If your daughter wants to be a vegetarian, urge her to wait until she is 16.
When Lena Dunham announced that “a lot of times when you are a vegetarian it is a just not very effective eating disorder” she was duly pilloried. But speaking as someone who has been a vegetarian for 30 years and has a certain amount of knowledge about eating disorders, I’m going to defend Dunham here, even though she slightly missed the real point. Vegetarianism is not an ineffective eating disorder – it is a potential gateway to eating disorders.
Obviously not all vegetarians become anorexic and not all anorexics are vegetarian (although in my experience, in regards to the latter part of that sentence, there is a heavy overlap). But vegetarianism encourages people to divide foods between the good and the bad, and it then becomes a legitimate means of limiting one’s diet. Your daughter has a whole lifetime ahead of her to think of food as something other than a pleasurable physical necessity. Why let her start early?A provocative quote by Hadley Freeman in her latest, How to parent girls: my guide to health and happiness
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Strange, that so many of us seem to be taking feminism up as a hobby. And I’m not talking about the kind of feminism-by-numbers that women’s magazines so frequently peddle, fraught with anxiety as regards to what you can and can’t do (can I propose to my boyfriend? Have sex on the first date? Shave my pubes?). The experiences of Dunham’s characters, where they languish in unpaid jobs and have emotionless, awkward sex in grotty flats with pretentious males resonate much more with my experience and that of my friends. Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett discusses the young feminist resurgence in ‘HBO’s Girls: please don’t quit your moaning.’ Read more here