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Old 30th May 2006   #1
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Posts: 517
Default The war on children

Today, linked to an important article in The New York Times about America's war on children. What else can you call what is happening in North American schools today? The way that schools treat full-figured girls is state-sanctioned bullying. There's no other way to view it. It is an institutionalized effort to make young girls unhappy with their natural bodies. If this had happened in communist Europe during the Cold War, we would have decried it as totalitarian brutality. But it's happening in our own schools -- and we're allowing it.

The article is linked here:

It points out that the health stats that have been used to fabricate the myth of a weight "epidemic" are all nonsense, and shows that these tyrannical school-imposed starvation-and-torture regimens don't work at all.

I thought this was an especially important point:
"You're setting kids up to feel bad about how they are," says Dr. Nancy Krebs, chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Nutrition and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado.

Such efforts usually fail, making weight problems and eating disorders worse. A recent Internet discussion board among families with anorexic and bulimic children identified middle school health classes, which focus on weight, as the No. 1 trigger for their teenagers' disorders.

And even those who might escape full-fledged disorders still are indoctrinated into being the next generation of victims of the diet/exercise industries. It's time for schools to stop being institutions of bullying, and to start being institutions of learning.

Although, by necessity, the article presents a truly upsetting picture of how schools are abusing young girls, and depriving them of the food that they want and need, it ends with a call for sanity that, I hope, everyone who reads it takes to heart:
"Emphasize providing, not depriving," Ms. Satter suggests. "Maintain the structure of meals and snacks so children can count on getting fed — and fed enough."

So serve another slice of pizza. Bring on the chocolate cupcakes. Dish up the broccoli soup and burritos, the strawberries and cheesecake. Give kids...more time to eat. Teach them about the joys of food, not the terrors. And maybe they'll grow up less ambivalent and healthier than we are.
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Old 30th May 2006   #2
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Default Re: The war on children

Originally Posted by Emily
families with anorexic and bulimic children identified [B]middle school health classes, which focus on weight, as the No. 1 trigger for their teenagers' disorders.

That doesn't surprise me at all. It reminds me of a really shocking news item that was posted here a few months ago, about a specific case in Australia, in which a girl actually did develop anorexia because of her school's embarrassing weigh-in tactics, and other types of school-imposed humiliation:

The most galling point about it was how dismissive the school principal was of her tragic case. So now that these programs have been shown to cause eating disorders among many young women, will people finally realize how misguided these practices are? At least one reporter has finally spoken out against them- and bravo to her for doing so.

This is not what school is for. Considering the sorry condition of the public educational system, teachers should start focussing on their students' minds, not on their dress sizes.
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Old 1st June 2006   #3
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Default Re: The war on children

Also of interest in the article is an anecdote that the reporter downplays, but which actually goes to the heart of the issue. It lays bare some of the ideological underpinnings of the war on full-figured school-age girls, and of modern culture's suppression of plus-size beauty in general.

The reporter notes:

I fear there's something else at work — a fear borne out by a flier my fifth grader brought home saying that at the monthly pizza hot lunch, no child would be allowed to buy a second slice of pizza. The district says the new ruling is to avoid bad feelings caused by "inequities": if everyone can't have extra helpings, no one can.

This confirms a theory that was introduced on this forum earlier this year, in a discussion concerning the Classical concept of "Proportionate Equality." The actions of the school district noted by the reporter, above, indicate that the school is imposing the artificial concept of numerical equality, rather that following the natural concept of proportionate equality. And worse, it is indoctrinating students into internalizing this unnatural, levelling ideology.

Numerical equality views all human beings as undifferentiated units, deserving identical rations--as if they had all been produced on an assembly line, each just the same as the other. The timeless and more aristocratic notion of proportionate equality, on the other hand, "dispenses more to the greater and less to the smaller, giving due measure to each according to nature," in Plato's words.

To invoke the example of Charlotte Brontë's novel Villette, as we did in our earlier post on this subject, nature does not merely create diminutive Lucy Snowes. It also creates voluptuous Ginevra Fanshawes.

Thus, in the example noted by the reporter, if her daughter's school were guided by the principle of proportionate equality (the nurturing kind) rather than numerical equality (the levelling kind), a school-age, full-figured goddess-to-be (a Ginevra Fanshawe) would not only be allowed, but even encouraged to have "extra helpings," to "buy a second slice of pizza," because her wants would be recognized as being naturally greater than those of a less-developed classmate (a Lucy Snowe).

This concept is troubling to modern society, with its hyper-democratic beliefs, but nature distributes talent, beauty, and desire to different individuals in different measure. Modern society is permeated by resentment of this fact, and devises inhuman ideologies to eradicate the distinctions among individuals, genders, etc., and to reduce humanity to an undifferentiated mass.

Indeed, the beauty-hating aesthetic that originated in the 20th century, and gave us such aberrations as the androgynous fashion model, could well be termed the "aesthetic of guilt," both because it reflects a sense of guilt that Western society imposed on itself for its own past glories, and because it imposes this sense of guilt on the general public. In effect, the androgynous model was Western society's attempt to say, "Forgive us for the beauty that we once created--we are now taking only one piece of the pizza, no more." It reflects the self-imposed cultural starvation of the West, in the present day.

But instead of resenting the fact that nature endows different human beings with different proportions of beauty, talent, etc.--let alone devising inhuman ideologies that seek to eradicate these distinctions--we should celebrate the uniqueness of human endowments, and the diversity of human appetites, and recognize that proportionate equality, rather than mindless numerical equality, is reflective of the natural relations between human beings. The young Ginervra Fanshawes should be proud of the fact that nature endowed them with more generous curves, more generous beauty, and more generous appetites, than those of their peers, and the young Lucy Snowes should not resent them for this.

And perhaps then, as the writer of the article so fondly hopes, the next generation of our youth will "grow up less ambivalent and healthier than we are"--less ambivalent about their wants and their gifts, and healthier in their assessment of the natural relations between human beings.

Kelsey Olson looking especially lovely at Torrid--a company that is helping to undo the damage that schools are inflicting on the self-esteem of young goddesses today:

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