Child Beauty Pageant Memoir, FATLASH! Wins Three National Awards

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Fatlash! Food Police & the Fear of Thin, a memoir by professional social worker, Karen Kataline, MSW won top honors at the 2013 National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA).

by Karen Kataline, MSW

FATLASH! Food Police & the Fear of Thin

A cautionary tale of what not to do.

FATLASH! Food Police & the Fear of Thin, a memoir by Karen Kataline, MSW, about the long-term effects of child beauty pageants and forced dieting on children won top honors from the 2013 National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA).The book won in two categories: Women's Issues and Addiction and Recovery, and was subsequently awarded a Sponsor's Choice Prize worth $5,000.

The National Indie Excellence Awards are judged by independent experts from all aspects of the indie book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. They select award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation in addition to the writing.

Before she knew what a calorie was, at the age of seven, child performer Karen Kataline was allowed to have only five hundred of them. Forced into the spotlight by her weight-obsessed mother, Kataline spent her childhood trapped in a world of pageants, performances, and perpetual hunger. She later attempted to use food and weight-gain to shield herself from the eyes that roved her.

Fatlash! is a first-person account of the impact of putting children on display, and policing what they eat. With children provocatively posed by their parents on shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and the increasing hysteria over obesity in America, Fatlash! reveals the connection between the exploitation of children, and the unconscious reaction in some girls and women alike, to use weight as protection from sexualization, objectification and overexposure.

A new term, "Princess by Proxy" Syndrome is introduced by Martina Cartwright, Ph.D, RD. in the foreword to Fatlash! “Princess by Proxy" is a subcategory of Achievement by Proxy Distortion (ABPD), is a pattern of adult behaviors that occurs when an adult’s pride and satisfaction are achieved through a child’s activities. The syndrome is rampantly evident in the child pageant circuit and on programs like "Toddlers and Tiaras" and their spinoffs like "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" where the most extreme pageant moms are rewarded with exactly the kind of financial gain and recognition they seek.

Kataline says she wrote the book as a cautionary tale of what not to do, and to spur greater education and public discussion about how to create healthy boundaries.

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! won a first place Evvy Award from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) and is a finalist in the Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Awards, to be announced in June, 2013.

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 introduced in the book, "Princess by Proxy."

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