Monday, January 26, 2009


There is an unfortunate by-product of me reading so many blogs.

There are a lot of blogs I ready by women and one very common theme in what is (if I do say so myself) a hell of a diverse roster, is so often women feel they must repent for apparent dietary misdeeds.

Whether it's one of the make up loving ladies I read bemoaning her decision to have a cupcake and her "punishment" of an ass kicking workout (I originally typed wardrobe because I was totally looking at clothes earlier) in the morning or it's the literary diva bemoaning her love of a pair of pants that makes her look chunky, it hurts my heart.

It hurts my heart to see women shaming themselves and often others due to these perceived "sins"- against what?

Who are they sinning against?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be thin, where I see the wrong is the idea that someone somehow has moral failings if they eat a fucking cupcake.

This is an area where I think we fail each other as human beings. By assigning moral goodness, rightness or badness and wrongness to foods we are essentially kicking each other in the spiritual crotch for no reason.

Now food ethics aside here (because I don't care to argue about it and I will start frothing about class and whatnot), I have yet to find someone who can give me a compelling, intelligent, well put together reason that someone should shame themselves for having a snack, or wanting a cupcake.

I think a huge part of this problem for women speaks more to the idea that women are not creatures of appetite. That women are somehow inherently immune to (unless they are pregnant and then only a point) cravings and yes, beastly up front desires.

If you have a glance through any magazine (from silly newsprint tabloid to supposedly reputable publications) how often do you see a picture of a famous woman who appears to be eating something "unhealthy" and there's almost always some kind of back handed aside.

Think about it.

Now the harder thing to think about is why do we do this to each other?

How could we (you, me, that guy on teh corner) start putting the brakes on?

Here we arrive at just speaking up.

When your BFF or whomever is lamenting their want of some cheesecake or bacon, tell them it's ok.

Not that it's okay for a special occasion, or that they'd better head out to the gym right after, just say, "that sounds awesome enjoy it."

Quite frankly I think there is already plenty going on to feel bad about.

This is not a manifesto but I am taking a stand.

I will enjoy my appetites.

I will not feel ashamed if all I want for dinner is bacon and a granola bar. I will similarly not feel ashamed to be juicily, hotly, magnificently human in all my foibles and oddities.

Now I know there is going to be somebody who's' going to be horrified.

If women give in (yes note the language there) to their desires won't they all get fat and go insane?

Actually probably not.

I believe that when we fight ourselves less over things that are often in the long run not such a big damn deal we are happier.

I also believe that we must change the language surrounding women and their desires. We must start chipping away at the terrible guilt so many of us are burdened with.

Sometimes, it's as simple as saying "It's okay".

Sometimes not so much.

Now of course, if a food say peanut butter would kill you of course I would ask that you not partake. But, your desire for it doesn't make you a bad or lazy or terrible person. You're just a person.

So I will wrap up and say be nice to yourselves and each other.

Now I'm off my friends.

Tomorrow I have some musing to do about fat and sex. Someone asked me some interesting personal questions and that sparked some thoughts.

But for now I have an essay to edit and tea to drink.

Homo Out.



Bigger said...

Yes, I hate the language associated with food - "sinning", "I shouldn't really", "I was good yesterday". It's as if it's morally wrong to eat and enjoy food - something we should feel guilty about. And as you mentioned sex - I think that in the past particularly, women have been brought up with a similar attitude to sex.

Isabel said...

I love everything about this post.

JS said...

In real life, I constantly say "Food doesn't have moral values" or "It's macaroni and cheese, not Sophie's Choice" whenever someone talks about "being good" or "sinful desserts" or shit like that.

And I mean I say this not just to my friends, but to waiters in restaurants and cashiers in supermarkets, because I have got no patience for this crap.

Ms. Heathen said...

I've been saying this for a while, eating is an amoral (as opposed to immoral) act. Unless of course, you're eating people, and even then there are extenuating circumstances that may excuse you.

I hear you about the ethical food people. I have a hard enough time affording enough food to eat once a day, I don't need to hear about how much more ethical it is to eat organically grown vegetables straight from Mount Olympus. It's just food, if you're not going to eat it, pass it here.

Twistie said...

// I will similarly not feel ashamed to be juicily, hotly, magnificently human in all my foibles and oddities.//

I want to take this sentence home, have hot, filthy, gloriously delicious sex with it, and then bring it flowers the next day.

People should eat what they please and can afford. Me, I love to bake. There's no way in hell I'm baking delicious cupcakes and then not eating them just because I'm not rail thin...what's more, I'm damn well going to enjoy the fact that I'm a hell of a good baker.

More and more when people start talking about the moral weight of food or how hard they'll need to work out if they eat a freaking cookie, I shrug and say 'if you want it, eat it, if you don't, then don't.' I refuse to encourage that sort of nonsense. Once in a blue moon I need to think about whether I actually want that treat, but only in terms of whether I'm going to regret it because of gastric distress, not punishment at the gym.

Haddayr said...

Well, well, WELL said!

If this post were food I'd eat it with a spoon and love every bite.

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