Vogue published kind of a tricky article in their April issue about a woman putting her seven-year-old daughter on a diet. The larger issue of child obesity is, as Weiss makes sure to point out, a real one, and Weiss’ daughter was clinically obese and needed to lose weight for health reasons. The article’s author, Dara-Lyn Weiss is faced with the complicated task of helping her daughter lose weight without giving her long-term body image issues. Any article on the subject–especially one written in Vogue by a socialite-y upper-class Manhattanite–is going to raise some eyebrows. This one in particular has inspired serious outrage.
For example, Jezebel calls it “the worst Vogue article ever” and Weiss “one of the most fucked up, selfish women to ever grace the magazine’s pages.” Indeed, some of the things Weiss did to keep her kid from breaking her diet are a little nuts. For example, the article began with the following interaction:
I stepped between my daughter and a bowl of salad nicoise my friend was handing her, raising my palm like a traffic cop. “Thanks,” I said, “but she already ate dinner.”
“But she said she’s still hungry,” my friend replied, bewildered.
I forced a smile. “Yeah, but it’s got a lot of dressing on it and we’re trying–”
“Just olive oil!” my friend interrupted. “It’s superhealthy!”
My smile faded and my voice grew tense. “I know. She can’t.”
My friend’s eyes moved to my daughter, whose gaze held the dish in the crosshairs: a Frisbee-size bowl bursting with oil, tuna, eggs, potatoes, olives.
This may have not been the best way to set up the article if she wanted the reader to believe her to be a sane, reasonable person. Some other not-so-sane things she admitted to doing:
• Angrily throwing an untouched kid’s sized hot chocolate in the trash and stormed out of a Starbucks because a barista didn’t know exactly how many calories were in it.
• Not letting Bea partake in “Pizza Fridays” at school
• Making Bea go without dinner because she ate “nearly 800 calories of brie, filet mignon, baguette and chocolate” at school for French Heritage Day (I wish I went to that school)
Also a red flag: Weiss admits to having had issues with food her whole life, including obsessive dieting, fasting, using laxatives, etc. The thing is, she fully acknowledges that, stating, “Who was I to teach a little girl how to maintain a healthy weight and body image?”
Overall, Weiss comes across as obsessive and the fact that she made such an issue of her daughter’s weight, both in public and in Vogue–seems wrong. Jezebel contacted Dr. Dolgoff, the founder of “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right,” the which is what Bea’s diet was based on, who said she “wasn’t thrilled” with the way Weiss interpreted her book. “The parents aren’t supposed to react in public,” she said. “They’re supposed to be on their child’s team. Another parent in [Weiss'] situation may have seen that, while weight loss was progressing, there were some emotional issues. But she chose to continue dieting in her own way. I believe that if she had continued coming, the end result would have been more than just weight loss: she’d have weight loss and a happy child.”
To me, it’s a tricky situation that’s hard to criticize if you haven’t been in it yourself. Most moms aren’t perfect and don’t a lot of them end up screwing their kids up one way or another?
What do you think? Was it irresponsible of Vogue to publish that article?