just 16 pounds, I don't see how she was ever obese to begin with! And it was definitely more about the mother projecting all her crappy body and food stuff onto her daughter, and that's just wrong. And now she's getting a book deal AND PEOPLE WILL THINK THIS SORT OF THING IS OK.

wharrgarbl

@Texian I was just screwing with the math on it, too. At 4'6", she'd have to weigh 74 pounds to be considered "healthy" rather than a fun new descriptor I hadn't run into yet ("at risk of becoming overweight"). This, in a population where any given predictor is going to necessarily be pretty fucking bullshit and arbitrary because of the radically unpredictable way in which individuals within it are growing like weeds.

And this is before we get to "the BMI is only of any use as an indicator on a population level and is worthless as an individual predictor" and "the BMI is only of any use as a population level indicator when applied to sedentary populations."

wharrgarbl

@Texian Oh, and she could get down to 56 pounds without anything being wrong or worrisome, because that's still a "healthy weight" at 4'6", if all you're going by is the height/weight chart. Good times.

Texian

@wharrgarbl Word. My daughter is 7 and weighs 70 lbs at 4' 6" and she IS NOT OBESE. She is not even fat. She is in the highest of percentiles for height and weight. Has been since birth (9 lbs & 21" long)! She is taller than a lot of her classmates. She is active and healthy. Her younger sister is petite and in the 25th percentile also since birth. People they be different.

Craftastrophies

@wharrgarbl I think I love you.

'Clinically obese' IS an arbitrary jugdement.

If she is worried for her daughter's health, she shouldn't be undermining her mental health, and stressing her system out. Recent studies are showing that things like heart attack are actually correlated with diets, rather than fat people. And things like diabetes are correlation, not cause, a lot of the time. If she were worried for her daughter's health, it should be about health, not calories.

There is no excuse for this kind of psychological torture of your child, based on how they look. None.

EpWs

@wharrgarbl Also, wtf does "at risk of becoming overweight" mean? I mean, isn't that...everyone, all the time, ever?

wharrgarbl

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I can only assume that it galled them to have to label people who were one pound away from being Sir Chubbsalot "healthy," so they took ten pounds previously designated "healthy" and slapped big Danger Zone labels all over them. You know, just in case you were unaware that you were edging ever closer to the tipping point at which your normal-person fat turns into deathfat, they're there to help you with that.

Craftastrophies

@wharrgarbl The other thing that galls me is that people in the 'overweight' category actually have lower morbidity and mortality rates for lots of things than people in the 'healthy weight' - for instance, better recovery from surgery and illness, lower comorbidity of diseases, etc. So... people larger than the 'healthy' weight are actually... more... healthy??

LeafySeaDragon

@Texian percentiles are terrifying. my boys were in the 125th. ]

seriously. my fattie fat fat older son was 30 pounds at a year (on breastmilk!) he started slimming down at 3.5 or so? by kinder he was 'normal'.

H.E. Ladypants

@D.@twitter Just no. No, no, no. She was not on the right track. Yes, there may have been a health problem but that is not the way to deal with it.

She could have eliminated sweets and junk.

She could have helped Bea find a sport she liked.

She could have instituted nightly "family evening walks."

She could done an overhaul on the entire family's eating habit, rather than focusing on Bea.

And if Bea asked why, she should have said no more than, "the doctor says we need to be healthier."

She never should have told Bea she was fat. She never should have told her anything other than that she is beautiful and wonderful and strong.

Because when you have a child you are not just caring for a body. You are caring for a soul. And you have a responsibility to protect that soul and keep it well, as best you can because everything else in the world is going to come after that soul.

Because she was seven and at that age, her mother's actions will build her life.

D.@twitter

@H.E. Ladypants Yeah...I figured mine would be an unpopular opinion. Like I said, I don't think she handled the thing flawlessly. In fact, I think all your suggestions are great, and far preferable to what actually happened. What I was saying--and what seems to have been completely overlooked--is that the idea that a kid never needs to have boundaries about food--simply b/c it's a charged issue for many adults--is just absurd. Just like a kid shouldn't be bought every single toy she reaches for, nor should she be allowed to stuff herself 24/7. So yeah, sometimes that means a diet. Maybe you don't FRAME it that way, but that's what's happening, and what needs doing. Also, the mother wasn't alone in her diagnosis; if she was misguided, it was by the health professionals she consulted. Professionals who were presumably highly qualified to make the judgement that the child needed to lose weight.

Bus Driver Stu Benedict

I'm looking forward to a whole new genre. Especially French Kids Are Never Fat, You Feelthy American Peegs.

area@twitter

@Bus Driver Stu Benedict Only if it's written in that entire accent all the way through.

area@twitter

@josiah Ah, trés bon.

D.@twitter

@Bus Driver Stu Benedict Definitely. It won't be written by a Francaise though. Most everyone thinks Americans already are ALL obese, and a little book isn't going to change things; they'd probably just eat it.
I think the French like to present a very casual attitude towards food, when in fact the women are hyper-aware of what they are (and aren't) eating. Oh, they might not count calories, as such...one doesn't "faire un regime" so much as one /pays attention/ (faire attention). To do otherwise is to risk the whispered mockery of women and the sneers of men. Even pregnant women aren't exempt.
"T'as vu Delphine? Elle est devenue grosse! Cela change trop la gueule!"
"Mais que veux-tu? Elle est enceinte!"
"Oui, mais on doit FAIRE ATTENTION."

atipofthehat

In my opinion: abuse.

EpWs

@atipofthehat Emphatically seconded.

tallgirl

I read the whole article in Vogue and was fuming at the end. As someone who was in the high 90th percentile for weight (and height) as a child, my doctor NEVER told my mother to put me on a restrictive diet. Despite being "fat," as the kids sometimes called me in school (very cruel, but you learn to leave those losers in the dust), I was getting all the nutrients I needed to grow! My mom made sure I played sports year-round and I turned out to be a (relatively) stable, healthy adult with proper brain function and a healthy attitude toward food. Bea's mother should seriously consult another physician; she's doing intense psychological damage, probably stunting her growth and not allowing for Bea's proper cognitive development by denying her brain food.
Also, Bea's mother should be thankful she DOES have enough to eat, there are a lot of kids in America whose parents can't afford to give them enough food. Bigger problems here, my friends, bigger problems.

Passion Fruit

1) I couldn't read this without thinking that this was some weird joke, because no literate woman would be so repulsively oblivious to their own eating issues and the eating issues they were inculcating in their child? Right? This must be a publicity thing, or a snickering in-joke for the Vogue editors. It is simply too shitty and psychologically malicious to be real.

2) I try to eat according to The Fat Nutritionist/Ellyn Satter model of eating. Ellyn Satter's definition of normal eating was LIFE CHANGING for me.

EpWs

@Passion Fruit Wow, she is AWESOME and her definition of normal eating is lifechanging.

Indiana

Am I... missing something here? If your seven-year-old is in the 99th percentile for weight (and her doctor regards it as a health problem), how is it anyone's fault but your own? I mean, the kid doesn't buy her own breakfast and dinner, right?

And how many damn parties does the kid go to that she can't have cake and a cookie? If she eats fine six days a week, can she not have treats on the seventh? I think I went to about six birthday parties a year when I was a kid.

Leanne

Bea, get rid of your mother. Seriously, she is revolting.

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