Guilt Trip

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Yes, this is Vanessa Hudgens eating pizza.

“I can’t eat this bag of chips because I ate a bagel this morning.”

“There were croutons on my salad at dinner so I can’t eat this piece of chocolate.”

Chances are these statements are all too familiar. Maybe you hear your friends talking like this after lunch, during dinner, on the way to brunch. You may even find yourself saying things like this.

I have friends here at Stanford of all sorts of body types, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. The same tapes play from my friend’s mouths no matter where they come from. It blows my mind how self-conscious and guilty girls feel when they eat.

Before coming to Stanford most of the people around me had a very different relationship with food. My girlfriends and I could go down to the nearest Mexican food place and chow down on a carne asada burrito once or twice a week and not feel half the amount of guilt it seems like people here feel for eating a small bowl of froyo. Food wasn’t synonymous with guilt. It wasn’t a chore, or a careful balancing act of salads and broccoli and cauliflower and low fat ranch dressing and tofu. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad, but when salad becomes the only thing you can eat without feeling like shit about yourself there’s a problem. There is a big huge scary disgustingly serious problem in the way society frames diet and especially the diets of young women.  It’s a poisonous self-perpetuating cycle of guilt that is both ridiculous and unfair. No one can win. Ever.

Society tells us that food is guilt. All I’m trying to say is that it’s not. So dine accordingly.

Much love ❤

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3 thoughts on “Guilt Trip

  1. Yes, it worries me a lot; the fact that so many women are “proud” of their eating disorders. I know a lot of men who worry too, quite a lot, about what they eat, but many times it seems like their social environment doesn’t allow them to voice their concerns – or at least make them think so. I think we live in a society that is extremely obsessed with body image – especially thinness (for women), and for many women this seems to result in them creating a social persona proud of being obsessed with diets.

    I’ve had so many lunches with groups of women, and 85 % of the conversation is about how healthy/fat the food they eat is, what they’ve eaten earlier and what they plan to eat, all spiced up with a lot of guilt. It’s sad.

    • You brought up a huge issue that I only barely hinted at in this little blurb: the fact that women seem “proud” of their unhealthy eating habits. It becomes a competition to see who can eat the “healthiest.”Which only perpetuates the cycle further. Also with men! They are experiencing enormous pressure too (Although most of the college-aged guys I’m around at mealtimes are perfectly comfortable chowing down on their daily dining hall hamburger double cheese with extra fries on the side.)
      It is sad, but how do we alleviate the issue? This is a question I cannot seem to come up with an answer for no matter how long I reflect. It seems like such a large scale institutional problem that no matter what I say to my female friends it doesn’t even register.

      • Yes, I completely agree. I don’t know to alleviate this issue, it’s so complex. But I think the first step is to make people understand that the media image of beauty is not real. Then change the actual media representation :P. I’m afraid people’s self-esteem will not improve until social attitudes change.

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