To my lovely readers, family, and friends, I’m not bringing you a recipe today. With the holiday season getting into full swing, I thought that I would get vulnerable with you all and share my thoughts about holiday baking and body image. I’ll be back with yummy recipes on Friday. 🙂
Let’s sit down for a moment and have a capitol-“s” Serious Talk. I’m a psychology major and it’s research paper writing season here at my University. My specific area of interest is Eating Disorders and body image, and I’m currently writing two papers on that very subject. It was inevitable to make an appearance on this blog- I just didn’t think it would be this soon.
It’s officially the “Holiday Season,” and with that comes food, and lot’s of it. As a food blogger, I eat lots and lots of food and spend most of my time away from school baking. Let’s face it, I’ve been doing that since senior year of high school- baking constantly and bringing the food into school for my peers. But we live in a society that is constantly bombarding us with what we should look like. I love this quote from Tina Fey’s book “Bossypants” summarizing what women are supposed to look like:
“But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful. Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful. Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits. The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes.”
Seems accurate, right? Look to the side. How many of you are seeing that “one simple trick to cut down on belly fat” that’s accompanied by a gif of a woman pinching her shrinking stomach? Keep an eye out at the grocery store next time you’re there for magazine titles. A fun game is counting how many “Skinny Christmas” articles and “14 Simple Tricks to Not Pig Out at Thanksgiving.” Or even look around at how many food blogs are posting “skinny” recipes for pumpkin pie, stuffing, cookies, etc.
When did it get this way? I’m only 20 years old, and I still remember the days before you could actually watch TV without seeing any diet commercials or health food ads. Why are women shamed because they want a donut, and women who slam the door on a adorable little girl selling donuts are celebrated. I mean, if you want the donut that bad you have to make a public spectacle of drinking your diet shake, your life must be terrible. Just treat yourself once in a while and have the damn donut.
In high school I had severe body image issues. I remember thanksgiving senior year, I chugged a cup of coffee hoping it would be a natural laxative, and sitting in the bathroom crying when it didn’t work. Now, there is a genetic component to disordered eating- that’s one of my biggest areas of interest. (Barbie dolls and diet culture are not the sole cause of eating disorders. Correlation does not equal causation.) But there is also a definite link to culture and the media. High school was a constant stream of Special K Diet and Sensa commercials- what was I supposed to think? Nevermind I could pull off my skinny jeans without unbuttoning them and weighed less than 100lbs when I graduated high school, (THIS IS NOT SOMETHING TO STRIVE FOR. DO NOT AIM FOR THIS. IT IS NOT HEALTHY.) I wasn’t eating healthy and so that couldn’t be right, could it?
It’s taken years to get over that. Hell, I still struggle with that. And I know that there are so so so many women who are struggling with that. Moms, your belly fat and stretch marks are not bad. They are awesome, badass battle scars- you carried a living creature around for almost 10 months, then pushed a living human out of your body who proceeded to scream bloody murder. You’re a freaking superhero! Ladies, your legs carry you everywhere. They support the entire weight of your body- let’s have an appreciate for those pillars of power and NOT want to shrink them so they don’t touch.
This holiday season, let’s make a pact. We will EAT what we want, WHENEVER we want, and NOT feel guilty. We WON’T deprive ourselves on November 1st, November 28th, and December 25th. The next day eat quina and kale chips and chug green tea as much as your heart desires- but celebrate the days. Eat that second helping of stuffing, and enjoy it! (This is not to say to pig out and stuff yourself until you can’t move- that’s not healthy, and remember everything in moderation. But don’t deprive yourself from the awesome food that comes with the holidays either!)
So here’s my tips for the Holiday Food: Eat it. Eat it all. Tis the season for pumpkin and cranberries and peppermint and ENJOY IT. Don’t deprive yourself of delicious cookies, mashed potatoes, and stuffing in the name of “healthy” and “skinny” eating.
Thank you so much for bearing with me as I rant about holiday dieting and guilting others from enjoying what they want. I’ll be back with a recipe on Friday.
Some more posts about skinny eating and diet culture:
Rethinking Skinny by Eat Your Heart Out
Can We All Agree To Stop Using The Word Skinny? By Bakeaholic Mama