In an attempt to find some words… I thought I’d share this tonight.
Today I made a quick trip to the grocery store, and while I was wandering the aisles, I passed by a young girl standing by the refrigerators, declaring happily to her mother, “We need milk!” She was so joyous about it that I laughed a little.
Her mother was bent over by an end-of-aisle shelf, grabbing a few containers of I’m not even sure what but I think it was kind of junk food related. She looked up at me from her contorted position and I was still smiling about her daughter, but for some reason I think she thought I was chuckling about what she was buying (or how much of it). She did this kind of sheepish half-laugh and said quickly, “It’s for a cookout!”
And she said it as if she needed to apologize or explain to me why she was buying chips.
I smiled and nodded and kept on going, but as I walked away, all I could feel was sad. Because here was this slender, attractive middle-aged woman, dressed in a very well put together fashion; yet she still somehow felt like she had to explain herself and her food choices to me, a complete stranger. As if there was something to be ashamed of. As if she needed to say, “I don’t eat all of this myself. Really. I swear. Please don’t think of me as a pig. Or someone with bulimia.”
Now, I am certainly not one to judge about buying junk food for any reason, but I know what it feels like to worry about what other people think when they see me grabbing something like that off a shelf. There’s a self-consciousness that floods over me, like I need to hide my choices, like I’m going to be judged or ridiculed or shamed for what’s in my cart.
It’s so silly, when you think about it. Who gives a damn what you buy? It’s YOUR CHOICE. Whether it’s an excessive amount of fruit, frozen broccoli, doughnuts or potato chips, it’s no one’s business but your own. And you certainly don’t have to explain yourself or apologize for it.
Maybe you’re having a party. Maybe you just like potato chips on occasion. How would I know? IT DOESN’T MATTER. Or, it shouldn’t matter.
It makes me so weary that women feel this way, that they have to apologize for having any sort of appetite for anything. Like having a healthy appetite says you’re unladylike or gross or overindulgent or gluttonous.
Why can’t putting chips into your cart simply mean, “Sometimes I like potato chips”? What’s wrong with that?
It just makes me tired and sad.