Maggie went on a diet... And found herself!
There is a new children's book out titled Maggie Goes on a Diet and it is causing quite a stir. There was a piece done by ABC News that covered the issues some parents are upset about in relation to it. As a parent, I understand some of the concerns. However, after watching the piece carefully, I have different concerns. I am not totally concerned about a book that talks about a teenager going on a diet; it is not the first of its kind. However, ABC News took a group of young girls and showed them a picture of four girls and asked them to point out which one stood out to them. As someone who has been in the art world for years, I can tell you that I find several issues with how the picture of the four girls was presented. Here is the picture:
The girl that all of the youngsters point out is the tallest (which shows more of her body than any of the other girls), the blondest, and is the only girl in the picture with her hair down and pulled over her sholders. She is also in the brightest color shirt and has been put in the first location that someone's eye looks when they look at a picture (the top right). Why wouldn't this girl stand out? The shortest girl in the picture is right next to her by she is cut off so much that you can see nothing below her armpits. One of the girls in the study group is rather vocal and shouts out that the girl in blue stands out to her because she is "chubby wubby." All I can do is be taken aback and think, "wow... Great parenting." I hope that this girl's parents are embarrassed. Anyone who grew up being overweight or even feeling overweight knows how this horrible nickname can hit a nerve.
I think the real sad part in this story is that no one is explaining to children the matter of health. The girl who is larger than the others should not be described as "fat" but as "unhealthy." Why is everyone so quick to judge and call someone names, but holds back so strongly when it comes to the actual reason that being fat is looked down upon? The issue isn't fat versus thin. The issue is health! The girl that this clip showcases and takes to the doctor is considered healthy. There is no mention of this girl playing any sports or what kind of food she eats. Therefore, there can be no assumption that she is actually healthy in the true sense of the word. I do not think that this story dug deep enough into the matter.
Do not get me wrong here; I would not run out to buy this book for my children, but I think that people are causing a stink over something that they are merely upset about because it makes them look at themselves and see something they don't like. The newscasters try to turn the story of Maggie around and say that it was the act of losing weight that made Maggie popular. However, the book in question clearly states that it was the act of playing soccer that caused Maggie to "gain popularity and fame." Many people have goals set for themselves to achieve as they lose weight. There is one such woman in September's issue of Fitness who loved to play tennis but stopped playing because it was too tiring. This book brings up the same issue. All that I am saying is: don't worry so much about the superficial, think for yourself and look beyond what someone throws at you. There is always more to be seen.