Vogue has gone too far!
In the April issue of Vogue magazine there’s an article written by a young girl’s mother, Dara Lynn Weiss, who forces her daughter, Bea to submit to a lifestyle that is restrictive, rigid, punitive and humiliating in the pursuit of weight-loss.
There are many articles, bloggers, and Facebook postings that chastised Dara-Lynn. I have to admit, I had a few of those thoughts too. I wondered why Dara-Lynn chose to publicly expose her daughter’s painful and private journey. I wondered why this mother would purposely and knowingly inflict pain and suffering on her child for the pursuit of weight-loss. This mother never focused on anything that could be considered health centered. Bea was forced into submission to accept this unhealthy and punitive path her mother had set.
But, after re-reading the article and thinking it over for a while, my thoughts and feelings changed. I began to feel compassion for Dara-Lynn. It was evident that she clearly struggles with demons of her own regarding disordered eating.
Growing up in an affluent, achievement-driven suburb, I had suffered through my own issues with food, eating, and weight. Though the rest of my family had a seemingly healthy relationship to food, I was constantly battling weight gain and asking my mother to lock up the peanut-butter jar and the omnipresent box of Entenmann’s Pecan Danish Ring. Whether I weighed in at 105 pounds or 145 pounds hardly mattered-I hated how my body looked and devoted an inordinate amount of time to trying to change it.
Over the last 30 years, I’ve been on and off Weight Watchers, Atkins, Slim-Fast, LA Weight Loss, Jenny Craig, juice diets, and raw-food diets. In my teenage years, I dabbled in the occasional laxative or emetic, and once fainted at a summer program in Vermont after three days of near fasting. In my 20’s, I begged a doctor friend to score me the prescription appetite suppressant fen-phen even after it was found to cause heart-value defects and pulmonary hypertension. 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.
Occasionally, I’d give in to her pleas for a square of coffee cake, mainly because I wanted to eat half of it.
She went on to ask herself,….Who was I to teach a little girl how to maintain a healthy weight and body image?
We live in a weight obsessed world, where people of size are discriminated against on a daily basis. Of course a mother would want to protect her child from being bullied. We are bombarded with messages every day that tell us to be healthy, happy, and prosperous, we must be thin. Dara-Lynn’s own struggles with body image along with her relationship to food impacted her ability to provide an approach for her daughter that focused on health and wellness encompassing nutrition, physical health and emotional well-being.
It is bad enough that Vogue is filled with images beautiful adult models that you deem not good enough, which is evidenced by the fact that you alter their photographs to promote unrealistic ideals to women everywhere.
Vogue, you really crossed a line when you choose to print an article normalizing Bea being forced to submit to disordered eating, and you must take responsibility for this. Bea is just a child who needs love and acceptance for who she is. I think you are great BEA! Vogue, leave BEA and all the other children alone!
My last thoughts are of compassion for Dara-Lynn as she struggles with her own issues and struggle to raise her daughter in a weight obsessed world.