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Meredith
7th January 2012, 11:19
Perhaps the worst euphemism in the world today is the so-called "war on ob*****," a terror campaign that is being waged with characteristically puritanical fervour in the U.S., but to a degree around the world.

What this really is, of course, is a war on curvy girls, many of whom are already in danger of developing eating disorders.

In America the situation is especially intolerable, because the government has gotten into the act, thus instituting state-sanctioned bullying of the most vulnerable members of society.

The fact that the entire weight "epidemic" is a colossal hoax hasn't stopped the government and schools from stigmatizing young curvy girls about their naturally full-figured appearance.

I thought of this as I came across the following ABC news report from last year about a young, pretty, curvy, 6-year-old girl named Taylor, who is entirely representative of her generation, and who is confronting this horrible situation.

ABC ran two news videos about her. They're both similar, so watching either one will suffice to tell the story.

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The idea that this lovely young girl is "over"weight is so absurd that it would be laughable if it weren't a real-life dilemma that she, and girls her age, are facing today.

The barbs of her cruel peers at school are terrible, but predictable among children her age. But notice what the girl reveals when the reporter asks Taylor why she thinks she needs to diminish herself:

My teacher always told me that I have to run, so I can really be not this size.
Instead of defending the girl from thin-supremacist bullying, her teacher is instigating it! And how much worse it must be to endure such words coming from an authority figure.

The panel of young girls that the news report later shows is equally revealing. When asked why they think they need to deprive themselves, one girls says:

Mom says she needs to go to the gym, because she thinks she's overweight.
Another girl reveals:

Our teacher is on a diet. She told us.
How are these girls ever supposed to develop a pro-curvy body image when these are the messages that they're hearing from teachers and parents? Even when such authority figures aren't directly bullying young girls about their weight, they're poisoning the girls' minds by passing along their own adult curve-o-phobia and obsessions with diet-starvation and gym-torture.

At least Taylor's mother is attempting to undo the damage of these negative influence on her daughter. As the reporter notes,

By often repeating how healthy and pretty Taylor is, her mom hopes that she will grow to have a positive image of herself, despite all of the pressures around her.
But how much can she do, when her daughter faces anti-plus propaganda from the mass media, from the government, from educators, and even from the girls' own peer group?

The media is still the root cause of the problem, as ABC's print article about this story indicates, by opening with a reference to the cultural suppression of plus-size beauty:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/body-image-issues-year-girl-worries-fat/story?id=13880833#.TwhlNfJ-drN

When was the last time you saw a [plus-size] woman on the cover of a magazine? Tough question, right?

Thin is in, and it's apparently ingrained in the minds of very young girls.
The statement of the problem invites its own solution: once plus-size goddesses do appear on the covers of the magazines, thin will no longer be hegemonically "in" and will no longer be ingrained in the minds of very young girls.

All the more reason to support the cultural dissemination of plus-size beauty...

Lily
7th January 2012, 12:53
One thing I particularly note about the young girl in the news report, Taylor, is that while she isn't "over"weight, she does have the physical characteristics that distinguish curvy girls of every age, such as dimpled hands and a curve under the chin. This is why it's so important that plus-size fashion models exhibit such features and be praised for them: so that young girls who also possess these natural characteristics associate them with a beautiful appearance.

Thus, when girls conceive a mental image of a "gorgeous fashion model," they imagine a plus-size goddess with whom they share such physical attributes of a well-fed appearance. For example:


"My hands are dimpled, just like hers."
"I have a curve under the chin, just like she does."

Such sensations of kinship could go a long way towards undoing the damage that the media, government, educators, and peers do to the self-image of young curvy girls.

Maureen
10th January 2012, 00:19
As an aunt to four girls, this kind of thing infuriates me. Children, boys as well as girls, are growing and developing, and any kind of starvation or harsh exercise is harmful to their little bodies. Let them eat and play and rest, as Nature intends.

Parents, don't bring magazines that promote body-hatred into your homes. And for heaven's sake, watch the body-image talk around children. Don't disparage your or others' bodies, especially not those of the kids in your life.

Luminosa
10th January 2012, 21:35
I am in agreement with all that has been stated in this post. As a teaching assistant who works with 4, 5 and 6 year old children however, I must speak out and say that not ALL teachers inflict damaging size bigotry towards their students.

If there is any pressure for the students to diminish themselves, it has been my experience that this pressure comes directly from the parents.

Our school district has not imposed limitations on the kinds of treats that parents can bring in for birthday celebrations, for example, as many school districts are implementing. We have celebrations where cookies and cupcakes are enjoyed. I myself, am a plus-size woman, as well as the teacher I work with, and we partake of the sweet treats with relish, along with the children. I like to think that we are beautiful, intelligent, compassionate plus-size role models for the children that we teach on a daily basis. We are not fashion models, we are real-life people that these impressionable children spend time with every day.

Unfortunately, there may be some educators who do foist their size bias onto their students, but we must also keep in mind that there are many vibrant, loving and beautiful plus-size school teachers who are the embodiment of pro curvy beauty.

Tanya
11th January 2012, 21:25
What Luminosa says is all too terribly true. Although educators and peers have a huge influence, parents are particularly potent shapers of children, either for good or ill. Parents can (and should) protect their children from societal weight bigotry, but alas, all too often, they perpetuate and exacerbate such curve-o-phobia.

Perhaps the most appalling such situation, recently, is the case of a Wisconsin couple who were so brainwashed by the media's hatred of curves that they deliberately starved their own infant daughter, merely out of a fear that she would become full-figured.

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Here are the pertinent points from the article (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/11/18/parents-allegedly-starve-baby-because-of-obesity/):

An Appleton, Wis., couple faces charges of felony child neglect after authorities say they intentionally starved their infant daughter because they feared she would become ob***.

According to the Associated Press, prosecutors allege the girl weighed nearly eight pounds when she was born in July 2010 and in 14 months, gained only five pounds.

The girl’s parents, Christopher and Mary Sultze, were each charged with one count of neglect. They each face up to a year in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted...

Prosecutors also allege that the parents were frustrated by doctors who expressed concern over the baby’s weight, insisting they fed her enough. Doctors convinced the Sultzes to admit their daughter to a hospital in August and in one day, the baby gained eight ounces. Tests revealed the infant had no medical issues that could be causing an inability to gain weight.

Christopher Sultze, 35, was worried the baby would get f** in the hospital and said he didn’t want ob*** children.
It's unthinkable: the daughter's health, even her life, didn't matter to them. All that mattered was that she was thin. It was like anorexia imposed from without, on someone who was defenceless to prevent it.

The article goes on to explain the terrible ramifications of such willful starvation:

Dr. Eugene Hershorin, chief of the division of general pediatrics at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, said a child who is only 13 pounds at 14 months of age is suffering from “very significant failure to thrive.” He is not involved in the Sultze case.

Proper nutrition in the first year of life, he explained, is critical to a child’s development, since that’s the time when brain growth is at its peak. An infant’s diet should consist of a lot of calories and f** to help the brain develop.

“Nutritional deprivation can alter development, including neurologic development and body growth,” Hershorin added. If there is any damage to the developing organs, it can possibly be reversed by getting proper nutrition later, but in many cases, injuries to the brain cannot be reversed later on.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, he continued, says a child’s diet should not be modified in the first two to three years of life, even if there are concerns about weight.
Imagine the nightmarish extent to which anti-plus prejudice has permeated society when having a daughter's brain develop poorly, and irreversibly so, is seen as a willing trade-off for having her maintain an emaciated appearance.

These parents were so duped by a mythical "weight" epidemic, which doesn't exist, that they subjected her to the consequences of starvation, which do exist. A fuller-figured daughter would have been in better health, but instead, they sought to have a scrawnier daughter in worse health.

Ill health as a deliberate choice. It's madness. And beyond that, as this case shows, it's criminal.

Parents definitely have a vast influence on the physical and psychological well-being of their daughters. However, it is also imperative to remember that a parent's own thinking is shaped by media propaganda. This couple would not have malnourished their daughter if they hadn't been brainwashed into feeling hostility toward a natural, well-fed appearance. Therefore, ultimately, to prevent cases such as this from happening more often (and heaven knows how many occur all the time, but are never brought to light), the culture within which we live must be changed to reflect a pro-curvy mindset in place of its current, unnatural curve-o-phobia and worship of emaciation.

M. Lopez
7th February 2012, 16:58
Finally, even the fanatically anti-plus education industry is beginning to realize that its school-sanctioned bullying of curvy girls is doing nothing but triggering eating disorders - at a tragically young age.

http://www.med.umich.edu/mott/npch/pdf/012412eatingbehaviors.pdf

The situation:

In recent years, childhood weight has consistently ranked among the top concerns that parents and the public have regarding the health of children in the U.S. There have been a variety of prevention efforts, many of them school-based.

Meanwhile, there has also been a steady increase in the prevalence of eating disorders, especially among children and pre-teens. Reasons for this increase are not clear, but there is concern that interventions to prevent ob***** may play a role.
"May" play a role? Gee, you think?

Here is some of the feedback that parents are giving about the anguish that their curvy daughters are being put through:

-parents report worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in their children that could be associated with the development of eating disorders
-parents say that their children have been made to feel bad at school about what or how much they were eating
-parents say height/weight measurements are taken at school
Wow. So the girls are bullied in gym-torture class, bullied about food (at a time when their bodies are supposed to be growing and developing!), and being stigmatized to the point of having their stats recorded on a chart.

This is downright terrifying. It sound more like a concentration camp than a school.

Here's a chart outlining some of the concerns. If the percentages seem low, it's because this surveys children of all sizes. Obviously, full-figured students comprise 100% of these numbers:

http://i39.tinypic.com/2vb3fkm.jpg

This part is uniquely chilling:

Parents that report incentive programs at their children’s school are more likely to say their children are “too physically active”(11%) compared with parents who do not report incentive.
Parents are usually the ones encouraging kids to "go out and play," so, if they think that their daughters are being slave-driven, it's a sure bet that they are. I can almost hear the cackling laughter of exercise-industry profiteers who see future generations of victims lining up to be consigned to high-priced gyms.

This passage, regarding prevention, is grossly hypocritical:

Parents should also be alert to sudden changes in their children’s eating behaviors, and to the possibility of food-or weight-related teasing or bullying.
Oh, really? How are they supposed to stop it, when the bullying seems to be a mandated part of the official school curriculum? What's worse: schoolyard name calling, or a school board that charts sensitive physical particulars in an Orwellian manner?

At least the article acknowledges that there is a problem:

the rising prevalence of eating disorders — and the trend of seeing these disorders more often among younger children — raises concerns that weight-prevention initiatives promote an unhealthy anxiety about eating or weight among certain children.
It's utterly appalling and incomprehensible that in a school, instead of focussing attention on girls' learning abilities - reading, writing, and computer skills, at the very least, to say nothing of history, geography, etc. - the primary focus seems to be to reshape girls into a form that is acceptable to the degenerates who run the pro-anorexia fashion industry.

What are these schools designed for: to educate youngsters, or to turn them into future customers for the diet-starvation and exercise torture industries?

Let's hope that parents push back against this campaign against their own daughters.

Karsten
19th February 2012, 23:55
There comes a point when the absurdity of a moral panic (which is what the war on curvy girls has become) reaches a level where it is no longer possible even to parody it, because its realities have become so completely insane.

But this case isn't the least bit laughable. In fact, it's genuinely chilling.

State governments in the U.S. are now inspecting childrens' lunches.

No, not for narcotics. For permissible food.

http://www.netadvisor.org/2012/02/16/food-police-government-official-seizes-4-year-olds-school-lunch-pink-slime-is-better/#.T0HRtfUn_6b

It sounds like sheer madness, but it's true:

Food Police – Government Official Seizes 4 Year Old’s School Lunch

North Carolina. The growing trend has seen government officials paid with taxpayer money to micro-manage our everyday lives. Now in North Carolina, the Food Police are after your children at school.

A four-year old girl at West Hoke Elementary School had her home brought lunch effectively seized by a government official from the Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services.
That this could happen to any child is unforgivable. That this humiliation happened to a four-year-old girl is utterly monstrous.

But wait -- it gets worse. What kind of lunch did the girl have that led to her running afoul of the food police? A bag of candy, perhaps? No, not even that:

The child’s mother packed her little girl’s lunch that consisted of a “turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips and apple juice.” The ‘food police’ then apparently told the child she was not allowed to eat her mom’s food, and instead was handed “chicken nuggets” – food served by the school’s cafeteria under federal “nutritional” guidelines.

The four year old girl came home with a “note” (aka ‘Government Food Citation’) to bill the parent(s) for the $1.25 school lunch.

The North Carolina report stated that the government official was “inspecting all lunch boxes” at the elementary school’s classrooms that day.
How can anyone think that turkey, cheese, a banana, and apple juice are contraband foods? It's too insane for words.

Furthermore, the idea that the government is inspecting kids' lunch boxes is so Orwellian, something a person would only expect in an out-of-control communist dictatorship, that to learn that this is really and truly happening in the United States in incredible.

Another article confirms the story.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/lunch_nazis_on_the_attack_tGyUoxc3mKetWmBpZz41rN

It effectively captures the creeping totalitarianism of this example of government meddling:

A North Carolina preschooler this week got a taste of the brave new school-lunch world.

As the 4-year-old entered the lunchroom, the state lunch inspector (!!) examined her sack and found the contents to be in violation of US Department of Agriculture nutrition guidelines. The Lunch Lady summarily threw the offending meal — including a homemade turkey sandwich, banana, chips and apple juice — into the trash; the girl was given a school-lunch meal consisting of . . . chicken nuggets.

Ah, yes, a vast improvement over the poison her mother packed. This is a perfect example of the Food Nazis’ victory over — not childhood obesity, but parental say in what kids eat. Nor is it an isolated case. Lunch inspections have been going on in Britain for years now, and the practice fits nicely with the Obama administration’s goals.
The exclamation points behind the phrase "state lunch inspector" are there in the original article. The idea that such a position even exists is ridiculous.

The article slants the critique in a political way, but I'm sure that everyone, whatever their political persuasion, can agree that such government intrusion must be stopped. It doesn't matter whether it comes from the left or right, or from which political party. This is a matter of basic human liberty.

It is also, as the above article perceptively identifies, a way to take childreading out of the hands of parents and put it into the hands of the state:

perhaps the greatest “victory” that the White House can claim is to have further damaged already tenuous parent-child relationships by making parents’ involvement in their children’s nutrition an even more remote occurrence.

The administration has been working to push parents from involvement in their children’s eating habits, apparently because mom and dad can’t be trusted to make the right decisions.

Parents need to be aware of what’s happening in our schools. We’re teaching our children that government — not mom or dad — knows best.
Really, though, the most unconscionable aspect of the entire sorry situation is that it stigmatizes little girls -- at the completely vulnerable and impressionable age of FOUR -- about what they eat. It renders them easy prey for diet-profiteers and every other company that will try to exploit their troubled relationship with food for the rest of their lives.

By contrast, if young girls were simply allowed to eat whatever the liked, and as much as they liked, they'd grow up with a healthy, normal attitude towards eating and would actually feel good about themselves, rather than being half-pathologized about weight at an age where they are practically infants.

Here's a video news report about this truly disturbing story:

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://video.insider.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=1452785152001&w=690&h=389"></script>