replacing sex with food
February 4, 2004 03:07 PM

Not too many years ago, two women talking on Monday morning about how they had been bad over the weekend might have been referring to some sort of sexual escapade. Nowadays they would most likely be talking about going off their diet and eating something that wasn't on their good food list. From Tech Central Station - read the rest of the article.

This hypothetical situation represents a lot of the issue with the "obesity crisis" for me. It's not really about fat.

I know, I've said it before. And the likes of Jean Kilbourne (despite my annoyance with her doomsdayishness) have said it quite a bit. But I think I have some new insights now.

It comes back, in a way, to education. I'm coming to believe more and more that our current approach to education creates problems for a lot of people around acceptance and good/badness. Obviously, I'm not just talking about school systems, though they're a big part of this - parenting tendencies, media influences, all of these things have a tendency to divide people into gradations of fit with the norm or goodness - essentially, grades.

If you combine that predilection towards numerical indications of goodness of fit with a religious tradition that also focuses on sin and purity, I think you have the essence of Americans' twisted fixation on dieting.

It's all about sex, yo. But you know that. It's puritanical fear that indulging in what we like is so very very bad for us, which also abreacts into this need for distance. Sex is for procreation or it's dirty; fill up absurdly on fast food.

But it's better than sex, this food obsession. Because we can talk about it. It's considered perfectly work-appropriate; you can always talk about who has and hasn't lost weight and how much and how, in great detail, you did it. Diet talk is all about grades and numbers, and feels just nosy and prurient enough to satisfy our urges for naughtiness while reassuring us that we're fine and upstanding.

Plus, as I am constantly saying, it's the perfect distraction from anything else we think we can't help - crises personal and global alike.

TrackBack : in fat & health stuff « are we fighting the same fight? | Main | all feminists are horrid sex-hating prudes »
your wicked thoughts

Yeah. It's a "you're either with us or against us" kind of thinking. An inability to sustain complexity. And a way to make sure there's at least one kid in the school yard who it is still OK to kick.

these are the thoughts of Tish on February 11, 2004 05:09 PM
















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