27 Mar Hot Potato Mom Exploits Child in Vogue Magazine and We Pay

Starving a 7-year-old is child abuse even when it’s cloaked in the beautiful pages of Vogue.

While Mad Men’s 1960s misogyny had center stage this week, Vogue Magazine found a way to steal it. The fashion bible came out yesterday with a first person account by Dara-Lynn Weiss, a troubled mother who drove her 7-year-old daughter towards a 16 pound weight loss, sometimes depriving her of dinner when she had “too big” a lunch and starving her on and off for a year. And while readers and media were gaping in horror, she was running around town securing a publishing deal, so now she has an even bigger audience to preach to with her misdirected war against fat.  I picture her leapfrogging from a soulless fashion editor to a soulless book editor. Apparently they are easy to find.

As a mom I am saddened and as a Random House author, I am appalled. (Weiss landed a book deal with the same publishing house that published my books.) But who is to blame? Is it Anna Wintourand her total disregard for her editorial responsibility to publish accurate information? Is it Random House for the same sin? Is itMichelle Obama’s war on obesity gone awry? Or is it Dara-Lynn Weiss who has admittedly passed along her own tortured history with food like a hot potato to her own daughter.

There are plenty of “Hot Potato Moms” like Dara-Lynn out there – women who have punished their own bodies their whole lives who then push the dysfunction to their kids – but they are not all granted aVogue or Random House-sized audience.

Now this mother with a sickness has a megaphone.

And this newest chapter in eating disorders, diets and children will certainly bring body and diet talk even closer to the fabric of our every day and at an even younger age. Before it infects our households, we need to know how to manage it, so I approached confidence expert and author, Jessica Weiner for advice:

“Create your own conversation at home so you can own this dialogue before someone else does. Define within your family what health means, how to listen to our bodies, how all bodies are different, how you can’t always tell someone’s health by the outside of a person, and how what we eat is fuel and helps us move faster, sleep better, and have more energy. Eradicating good food/bad food thoughts…and trusting your child to get connected to their own body cues is incredibly important in creating body autonomy for them.”

It is heartbreaking that Dara-Lynn couldn’t see past her own issues to create a home filled with more love and less body hate. And now we can combine Jessica Weiner’s advice on how to talk to our kids about body and health with another essential strategy; keeping our kids away from moms like Dara-Lynn. Like many illnesses, body-hatred is contagious.

Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author, media personality and speaker, passionate about helping working moms to design a successful and happy lifestyle. Connect with her at samantha@samanthaettus.com or @samanthaettus.

To read this article on Forbes, please click here.

Samantha Ettus is a bestselling author & corporate speaker. The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction will be released in September.