FATLASH Memoir about Child Diets and Beauty Pageants Just Released as E-Book

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Karen Kataline, MSW wrote about her experiences in child beauty pageants and being put on restrictive diets to warn parents about these practices and dissuade them from following suit. The e-book edition of her book, FATLASH! Food Police & the Fear of Thin has just been released.

by Karen Kataline, MSW

FATLASH! Food Police & the Fear of Thin

Kataline spent her childhood trapped in a world of pageants, performances and perpetual hunger.

FATLASH! Food Police & the Fear of Thin is a personal and professional account of being put in 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.

The problems caused by putting kids in child beauty pageants and on diets are separate but often interrelated, Kataline says, because weak boundaries and appearance obsessions are core issues in both. "Parents and politicians seem to be exhibiting these maladies on a larger scale than ever." she says with a smile.

Kataline has been an outspoken critic of Toddlers and Tiaras, Mayor Bloomberg's soda bans, bioethicist Daniel Callahan who called for fat people to be "shamed," and mothers like Dara-Lynn Weiss who has written unapologetically about putting her seven-year-old on a diet.

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 been an assertiveness trainer and public speaking coach for a Manhattan communications firm and 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. She also lends her operatic voice to a variety of fundraisers and community events. Fatlash! is her first book.

Martina Cartwright, Ph.D, RD., wrote the Foreword for Fatlash! She is a registered dietitian with a Ph.D. in Nutritional Science and Biomolecular Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has written extensively about child pageants and eating disorders and is credited with coining the term, "Princess by Proxy."

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