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Diets and Display: What’s the Connection?

Fatlash! Food Police and the Fear of Thin by Karen KatalineChild beauty pageants and issues about food and weight seem to go together like pizza and beer, peanut butter and jelly, lettuce and tomato.  –But why?  In the case of “Honey Boo Boo,” we see a child who is a bit chubby, with a food-obsessed family and an overweight mother. I was a bit chubby too, but had a thin-obsessed mother who wanted desperately for me to be as thin as she had been when she was put on the stage by her mother.In both cases however, weight and diets figure prominently and usually do in families who put their children on display. What’s the connection?  In most people’s lives, food is about much more than sustenence.  It’s about control, it’s about nurturing, and it’s about boundaries.  When food is the instrument that expresses a dysfunctional family, it also becomes the tool that expresses separation from that dysfunction.Whether Honey decides to assert her independence by becoming diet-conscious, or whether she becomes just as heavy as her mother, these issues have been thrust upon her by a family that is feeding off her appearance and cuteness. Can Honey ever truly be an independent person as she grows older?  Time will tell. In the meantime, pass the pork rinds, but for heaven’s sake, not too many.

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