Vogue Writer Publicly Humiliates 7-Year-Old Daughter On Diet

This is a heartbreaking story of a little girl subjected to public humiliation by her mother’s obsession with weight loss. Warning – this story may make you very angry.

Writing in the April issue of Vogue, their ‘Shape’ edition, Dara-Lynn Weiss tells how she restricted the calorie intake of Bea, who at 4ft 4in and 93lbs was deemed ‘clinically obese’ by her pediatrician.

So far so good: Weiss has to decide what to do when her pediatrician tells her her child is clinically obese. According to the CDC, approximately 17 percent of American children are obese, which means their BMI lies in the ninety-fifth percentile or higher for their age and height. Weiss’ daughter, Bea, fell in the ninety-ninth percentile at 93 lbs and 4’4” inches tall, therefore putting her at risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type two diabetes.

Public Humiliation Of 7-Year-Old Bea

But as Weiss justifies the weight-loss strategies she put her daughter through, I started wondering about her fitness to be a mother. It seems that she is projecting her hatred of her own body onto her daughter through this year-long diet: the author admits to having had issues with food her whole life, including obsessive dieting, fasting and using laxatives.

From Vogue:

I once reproachfully deprived Bea of her dinner after learning that her observation of French Heritage Day at school involved nearly 800 calories of Brie, filet mignon, baguette, and chocolate. I stopped letting her enjoy Pizza Fridays when she admitted to adding a corn salad as a side dish one week. I dressed down a Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance of the nutrition content of the kids’ hot chocolate whose calories are listed as “120-210″ on the menu board: Well, which is it? When he couldn’t provide an answer, I dramatically grabbed the drink out of my daughter’s hands, poured it into the garbage, and stormed out.

Other passages describe ‘awkward moments at parties’ when Bea is told she cannot have both cookies and cake, and ‘the many times I had it out with Bea over a snack given to her by a friend’s parent or caregiver.’ She also admits to depriving her child of dinner. Shaming your child in public? What kind of parenting is this?

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Instead of this draconian approach, why didn’t Weiss focus on positive messages about eating healthy foods, rather than calorie-counting and deprivation? Did she recognize that her approach might be related to her own unhealthy attitudes to food? And hasn’t she heard of the importance of both exercise and diet? In reading the entire article, I didn’t see one mention of activity, play, even walking. Why didn’t she choose to Get Out with her child? How about exploring nature, walking, running? Or riding a bike together?

How did Bea feel at the end of this? From Vogue:

For Bea, the achievement is bittersweet. When I ask her if she likes how she looks now, if she’s proud of what she’s accomplished, she says yes…Even so, the person she used to be still weighs on her. Tears of pain fill her eyes as she reflects on her yearlong journey. “That’s still me,” she says of her former self. “I’m not a different person just because I lost sixteen pounds.” I protest that, indeed, she is different. At this moment, that fat girl is a thing of the past. A tear rolls down her beautiful cheek, past the glued-in feather. “Just because it’s in the past,” she says, “doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

Weiss’s approach to her daughter’s weight probably means that Bea will be stuck with weight issues for the rest of her life.

What do you think?

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Photo Credit: istock

248 comments

Tiffany B.
Tiffany B.4 years ago

People need to wake up on how they affect their children!!

Pat B.
Pat B.4 years ago

Personally I'd say that's child abuse. That woman is a terrible mother.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

Exercise wasn't mentioned. Deprivation ultimately does not work

Sarah M.
Sarah M.4 years ago

She is not fit to be a mother!

Kerrie G.
Kerrie G.4 years ago

Not good.

Deborah P.
Deborah P.4 years ago

What a horrible mother! Bea is going to have major body issues, she will grow up feeling that you can only be loved if you are thin. This is the message her abusive mother has given her, "Mummy doesn't love you until you are so thin we can see your bones". Dara-Lynn Weiss has psychologically abused her daughter.

Claire Jordan
Claire Jordan4 years ago

The mother seems very hysterical and melodramaticl, which means the kid probably eats too much because the mother makes her tense. Why did she take her into Starbucks and buy her hot chocolate in the first place if she was making such a big deal about calories? It sounds like the mother is living out some weird drama of her own.

And of course, she's the same person as she was. By suggesting that she's a different person because she's lost weight, and then praising her, the mother is in effect saying "I don't love you when you're fat". When she gets to 20 she'll find that most men (assuming she's straight) like something they can get a handful of, she'll be too mixed up to make use of it.

Barbara P.
Barbara P.4 years ago

Oh wow , why didn't she just advocate taking her child out into the street and beating her every time she ate over 100 calories . That poor little girl may well end up being pretty and thin, but she have issues with food, she'll have poor health if the absence of anything to do with exercise is a true reflection and she'll have a crappy self image..way to go , fabulous parenting ..

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