FATLASH! Food Police & the Fear of Thin is a personal and professional account of being put in John Ramsey" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" href="http://karenkataline.com/2013/02/01/john-ramsey-still-oblivious-after-all-these-years/">child beauty pageants and on restrictive diets. The "memoir with a message" by Karen Kataline, MSW has just been released in an e-book edition.
Amid heated controversy about Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo and parents who put their seven-year-olds on diets, Kataline says she wrote her story as a cautionary tale to give readers a sense of how it feels from a child's perspective, illustrate the long-term impact, and dissuade parents from following suit.
Kataline says that children who are sexualized and displayed like Vogue models in beauty pageants and fed a constant diet of weight and appearance hysteria, are at serious risk of eating disorders, body image distortions, PTSD and low self-esteem.
Before she knew what a calorie was, Kataline was allowed to have only five hundred of them. She was seven. Forced into the spotlight by her weight-obsessed mother, Kataline spent her childhood trapped in a world of pageants, performances, and perpetual hunger.
By her teens, Kataline weighed 285 pounds, which she later came to understand as an unconscious need for protection, boundaries and a backlash against the pressure to be thin. This is what she refers to as a FATLASH reaction. She says that while she doesn't recommend this as a coping mechanism, it speaks volumes about the sense of vulnerability that children feel when they are sexualized at an early age.