Food is the new ‘shame’…
Food shaming is destructive, shows a person’s incredible arrogance, and creates feelings of unnecessary humiliation and guilt. Unfamiliar with the term? Food shaming can be defined as:
Making comments on someone’s food choice ~ it may have been done to you or you may have done it yourself. Think; one person orders a salad with dressing on the side – the other person orders the ‘deluxe double cheeseburger with duck fat french fries and truffle butter dipping sauce…
‘Critical glances’ cast askance ~ looking or being looked at with an air of disapproval based on your own or another’s food choice.
Food Lecturing ~ whether it’s Paleo/Vegetarian/Vegan/Gluten Free ect., espousing unsolicited views on your food choices, and why others should eat only as you do.
Honestly, until recently, I’ve never given much thought to this phenomena. It has always been a part of the fabric of much of my life and relationships (talk about 1st world problems!). At times I have been guilty of this ‘shaming exercise’ myself. Albeit in a ‘joking’ way, but in every joke there is a little truth…(otherwise it wouldn’t be funny).
Seriously though, when you think about it, what in the world is the point of this? If you really believe you are ‘helping’ someone by acting as if what they choose to ingest is the equivalent of clubbing a baby seal for a new handbag, it may be possible the gravity of the issue has become disproportionate to reality.
I’m not advocating the idea that education on healthy eating habits should be thrown out the window, just that ‘shame’ might not be the proper tool for achieving this most lofty of goals.
Food Shaming Is Destructive
Eating Disorders ~ especially with the very young and/or easily influenced. Obsession with ‘types’ of food can create unhealthy relationships with diet and health that have devastating consequences. It is estimated that over 10 million people in the U.S. alone have an eating disorder, and one of the many factors thought to contribute to this is ‘shaming’ over certain foods.
Avoidance Behavior ~ how truly ridiculous is it that grown adults have to physically ‘hide’ to evade being seen eating certain types of food? Or, that time spent with certain individuals is avoided, because it would be nice to eat your ‘double chocolate malted crunch’ in peace for a change.
Damaged Relationships and Resentments ~ For the most part, the occasional barb or jest can (and should) be taken in stride. If we huff off at every negative word sent our way we’re going to be spending a lot of time alone. But on the flip side of the coin, habitual criticism that tears one down (no matter how well intended the ‘motivation’ behind it), will only create division.
Bottom line?…Let’s just stop this. If you’re doing it to others, ask yourself ‘why’. Really, what are you and the other person getting out of this? I doubt it’s anything helpful or constructive.
Let us concentrate our efforts on building up and encouraging one another, and less time commenting on the amount of ice cream someone has in their freezer.
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