Yesterday my 8-year-old moaned how she has got so fat. Really I said. That’s nonsense.
She’s grown – her school uniform is getting a bit small. But she’s not fat. And anyway what is fat? I asked her. Being small, bigger or biggest is relative and the only time to worry about being big is if you’re unhealthily large, when it affects your health, when you’re eating very badly and watching TV all day long. There’s a difference to being big and to being unhealthy. There is also one’s natural body size to consider. Some of us are heavier than others.
What upset me is where and she gets these ideas. Not difficult really. Everywhere. It’s blatantly forced upon young girls. Take, for instance, a new book soon to be released in the US.
“Maggie Goes on a Diet” is aimed at ages 6 and up. On the cover is an image of a plus size 14-year-old girl looking at an image of a slimmer version of herself in a mirror.
The book tells the story of how she is teased for her size, goes on a diet and is transformed into a popular soccer star.
The book, yet to be published, has caused an outrage. Critics say that it will “trigger eating disorders in young readers.” Self-published by Paul M. Kramer, he explained in his defense that Maggie just wants to look better. He says, as quoted on Salon.com, that Maggie “does want to feel better and she does not want to be teased.”
His intention seems honorable. He wants to promote healthy eating habits. But the problem seems to be with its packaging, with its storyline, actually with everything. The cover uses the loaded word “diet” in its headline. The picture of Maggie is pitiful. She’s holding up a tiny dress wanting to be smaller. She’s teased at school for being “fat” – fat-shaming is a horrid thing.
I hope my child doesn’t come across this book. Healthy habits can be taught in a far less-loaded way. No need to baggage children with more reasons to feel insecure.
* Is Maggie just an innocent version of Kung Fu Panda? What do you think?
I really find this article extremely inspirational. Many parents don’t realize how their children are feeling inside. Being overweight doesn’t necessarily have to mean no confidence. Kids are cruel so if anything the parents have to teach their children not to make fun of others and encourage those that are made fun of to speak out!
I have a 4 year old virgo…diva. And I can totally see her saying these things. But this book shocked the heck out of me. smh