As a child I was convinced that if I looked different more people would love me. I though if a could just get my hair relaxed and drop fifty pounds my life would magically be better. A new, as of yet unreleased book, Maggie Goes on a Diet puts credibility on that belief.
From what I can tell Maggie Goes on a Diet is the story of a fat girl in middle school. Her asshole classmates make fun of her everyday. Eventually she can not take it anymore so she loses weight. And TA-DAA MAGIC her life is now amazing. All her problems lost along her weight. Everyone who hated fat Maggie just can't wait to befriend skinny Maggie. and she is super healthy and becomes the god of soccer or something. Oh yeah and this is being marketed to girls ages four to eight.
Four to eight.
There is so much wrong with this picture.
It promotes to false belief that the only way to be healthy is to lose weight.
Secondly it tells us that they only thing that counts is how you look on the outside. Kindergarten teachers across America must be banging their head against a wall right now. This book is trying undue all those stories, poems, pictures, and songs that our teachers gave us trying to tell us in is what is on the inside that counts.
The book description on Amazon says that throughout the story Maggie becomes self confident after loosing weight. I take two things away from that. One, the Arthur is saying it is impossible to have self confidence if you are fat, and/or two, if you are fat you don't deserve to have self confidence. Either way the message is bullshit.
Thirdly, this book says bulling is okay. It encourages the belief that there is something wrong with being fat and therefor it is okay to shame people for being fat. Skinny Maggie makes a ton of friends, probably some of the same kids who bullied her. These people did not become her friend for her personality they befriended her because she was skinny.
This is the opposite of what we should be teaching kids. When I was a kid I wish I had known that it is no use being beautiful on the outside if you are rotten on the inside. I wish I had known that anyone who judges me by my appearance is not worth my time. I wish I had known that anyone who befriends someone because of their looks is not a true friend.
Thank Goddess no one gave me this book.
This book angers but does not surprise me. This book is merely a document of very common attitudes and beliefs. I am happy to say this book is being met with a considerable amount of backlash. Just take a look at the tags people put on it on amazon. They include tags such as “Teaching your kids to self hate”, “Waste of a good tree” and “If you hate your daughter.” I agree with all of them.
I also cannot help but notice this book is written by a man for young girls. I could say something about sexism but I just don't have the energy today.
To the the author Paul Kramer I say this: fuck you.
To all the parents thinking of buying this book: don't.
To the kids that get bullied: hang in there and don't give your time to people who don't deserve it.