In the unbuilt libraries of unpublished books of unwritten rules, there have to be volumes regarding food. Some have to do with table manners which vary drastically from family to family and culture to culture. So much so that what is “polite” or “appropriate” at one table is the opposite at the next.
Slurp your soup to show that it’s tasty.
Don’t slurp your spaghetti!
Serve extra large portions to make sure they eat all they want.
Let the guests serve themselves so they don’t feel pressured to eat.
Use your hands to really experience your food.
No elbows on the table. Knife and fork for everything including burgers and fries.
Wherever I go, I’m a lawbreaker. It’s hard enough to keep up with everyone’s food rules, but it is almost impossible to follow the laws that regulate women, their bodies, speech and expression.
In the United States, and then zoomed further into my subculture of Southern California, women are under the subjection of “never good enough”. It seems that, to be a woman, and to be accepted into the sisterhood, one must always be discontented (with herself, her husband, but especially her dress size), find a body part to hate (belly and thighs are always popular), and play the game of scales.
Looking back, I survived most of my adolescent years pleasantly ignorant of the eating disorders and body hatred of my classmates in school until my first years in college. I was a normal eater—I ate what I wanted until I was full, participated in athletics most seasons because it was fun, and was content with my body and myself. Wow! That’s a big deal.
I even remember going to a new gym that my friend wanted to join, and at my free consultation with a personal trainer, I couldn’t state a body part that I wanted to “tone”. The trainer literally asked me what part of my body I was unhappy with that we could focus a lot of time and targeted exercises on (I guess he didn’t learn about the fallacy of spot reducing). I said I didn’t know. He pushed and pressed until I said, “I don’t know. My thighs, I guess.” I had learned that most women dislike their thighs, and that appeased the silly man.
Now, as a grown woman who has had my own personal encounter with my imperfect body, I clearly see the laws that are trying to keep us from happiness. If I like my body, I must be mistaken or I’m just a snob (or some other not-so-nice name). We women have bought into the rulebook that turns us on one another. Think of the things we say (or just think) about each other:
“Who does she think she is? Why would she wear that? She totally can’t pull that outfit off. Doesn’t she know she’s got cellulite? How dare she…”
Pretty sad and plain unkind. What’s sad is not just that we think and say these things to a fellow lass, but that it stems from our own self-criticism and blind following of “the rules”. When someone is comfortable in their body, it threatens us. We make a citizen’s arrest.
What women experience every day of their lives is a modern-day Emperor’s New Clothes, except I wish it were only a fable.
I love the way I feel, I like the way my clothes fit, I even (forbid it!) like, if not love, my body.
There I said it. Somebody call the police.
Have you bought into the lies? Have you struggled with breaking the rules and being content in your body?