Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sweet Maggie and the D-Word

So, you may have heard the recent uproar about a new book written for children called Maggie Goes on a Diet, about a 14-year-old girl who goes on a diet and is radically transformed from insecure, overweight girl to confident, social, thin, superstar soccer player. Seriously? What a message. :/ Good Morning America ran a piece with the author, which I am posting below that I would encourage you to watch. To be honest, I hesitated writing about this whole thing because 1- I haven't read the book (it's not out until October) and 2- this piece is getting so much negative attention, and I don't want to be another critical voice! But when I saw this interview, I felt the need to express just a few quick thoughts. More on why after the clip below. It's definitely worth watching- it's just a few minutes and it not only features an interview with the author but explores 6 year olds' inclinations towards thinness. So sad!

A few quick thoughts. After watching this interview with the author (Paul Kramer), I am fairly certain that he doesn't really get it. I don't think he is being malicious or intentionally trying to inflict harm on girls, but I do think that he is grossly uneducated about health and dieting. Rather than directing anger towards him, it might be helpful to use this as an opportunity to create open dialogue with people like him who don't see anything wrong with a book like this. Attacks against someone's character or critical diatribes aren't typically effective when trying to get one's point across. The other point that struck me is one I have known, but one that struck me again after this clip. As I watched, I was floored by just how young children pick up on messages about size and beauty. It's a good reminder that we have to be consistent and careful about how we communicate, and really, its a call for us to learn to embrace ourselves and pass on positive messages about our bodies and beauty to children.

If you are interested in writing a letter to the author or want more info on how to make a difference, follow this link to check out the Eating Disorder Coalition's latest info.

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