Food Shame and Judgement

Published July 26, 2009 by Fat Heffalump

One of my favourite blogs in the blogosphere is the Post Secret project. If you’re one of the few people who have never encountered it before, it’s a blog project where people send in anonymous postcards that they have made themselves, bearing a secret. The secrets featured each week (and in the books that have been published under the project) range from shocking, sad, funny, frightening to the downright bizarre.

I also follow the PostSecret twitter account, which tweets extra secrets, email replies to those published on the blog, and news about the project.
A couple of days, this secret was posted to the Twitter feed.
“When I go grocery shopping, I always feel like people are looking in my basket and judging me because I’m fat.”
I re-tweeted it because I know it is actually a very common feeling amongst fatties. The response I got was pretty phenomenal. To paraphrase a few replies, they mostly broke down into:
  • Oh I always feel like that.
  • Thank God for online shopping
  • Do people really comment on what others have in their shopping baskets? (the answer is yes)
  • I always put the toilet paper/water/magazines on top of my food.
  • I feel the same when eating out.
I thought about it for a bit and realised that I too used to hide/feel ashamed for the contents of my shopping trolley, and for what I was eating when eating out. I used to be terribly self conscious that other people are judging me when I had any connection with food in public.
This is not purely from paranoia from being a fat woman. This is because quite often, people would comment or insult me* with regards to food in public. My “favourite” is once I was sitting in a food court eating a salad, and an old couple walked past me, and the woman said to the man, loud enough for me and several people in the surrounds to hear “Ugh, people like that shouldn’t eat.”
I was horrified and humiliated at the time, but on further thought now, since I have my self esteem at a healthy level and don’t give a shit what strangers think, my thought is “So I’m supposed to just starve to death lady because my fat body doesn’t please you?” And do you know what? The answer is yes. Some people have the attitude that fat people should just not exist. That if they had their way, they would simply remove them from existence.
I know, it’s really harsh, isn’t it? But there is a certain number of the population who truly feel this way.
Fuck them I say.
To those of you who feel this sense of judgement on you around food, you have every right to buy, cook, eat, taste, enjoy any food you like. If someone is so removed from their own lives (or perhaps so loathsome of their own lives) that they have to cast judgement on other people regarding what they eat, then there’s something seriously wrong with them. Because a happy, healthy person doesn’t care a jot what other people have in their shopping basket, or on their plate, except perhaps to eye off something interesting.
To those who feel the need to comment/judge others on what they are eating/buying in public, I say “Get a life!”
*Remember, I don’t tell you these stories for pity or to gain attention, this is simply to illustrate what I have experienced and what some people’s attitudes are like.

6 comments on “Food Shame and Judgement

  • I try and put the light things on top so there won't be crushing, so if I have a load of vegetables and one bag of chips, the bag of chips is what shows–well, more often it's bread on top, but we all know bread is TEH EVIL CARBZ OH NOES. Plus I tend to buy veggies at nearby grocery stores and snack foods at the farther away import stores, so when I shop there it's a big load of chocolate and cookies and things that has to last a month or three because I don't get out there often lately. I'm a bit self-conscious about it but not enough to give up chocolate forever.

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