From Frugivore — Filled with despair, Julie Askew watched her 13-year-old daughter try on yet another outfit in the mirror — then fling it on to the growing pile of clothes on her bedroom floor.
“I’m fat and ugly — and I look horrible!” a tearful Amie wailed. ‘“I can’t wear this to the school disco. It’s just not fair.”
That’s how The Daily Mail begins its profile of a young girl who had already internalized severe body-image issues. The question always arises: where do such negative views come from? And most of time people will blame the household from which she comes.
Julie, 48, a business development manager from Maidstone, Kent, says: “Normally I would have blamed the shops for selling clothes which are cut too small, told her the style didn’t suit her, or insisted she looked lovely.”
“But by this point she weighed more than 13 stones (182 pounds), and the hissy fits about how awful she looked were becoming so regular that I had to say something.”
“So this time, instead of denying it, I blurted out: ‘Yes, Amie, you’re right. You are overweight — and the only person who can do something about it is you.’”
A response that holds her daughter personally responsible — somewhere, a Republican is smiling. But when is it ever okay to tell someone they are fat, which is now the new “f-word.”
Stateside, Americans have tried to figure out the best way to engage the obesity epidemic. In Georgia, the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance spent $50 million on its Strong4Life campaign last summer to address the state’s pressing childhood obesity epidemic.
At the start of this year, the organization ramped up its efforts with a series of billboards and TV ads meant to “stop sugar-coating” the problem. “We needed something that was more arresting and in your face than some of the flowery campaigns out there,” Linda Matzigkeit, senior vice president of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, told ABC News.
One of the black-and-white posters of a gloomy-looking overweight girl is emblazoned with the statement: “Warning. It’s hard to be a little girl if you’re fat.” Another ad, under a sad-faced boy, reads: “Fat prevention begins at home. And the buffet line.”
The campaign’s videos are equally frank and grim. In one, a plump girl says, “I don’t like going to school because all the other kids pick on me. It hurts my feelings.” In another, an obese boy asks his overweight mom, “Why am I fat?”