There is not a worse feeling than having your parent humiliate you in public. Me, it was my Nana, whom I adored, screaming my name across a clothing store. Like a banshee: “Hayleyyy! Come and look at this pink shirt!”
Now, replace that with: “You can not absolutely not have three pieces of cake because you know you are on a diet, and you know that the cake will make you explode. And all of these other girls are much skinnier. And you know Mommy had an eating disorder. And now Mommy is much prettier and skinner than you–and you’re supposed to be adorable and thin, and you’re not. Arrrghhh!!”
For those of you who haven’t read Jezebel’s now infamous take on it –”Worst Article Ever Will Now Become Worst Memoir Ever”–Dara-Lynn Weiss writes about her struggle to get her “fat” daughter (her words, not mine) to drop 16 pounds for Vogue. Blech.
Here’s what Weiss says:
I cringe when I recall the many times I had it out with Bea over a snack give 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 Bean has wanted to eat, say both cookies and cake, and I’ve engaged in a heated public discussion about why she can’t.
The other day I wrote about my eating disorder because I’M AN ADULT. I have control over my body. I have control over the French fries and the nightly bag of rasta popcorn (ask me about that another day), and despite my complaints about my mummy tummy, it’s my choice to write about my past struggles with food and the ripples on my mid-section. Weiss crossed a line by writing about her daughter in Vogue–and worse, Weiss landed a big “fat” book deal on the subject. Book to be called: The Heavy. Blech blech blech!
This mother is not making the right decision for her child.
There. I said it. I judged another parent.
And you know what, I feel awful about that. I do believe that this woman is so obsessed with her own weight, her daughter’s health and yes, that’s right, her daughter’s body image, that she doesn’t see that by her minuscule inspection of her daughter’s flaws–eating habits, or what have you–that she will have inevitably and unconsciously scarred her. How can this girl not question her body forever after an article about her body in one of the most iconic magazines filled with pages and pages of women with skinny bodies? BLECH!
My head is spinning.
Bea is a gorgeous, adorable girl and good on you Anna Wintour for not over-sexing Bea like you did with the last 10-year-old model. Bea looks healthy and happy, donned with brightly colored flats.
Look, I understand that their may be some of you who have struggled with your weight or who are struggling with an overweight child and you feel that Weiss’ honesty–because if it’s nothing else, she certainly has that going for her–will help your own conflicts on the obesity battle ground. I have no doubt that there are some of you looking to relate to another parent having trouble stopping a strong-willed child from eating. After all, every parenting magazine on the planet is talking about how to get our finicky kids to eat. Weiss’s daughter has no problem eating anything! Her method might be unconventional, totally neurotic and self-serving, but we all take different paths to our parenting styles. No one is perfect.
I’m not new to over-sharing about my life, which sometimes includes my child’s. But writing about our step family and divorce, or how my daughter’s tantrums are mind-numbing and make me doubt my parenting abilities, does not compare to writing about your daughter’s weight issue. With the pressure young girls have to look thin, look perfect and look like Barbie dolls–telling this story seems, feels, and is altogether wrong.
Dara-Lynn Weiss, this is not your story to tell. Yet. Not without your daughter’s permission–once she’s an adult.