Dear Marie Claire

I take issue with this.

Dear Marie Claire,

I am disappointed in Katie Drummond’s poorly researched and painfully one-sided story, “The Hunger Diaries.” Not only does the story pull outdated quotes out of context to paint an ugly picture of six beautiful women, it also failed to address the positive side of food and fitness blogging.

I get that bad news is good news when it comes to selling magazines, but quality journalism balances both sides of the story. (Not that I’d call anything in Marie Claire “quality journalism,” but still…) And there are always two sides to every story.

The way your writer skipped right over the countless highs found in health blogging in order to dig up a few lows to further sensationalize her tabloid-esque feature is laughable. She must have had to dig through thousands of positive comments to find the handful of negative ones referenced. She would have had to read back through several years of posts to find some of the bloggers’ comments cited. And she must have walked out of the Healthy Living Summit before the final panel when I gave my speech about how blogging changed my life.

Why wasn’t any of that mentioned? Why didn’t she share feedback from some of those bloggers’ supporters? Why did she ignore the fact that some people are happy to admit that blogging has helped them overcome eating disorders? Why didn’t she ask any of the rest of us why we were there?

Did she miss Alicia’s post about “the power of positivity at HLS“? Or Heather’s post about “how blogging changed her heart“? And “motivated her beyond belief“?

Katie Drummond came into this event knowing exactly how she would write her story. She moved through the weekend with blinders on, noting only what would fuel her story’s fire. This is the only way to explain her story turning out the way it did. There were too many good things happening that weekend (and ongoing in the healthy blog world online) for her to not have noticed one tiny piece of positivity.

I have never been a Marie Claire reader. In fact, I avoid most women’s magazines these days. After all, aren’t these the publications that tell us our butts are too big? Boobs too small? Lives incomplete without the latest purse/shoes/makeup? Your advice centers on weight loss and exercise… just like healthy living blogs. The difference? Healthy living blogs show real women making it happen and making a difference in their lives and the lives of others while your stories are filled with stale content and pictures of photoshopped models who do little more than further perpetuate negative self image.

Rest assured I will never buy this magazine.

Sincerely,

Katie… but you can call me Tater

PS – I eat every damn bite of the food you see on this blog. Don’t even get me started.

32 thoughts on “Dear Marie Claire

  1. I’m happy to see that you also noticed the irony of this article appearing in MC. As if they haven’t given us a decade’s-worth of stories about “How to lose 10 pounds in 10 days,” “How to dress for a thinner, sexier you!” and all kinds of other self-esteem-crushing bullshit.

  2. haha awww. oversalted food is the worst.

    p.p.s. i’m making that bean soup from your fall post and i’m excited/probably going to mess it up bad because i’m hungry. do i have to boil the beans for any amount of time or just leave them cooking on low forever?

  3. Amazing post! I do hope you send this link to the editor of Marie Claire? :-)

    You know what, I love Marie Claire. I always have. I actually thought that their articles were well researched and well thought out. This article, however, has really made me change my thinking about the magazine. I will no longer be subscribing.

  4. You are so well-spoken in this post. Your statement here especially resonates with me:
    “Katie Drummond came into this event knowing exactly how she would write her story. She moved through the weekend with blinders on, noting only what would fuel her story’s fire. This is the only way to explain her story turning out the way it did. There were too many good things happening that weekend (and ongoing in the healthy blog world online) for her to not have noticed one tiny piece of positivity.”
    How could she have ignored all of the positivity and inspiration that was EVERYWHERE at the summit?

  5. I didn’t attend HLS, but there is no doubt in my mind that it was a positive and powerful experience for everyone who attended as well as those who read about it in various people’s blogs. You summed up exactly what I was thinking reading that article so well. I just wanted you to know that I completely agree!

  6. I hope you send this to the editor of Marie Claire, too. SO well written Tater! I couldn’t believe some of the stuff she dug up. I’m also completely with you in the “blogging changed my life” category. I’ve started eating healthier foods, exercising (not OVERexercising) and my depression and anxiety has lifted since I started reading these blogs and writing my own. Katie Drummond’s article seriously pains me.

  7. Very well said. If only the writer had conducted some research on how many people’s lives have been positively influenced by these women vs the negative effects she describes she may have realised she didn’t actually have an article worth writing. I highly value the healthy changes these strong and inspirational women have helped me to embrace.

  8. As soon as I read this post I went across the street from my house to the grocery store and stood in the store to read the article. I was shocked! For almost a year now I have been a daily reader of a few of the blogs mentioned in the article. These writers influences have been nothing but positive for me so far. I have been struggling with eating and body image issues of my own for years: not knowing what to eat, worrying about calories, how I looked to others… It was a relief when I first stumbled upon these healthy living blogs. I have taken many suggestions from these blogs and they have helped me to change my lifestyle to reflect more of who I am instead of whom I though people wanted me to be. Because of these blogs and yours I now drink green monsters (and love them), post beautiful notes in my home, and I have never been more mentally and physically healthy in my life. I have the medical tests to back this up too!

    I found that this article was unfair to these bloggers. It took posts and comments from their sites and distilled it down to a set of symptoms. It was sensationalized writing on a topic that deserves a balanced perspective. Most importantly to me, the writer seemed to miss out on the human element of this blogging community. These people are not experts, nor do they claim to be. They are brave individuals who put their life out in public and say, “hey this is what I am doing with this right now, what do you think?” They start discussions about things we all face every day, and that we may not have another outlet in which to discuss. They give us, the readers a forum to share ideas, feelings, and stories with one another. They connect us together. They are not perfect, and they, like us, sometimes make poor choices or decision. But this does not mean they promote eating disorders nor does it make their blogs inherently dangerous to the readers. It means they are human.

  9. I appreciate the anger the article invoked, but I challenge the food blogging community to take this as an opportunity to look inward. There are MANY blogs I have stopped reading because the bloggers are very much the way this author described. I think she’s wrong about the particular bloggers she picked on (though a few of them I think she’s kind of right), but I think she’s spot on about a lot of people in the blogosphere. I really liked the post on this on Hollaback Health because it recognised that there’s a grain of truth there, and suggests bloggers use more caution. I wholeheartedly agree. I am very much aware of my past history with an eating disorder, so I know when I am being triggered and I stop reading. A lot of women, as the author discusses, do not even realise that blogs are fuelling obsessive behaviour, particularly if it is below the diagnostic criteria for eating disorders.

    I watched your video from the HLS when Gena cited it, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it (and it was what turned me on to your blog), I think the conversation during that session was very telling. Women wanted to talk so much more about how blogs saved them, but (as is human nature) they avoided the opportunity for self-reflection. This journalist was cruel and she went about this in completely the wrong way, but she made a few good points. I’d love to see bloggers focus on those, rather than defend, defend, defend and proceed as they always have done. Healthy living blogs offer a huge opportunity to create a healthy community. But as time goes one, I’m noticing that they are going the way of social networking sites: from a tool to connect with others to a tool to feed narcissism and compare yourself to others. I would really love to see the Healthy Blogging Community step up its game.

    Sorry to be a killjoy, but I just can’t agree with all the “right on!” comments on blogger responses to this article.

  10. Well said Katie. These “grains of truth” that everyone keeps talking about are bullsh*t in my opinion. There is a HUGE difference between obsessive and disordered behavior and what we read on “the big 6″ blogs (who really calls them that??). Maybe some folks are not up-to-date on posts, but I feel like the ladies TRASHED in the article are always monitoring their choices and point out behaviors that may be seen as unhealthy or controversial. What a terribly written article with an unabashedly obvious opinion.

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  12. It’s called self responsibility. People reading the blog need to take responsibility for themselves and their own issues. These bloggers put their lives out there hoping to help people. It is not their fault if you have an eating disorder. It is not up to them to cure you. Take responsibility for yourself to change the things you need to change. Blogs are there to help you make those changes, that is the whole point. Everyone is always looking for someone else to blame for their problems, but maybe if people actually looked at themselves for once, the problems would start to get fixed.

  13. “Rest assured I will never buy this magazine.”

    Saaaaaaame. And I emailed the editor. So much hate from a magazine “for women”. =(

  14. katie – just don’t stop what you’re doing, because it’s awesome, inspiring, and educational – and in no way promotes disordered eating. i tell so many people about your blog because of your writing style and all i’ve learned here.

    i’m glad that you and the others have made it clear that the MC writer had quite an agenda in mind. so glad i don’t subscribe to MC with it’s airbrushed models and crazy diets.

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