Why Are We STILL So Obsessed With What Women Eat?

by Sonia Edwards

Food policing sucks. It can totally catch you off guard the first time it happens. 

“You’re getting fries too? Those’ll go straight to your hips, you know.”

“Are you sure you seconds are a good idea?” 

“Just a salad? You’re so thin—eat a darn cheeseburger!” 

It’s startling, uncalled for, and people often don’t know it’s a problem until it actually happens to them.  Recently, however, it’s been getting some much-needed attention via Twitter and other social media.  One woman, Emma Maier, tweeted to the handle @EverydaySexism with her own food shaming story. 

The response? A flood of women chiming in with their own accounts of food shaming, and the phenomenon (if we can even call it that—it’s kind of just an annoying, sexist fact of life) getting large-scale attention from publications like the Guardian. 

But the problem doesn’t stop there—we seem to be living in a society that both scrutinizes everything women eat, and claims expertise on what they are actually eating.  The Instagram account @youdidnoteatthat is a perfect example.

The account is a cumulation of photos of predominately women, with a few exceptions, all very fit and posing with delicious food that the Instagram’s creator has decided that they definitely “did not eat.” 

There’s certainly something to be said about our incessant “foodstagramming,” and models telling magazines about how they pig out on McDonald’s constantly or never go to the gym (hey, maybe sometimes it’s true. All bodies are different. But it’s certainly not true all the time). That being said, it is not anyone’s right to call us out or subject our bodies to scrutiny. 


Instagram users pick apart these women’s bodies (“dude, look at her arms”), and the photos are mocked in a way that’s lighthearted yet wholly unnecessary.  Again, there is room for an informed discussion on our society’s obsession with posting pictures of our meals to social media, but @youdidnoteatthat goes about it in the wrong way.

With help from the Internet, food-shaming and body-shaming seem to be on an unfortunate upswing.  Though we’re becoming better at identifying the issue, our culture’s poisonous fixation with what women eat seems to be worsening.  But there’s hope—we have the power to combat the food police when they attack, in real life and online. “Yes, that’s a salad and a large fries, and #YesIFreakingAteThat.”

Images c/o Instagram @youdidnoteatthat


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