What I eat is not yours business. And what I put in my mouth is not your concern.
On Friday I read an article on The Guardian talking about women’s food choices, and why they’re constantly up for discussion by everyone around the woman, and I started thinking about my own experiences with this.
Growing up extremely skinny, it was a constant source of amusement for those around me to comment on my food choices. If I ate something unhealthy, the comments ranged from “Careful, you might get fat!” to “I’d eat that too if I looked like you”. If I ate something healthy, the comments were thick and fast – “no wonder you’re so skinny”, “you need to eat more than that”, “men won’t like you if you’re all skin and bone”. It was a constant source of frustration for me that eating became an opportunity for everyone else to comment on my body.
It was refreshing, and depressing, to learn I’m not alone.
Just last week I had a colleague comment on my food choices, marvelling at how “you always eat so healthy” and reminding me that what I put in my mouth is still the source of envy or concern of others. My response of unbridled laughter and the clarification that they must only see me on days I happen to be eating something healthy was met with an appraising glance and the assumption that, because of my body, I must be lying about my food choices.
But my body is not public property and what I choose to fuel it with is not your concern.
It wasn’t until reading the article on the Guardian that I thought about this as being sexist behaviour, but now I have seen it it’s staring me in the face. It happens a lot, every day, and it seems to happen almost exclusively to women.
I’m tired of living with the belief that, because of my genitals, my body is somehow your business. The belief that everything we do as women must somehow be designed to seek the approval of men. That the choices we make need to somehow be validated by the opposite sex, and that our appearance is designed to appeal to what “men” want.
But the really disturbing part was this – many of the comments I have received throughout my lifetime have been from other women. It reminds me of one simple fact – in many cases, the worst enemy of women is other women.
I find it equal parts disappointing and frightening that some of the greatest perpetrators of the everyday sexism that plagues womankind are women themselves.
Ladies, it’s time to bring back the sisterhood and stop letting the belief that our bodies are anyone’s concern but our own.
And for God’s sake – what I eat is not your business.
Has anyone ever commented on your food choices?