Let Her Eat Cake! Breaking Free From Private Gorging

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Let Her Eat CakeBy Melanie Klein, Contributor

“Are you sure you’re not hungry?” he asked with grave concern as chicken grease ran down his fingers and his chin. We’d just finished a rigorous hike and I was starving—famished, ravenous and slightly light-headed.

I mean, really, we’d been cavorting, frolicking and climbing the local mountains in the summer heat for over 6 hours and I hadn’t eaten anything except for an apple. Maybe.

“Oh, no, I’m fine,” I replied. He paused mid-bite and questioned me with raised eyebrows. “I’m good–really,” I said sounding far too relaxed and nonchalant about something as serious as a meal after physically exerting myself as excessively as I had. But, nope, I wouldn’t change my mind. I was not going to let him see me eat, especially a greasy, messy meal like that. Mind you, this is the same guy I wouldn’t take a pee around. I’d turn the faucet on when I had to go really bad to make sure he didn’t hear me, otherwise I’d hold it until I got home. I know I wasn’t the only 17-year-old girl to pull a stunt like that.

If there was anything I’d learned up to that point, it was that girls and women don’t have bodily functions or odors (unless they’re created in chemical factories and mask your natural female body smells), and they aren’t supposed to be seen eating (unless it’s yogurt, salad or other “girl” food) or sweating (unless they’re sweating like women should—hello, female antiperspirant industry).

Fast forward to 15 years later:

“Are you going to eat that?” the student I had been mentoring asked with nervous excitement. “Yes,” I said awaiting the sweet taste of carrot cake as my fork hovered close to my lips. “In public?” she continued.

“Um, where else should I eat it? In the bathroom or the broom closet?” I laughed as I sank my teeth into the cream cheese frosting knowing perfectly well that those were considered viable options, ones preferred over this scenario—that of a woman eating cake out in public in broad daylight. I’m talking a slice of cake, not a bite of cake and not an entire cake. A slice of cake. On a Tuesday at 1 in the afternoon. There was no special occasion. I simply wanted some cake and I felt no shame or remorse about it.  Shame and guilt had led me to stuff myself in private after starving myself publicly one too many times in the past.

“Wow. I admire you. I wish I could do that,” she said slowly. I asked her what was stopping her and she went on to tell me about her mother, a woman who kept a scale in the dining room so she could look at it while she ate dinner and remind herself not to eat too much. And when it came to cake? Well, her mother always cut much smaller slices for the girls and reserved the big frosted pieces for the boys at the family party.

We continued to have lunch on campus between classes with a few other students for several weeks and each time I’d enjoy something sweet without embarrassment or great fanfare on my end. One day she sat down and said, “I have to tell you something.” She giggled like someone about to dish a shameful secret. “I went to my cousin’s birthday party over the weekend and when my mom handed me a thin slice of cake on a paper plate, I told her that I wanted a big one. She looked at me with surprise as I put the plate she handed me back on the table and grabbed one of the large slices. I felt great.”

“Over It” by Liz Acosta. For the full artist statement on this video, click here.

 

Originally published at Proud2bMe. Cross-posted with permission.

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Comments

  1. Jennifer H. says:

    About a week ago i had an aunt over. i had been standing not to far from her and she calls out my name so i turn and the first thing that comes out of her mouth is ” Jennifer you need to lose wight, you’re fat! ” I was shocked and hurt . Shocked at the fact that she would even consider telling me that giving i don’t weigh much. I weigh about 110 and shes here calling me fat. That upset me what gives her the right to straight up say that . I responded in a negative by saying “And you think your’e skinny?!” i know that was very rude of me but i couldn’t have her putting me down like that. I’m that type of girl that is skinny but eats a lot. When i have gone out and ordered my food my friends are shocked and say damn where does that all go. I could care less of what i eat in public. It is my body that I am feeding, and no one elses. I once had a bf that always seemed to question the amount that i would eat. At Mcdonalds i could eat up to 4 chicken sandwiches. And when we would go i would only order two. JUST TWO! And the jerk would always ask me ” two?? are u sure? ” Like yes I’m sure ! He would always do that in front of the cashiers. I felt embarrassed. What he would do was only order me one. Leaving me hungry. And he would order like two burgers large fries and coke for himself. I have always ordered what i wanted to order and many guys have thought that to be good but with him it was different. I like eating my 4 burgers!

  2. Richard L. says:

    Interesting read. When i first met my girlfriend, i noticed how she took little bites, and only ordered something very small. I knew she had not eaten the whole day because we had just gotten out of school, and she had spent her lunch time in one of her clubs. In her apartment though, i noticed that she eats much bigger portions, and isn’t afraid of what she eats. Since then, every time we order food, I always do the ordering. I always order her favorites, and a slice of Cheesecake for dessert. Now she seems much more comfortable eating “fattening” foods in public, and has even mentioned about how she noticed most couples that eat in public, men have big plates, and women just have a small salad, or appetizer. I think it is unfair that women have to hide what they eat, and are afraid of people judging them just because they want to have a burger, steak, or in this case, some cake for their meal. More women need to allow themselves to eat in public, so that others know it is okay to do so, because the more women that eat very small portions, everyone will feel it is only right to eat unhealthy, small portions.

  3. This article remainded me my teen years. I was eating disorder. I counted calories and check my weight three times a day. I don’t remember why I started diet but I do remember how I felt. I was very happy when people said I got skinnier. I lost 22 pounds and my mom took me hospital. The doctor said I need to take certain calories. I knew I have to eat but I couldn’t. I shamed myself if I eat enough. When I was 18, I decided to study in the U.S. and I met my ex-boyfriend. I was comfortable to eat with him because he doesn’t judge my body. We ate ice-cream before sleep. I was so happy because I ate ice cream without guilty. I realized the most important thing is I am comfortable to be myself. Now I enjoy late night deseart!! I don’t care if my friend said I got fat when I am in Japan. This is who I am and love myself.

  4. Elyzabeth A says:

    I have been call fatty one time, but that didn’t stop in continue eating what I love eating the most and that is cake and ice cream; and now that I read this blog, im’ craving a piece of cake. Also, it’s astonishing to see that some girls think of that way, of not eating cake in public. In all the parties I attended before, everybody is eating cake. This includes the women as well. Since everybody is eating cake then, everybody has about the same size of cake regardless if you are male or female. My mother has never told me to not eat a big piece of cake. If I were to have a piece of cake with me right now in this computer lab, I would proudly be eating it. People who feel this way, especially girls, then should do like an activity which includes gathering in a public place and eating cake along with other friends who fear eating cake in public. Who knows maybe this will help them not be shy.

  5. I have been skinny for as long as I can remember. When people look at me, they assume i’m anorexic, and I hate it more than anything. It’s not me! It’s my body! I just have a fast metabolism, so no matter what I eat, how much I eat, it’ll digest away quickly and I’ll remain as I do. When I look around me, I feel sad because most of my friends are average sized or slightly bigger. They always compare me to themselves and say that they’re going to start dieting. I always tell them they look fine just the way they are. Their response, as always is, “of course you’d say that because you have nothing to worry about” At parties, i fill my plate with all the food, and at times even go for seconds. When it comes to cake, if its vanilla I take three slices when no ones looking. People look up to me like I’m some god doing a miracle. It’s not a miracle@ It’s called living life as it ought to be. With no restrictions. So go and eat that slice of cake. You’re perfect just the way you are, you don’t need to worry about people judging you because I definitely don’t.

  6. I have been skinny for as long as I can remember. When people look at me, they assume i’m anorexic, and I hate it more than anything. It’s not me! It’s my body! I just have a fast metabolism, so no matter what I eat, how much I eat, it’ll digest away quickly and I’ll remain as I do. When I look around me, I feel sad because most of my friends are average sized or slightly bigger. They always compare me to themselves and say that they’re going to start dietyng. I always tell them they look fine just the way they are. Their response, as always is, “of course you’d say that because you have nothing to worry about” At parties, i fill my plate with all the food, and at times even go for seconds. When it comes to cake, if its vanilla I take three slices when no ones looking. People look up to me like I’m some god doing a miracle. It’s not a miracle@ It’s called living life as it ought to be. With no restrictions. So go and eat that slice of cake. You’re perfect just the way you are, you don’t need to worry about people judging you because I definitely don’t.

  7. Sharona M says:

    I have to admit something…I’m a girl…who bakes cake and is so proud that I can eat it too. I am sick of the mentality that women are not supposed to eat in public or be themselves and it’s pretty humorous to see that men are allowed to be not just themselves, but themselves in an animalistic stretch. I am waiting for the day that a girl jumps on a scale and says, “I LOVE MY BODY,” and throws that scale out the window.
    Girls should not be so oppressed to think that they are nothing and that they have to act a certain way to fit in society. If that was the case, we would have robot women who looked the same, acted the same, and performed the same activities. We need diversity! We need education! We need a women’s revolution!
    Our society has poisoned the minds of young girls and have forced them to give up living. They are forced to constanly e aware of their surroundings and to be on their best behavior, while the men are allowed to act like fools. I get angry when I hear, “oh, well, boys will be boys.” No, they won’t be animals. They are animals who want to mess with girls subconsciously and drive girls to a mental institution since they think they’re too fat. I will never forget Professor Klein making girls aware that we are supposed to have a roll on our stomach’s to sit and stand. Bilogically, we’re supposed to have it, but girls do many operations to remove this “fat.” It’s not fat; it’s skin!
    This article makes me want to clim to the top of the Santa Monica Mountains and scream, “Girls, ENJOY YOUR LIFE, EAT YOUR CAKE, AND LOVE YOURSELF!”

  8. Mary Marrone says:

    I can relate to this article. I fear eating in public. I always get scrutinized and can never eat in peace. I remember the first time being called fat by a classmate and it still haunts me to this very day. My mother had always been dropping hints about my weight, it wasn’t until a kid made fun of me at a drama production, when my mom told me straight out I was fat. From then on she would always comment on how I ate. This lead to my brothers calling me “piggy” for ten years of my life. I guess this instilled a fear to eat out. I always feel that people judge me when I eat. Even though they don’t say anything it comes out in their body language.

  9. Sarah Vincent says:

    I can relate to this article because when I first entered high school I was afraid to eat in front of boys even if they were just walking by me. Then once I got my first boyfriend I hardy ate, I know it was also nerves but I don’t know if it was nerves to look a certain way to him. I soon got over it all and realized everyone eats and I’m not fat so I don’t have to worry about it. I know a lot of girls who would not eat in front of boys though, it was a constant thing that was going on, girls wanted to show that they weren’t hungry or didn’t eat which is really bad for you and unhealthy. If you want sweets then eat it, i’m not encouraging people to get obese but enjoy your life don’t stress out over the calorie intake or what people think. I love sweets and I am comfortable to sit with my boyfriend and just have both of us eating candy because I know I am not fat and I love myself just the way I am.

  10. Mitchelle Bareng says:

    Eating is a daily part of our routine and to hide that in public because you don’t want to look like you eat so much is ridiculous. Same with those who go on diets and try to be as tiny as they can. Why? So they can get approval from others (especially men) who will tell them that they will look great if they just lost a little weight? There shouldn’t be any shame in doing something, like eating, because it’s something that is required to live. To limit your diet to only certain types of food or only a certain amount of food just to look a certain way is sad way to live. If you are healthy, great! None of need to perpetuate the image of a tall and skinny women anymore than the media already does. We need to learn to love ourselves and our body for what it is and not be ashamed to eat in public. If men can eat all they want and feel okay about it, we should be able to also.

  11. Melody S. says:

    A woman eating food such as cake is considered unattractive showing that she does not “care” about her body or her health. This is not the case. Why is it ok for men to eat junk food and not to “care” about their bodies? It seems to me that normal, general human behavior such as eating and going to the bathroom are seen as only exclusive to men and not to women. This is the pinnacle of objectification of women. Women are no longer considered human and cannot partake in natural human functions. I have learned that if you keep trying to please society and men specifically by not being yourself it will not end well. If you feel like you need to hold back in front of him than he is not worth your time. It is good to mindful of your health and your diet but when it begins to affect your mental and physical health then it is a serious matter. It is ok to have a fat day and to allow yourself to be the imperfect human that everyone is.

  12. Anna Kleyman says:

    Honestly, I can really relate to this article. I remember being 16, and having my first boyfriend, and he took me out on a date to Cheescake Factory. I was so shy and embarrassed to eat in front of him, I don’t know why! I wasn’t overweight, I was an average 130 healthy pounds. But I still felt that he would look at me awkwardly if I ordered a big meal. So while he got a chicken wrap, I ordered a bowl of berries. The funny thing is, he looked at me more strangely, than if I ordered a normal meal. He kept asking if I would be getting anything else, and I wouldn’t stop saying no. I believe for me it was an age thing, because once I hit 20, I grew out of my shy stage and was able to eat normally around him. So, 9 years later of being together, and now almost 23, I gobble down almost anything around him, even messy foods like wings and sushi, but it’s because you grow up and you learn food is something you survive off of, there is no embarrassment, whether it’s a snack or a heavy meal. I really feel bad for the girl who has a mom with a scale in her kitchen. That’s a bit of a stretch. You can watch your weight and be healthy, but what this mother has done to her child may of scarred her for life, and has input a certain perspective in her mind which will alter her choices in terms of body size and confidence. There is a certain way to address health and weight caution, but a scale in a kitchen is not my go-to idea of brightness.

  13. Soraya L. says:

    The fact that so many people can relate to your articles is what truly makes them remarkable, in my opinion. I, too, have in public hid the amount of food I would really like to eat, or avoid fattening foods that would make me come off as someone that has no self-control when it comes to food. I remember going on a first date, and I could not even finish one lousy taco in fear of being viewed as “fat.” Weight gain is something that is frowned upon in my family, so much in fact, that my mother consistently keeps tabs on how much I weigh, with no shame in letting me know if I appear to have gained a pound or two. When wanting to indulge in something sweet like a pastry, I felt it was always harder to do it alone because the guilt is almost consuming. But lately, I have learned that sometimes it is good to spoil oneself and enjoy the simple pleasures in life without living in fear about the whether we will gain weight or appearing as having a huge appetite. There is more to a woman or young girl than how much she weighs or what pastries she occasionally likes to indulge in.

  14. Berenice V says:

    This article made me reminisce of some of the few early dates with my boyfriend. I remember when we would go out, although I love food, I would restrain from ordering big food plates because I felt not guilty, but rather a bit uncomfortable. My biggest concern was falling out of the typical “ladylike” category, I didn’t want him to think I was a fatass. When eating in public there are sanctions in which women are expected to abide to such as only eating salads drinking water, only yogurt and no dessert.Women should disregard these idealistic notions that leave women to live lives of hardship. A women should eat what she likes Nowadays that does not matter, when eating out I order what I want and could careless of what people think. I love food and food makes me happy. I hate hearing people complaining about starving and being hungry, yet when they go get food they order a salad because they are dieting or counting calories. Women constantly deal with other body issues, gender inequality,sexism, now they have to worry about what they can eat too in public, this is simply absurd. It simply is problematic focusing on eating in public which can have devastating consequences such as being depressed, developing an eating disorder and being addicted to diet pills. I enjoyed the article very much because it reminded me of the many times I would turn on the water at a boyfriend’s house while using the bathroom so he wouldn’t hear me doing something as natural as going to the restroom I was just very self-conscious. It is natural to pee, and he has no shame in urinating or feel the urge to turn on the water while doing so, and he also eats as much as he wants, so why shouldn’t I do the same.

  15. Anndrea A says:

    I remember being 6 years old when I asked my dad for some of the M&M’s he was eating. His response: “if you eat any you’re going to have to start a diet.” Sixteen years later, I can still remember this moment clear as day. This is the very very first time I had ever thought about what I was eating and how it was going to affect my body.. how it was going to make me FAT. I was SIX YEARS OLD. And from this day on I agonized over everything I ate, maliciously studying nutrition labels, counting calories and grams of fat. By my pre-teens I started skipping meals entirely, malnourished myself so much I stopped menstruating. I wonder that if my dad had never said those words to me at that tender young age of six if I would have grown up differently, if I would have had more self confidence, if I wouldn’t always see myself as fat and always needing to diet. I never really thought about this until now.

  16. Mariela P says:

    As I read this article my heart sank. I once and I think I still to some extent feel this way. I’m not a size 3 or anywhere were society would want me to be. Much like this article describes I have struggled with that image. At this age now I have learned to love my body and who I am. I’m not going to say it has been easy because it hasn’t. It has and will never be easy especially when I am surrounded by many women that do in fact wear a size 2 or 3. I heard the story about the cake and how this girl managed to confront her mother at a seminar by Melanie. Hearing the story I remembered almost wanting to cry as I remembered all the times I was criticized by my size. Growing up in a household that values size was tough on me, just like it was on this girl. I rarely got a hug from a family member without being criticized by my side. Even at this age, when I do go back home to visit from college, before I get asked about my grades, I get a comment on my weight. At times I’ll get the “you are looking skinnier” and on other times ill receive a rub on the tummy with a “you’ve been living a good life” as to covertly say I’ve been eating too much. Nevertheless reading it again brought back memories but it did not break me down because I now know that my size does not matter. What matters is that I am healthy and that I love myself for who I am. Loving your body takes a lot. You must learn first that there is nothing wrong with your size, but instead there is something wrong with society. We value things that are absurd and implant images into young women much like me that are sometimes almost impossible to reach. It is no surprise that it has become more and more common to see a young girl have a body or eating disorder or that a model has died from malnourishment. g

  17. jasmine M says:

    I have to admit that I too have been guilt of not eating in public. The strange thing is that I didn’t pick up this habit at home, rather it was something that was reinforced by my peers. I still remember the incident that caused me to partake in this behavior. When I was sixteen I was allowed to date, and I remember going on a group date with two of my friends. We went to a restaurant, and when it came time to order our food, they ordered salads. I was baffled by this because I remember them talking about being hungry when we were getting ready at my house. I attempted to order pasta but my friends gave me the “are you really going to eat that” look. Sadly, this is a day that I conformed and decided to order a salad like my friends. When our salads came, they picked over it, but I notice that they weren’t eating and I too followed suit. After returning home on an empty stomach we reflected on the date, in which they proceeded to tell me that a girl should never eat heavy foods in front of their boyfriends. Fortunately I came to my senses and never partook in this behavior again. Everyone has to eat so there is no reason for me to hide it. It sad that women have to deal with these pressure when men don’t seem to struggle with such trivial problems. In fact, have yet to meet a guy that was shy to eat in public. After reading this article and viewing the video, I realize that I too am over it. Like the girl in the video, I do not weight 98 pounds and I don’t care.

  18. Nicole Z. says:

    Wow! This article was amazingly poignant. I can relate to the story that Melanie told about her youth. Personally, I have never been self-conscious about my eating habits, but my mother is always reminding me that I “eat like a man.” I am fortunate to have a petite build that does not retain weight easily, yet my mother is like the monkey on my back telling me that I should be ashamed by the amount that I eat. I love her dearly, but I detest that I have resorted to measures of deceit to hide what I am eating. If I happen to give in to the occasional In-n-Out cheeseburger, I regress to childhood tactics and throw away an evidence of my slip-up. It is a humiliating process, and I am left feeling like a paranoid freak of nature. I even stifle her attempts to go into my care because I am afraid that she is going to look at my receipts or find an old wrapper giving away my alleged transgressions. The intensity of her obsession with my weight has been intensified in the past few years. In middle school and high school, her efforts to control my food consumption were much less pronounced. I do not think I will ever fully decipher the stigma attached to being a woman who enjoys eating. I happen to be one of those women who does not have an issue with eating in public, if that public does not include my mother. I will eat in front of my boyfriend and friends in an unabahsed manner. I know this may invoke a sense of jealously in a few of my closest companions, but I do not see anything innately wrong with enjoying a dessert or nice meal. I think every woman, just like every man, should be able to indulge with out a subsequent sense of remorse. It is all about living a balanced lifestyle, but if you want to eat a delectable treat, then by all means do it! This societal infatuation with dieting, exercising, and looking like a size 2 model has become all-encompassing and may hinder our potential self-growth. Lets face it, only one-percent of the population is 5’11” and 115 pounds; we should stop depriving ourselves and start loving our bodies. I am not advocating an unhealthy lifestyle, but as for the stringent weight restrictions played on women, “I’m over it.”

  19. Mariela P says:

    As I read this article my heart sank. I once and I think I still to some extent feel this way. I’m not a size 3 or anywhere were society would want me to be. Much like this article describes I have struggled with that image. At this age now I have learned to love my body and who I am. I’m not going to say it has been easy because it hasn’t. It has and will never be easy especially when I am surrounded by many women that do in fact wear a size 2 or 3. I heard the story about the cake and how this girl managed to confront her mother at a seminar by Melanie. Hearing the story I remembered almost wanting to cry as I remembered all the times I was criticized by my size. Growing up in a household that values size was tough on me, just like it was on this girl. I rarely got a hug from a family member without being criticized by my side. Even at this age, when I do go back home to visit from college, before I get asked about my grades, I get a comment on my weight. At times I’ll get the “you are looking skinnier” and on other times ill receive a rub on the tummy with a “you’ve been living a good life” as to covertly say I’ve been eating too much. Nevertheless reading it again brought back memories but it did not break me down because I now know that my size does not matter. What matters is that I am healthy and that I love myself for who I am. Loving your body takes a lot. You must learn first that there is nothing wrong with your size, but instead there is something wrong with society. We value things that are absurd and implant images into young women much like me that are sometimes almost impossible to reach. It is no surprise that it has become more and more common to see a young girl have a body or eating disorder or that a model has died from malnourishment.

  20. Melissa M says:

    I feel fortunate that I have never had to feel like I couldn’t eat certain things in front of others. So when I see friends of mine who struggle with this idea of eating in public or in front of the opposite sex, I feel awful. What is it that made them so uncomfortable to eat? Was it pressure from their parents? Or just the media? I feel for those who receive this kind of limitations from within their family. I was fortunate enough to grow up with brothers. I don’t think my parents had the interest nor the time to separate us by sex. Which was something that definitely benefited both my brothers and myself. Sure. my mom sometimes gets disgusted when I burp out loud, but I know she doesn’t really have a problem with it, and of course my dad will laugh, and my brothers just simply ignore it. If it weren’t for my family being okay with it, I might not be okay whenever I burp and a classmate of mine will hear it and tell me i’m disgusting. I’ve gotten comments I need to be more lady-like, but I just ignore it. Like Liz Acosta mentioned in her video, “I kinda don’t care.” The only reasons I care is because I know in being a women, I am expected to not have bodily functions and not eat foods other than fruit or vegetables in public, but I say screw that. I eat if I’m hungry and I’ll eat what I want. I feel so awful when I hear of those girls who have struggle with their body and eating and it stems from their family. To get that kind of pressure from family is something I know I would struggle with as well. Had I gotten pressure like that from my family, I would not have this “I don’t care” attitude about bodily functions, eating, and being stick thin.

  21. Lyndsay P. says:

    I grew up in a household where my parents condoned whatever eating habits I wished. I am big on sweets, and I have never felt embarrassed to eat in front of my boyfriend. It makes me sad that women feel that they must hide their true selves in order to seem like a real “woman” who does not fart, or eat greasy fast food. Some of the best dates I’ve ever been on we went to a great burger joint and enjoyed a delicious cheeseburger! The pressure that women are receiving from not only men, but other women is astonishing! I know friends who receive guilty talks from their own mothers who do not condone such eating habits. Because of this many of these girls develop eating disorders and develop self esteem issues. Sure we should promote healthy eating—but above all we should be promoting eating!

  22. Karen Acevedo says:

    I have noticed that my sister friend is obsessed with her body weight. She would always feel sick and she wouldn’t admit that she not eating well. She would put this image of being healthy, but I know that being healthy is not to starve. Once my sister and I had to rush her to the emergency room because she had a stomachache. The doctor said that she had gastritis. I mean I think its because she skips meals during the day. It is sad that girls in our society think that the norm is to not get fat and not eat at all in order to stay skinny. They have to realize that skinny is not only beautiful but being healthy and getting well is what makes our body stay in shape. Girls need to get “over it” and be happy about themselves.

  23. Sophia S. says:

    This article kind of hit home with me. After 4 years, I still continue to keep any bodily functions hidden from my boyfriend, not out of embarrassment, but because I want him to view me as desireable at all times. I too run the faucet when I need to pee so that he doesnt hear me. It’s something that I’ve always done and will probably continue to do until I just don’t care anymore. As far as food goes, I have no problem eating in public, however I do eat more when I’m out with my girlfriends as opposed to being out with my boyfriend. I seem to adopt my girlfriends’ eating habits, while I am very aware that I would gain weight if I were to adopt my boyfriend’s habits. I know a lot of girls that won’t eat in public and I find it sad. Eating out can be a great experience, but I feel like a lot of girls miss out on it.

  24. Erin H says:

    I kind of “get” the no bodily functions thing to a point. Nobody wants to hear anyone pooping or farting; wet and sweaty doesn’t look good –or smell—good on anyone (unless it gives a person that “I’m-so-flushed-I-look-like-I’ve-just-had-marathon-sex” glow). Even eating can be kinda gross if you’re with someone who wolfs their food or slurps their soup. However, I’d never heard of the idea of women not eating sweets or desserts in public. While I’d been generally discouraged from dessert (I was a chubby kid, and dessert wouldn’t help), I was more about not having it because it wasn’t good for you –fat, sugar, etc.—rather than what people might think of you if and when you eat it.

    If a guy can’t handle me eating a cupcake, then he’s going to be VASTLY unprepared for all my other “indelicacies”.

  25. Erin H says:

    I kind of “get” the no bodily functions thing to a point. Nobody wants to hear anyone pooping or farting; wet and sweaty doesn’t look good –or smell—good on anyone (unless it gives a person that “I’m-so-flushed-I-look-like-I’ve-just-had-marathon-sex” glow). Even eating can be kinda gross if you’re with someone who wolfs their food or slurps their soup. However, I’d never heard of the idea of women not eating sweets or desserts in public. While I’d been generally discouraged from dessert (I was a chubby kid, and dessert wouldn’t help), I was more about not having it because it wasn’t good for you –fat, sugar, etc.—rather than what people might think of you if and when you eat it.

    Hell, if a guy can’t handle watching me eat a cupcake, then he’s going to be INCREDIBLY unprepared for any of my other “indelicacies”.

  26. Benjamin B says:

    This article is extremely powerful in that it recognizes the pressure that young women, and women in general, get on a daily basis because of their weight. The conclusion of the article was very uplifting, because the young woman decides that she can choose for herself how much of the cake she wants to eat. The video at the end of the article was very interesting, but also sad because it recognizes the pressure that the girl went through earlier in her life and the lengths she went to due to the pressure. Although, just like at the end of the article, the end of the video sends a message full of hope to the audience. I think that its very sad that women have to face these obstacles because of the images being fed to them on a daily basis. Not only was the media responsible for her eating disorder, but it was the teasing in school that led to her eating disorder. Although I have never faced issues like these I feel very sympathetic towards her. I also find it very inspirational that by changing her mentality towards her physical appearance, she got over her eating disorder. Lastly, I find it very sad that some people are sensitive to eating in public. Eating is literally a necessity to living and the fact that some people are afraid to eat in front of others shows the unfair pressure that are put on women today.

  27. Aleksey R. says:

    If there is one thing I really love in this world it is delicious food that is terrible for me. That being said, I think it is shameful that, as a society, we allow women to starve themselves so that they somehow don’t seem to be anything more than thin. I believe it is a purely American idea to view thin women as attractive. I know that my family was always enamored with any women who could out-eat the men at the table. This is still an attractive thing in my mind to this day. Many of my male friends believe I am insane when I discuss how attractive it is to see a woman who is not ashamed to eat whatever she feels like eating. The reality of our world is that unhealthy women are for some reason viewed as more desirable than those who are healthy. I believe this view is a form of patriarchy designed specifically to hurt women as a whole. As soon as we understand that weight and food has nothing to do with beauty is the same point we will advance as a society where we can all begin to be comfortable with ourselves.

  28. Sonia B. says:

    I come from a Mexican family and my parents appreciate food to the max because when they were young they struggled to have at least a loaf of bread and milk on the table. I was never raised to watch how much I ate and especially not to be ashamed to eat in public. If I refuse to eat something my parents will ask if I’m ok or if I’m on a diet. I don’t take it in a bad way because I understand where they came from, but it now makes me realize how it is with those whose parents are the opposite of mine. It must be hard to have parents who are strict with diets and give girls smaller portions than boys. This was a shock to me because I love food and I love to eat, and if my mother would tell me to not eat so much cake, I would think she is kidding. Unfortunately, there are parents who are strict on their children, and it may be for health issues but doing this at birthday parties is going a little overboard especially to other girls who are not your daughters. It made me smile when the girl stood up for herself and told her mom that she wanted a big piece of cake. This showed her that she was not going to follow society’s norms and expectations. If girls would do what they felt comfortable with, I think that they would be much happier instead of hiding from people just to eat sweets. It takes one person to give someone else confidence, which passes on to one person at a time.

  29. Wesley L. says:

    I think guys can relate to this article in some ways. The first is that guys don’t believe that girls go to the bathroom, fart, or eat, well that what is believed when we are around girls in their teen years and even early college years. My friends and I have discussions about girls we are dating or have dated and all agree we have never heard or seen our girls go to the bathroom, especially poop, as well as pass the gasses. So we used to believe that girls can’t or maybe do like a few times in their lives. Stupid boys right, haha, but that’s what girls made us believe because they seemed afraid to relieve themselves in the presents of boys. They were probibly afraid that us boys would think bad of them and end up not wanting to hangout with them. This is a social issue because growing up guys weren’t looked down upon when they farted, peed by the trees/bushes, or even talking about going to the bathroom. On the other hand, girls weren’t allowed to discuss those topics in public because society made its socially unacceptable to act in those ways like boys do. When it came to girls and eating food, I remember both of my sister not really taking this social stigma and applying it to their lives. They have never been over weight, or too skinny, and they have eaten whatever they want and when they want (as long as they were healthy). But those girls who do suffer from this issue can also suffer long term health and mental issues which will severely hurt them. So its important that these young girls and even boys are taught at a young age that they eat what they want as long as they are happy, and healthy. Parents and peers mostly impose this issue on these individuals, and with bad or extreme parenting, these kids/teens will suffer. Parents who do this to their kids are living in fear that their kids wont be accepted in society, which reinforces the hurtful belief that society controls who we are and how we are suppose to act. Only if people lived for their own happiness and didn’t live to please others, then we wouldn’t have these issues with the youth, young adults, and even middle aged individuals.

  30. Kristin Singleton says:

    I really can relate to this article. Growing up, I was always a bit heavier than others so I was self-conscious about eating almost anything in front of others – especially in front of guys. I was told that if I wanted to eat in front of others it had to be salads or “girl” food as you put it. Even if I was out with a whole bunch of friends I would try not to eat in front of them, or if I did, I would not eat a lot. As I got older, I became more comfortable with my body and how I looked. I no longer feel restricted by the “rules” that says girls are not allowed to eat in public. This article and the video at the end are very empowering and I hope that everyone understands that they should not limit themselves because of what society thinks and wants of them.

  31. I can really relate myself to this story and the girl. When I was growing up I was taught a girl shouldn’t eat fatty foods in public, and desert wasn’t necessary for a girl to eat in general. It is so weird because when I relate my love story and my eating habits, I have my own life story. I didn’t eat in front of my husband for a whole year, except I drank water and ate foods only that were chicken or salads. But now after being with my husband for 10 years, I learned it is ok to be yourself in front of the ones you love. I eat all the junk in the world, and I don’t care anymore. I don’t want to lie; I am one of those people who are overly obsessed with my body, and weight issues. But eating a bag of chips here and there wont kill me, and wont make me gain anything. The part where your student finally had a chance to stand up to her mother and asked for the bigger slice expressed how happy that made her feel, and by having a normal slice wont do much, but will fulfill your sweet tooth.
    I can honestly say, I will eat like a pig in front of my husband, but when it comes to other people, I actually say no to a slice of pastry, even tough I actually wanted it. I’m not sure if it became a habit, but I don’t like other people staring at me eat. After my daughter was born, I struggled loosing all my weight, it took me a full year to loose the 60lbs I gained during pregnancy, and while I was trying to loose that weight I hated hearing family members calling me fat, and watching me eat, like if I was eating an elephant. Now that I have lost all that weight, and look thinner than before, people are shocked, and cannot believe I did it. I can honestly say, “you are the judge of what you eat, and others shouldn’t stop you if you really want to eat that slice”.

  32. Lyndsay says:

    I can definitely relate to this article — especially around guys I feel completely self-conscious about eating almost anything. For some reason, I just feel guilty for it. I wish more than anything that I could just eat what I want with no shame, but something within me just doesn’t let me. I never let myself indulge in my cravings–and if I do, I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame–and often times that leads me to eating more later. I know that disordered eating is a problem among women — I’ve suffered from it — and I think at some point, we will all abandon those societal chains that hold us back and embrace ourselves and our cravings for what they are. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice taste for our appearances. Everything in moderation.

  33. Michael Champieux says:

    I can’t necessarily relate directly to this but I can with some girls I have dated in the past. I would ask the same questions, “Are you sure?” “Why aren’t you going to eat?” Repeatedly the girl’s response was, “Nope, I’m fine!” But deep down I knew she wanted to eat so bad. I felt awful because no matter how hard I tried to her to eat she wouldn’t. And if I repeatedly asked her to eat she would grow angry at me?! I wasn’t even comfortable with situations like this and it happened often. I didn’t understand but after learning female’s perspectives and growing knowledge with age I understood why. I wish women would not feel this way to not eat or go to the bathroom in front of males. I understand this persona that women are “expected” to abide by but I feel women think all men think the same. It’s just not true. I love cooking or taking a girl to eat and getting dessert here and there. I feel awful that women take extreme resistance to not eat fattening food in front of their date or partner because I love when a woman is herself around me. It lightens the mood and makes it much more comfortable for me.

  34. Holly A. says:

    I can definitely relate to this article, and it is upsetting. I admit I keep a picture of a swimsuit model on my refrigerator to stop me from eating too much. How sad is that? Once again it is because of my desire to meet society’s beauty standards. It is interesting to see how this habit of putting pictures and scales in an area of dining is so common among people. I still haven’t reached the point where I can go on a date and not order a garden salad and eat one piece of lettuce at a time. (Sometimes I go home from a date hungrier than I was before). Girls do this because heaven forbid they actually eat food, or stain their clothes, get their hands dirty, smell like food, etc. This should definitely change. Next time I go on a date I order steak and dessert.

  35. Kaitlin V says:

    This is such an empowering article. I know so many women who feel the sort of shame of eating in front of a partner for fear of being judged. I know that I’ve done this a few times as well. Fortunately my mother never shamed me, so I was lucky in that aspect. This girl is so strong for finally standing up to her mother who seems to have been abusive about her weight for some time. I am glad you were able to overcome your fear in front of other people as well.

  36. Juana Vitela says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article because first and for most I can relate to it. I have my boyfriend and I have been with him for over three years. I remember when I started dating him I would never tell him that I needed to go to the bathroom, if I had to, I would hold it in till I got home. Whenever we would go out to eat I would always ask for a salad or anything that wasn’t greasy I would even get small portions so he wouldn’t thing i was a pig for eating to much. I think I acted this way and practiced such action because of the way that our society has socialized us girls to be. We have to be girls and act like guys or do things that only men would do. I also feel like i needed to be more girly in order for him to like me or to stay with me. This is was so i had been socialized. My relationship is good not because i do all this things but because im now my self and i do whatever i feel like doing with out the fear of being sanctioned by our society.

  37. Cynthia M. says:

    I’ve never censored myself from eating something in public, if I want to eat something, I’ll eat it regardless of where I am. But I have censored myself from eating at all, which is no better. I’ve been that girl who passes up a meal when I’m hungry, especially recently. My first year and a half in college I gained 20 pounds. I felt so disgusted with myself and ashamed that I let myself gain so much weight. So during my winter break, before the start of this current semester, I put myself on a strict diet. For a month, I only allowed myself to eat 1000 calories or less a day, and I had assigned days where I wouldn’t eat carbs at all. I wanted to lose the weight I gained so badly that I felt that was the way to do it and I did in fact lose 20 pounds in that month. The way I lost weight is unhealthy, but at the moment, it was the fastest way to lose weight, it seemed like an easy fix to me.

  38. As a guy I guess I am able to relate to this story in more ways than one. Throughout my life I was not as pressured about being as thin as a stick by a lot of people in my life, maybe not as much as girls are throughout their lives. I myself am not exactly what one would call a fit and athletic kind of guy and have always been this way my whole life. With that being said, I have almost always been teased about my weight and thus have had paranoia creep into my life when it came to food. As the years have progressed I have come to accept who I am an not stray from ingesting the food I liked instead of the food that everyone else expected me to eat. In middle and high school I would be like the girl stated in the article, always going for the smaller portions or at times not eating anything for the whole day until I went home. Now I am more conscious of who I am and am able to eat what I want, when I want without having to feel shame for doing so. I have come to accept that yes there will be people out there who will always look down on me for being who I am, but that just goes to show their own insecurities, not mine.

  39. I love this story. I can completely relate to this because even up to this day my mom asks me your going to eat some bread at this time its 8 at night when i had just eaten dinner at 530. She thinks because i am eating a piece of bread at night i should feel ashamed because im going to gain weight when i really dont. Its my body and i have to admit there are times when i do feel fat i know that i am not its just what society wants me to think. It does sometimes hurts my feelings that my mom sometimes call me fat and that is because we grow up in a society where skinny is considered the perfect body type and we should feel guilty and ashamed for enjoying a piece of cake or bread. But i loved this article because i shouldnt feel that way and should love my body for what is.

  40. Kristin F. says:

    This is something I definitely dealt with when I was younger. Up until I was about 21 or so I would be the girl that ordered just a salad or fruit until I finally realized that this was not healthy. There is nothing wrong with eating right but depriving your body of food is not healthy and in the end will not give you a better body anyway. I too have a mother who keeps a scale in the dining room and who is constantly worried about her weight and what she is eating etc. The women in my family are always having diet contests to see who can lose the most wieght and be in the best shape. (I have never competed in one of these contests because I enjoy eating what I want and exercising for more than just a few weeks). I have always tried to tell my mother and sister that it is ok to eat “real” foods and that being healthy is the way to go rather than starving yourself but this advice never seems to sink in. My brother and father never have to deal with these issues and it can be very frustrating to feel that as women we need to have a constant awareness of what our bodies look like.

  41. Reading this doesn’t surprise me that woman do this because they don’t want a man thinking they eat a lot. Or that if they do eat they eat something healthy and nothing bad like sweets. A woman should not be afraid to eat in public and be able to eat what they want and not to feel ashamed by it. Having a scale in the kitchen is out of control and that means a person has a problem. A person shouldn’t be eating sweets constantly but once in a while is fine and no one should judge that.

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