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Pretty Girls Don’t Eat

I hate when I get on any social networking website and see something that reminds me of the negative self-image shoved down my throat in high school by (occasionally well-meaning) people. This came up on my feed last night:

It’s probably supposed to be tongue-in-cheek — yeah, super funny, right? If it is a joke, it feels like the kind of joke made while jabbing someone in the ribs with their elbow, and totally unaware of how unfunny it really is.

This got me thinking about the time I was told by a friend’s father before a dance, “I know girls like to fill up before a dance so boys don’t see them eating.” I was shocked. At no point in the previous eight years of school had it even occurred to me that eating at a dance might somehow be considered unattractive.

Or upon offering to take my share of a dessert made in home ec class last, having a teammate snarl1, “Right, so you can pig out on what’s left.” I remember being so careful to take a (pre-cut) piece that was completely average, trying so hard not to look like I enjoyed it because I could not win. In a roomful of people eating the very same thing, being the biggest girl in the room made it bad when I did it.

I’m reminded that someone taught me to be ashamed of my appetite, that at some point people had to tell me that somehow the very act of eating was considered some sort of stigma. And not just for me, not just for fat girls — but for all girls. How is it that a guy eating a burger and fries is just a guy, and a girl eating that same thing should be considering that it goes right to her ass?

I have no idea what “Eating for Beauty” is supposed to entail as a badge; on the badge sets page, it’s listed for a Cadette2 set:

It’s your World – Change it! (Amaze): Public Speaker, Eating for Beauty, Digital Movie Maker, Screenwriter, Science of Happiness

I can’t quite grasp what they’re going for here. It’s not as though this set is full of “ugly” girl skills, and the rest are things like, “Doing dishes” or “Martini Shaking 101.” I’m willing to believe that it’s intended as a positive thing, but lacking in context. Shit, it’s probably stuff like, “Foods that help keep your skin clear/hair shiny.”

Except, of course, that pretty girls don’t enjoy food. Because apparently eating can’t be beautiful.

1. Seriously, I remember the sheer venom in this boy’s voice to this day. He’s a grown man now (I hope) and he probably has no idea how much that comment hurt. I think he chilled the fuck out at some point during high school, but he was a pretty constant offender on the list of bullies I remember.

2. Cadette? I admit that I sort of fell in and out of Girl Scouts a lot (probably coinciding with the times my parents could afford it), but I don’t even remember this tier.