Manhattan socialite shames fat daughter, writes about it in ‘Vogue’

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Dara-Lynn Weiss attracted national media attention by putting her obese 7-year-old daughter on a diet, writing about it in Vogue, and ultimately scoring a book deal. Her story is relevant in America, where 1 in 3 children are obese. There’s a need for information on how parents can help their overweight children—but Dara-Lynn, who fat-shamed her daughter in public, got it all wrong and only sets a bad example for other moms in similar situations. And as we all know, the last thing the world needs is yet another example of bad parenting.

Dara Lynn Weiss Bea Weiss Weight Watcher

Manhattan socialite Dara-Lynn Weiss and her daughter Bea posed for an article titled “Weight Watcher” that’s running in the April issue of “Vogue.”

When Bea Weiss was 6 years old a pediatrician diagnosed her as clinically obese. Bea was 4 ft. 4 in. and 93 pounds.

Bea’s mother, Dara-Lynn Weiss, sprang into action and put her daughter on a strict diet. The Manhattan socialite also fat-shamed Bea, humiliated her in public, and once she denied her daughter dinner because she consumed brie, filet mignon, baguette and chocolate at her school’s French Heritage Day. Another time she stopped her daughter from eating a salad because it was overly dressed.

Dara-Lynn, who is a chronic dieter herself, shares these details in a provocative tell-all article titled “Weight Watcher” running in the April “Shape” issue of Vogue. Fashion photos of the mother and now-slim daughter accompany the article.

You can’t find the article online but bloggers are sharing bits and pieces of it all over the Internet.

Here’s a bit about the salad incident:

I stepped between my daughter and a bowl of salad nicoise my friend was handing her, raising my palm like a traffic cop. “Thanks,” I said, “but she already ate dinner.”

“But she said she’s still hungry,” my friend replied, bewildered.

I forced a smile. “Yeah, but it’s got a lot of dressing on it and we’re trying–”

“Just olive oil!” my friend interrupted. “It’s superhealthy!”

My smile faded and my voice grew tense. “I know. She can’t.”

My friend’s eyes moved to my daughter, whose gaze held the dish in the crosshairs: a Frisbee-size bowl bursting with oil, tuna, eggs, potatoes, olives.

And here’s another disturbing excerpt:

Sometimes Bea’s after-school snack was a slice of pizza or a gyro from the snack vendor. Other days I forced her to choose a low-fat vegetable soup or a single hard-boiled egg. Occasionally I’d give in to her pleas for a square of coffee cake, mainly because I wanted to eat half of it. When she was given access to cupcakes at a party, I alternated between saying, “Let’s not eat that, it’s not good for you;” “Okay, fine, go ahead, but just one;” and “Bea, you have to stop eating crap like that, you’re getting too heavy,” depending on my mood. Then I’d secretly eat two when she wasn’t looking.

Dara-Lynn clearly handles her daughter’s weight problem in the wrong way, and she’s setting Bea up for a life ridden with body image issues and eating disorders.

“She did everything we recommend people don’t do,” Lynn Grefe, president of the National Eating Disorders Association, told Time. “To us, diet is a four-letter word.

Weight problems among America’s youth are real with 1 in 3 children being overweight. We all like to blame this sobering number on fast-food chains and the food industry but ultimately the responsibility lies with the parents of these children. And how can a parent help an overweight child?

Parents certainly can’t cull any advice from Dara-Lynn’s sensationalized article. She can only tell you how to destroy your child’s self image.

I only wish that Vogue ran an article about a parent who got it right. Putting a child on a diet is a delicate, complicated situation and parents could use an example of a parent who handles her child’s obesity with thoughtfulness, love and care. Parents don’t need yet another example of bad parenting, nor do we need another parent who’s exploiting their children and neurotic parenting style for media attention. Shame on Vogue for printing this article.

The sad thing is that bad parenting sells. Dara-Lynn has been written about by bloggers at media outlets ranging from the HuffingtonPost to BabyCenter. And MediaBistro’s GalleyCat just announced that Dara-Lynn scored a book deal with Random House’s Ballantine to write a memoir, tentatively titled “The Heavy.” Can we all agree to not buy a copy?

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