March 12 was the day that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's soda ban was set to go into effect in NYC, but State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling said 'no way' and struck down the law, calling it "arbitrary and capricious." Karen Kataline, MSW, author of FATLASH! Food Police & the Fear of Thin not only agrees with the ruling but says March 12 should be declared "Food Freedom Day."
Bloomberg was indignant about the loss and was quoted as saying, "We're not banning anything. It's called portion control," but Kataline asks, "Who should control your portions? A Mayor? A bureaucrat? A government? What's more, why is soda evil but German chocolate cake isn't? Uh oh, forget I mentioned it," she says. "Let's not give him any more ideas." she laughs.
Kataline adds, "External attempts to control something as private and personal as what we choose to eat only creates rebellion and even less self control. If a woman's body is not the government's business, why is anyone's stomach?"
Kataline, whose mother put her on a 500 calorie per day diet says over-control is not only counterproductive but contributes to discrimination and the self-loathing that makes people even fatter. Thus, her term, FATLASH. "There have always been people of all shapes and sizes. Some lose weight, some gain weight and most struggle, regardless of a billion dollar diet industry."
"What is different and disturbing is the notion that someone else, be it a parent or a bureaucrat can control what other people eat and "make" them thin. "Obesity hysteria" can however, foster weight problems and eating disorders in people that never would have developed one. Given the pain of a problem that could last a lifetime and the growing social stigma, that's tragic."
FATLASH! is a memoir that warns of the consequences of just such intrusive control over what other people eat, particularly children and interweaves Kataline's experiences in child beauty pageants.
Karen Kataline, MSW received her master's degree from Columbia University and has practiced in a variety of non-profit and corporate settings. She has taught communications and public speaking at the New School for Social Research, Parsons School of Design in New York, New Jersey's Montclair State College, and Fairleigh Dickenson University, among others. FATLASH! Food Police & the Fear of Thin is a finalist in the Foreword Review's 2012 Book of the Year Awards in the category of "Women's Studies."