Many aspects of the Festive Season shit me to tears. But the one that most makes me arc-up is the social media post that goes something like this: “Oh yummy Xmas pudding. Bang goes the diet.” or “My scales will hate me in the morning, but who can resist this?”.
These are almost always from women. I have not, in living memory, ever seen a man write a post like this.
I always detest women doing the “self-fat-shaming”. You know the type. The jolly, jokey “no man would want me” sort of posts. The “I couldn’t wear that bikini” kind of comments. But the Christmas food-shaming is in another league. Because I’ve noticed that women of all shapes, sizes and sorts, do this.
So many threads weave into this mind-set. Of course, one’s health may be greatly improved by losing some weight (I’ll comfortably put my hand up for that one). But what has that got to do with your lovely Christmas food photo? No one posts a photo of a champagne bottle and seriously comments on their raging alcoholism. Because that would be too shameful. Yet apparently beating yourself up about eating and enjoying a mince pie, isn’t too shameful.
Women do this because they fundamentally feel GUILTY ABOUT EATING. Even very thin women will make these kinds of ghastly comments on food pictures. So although this is partly related to fat-shaming, it is much more about women’s place. We are not supposed to take up too much room, make too much noise, or eat too much. And we are CERTAINLY not supposed to enjoy eating.
Make no mistake: this is a feminist issue. Yet I don’t think that it is one pushed by men. I perceive it as being pushed by women themselves, on the whole. No doubt we have been socialized this way. I remember the opening scene of the novel Gone With the Wind, where Scarlett is being told to eat something before she goes to the BBQ, so she won’t be seen eating AT the BBQ. But ask the average, straight male today, and he will tell you that there is nothing sexier than a woman who enjoys food; it is a part of her sensuality. Who (male or female!) doesn’t fancy Nigella? Curvy, a self-confessed food-addict, a finger-licker and a lover of Ligurian olive-oil. She is unrepentant about eating, as well she should be.
Be like Nigella, girls. Quit with the shitty “I shouldn’t be enjoying this so I’ll write a guilt-ridden post as an apologia for my very existence” food photos.
More pudding, anyone?