Someone on Twitter or Facebook (I forgot who…?) linked to something about a book on Amazon called Maggie Goes On A Diet.
The description of the book:
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.
Apparently this book written by a man about a young teen going on a diet to reach the land of happiness and self esteem is available for pre-order for the price of $10.85.
Please, for the love of all things holy, don’t buy it.
I obviously haven’t read the book yet since it’s not actually available. But the tags on Amazon from others who have noticed this book’s existence say all there is to say about it:
- teaching kids to self-hate(42)
- give your children neuroses(38)
- sexist drivel(35)
- if you hate your daughter(32)
- anorexia bait(29)
- body fascism(29)
- dangerous abusive(28)
- talentless hack writer(21)
- waste of a good tree(17)
I agree with every single one of those descriptions. A book like this is a horrible idea when it’s targeted toward 6-14 year olds (and possibly younger since the reading level is 4-8) audience. Those girls already have enough problems and worries about their changing bodies. They don’t need to read books like these that give them even more complexes.
The author and publisher probably thought they were doing a good thing. You know, helping all the sad fat little girls caught in the obesity epidemic. But the cover of the book along with the title are enough to make me want to cry for the children who will be forced to read this. Even if the contents do talk about healthy food, exercise, and positive self esteem (all good things!) the packaging and extra messages will speak louder than any words inside the book. It takes very little to trigger an eating disorder and this drivel has the ability to do that in many children.
Dieting is not a healthy choice for growing children. It’s just not. Even throwing the word diet out there to them is unhealthy, in my opinion. If you want to help with the child “obesity crisis” then target the parents. Teach them to make better choices – don’t start shaming children.
Another point that the book seems to make is that weight loss = happiness and success. That is not the case. I know lots of people who’ve lost weight and felt robbed because nothing really change. Happiness comes from the inside, not from your looks.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my future kids and what I want to teach them about being healthy. I want to teach them that food makes your body feel and work good when you make healthy choices. I want to teach them that exercise is fun and something you can enjoy. I want to teach them that no matter what their body looks like, living a healthy lifestyle is still worth it. I want to teach my future kids that self-confidence comes from being a good and strong person, not from what you look like. I want to teach them all the things I had to teach myself, growing up obese in a diet obsessed world.
Since I’d rather look for solutions and what I’d do instead… How about instead of Maggie Goes On A Diet you write a different book?
- Maggie Tries New Foods (about eating new healthy foods)
- Maggies Plays Soccer (about discovering soccer and becoming a star without dieting)
- Maggie Makes Friends (about an overweight girl NOT ashamed of her body, but popular)
I believe it’s possible to teach kids about living a healthy life without shaming them or pushing them towards an eating disorder.
Don’t make or read a book for pre teen girls about body image and dieting. Just don’t.
What are your thoughts on this new book?