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Fatlash!: Food Police and the Fear of Thin--A Cautionary Tale Paperback – October 16, 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Informative, funny, and personal . . . Do yourself a favor and get this book. It might lead you to make a new friend--your own body." --Laurelee Roark, cofounder, Beyond Hunger

"Karen's story sheds new light on an area which is in tremendous need of greater understanding." --Marilyn Van Derbur Atler, author, Miss America by Day

"Fatlash! is a beautifully written, witty, and boldly personal perspective."  --Julie Gunlock, senior fellow, Independent Women's Forum

"Karen puts a human face on food restriction and gives a powerful example of what not to do." --Bernard J. Baars, PhD, coauthor, Cognition, Brain, and Consciousness, 2nd Ed.

"A brave story of how Karen moved past being a prized show-pony living her mother's dreams and having been sexualized at an early age." --Nita W. LaFontaine, the first Miss Louisiana who was black; author, Finding My Voice: Living with the Loss of Don LaFontaine

From the Author

Press Release:  Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) November 27, 2012
Princess by Proxy: New Memoir Introduces Term to Explain Extreme Beauty Pageant Moms

With the phenonomena of Toddlers and Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo comes a breed of parent that has been around for decades but has never had a name. Now, the behavior of "pageant moms on steroids" is termed "Princess by Proxy" by Martina Cartwright, PhD, RD in a new memoir, Fatlash! Food Police & the Fear of Thin--A Cautionary Tale by Karen Kataline, MSW
 
Programs like Toddlers and Tiaras and "Honey Boo Boo" have reignited controversy about "pageant moms on steriods," who live vicariously through their children, but there has never been a name to describe it until now. The syndrome has been termed "Princess by Proxy" by Martina Cartwright, PhD, RD in a new memoir, Fatlash! Food Police & the Fear of Thin--A Cautionary Tale by Karen Kataline, MSW
 
"Princess by Proxy" Syndrome, 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. It starts with the best intentions. Parents and adults who lovingly and compassionately support children's activities are normal. Those with ABPD objectify their children, seeing them either consciously or unconsciously as a means to obtain financial or social gains for themselves. Studies show that sexual objectification can put a child at risk for abuse and neglect.

Princess by Proxy is rampantly evident in the child pageant circuit and programs like "Toddlers and Tiaras" and their spinoffs like "Honey Boo Boo" where the most extreme pageant moms are rewarded with exactly the kind of financial gain and recognition they seek.
 
Kataline grew up with just such a mother. Put on the stage at the age three, she was exposed at an early age to being stared at and inappropriately displayed wearing skimpy outfits in front of audiences. Her tale warns against this kind of sexualization, not by banning pageants, but by educating parents and audiences alike about the dangers of exposing children in a way they are not prepared for. "I wrote my story in part, to illustrate in human terms, how this kind of sexualization affects normal development. While it doesn't take a pageant to sexualize a child, I believe pageant moms and these child "glitz" pageants will fall out of favor when more people are better informed about the consequences," Kataline said.
 
By recognizing the characteristics of Princess by Proxy Syndrome, and working to protect children from it, only then will those same children be able to develop normally so that they can enter into a healthy adulthood.
 
 
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 among others. 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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: K. M. Ette Publishing, Ltd. (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985967900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985967901
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,602,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I just finished FATLASH! and was happy to have someone put a voice to what I think is the insanity of parading young girls in front of the public as if they were pieces of meat, and making them think that unless they win that pageant or contest, they are worthless. What a horrible way to raise a child.

Ms. Kataline hit very close to home for me when she described how being overweight was protection from having to deal with men sexually objectifying her. It IS easier to hide behind a fat suit than to have to deal with some men's attention.

If you're a naturally shy person, as am I, there's comfort in the label of being fat and hence ignored.

To read all that Ms. Kataline endured, experienced and overcame on her road to achieving a comfortable weight was uplifting to me in my daily struggle with the scale.

Brava to Ms. Kataline for having the bravery to share her story with the world.

Maggie, Denver, CO
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Format: Paperback
Karen's book is a pleasure to read. Eloquent, funny, and filled with insight about problems shared by millions: Should I be ashamed of my weight and torture myself to look thin? Should a mother help her daughter achieve glory on the stage...even if it kills her? Do I dare lose weight -- if every pound that comes off reveals frightening childhood memories the weight was intended to bury? This book should be read by Mother BEFORE she pushes her daughter into child beauty contests that force her to look and act more grown up than she really is.
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Karen Kataline has done a very brave thing: she has bared her soul in this book, and shared with her readers her progress in the harrowing journey that has been her life. Karen suffered what amounts to child abuse at the hands of a mother who was oblivious to her child's true needs, and who saw only her own goals and wishes. That Karen came out of her trials with so much strength, a still-positive outlook, and with her humor intact, is a testimony to her own personal integrity.
This book will no doubt be a comfort and a help to countless young people in understanding their own complex relationships with their bodies and the food they eat. I hope it will also send a wake-up message to "stage mothers" who see only dollar signs and glory in their children, and overlook their pain.
And, just in case you were thinking that this serious cautionary tale might be a dry or difficult read, think again. It is a gripping story, told with honesty, forthrightness, and humor.
A great read, and an important one!
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I just finished "FatLash." The most amazing element of this memoir is that, with her childhood and background, Karen has grown into a rational, productive -- and delightful -- person. This book really is about abnormal parents, a dysfunctional family, and psychological elements so complex it's difficult for those of us who never experienced anything like her upbringing to understand. How can this book cause the reader to laugh out loud and bring that same reader nearly to tears only pages later? It's all evidence of the horrific roller-coaster ride forced on the talented and beautiful little girl that was Karen. The mix of emotions the story causes in the reader are only a pale shadow of the emotional mix of reality of Karen's young life. Food police, "fear of thin" and related topics are actually tangential to the main meaning of the book: how can a child, striving to just be a little girl growing up, face the odds Karen faced, and succeed? A must read for 2012-2013. The title includes the tantalizing phrase "Volume 1" leading to a sincere and impatient longing for Volume II soon.
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Format: Paperback
Fatlash!: Food Police and the Fear of Thin--A Cautionary Tale (Volume 1)by Karen Kataline gets to the heart of why many people are disconnected from their physical selves. Obesity becomes a strategy to avoid living as a sexual being. Allowing others - a parent, spouse, or government to dictate food choices takes away personal responsibility and distorts the personal relationship with one's body.

Karen tells about her childhood experience as a pageant contestant and its sexual subtext and the consequent rigors of forced dieting, familial humiliation for failure, and her rebellion to stake her claim to her true self. Her writing is witty and funny, and her storytelling keeps the pages turning. Karen's personal courage shines in both the telling of her story and her insights founded on unvarnished observation.

Read Fatlash if you want a better connection between your physical/ emotional/ intellectual/ spiritual self.
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Fatlash is a page-turning book, sad and triumphant, as well as provocative and thoughtful. As Karen comes to appreciate her struggles with her weight and her emotions, she explores a childhood with a stage mother who repeatedly puts her daughter into sexually titillating and age inappropriate situations, a father susceptible to female charms and without proper boundaries, and a brother struggling with mental illness. Fatlash gives voice to Karen's persistence, analytic mind, and need to understand her life's and weight's ups and downs and the ways in which food sometimes enabled her to deaden feelings that were at the time too frightening to explore and acknowledge. As an outgrowth of her painfully gained self-knowledge and self-acceptance, she plausibly suggests that "food police" who are dictating the availability and "righteousness" of certain foods and a highly sexualized culture that views little girls as sex objects are contributing to the epidemic of obesity in our culture.
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