Open Letters Friday is a segment here at PCL for your reading and writing enjoyment. I’ll share with you some of my open letters for the week and you’ll get the opportunity in comments to share yours. Now, tell me, who do you need to write to this week?
Dear Paul Kramer:
I only have one letter this week and it’s for you, Mr. Kramer. I know you don’t know me, but your name will be listed on this blog frequently due to this insanity:
Yes, it’s a children’s book called Maggie Goes On a Diet. It’s aimed at children. CHILDREN. A book about dieting is aimed at children. Let me quote the description on Barnes & Noble’s website:
This book is about a 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and is transformed from being extremely overweight and insecure to a normal sized girl who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self image.
Really? So basically you’re telling every young girl out there to go step on a scale and proceed to starving herself and exercising like crazy just to meet some ideal and then they can have positive body image? Wow.
There aren’t even words to describe how pissed off this makes me. As a woman who went through severe body issues as a child and did, in fact, diet way too young, I cannot even begin to tell you how devastating your book will be to the girls who read it. I also find it interesting that your main character is a girl because, you know, all young girls need to hear that message.
Obviously you know NOTHING about mental or physical health, Mr. Kramer. The fact is that dieting at that age (either 14, the age Maggie is in the book or 6-12, the age group the book is aimed at) is completely detrimental to one’s health. Did you know that 95% of all diets fail? Yes, that’s right, diets DON’T WORK. And for a growing child to be on a diet is eliminating important nutrients from their diet and possibly opening them up to a lifetime of health problems. I guess you also missed the memo that BMI is not a good measure of health. Also, you may have missed the part where more deaths are caused by being underweight than overweight.
But more than that, Mr. Kramer, your book is a glowing example of the size discrimination going on in this country right now. Usually it’s masked in a movement to get kids to eat better and move more when really it’s an attempt at making fat kids thin (something that will never happen, mind you). But you’ve taken it to new levels. Actually promoting dieting for children is basically handing them an eating disorder on the spot.
Should kids learn what foods are good and not so good and engage in physical activity? Absolutely. But they also need to love their bodies and themselves as is because that’s the most important thing. At an age where body image is becoming increasingly important, you’re trying to throw this nonsense down their throats. Not only is it wrong, it’s an atom bomb to any self-worth that adolescents have mustered up to that point.
I can tell you, Mr. Kramer, that I was on a diet long before Maggie. I was ten when I asked to join Weight Watchers. Not only did I gain every pound I lost back plus some, but I also gained a whole new set of issues regarding my self-image. You know what Weight Watchers taught me? To look at myself in new ways to find flaws. You know what it didn’t teach me? How to enjoy food and live a happy life. And the diets I put myself on for years after that initial attempt did nothing but the same thing.
But I guess you’re just one more cog in a wheel designed to make money off of stigma about fat people. So in that case, I guess you succeeded. I just pray your victims find acceptance with their bodies before its too late.
A Very Concerned Fat Woman