Let Her Eat Cake

By Melanie Klein--“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.

 

 

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Info: 
cmysko's picture

Comments

Marine A's picture

There is no girl portion size or male portion size when it comes to food. We are all free to eat however much or little we want. However, portion control should be maintained, not to keep weight off, but to make sure you are healthy. (and by healthy I don't mean skinny!!!!). Also, just because there are boys/men around, that doesn't mean that a girl/woman should shy away from eating or peeing. It's a natural thing, we all do it, it would be weird if you didn't eat amongst your peers. I'm not shy to eat around boys/men, maybe it has to do with the fact that I love food, and trying new foods. All that matters is that you are healthy. - Marine A.
KeniaC.'s picture

This article really does set an example of what some girls have to go through. Not only are we suppose to satisfy the way people expect us to look, but also what we're suppose to go through. It isn't enough for us to just naturally look good without being in a strict diet. I'm not over weight but I don't consider myself skinny either. People always question what I do to stay "in shape." Honestly I can't lie and say I've never attempted to be in a diet, but I have to admit and say it has ALWAYS failed. I simply just love food, and I don't care whether people stare while I eat. I never limit myself to my cravings, and I truly wish everyone would be like that. We don't have to live according to others people's norms. We should do what we want, HOW we want it. Like Kelly has mentioned above, this has to do a lot with attitude, and it's time for all of us to bring that ATTITUDE out.
nikkirazzaghi's picture

Great story! Many girls, especially ranging from preteen to teen years, are embarrassed to eat the foods they want and food in general, in front of boys and men. As they get older though, most of them eventually realize how ridiculous the concept of starving yourself in front of men really is. This story defines this completely. Girls and women should never feel the need to stop eating for anyone unless it is truly effecting their health.
JessicaB's picture

I can absolutely relate to this (as I am sure that most women can) and I think it is really important for women to be brave and speak up about their eating-disordered habits and thoughts. I have never been, nor am I built to be, a skinny woman, but I have made drastic attempts at achieving the body that I see in magazines, on TV, billboards, in movies... EVERYWHERE! This image of my ideal body that I had in my mind for so long was not MY body at all. Through a ton of work on myself, with the support of some amazing people, I am no longer comparing myself to what I see in magazines (which is not even real after all the photo-shopping) and I am comfortable in my skin. When I look back at the times when I was doing the Master Cleanse between my binges (and I didn't think I had an eating disorder), I feel so lucky to have had the strength and support to overcome such a powerful and oppressive sate-of-mind. I am pretty confident that I will never go back to crying on the bathroom floor, and I am so grateful for that, but it breaks my heart to think of all the young girls and women who are in the DEATH-GRIP that we call the MEDIA.
erinkaitel's picture

I think is is crazy to see to what lengths women and girls push themselves to fit the unrealistic expectations of patriarchy. I also liked the bit about "girl food" because its so true! No one expects girls to eat cake or wings or anything out of salad and yogurt and that is simply wrong. I think women should be more confident with their bodies and eat what they want because it is their bodies and their lives. not anyone else's. "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter."
Negar A's picture

I really enjoyed both article and video. I could relate to them and they remind me myself. I don't remember my mom ever told me: "do not eat this" or "eat less" But I easily remember her face when she talks about fat people and people who don't care about their body shape. As a child, I learned that I should be thin to be lovable. Now when I eat cake, ice cream, or greasy food I feel terrible about myself. I also lose my confidence and feel shame. I know many women feel same as me, which so sad. I highly recommend reading this article.
UrielG's picture

I wish that people would start to look at their own plates rather than staring at their friends’ plate. Instead of enjoying life and freedom that all have, people choose to emphasize and criticize others for their different eating habits. If a person wants to eat smaller or a bigger slice of cake, I do not see how that supposed to be anyone else’s business. Due to those people that are busy criticizing others for their eating habits, there are many individuals that end up with eating disorders as a result. Those individuals lack self-esteem and confidence since they are being told by their friends and loved once how “poorly” they treat themselves when they eat that extra slice of cake. Instead of just doing what a person wishes and enjoy life based on how a person wants, regardless of what anyone else has to say. This article and video provides how one came from such a place, but was able to overcome it!
Samanta K's picture

The video "Over It", by Liz Acosta made me laugh. What a funny and delicious way to say "Fuck You!", "I am enjoying myself and if I feel like cake, I am having some." Growing up in Germany, men liked women, who "ate like men" and it would have been considered a faux pas, to order a salad on a date. After moving to Los Angeles in 2007, things changed drastically for me, as I was given "funny" looks, when asking for the dessert menu. My self consciousness grew and my confidence went out the window. Everybody seemed obsessed with calorie restrictions and exercise regimes. After countless diets, going up and down, sometimes 20lbs as fast as 4weeks, I was constantly unhappy and unsatisfied with the way I looked. So to see a woman, who turns things around, is very inspiring and encouraging! I am getting to a place where I can be in peace with my body and yes, I am having cake occasionally, even a second slice... ;-)
jennifersetiawan's picture

What a resonating article! I also really loved the video because I felt the same way all my life until last summer when I got “over it” too and stopped living my life around calories and diets. It’s liberating to be able to hear other people’s stories and experiences about body image issues and unhealthy disorders like private gorging because it stops being an individual’s battle and becomes a collective struggle for all of us women.
joshberu's picture

This problem is very troubling. It’s starting to effect younger girls at even 8-9 years old. Unfortunately, instead of moms educating their daughters, they are teaming up with the media and causing lifelong problems for their daughters. As a result, many people eat foods with artificial sugar and zero calories, which are extremely unhealthy.
JoanaK's picture

I think it is interesting how disordered eating differs depending on your geographic status. While growing up in Europe, I was not exposed to so much hatred towads self image. This might even explain why European ladies seem to be valued so much more in this society; it's their high self-esteem. After moving to the United States, I was amazed to see the difference between the perception of food here. I noticed that food is seen as a "bad" thing in the U.S.. All we think about is how this piece of cake will make us look instead of actually enjoying the food. I think people especially girls need to understand that not everyone can have the same metabolism, not can they look the same way. If the girls engage in these poor eating behaviors because they want to look certain way for men then they need to realize that self-esteen is the key in being more sexier, wanted, and loved.
PriscillaM's picture

This article has officially touched me.I remember being in high school not knowing or understanding what was right from wrong,but knowing that the only thing that was important to have was a good image.Going back to my freshman and Jr years of high school and taking my P.E class,i would force myself not to stop running and finish my miles in less then 10 minutes even if it meant throwing up afterwards.I was given the idea that the skinnier you where the more attractive you would be to other's,and in high school that was very important. I would do the rules of not eating at night because if i did i would wake up pounds heavier,i would starve myself and not eat the whole day because that was the last thing i wanted to have. I was very thin and petite and i would take it as the biggest compliment when my family members would tell me that i was skinny and what was my technique for not gaining weight.I would usually just tell them about how active,i really was.Eating less carbs and more fruits and vegetables is what i ate the most until a day where i passed out,i was really scared that it happened to me that's when i realized that it was not healthy anymore,i would always be tired and i would crave junk food the most but force myself not to dare touch them.Although my weight is still an issue for me, i don't take it to the point of where i use to.I eat everything,i realize that it makes me happy and i don't regret eating them after.i try new foods and although i choose healthier options i don't limit myself.I love donuts,cookies and cake,and when given i will eat everything.Im happy with where i am now and i still work out but not to the extremes as i use to.Living a healthier life is what makes me feel good and i'm really grateful to hear that others have changed their ways too.We are beautiful the way we are and we should be happy each and every single day.
BianaB's picture

This article is so wonderful! I know how incredibly liberating it is to eat cake (or any dessert) in public. Unfortunately, disordered eating and dieting are one of the most relatable issues amongst all females. I, like so many others, remember going through the phase of crash-diets, diet pills, calorie counting, and obsessing over the number on the scale. This never made me happy, in fact, the only thing it made me was regretful that I didn’t eat some of the most amazing cuisine because I was “dieting.” It also left me with numerous health issues that I struggled with years later. Now, with my passion in alternative health & macrobiotics, I can’t believe I did that to my body. Shifting your focus to being healthy rather than obsessing over weight is one of the most incredible things in the world! I can’t wait till more women/girls discover that and eat whatever they want in public.
Brianda B.'s picture

This is by far one of the posts that I love the most. While I was reading it I couldn’t help myself but to go down memory lane. It made me relive my experience s with my bodily functions and my ex-boyfriend, not eating when in fact I was starving, and having the overly exaggerated mother telling me to think twice about eating. If I had never taken a woman studies class I would have probably still be killing myself trying to meet all these expectations society has deemed for women. Now, my mom’s comments don’t hurt me like they use to. I don’t allow it to depress me because I know there isn’t a human out in the world that doesn’t eat, well at least a healthy one. Now when I look at my reflection I’m not disgusted, on the other hand I am pleased to see what I see. When my ex tries to humiliate me in front of our mutual friends, I simply ask him why it’s so amusing to retell that story. Doesn’t everyone have to visit the restroom now and then? The way I view women and myself has completely changed. Women constantly have to break down barriers that keep constrained. I can honestly say that I’m “so over”this and I’ve accepted myself just the way I am.
Brianda B.'s picture

This is by far one of the posts that I love the most. While I was reading it I couldn’t help myself but to go down memory lane. It made me relive my experience s with my bodily functions and my ex-boyfriend, not eating when in fact I was starving, and having the overly exaggerated mother telling me to think twice about eating. If I had never taken a woman studies class I would have probably still be killing myself trying to meet all these expectations society has deemed for women. Now, my mom’s comments don’t hurt me like they use to. I don’t allow it to depress me because I know there isn’t a human out in the world that doesn’t eat, well at least a healthy one. Now when I look at my reflection I’m not disgusted, on the other hand I am pleased to see what I see. When my ex tries to humiliate me in front of our mutual friends, I simply ask him why it’s so amusing to retell that story. Doesn’t everyone have to visit the restroom now and then? The way I view women and myself has completely changed. Women constantly have to break down barriers that keep constrained. I can honestly say that I’m “so over”this and I’ve accepted myself just the way I am.
Brianda B.'s picture

This is by far one of the posts that I love the most. While I was reading it I couldn’t help myself but to go down memory lane. It made me relive my experience s with my bodily functions and my ex-boyfriend, not eating when in fact I was starving, and having the overly exaggerated mother telling me to think twice about eating. If I had never taken a woman studies class I would have probably still be killing myself trying to meet all these expectations society has deemed for women. Now, my mom’s comments don’t hurt me like they use to. I don’t allow it to depress me because I know there isn’t a human out in the world that doesn’t eat, well at least a healthy one. Now when I look at my reflection I’m not disgusted, on the other hand I am pleased to see what I see. When my ex tries to humiliate me in front of our mutual friends, I simply ask him why it’s so amusing to retell that story. Doesn’t everyone have to visit the restroom now and then? The way I view women and myself has completely changed. Women constantly have to break down barriers that keep constrained. I can honestly say that I’m “so over”this and I’ve accepted myself just the way I am.
SamanthaH's picture

MMMMM!!! That cake made me hungry! But seriously I love the message of this blog as well as this video. Growing up I always noticed that people put emphasis on how girls and women look. It is so sad because it is so unrealistic. My weight is something I have always struggled with, but honestly though I am overweight I am a healthy person, according to my doctor. I am very active and I eat all the time. I am not afraid to eat either, if I am hungry I will satisfy my stomach. I still get a little jealous at the fact that I am not a petite person, but honestly I think the way I look is unique and beautiful in its own way. Not everyone is skinny and skinny doesn’t have to mean that you are beautiful. This post was great and really made my day!
BridgetT's picture

The scenario depicted in the video clip is a perfect example of women being affected by negative sanctions casted upon their body image. She is suffering disordered eating. Thankfully, she eventually learns how to love her body for the way it is. With love comes respect. If women are constantly trying to create a body image that's desirable by so many others, then I honestly don't think they have any self respect for themselves because their body is suffering. Why are women trying to please others before pleasing themselves? It just doesn't make sense. There should be no shame when it comes to treating yourself every so often. I for one cannot resist a good slice of cake. Time to plan a trip to the Cheesecake Factory!
Idor E's picture

This article helps me understand the negative sanctions women are given that effect them psychologically. This women started by dieting and said that it was healthy for her until it went out of control and turned into a disorder. It is great to know that she eventually overcame it when she was at her cousins birthday and her mom handed her a thin slice of cake, she asked for a bigger one. I feel that it takes a lot to just spontaneously just change like that. I give this women a lot of respect for her courage to over come this.
Nicole S.'s picture

I think this issue is very culturally based. Being born into a Middle Eastern family, I am constantly being pressured by my mom and grandmother to eat more food; however, when they see someone who is larger, weight-wise, they have no trouble criticizing his/her weight. This is not only hypocritical but it is also leaves me confused. Reading this article made me realize how uncomfortable I am eating in public, especially foods that are messy which when you think about it is quite comical. From a girl who loves her sweets and junk food, I find it interesting that we are constantly trying to hide the fact that yes we do eat food!!! We are relentlessly worried about what other people think. People should just mind their own plates!
Kelly Olson's picture

I absolutely love this piece..I think it is crazy that we have to feel ashamed to eat. I can relate to that. I know that when I am out eating I tend to always think about how much I eat and make sure I do not eat more than my guy friends.. SO WHAT?! Maybe I have a big appetite..I can honestly say I AM OVER IT but I just have to find the strength to put some action into it and hopefully live a more healthier life. Also, I would like to thank Liz Acosta for sharing her story, I admire her strength.
angelo V's picture

This post shows the proliferation of the ideal body image for women, namely thin and skinny. It also shows how much of an impact our parents have in our lives given that the girl's mother influenced her tremendously to not eat fattening foods such as cake.
yaghoubi.mahsa333's picture

This post is so true, i myself have done this numerous times. I will look at my surround plates to see how much someone has eaten, and if they haven’t finished all there food i will either not eat the rest of my food, or either feel bad about finish my plate. Ive gone out with couples before, and there has been times when i will be pigging out in front of my boyfriend, and have my other girlfriends who are eating with us look at me in horror because they would never eat anything more than a salad in front of there boyfriends. Its a shame that people think like this. If anything, guys like a girl who can eat and has an appetite.
MayraO's picture

I actually now want to eat a whole cake!! this is great this shows us that the way women depict themselves or one another can have a great effect on our self esteem and our physical appearance. It makes me proud to watch this video and read this post and say I am just like that OVER IT!
NiluVv's picture

I felt inspired reading this article because it encouraged me to further become “over it.” So many times I have been made to feel uncomfortable by other young women for freely eating in a healthy and appetite fulfilling manner. Men, on the other hand, seem to be surprised and impressed when I’m able to eat openly and as much as they are. I do find it really interesting how instinctively people throw negative comments at each other’s eating habits when most of us haven’t clue what a healthy diet is. After reading this article, watching the video and reading some of the other blog posts, I feel that there is a need for people to be provided with reliable knowledge of diets and food choices instead of what the media and advertisements to tell us. Especially, when it’s in the mainstream media that it’s rare to see women eating or appear to have a nutritious diet. We need to stop being affected by the images in the mainstream media and pursue more holistic sources of advice.
neeloufar mahrouyan's picture

This article is very true and inspiring. It is horrible how some girls from young ages have a mind set to look a certain way, dress a certain way, and act a certain way in order to be accepted. Almost every women feels or have felt self-conscious about their body at some point of their life. We need to get “over it” and live our lives the way we want to and stop comparing ourselves to others and the media around us.
Michelle A's picture

I love this article and the way you write. It’s something I think every girl deals with at one point in her life, but not all of us can get over it. I remember being in middle school and thinking I should “watch what I eat ” and stick to girly, healthy foods. Eventually I realized that I can eat whatever I want and whenever I want, I don’t care what other’s think. Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I have to eat differently that a guy. I still have trouble feeling comfortable eating normally in front of a guy, but I’m working on that . As always I really enjoyed reading about other people’s stories, great article.
stefannyd's picture

I really liked this article because it emphasized how people change. In this article the girl went from being so self conscious about her eating habits and her bathroom habits in front of guys, but then as she grows and matures she becomes more self confident and comfortable in her skin.
jorge garcia's picture

it is true, girls at a very young age begin to be teased about their weight and the way they look. women of any age should not care if they are eating a slice of cake in public, they are human after all and if they feel like eating a slice of cake, then f**k it eat that slice of cake you crave. of course that does not mean that individual should over eat. the individual should not feel ashamed about what they eat or when they eat. i know a couple of girls who went through the same problem the girl in the video did, and this is the perfect video to show them. to make them understand that it is normal and okay to eat a slice of cake or any dessert out in public.
angelaangie's picture

I love the way that you wrote about the silly things that us women have done as little girls. In reality, one should just be oneself. If you want a cake, eat a cake.
JohnT's picture

The video is a perfect example of how women should feel empowered and enjoy eating without counting the calories or taking supplements like laxatives and diet pills to have that "ideal look". Not only are more and more women feeling embarrassed about their weight but they are taking such great lengths at finding different solutions to being skinny that it may even kill them. I feel that women are becoming worse at finding solutions and in the end fail at their goals. Its also ridiculous to me how women may feel insecure or embarrassed by what they eat and how they eat it. Food is food as long as it makes you happy whats to be embarrassed about?
Sherry Shayan's picture

Truthfully, I have been exposed to many women who are consistently worried about what they eat, how they look, and counting calories. It has always made me feel bad for them because instead of enjoying a piece of cake, or a slice of pizza, they are counting every single calorie they consume. Similar to this article, I know of many women who feel like they can only eat yogurt or salad in public. Personally, I have never felt this constant worry about gaining weight or about what I eat in public, because I feel as though a slice of cake or a bite of something "greasy" will not hurt me as long as I am healthy about what I eat and not eating too many unhealthy foods. Sadly, many women are not aware that these ideals of the "perfect body" that are created by the media are not attainable and that most of the "perfect women" seen on a billboard or the front of a magazine don't truly look like that in real life. I hope that one day, instead of women counting calories and worrying about what they eat in public, they will be enjoying all types of food, with the limits of taking it too far and being unhealthy.
idecredico's picture

I feel as though many women have experienced this at some point in their life. The guilt and shame and self punishment that comes with eating. Society wants women to feel embarrassed when eating in public and to have self control in private. Laxatives, dieting, and pills have become a common way to control hunger and lose weight. Not only do we give each other positive affirmations for these dangerous measures, but the media does as well by portraying an unattainable women as the only women that are happy and successful. It truly is an epidemic. As in the article we must educate each other and allow ourselves to be healthy humans.
audriannagordon's picture

Funny when you say you used to turn on the faucet while using the bathroom, I remember doing that when I was in high school. Unitil I realized that guys will go in front of girls with no hesitation and pass gas with no problem. So then I became for comfortable around my boyfriend and he would always say yuck girls aren't suppose to pass gas in public. Now I don't care what he has to say if I need to let it out I'll let it out where ever we are lol.
LauraI's picture

The girl's mother sounds a lot like mine (though my mother may be worse...). My mother has always been obsessed with her weight - name the diet and she has tried it. She has had me on a diet since I was 12. I gave up on my weight about a year ago, deciding to just let pounds fall where they may and that seems to have made her obsess even more about her own. People like to think that only teenage girls can be anorexic but 60 year old woman can be too. This pressure for the perfect body has not just suddenly popped up - the "need" has always been the same, only society's ideal has changed with each trend.
Eryca's picture

I very much related to this article. I think it’s really interesting how women in American culture are socialized to be very concerned with what they eat, how they eat it, how much of it they eat. ect. I too, like many women, have engaged in disordered eating. in high school I was always very self conscious about eating in front of other people. There was a while where all I would have for lunch was bubble gum. Luckily I got over it. Food should be enjoyed. It’s really great to hear about women overcoming disordered eating, especially when they grew up with it, not just as a constant from popular culture, but in their own homes. I know it can be very difficult, and I think this article, and video are very positive things that should be shared. -Eryca S.
womanstudies's picture

I enjoyed the article very much because it reminds me of the "many" times I would go to the bathroom at a boyfriend’s house, and turn on the faucet when so they wouldn’t hear me doing something as natural as using the restroom... It was ridiculous! Fortunately, I have always been able to eat around a male, but I have many friends who to this day will not, even while on a date, and they are literally starving. It’s sad that we live in a society that makes us feel uncomfortable using the restroom in the presence of a man, or for that matter even eating food. I also enjoyed the video… It was very powerful and inspirational!
MarinaV's picture

I couldn’t really identify with this article because I wasn’t raised to feel self conscious when it came to eating. In my culture not eating is a problem, refusing to eat when someone offers you is seen as disrespectful. But I do understand how for some people it can be a problem especially if they are insecure, and the media does focus on women’s image so much that it can be hard to “measure up”. So the only conscious decision to do if you don’t fit into the very defined image of a woman is to restrict yourself from eating, and hide it when you do. Conscious raising efforts are vital when it comes to young women and this problem and I think the video did a fantastic job.
Myra Flores's picture

As i recall, my eating habits in early elementary school were completely normal and shame free. I used to love eating breakfast at school and having lunch with friends and classmates. But as i went on to the 5th and 6th grade i had stopped eating lunch completely; in part it was because of my newfound interest in boys and the other was the realization that my body type wasn't the norm. I had also been previously betrayed by some close friends whom i thought were authentic; that betrayal initiated an attitude in me that wished to reject everything that seemed normal to everyone else. First i stopped eating lunch because i didnt want to be seen eating or at least enjoying myself eating; because it's one thing to be a chubby girl, but it your chubby and you're enjoying food then that's completely unacceptable. This was the way i saw it, no food meant i had more time to do other things. Middle school hit me hard, the low self esteem from elementary school had followed me and had decreased even more as i gained a significant interest in physical appearence. I dieted, counted calories, worked out, all in excess, i even tried diet pills but nothing seemed to satisfy this unhappiness i had for myself. I began to try out eye makeup, i started dying and straightening my hair , i tried wearing more fitted clothing just so i could feel normal and be accepted, but found the wrong attention at the front door. I realized that the more vulnerable i was, the more prone i was to sexual harrassment and at the time i was feeding off of other's empty approvals that i completely lost control. I wasn't reinforcing the boundary where a simple hug could turn into sexual harrassment, so often i let things pass by that i souldve addressed with force. The roots of my disordered eating came from past school experiences, i was wanting to fill the empty space for approval of myself. I was hiding myself from the public, hiding the normal day to day activities that people do, and i began eating in private because i was so starved when i got home from school. Making sure i was alone, i would indulge in food even if i wasn't hungry, i just wasnted to feel "full" because my perspecive of myself was so distorted and hollow. I found myself feeling guilty every single time. This disordered eating has remained stagnant thoughout time, it hasnt increased or decreased. The only thing that;s chsanged is my awareness of these bad habits, slowly but surely i'll feel comfortqble enought wiht my natural figure, i will no longer need another's approval to feel the least bit sense of goodness. -M.F.
Myra Flores's picture

As i recall, my eating habits in early elementary school were completely normal and shame free. I used to love eating breakfast at school and having lunch with friends and classmates. But as i went on to the 5th and 6th grade i had stopped eating lunch completely; in part it was because of my newfound interest in boys and the other was the realization that my body type wasn't the norm. I had also been previously betrayed by some close friends whom i thought were authentic; that betrayal initiated an attitude in me that wished to reject everything that seemed normal to everyone else. First i stopped eating lunch because i didnt want to be seen eating or at least enjoying myself eating; because it's one thing to be a chubby girl, but it your chubby and you're enjoying food then that's completely unacceptable. This was the way i saw it, no food meant i had more time to do other things. Middle school hit me hard, the low self esteem from elementary school had followed me and had decreased even more as i gained a significant interest in physical appearence. I dieted, counted calories, worked out, all in excess, i even tried diet pills but nothing seemed to satisfy this unhappiness i had for myself. I began to try out eye makeup, i started dying and straightening my hair , i tried wearing more fitted clothing just so i could feel normal and be accepted, but found the wrong attention at the front door. I realized that the more vulnerable i was, the more prone i was to sexual harrassment and at the time i was feeding off of other's empty approvals that i completely lost control. I wasn't reinforcing the boundary where a simple hug could turn into sexual harrassment, so often i let things pass by that i souldve addressed with force. The roots of my disordered eating came from past school experiences, i was wanting to fill the empty space for approval of myself. I was hiding myself from the public, hiding the normal day to day activities that people do, and i began eating in private because i was so starved when i got home from school. Making sure i was alone, i would indulge in food even if i wasn't hungry, i just wasnted to feel "full" because my perspecive of myself was so distorted and hollow. I found myself feeling guilty every single time. This disordered eating has remained stagnant thoughout time, it hasnt increased or decreased. The only thing that;s chsanged is my awareness of these bad habits, slowly but surely i'll feel comfortqble enought wiht my natural figure, i will no longer need another's approval to feel the least bit sense of goodness. -M.F.
kyk91's picture

I cant seem to understand why would people ever hurt themselves because of what other people said to you. I believe that if people judge me by what I eat, then I shouldn’t be around those people. That i shouldn’t want to change my image in order to attract people and that i should be surround by those that appreciate who i am inside and outside. I believe that you should not expect people to love if you don’t love yourself first. If you want to eat a slice of cake, go ahead, no one is stopping you besides yourself.
traciv's picture

this is great! I don't think that this story can get any closer to this problem that most women have. I myself go through this everyday. Trying to determine whether I'm hungry or I am just eating because I am bored..why do we have to do that?! We should be able to enjoy or bodies and the food that goes inside of it! That is so great that this girl came over her mind set of not being able to eat certain foods and love her body!
NikkiO42's picture

@Myra - I feel like sooo many people can relate to what you said. I have gone through similar experiences myself and in hindsight it's amazing to see how our priorities can change as we get older. I've also seen other people getting unwanted attention they thought would make them feel better about themselves when it actually made them feel worse. I used to worry and care so much about what other people were thinking about how I looked... when they really probably weren't judging me at all and if they were, they also easily slipped out of my life because I realized I didn't want to be around that negative energy. If you think your boyfriend or friends are judging you based on your appearance, maybe try to think of the other qualities about yourself your friends or boyfriend like. Sense of humor, similar interests, kindness and thoughtfulness are all qualities that make people gravitate to others. People who really care want you to be healthy, and that doesn't mean you have to be thin or curvy. Healthy takes many shapes and forms and allows for healthy food and cake too.
Ryan M's picture

The sanctions that are placed upon a women whom eats "too much" is ridiculous. Further, women should disregard these idealistic notions that leave women to live lives of hardship. A women should eat what she likes. A mother should never be preaching the notion that eating too much is not respectable. I know of many women who purposely eat smaller portions in public so that they can maintain a positive reputation. It is problematic that women have to focus on so many specific aspects of their lives. There are far too many women that obsess with their body weight and diet. These lifestyles are essentially unhealthy and can lead to a life filled with problematic health. This article is a clear example of the hardships so many women go through in order to maintain a healthy social status. More women should focus their attention on bettering their lives rather than trying to maintain to the social norms of society
PatriciaS's picture

I can relate to this article in a couple of ways. Most days Id say I eat whatever I please wether Im at a restaurant or in my dinning room. Its always funny to me when I'm out with guy friends and I eat my entire meal while they're the ones leaving half of the entree on their plate. Surprisingly, they have never said anything or given me any weird looks. I do feel a little ashamed deep inside sometimes but it makes me think that we put more pressure on ourselves than society actually does. Or maybe I just have a good selection of friends. My sister is one of those people who started counting calories.I don't think she's done it lately but when she did, I would be influenced (she's older) to do the same in my head. It did stop me from eating a few times. Now, I continue to eat what I want for the most part. I order dessert when I feel like it and yes, I have that last bite!
Yesenia O.'s picture

It is sad to see how much of an impact the media, specifically magazines, have on young girls like Liz Acosta. This just proves how seeing all these perfect, skinny, beautiful models on covers affect young girls by impacting the way they eat. They want to look like the models on magazines so much that it leads to eating disorders, abstinence, and depriving them from eating what they love. Seeing this video made me glad to know that girls are becoming more aware of the reality behind these magazines. They are realizing that the models they see are created the way they look, we hardly see a women that looks as good as these models do on magazines. I am glad tht they are saying F***k this I am going to eat whatever I want because it makes me feel good about myself, and this is the attitude that all girls should have and ignore anything that lowers their self-esteem because overall, they are the ones being affected.
Natalie P's picture

This article had me thinking about a lot of things but brought up some new thoughts that were very interesting. I have met very few men in my life that are cautious about what they do or do not eat in front of others. Besides comments on whether the taste of what they are eating is good, great, or how satisfied or full they are, there is no other talk focused on the food. On the other hand, there have been very few times that I have heard women express the same feelings about food, without additionally commenting on their diet, or their body, or whether they, not the food, are “bad,” or “good.” In more recent years I have begun to see a different version of women’s statements on food and eating. Now, with female family members or friends, usually in the company of other women, it seems it is important for them to point out that they don't mind having a burger, or indulging in dessert. Instead of feeling refreshed or comforted by this pointing out what they are eating, I feel more frustrated and concerned about the female relationship with food. Pointing out to others that they can eat "this," or "that," usually doesn't feel genuine, but like they still need to justify what they are eating. It is obvious that we are still just as preoccupied with what we are eating in front of others. Instead of this seeming as though women are making progress in feeling confident in what they are eating in front of others, I feel as though most of us women have just found another way to hide our discomfort and shame about food and body. I have spent most of my life preoccupied with what others will see and think about what I eat. Even through the personal work I have done with regards to food and body, I have only just begun to see that we need more than just individual work. We need to speak out, and educate others on these ideas, assumptions and social expectations, and it cannot be accomplished without the willingness of men and women alike.
Molly's picture

Hi Natalie, That's an interesting observation and I have definitely noticed the same thing. I agree, we definitely need to start educating people. I think there is a huge lack of awareness around these issues and that is one reason why they continue to be a problem.
WendyA's picture

I used to do the same thing I would never eat in front of my boyfriend especially messy foods. I would say no when offered food even if my stomach was growling I would refuse. When I got more comfortable I started eating more now 4 years later I eat whatever I want wherever I want in front of him or anyone for that matter. I realized why am I going to hide the fact that I eat if I’m hungry I’m going to eat regardless of who is around. As far as cake I do see girls that will not eat a piece a cake I think it’s a shame because they are preventing themselves from eating something good and leaving themselves with the craving instead of being satisfied. It’s a shame that girls and women feel as though they cannot eat foods besides salad in public. Society has caused women and girls to be paranoid that they can’t even eat what they want when they want to. People shouldn’t feel shame when eating its natural you need food to survive. I will never go back to my old ways I love the freedom I have when eating I don’t feel guilty eating in public and that’s the way it should be.
JasmineGh's picture

Personally, a close family member of mine has Type II Diabetes and I find it really challenging to eat a sugary dessert like cake when I am home. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to eat anything sweet when I go out and I definitely eat the food I want to eat when I am around my boyfriend. However, at home I don't feel I should be having a large piece of cake. I almost feel guilty when I eat anything sweet because I feel I am breaking an ethical code. I am not ashamed of my body and I know I could be having it, but a surge of guilt goes through me when I eat a cake in front of some members of my family. I don't know if I could enjoy the sweet effects of a sugary dessert at home, but I hope one day I could eat a cake without feeling ashamed.

Poll

Does "bikini season" talk get to you?

get help