• Sat, Sep 11 2010

Food Guilt Abounds, And Not Just at Fashion Week

Earlier today, Jennifer regaled us with tales of slightly crazed Fashion Week attendees who got very worked up over the highly insensitive presence of cupcakes at their major annual event.

Well, it turns out that members of the “fashion community” aren’t the only ones who like to bond over berating themselves about calories. Over at Wine Me Dine Me, there’s an entire post, complete with 35 comments, devoted to women listing foods that embarrass them to like, or that are “guilty pleasures.” Yes — it’s another round of American women commiserating over food guilt, thereby furthering the cycle of feeling bad about ourselves for having visceral desires, while continuing to assure other women that we pose no threat to them: really, look at us! We eat McDonald’s! We have no will power! We’re despicable and fat! Don’t worry, we won’t steal your husband! Please like us!!

Listen, I don’t mean to be all holier-than-thou over here. I have plenty of pleasures that aren’t exactly highbrow — for instance, I’ll watch any reality TV you put in front of me. Seriously. Train a camera on a squirrel and I will sit riveted for hours. And in fact, I used to call this habit a guilty pleasure. That is, until I realized that I didn’t feel at all guilty about it. In fact, I felt joyous every time “X Effect” came on MTV, or “Little People, Big World” aired on TLC. And guess what happened? I found other people (like Lilit!) to bond with over our lack of guilt about liking reality TV.

So, I think it’s time for a revolution here, ladies. It’s time to send the phrase “guilty pleasures” to the same place we sent the word “slut” — a place where a lot of people still use it, but some are slowly realizing that it’s a wicked sexist slur that should probably be eradicated from our vocabulary. Talking about guilty pleasures does nothing but a) take the fun out of said pleasure, thereby inherently rendering it no longer pleasurable, and b) attach a crazy amount of emotion to food, where we should be working, somewhat, towards a world where food is food, not a measurable way to determine whether we are inherently good people.

Who’s with me?

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  • Julie

    Thanks for checking out wmdm! A bit of a correction though– there were men and women participating (at least 11 men, a bunch of the “comments” were tweets) and the “guilt” is less “Look, I’m vulnerable! I won’t take your husband!” but “Look! I tend to favor gourmet food and locavorism! Look at the junk I still eat!”

    I guess I don’t buy your “sexist” argument when men have “guilty pleasures”, too (yet, we never call men “sluts”).

  • Liat

    Jessica, I just stumbled across this article when I googled a Cameron Diaz quote from this month’s Cosmo. You make such empowering and enlightened points! I love your suggestion that we can live in a world where food is just food. And may I please say to Julie’s comment: girl, you clearly missed the point of this article.

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