I saw an article on Yahoo news last week. It's about a new children's book, called - yep, you guessed it - Maggie Goes On A Diet.
The book summary, from Amazon.com, says,
"Maggie has so much potential that has been hiding under her extra weight. This inspiring story is about a 14-year-old who goes on a diet and is transformed from being overweight and insecure to a normal sized teen who becomes the school soccer star. Through time, exercise and hard work, Maggie becomes more and more confident and develops a positive self-image."
There's enough in the description alone to bug me. Kids going on "diets"? Teenagers aspiring to be "normal sized"? Come on. Can anyone tell me what a "normal" teenager is?
You know what though - I could handle that. Not the best choice of wording, but it's tolerable. What ticks me off the most is the reason for the weight loss.
According to the book:
"Maggie was teased and made fun of just about every day at school, she was called fatty and chubby and other names that were very cruel."
"Searching the refrigerator in hopes she would feel better, eating lots of bread and cheeses including some cheddar."
So Maggie decides to eat better, exercise and lose weight. All of a sudden, now that Maggie is "normal", kids like her and she has friends.
"Maggie looked forward to her Saturday morning game, more and more people were beginning to know Maggie by name. Playing soccer gave Maggie popularity and fame."
Oh, really? Is that all it takes to make friends and.......wait a second. Are we really ready to teach kids that being "normal" and skinny is the only way to make friends? Do we want them to think that we should give in to bullying - changing so much that the bullies stop bullying? Do we want to give our children self confidence issues?
It makes me slightly sick.
What do you think?