passerine: Picture of Sparrow from Dykes to Watch For (Default)
[personal profile] passerine


From the department of metaphors-AJ-is-sick-of:

"Well, I might get a lot of pleasure out of eating a whole chocolate cake by myself, but I find that the pleasure of doing yoga outweighs that!"

The context for this comment, this time, was a conversation about building-of-willpower in general, and in my case, as applied to a completely unrelated topic. Said unrelated topic will be its own post later, possibly. But anyway, the latest instance of this was IN NO WAY appropriate to the conversation that was being otherwise had. I've certainly heard the exact same thing, or near enough, many times over the years - always with the OMG WHOLE CAKE part involved, and it being a symbol of failed willpower.

I am a woman who, for most of the last two years, has weighed either just a little less than or just a little more than 300 pounds. I am a woman who has struggled with the full-blown new DSM V proposed criteria of Binge Eating Disorder for the vast majority of my adult life. I also DO, in fact, consider chocolate cake to be one of the more decadently enjoyable pleasures of life.

However, I have never, not even once conceived of eating an ENTIRE CAKE as a good or enjoyable thing. Nor have I ever actually eaten an ENTIRE CAKE, unless you count those elaborate miniature cakes some bakeries sell that are really glorified, slightly-overgrown cupcakes. But anything in the full-on 8" round or 13x9 realm? NO.

The idea of OMG WHOLE CAKE gets to me in ways that OMG WHOLE BAG OF CHIPS or OMG WHOLE ROAST CHICKEN or OMG ENTIRE HALF GALLON OF ICE CREAM don't. I think it's because of the meanings that cake has in our culture.

Cake, first of all, is obviously something that is not nutritious. It is a "guilty" pleasure. It is a "bad" food. People (women in particular) are "good" when they avoid it.

But that brings me to the other thing cake is, which is a - no, THE - celebration food. Birthday? Cake. Wedding? Cake. Graduation? Cake. Retirement? Cake. Congratulations-you-did-something-awesome? Definitely food, probably cake.

The idea, then, of someone "eating a whole cake" is that she is selfishly hoarding something that is meant to be shared with others, and/or that she is eating a whole cake by herself because she has no friends.

Unlikeable. Liked by no one. A bitter unlikeable loner whose passing shall not be mourned. Shall not be mourned. That's exactly what it says.

Damn it, the cake really IS a lie, and I would very much appreciate it if people would stop using the "whole chocolate cake!" as a metaphor for lack of self-control, whether it is a lack in general or the more specific fat-shaming variety.

EDIT because this is apparently being misunderstood: NO, I am NOT saying that anyone who has actually eaten a whole cake is a bad person. What I AM saying is that I'm tired of people believing that all or most fat women regularly eat whole chocolate cakes and refuse to exercise, because it's NOT TRUE and because it comes complete with a lot of other really nasty social subtext. That's all.

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