People can go on forever about obesity, eating disorders, unhealthy media influences blah blah blah. Some comments are interesting, some help to put things in perspective, while others are plain annoying and self-righteous. Anyway, that’s not really the point of this. Bleah.
About a month ago, I came across this article: A Mom’s Reaction to Vogue‘s Story About a ‘Fat’ 7-year old Girl. The author was very disapproving of how Dara-Lynn Weiss put her 7-year-old daughter, Bea, on a diet.
I was kinda put off by this Mom De Guerre person because she sounded like one of those who blindly defend “fat” people, who only categorize anorexic, bulimic girls as unhealthy, because overweight people don’t starve themselves. All these, after acknowledging the fact that Weiss admitted that she felt ill-equipped to tackle her daughter’s clinically diagnosed danger of being overweight.
I had no time to read the comments, and didn’t bother because I expected most of the comments to be about the unhealthy and unrealistic Hollywood image of hotness and beauty, basically just self-righteous people with annoying comments. So I moved on.
But I came across this piece: A Cautionary Tale, which somehow got me interested again.
So, I reread the article, scrolled down to read some comments (I was right, self-righteous and annoying. But hey, I did try to get all the different views and perspective), together with some other responses to the Weiss’ article, such as this, which focused mainly on Weiss’ methods being humiliating. Most people had labelled Weiss’ story as the “worst Vogue article ever”, and I was beginning to see why, after reading this and this. Both talks about how shaming children about their weights will not only reinforce unhealthy behaviours, without helping them emotionally, it also passes down the mothers’ unhealthy obsession and their insecurities about their own bodies.
I guess I did miss the point in Mom De Guerre’s article. It wasn’t really a matter of what she did, but how she did it, and have come to understand why so many people were infuriated and outraged. The problem of obesity and weight management has somehow turned into unacceptable parenting methods, more specifically public humiliation and shaming. More details here, here and here.
I try not to shame my students in class, but really, it’s easier said than done. It’s even more challenging that girls are generally more sensitive. I have to admit though, that shaming IS useful when used infrequently. However, it should only be used as one of the last resort. The embarrassment does make the girls stop whatever mischief or misbehaviour, but it’s only at that point in time. It’s short term, and it doesn’t tackle the root of the problem.
Wow, what a wordy post! Gosh. Here’s a picture of myself to prettify this post. hahaha