Let's see; it has a skinny woman who can't have that white chocolate macadamia nut cookie because she "caved" on eating that brownie yesterday. Her internal battle is between that bad craving, and her "good" self that really doesn't want to do anything that might jeopardize her skinniness. So what does she do? Well, she does what any smart woman who wants to be good does: she eats a piece of gum instead. Right, that isn't at all problematic.
The fact is, women should not feel like they've been bad for eating a brownie, or like they can't eat that cookie even though they've done some cardio. The fact is, self-denial in pursuit of bodily perfection does us no good. The fact is, this form of food-consumptive shaming has been going on for too long. We should not be congratulating the woman in the video for resisting her wish for a cookie. The woman in the video should not consider it a battle won that she not consume that cookie. This should not be held up as a triumph. It should not be held up as triumph because eating one cookie (or even 3) is not the end of the world or a negative action. Eating a sweet is not a bad thing, and it is continually depressing that women are taught and told to believe that it is. A while ago on Feministing, this very thing was highlighted by Courtney on her Ten Things I Could Do Without list; clocking in at number 5 was:
"Hearing my otherwise enlightened girl friends say they're "bad" because they just ate dessert."
Samhita responded with Ten Things Samhita Can Do Without. At number 3?
"Having my weight scrutinized by friends and family on a regular basis even though I am a grown ass woman and it is none of your business."
And it is present in the story told by Darla on We Are The Wave, when her mother gladly bought her diet microwave dinners to eat and took pride in her daughter's weight loss.
Weight loss or gain is only morally good or bad if we find something deficient in those who actually want to do that crazy thing called eating. Sure, there are people who overeat. But too often, we feel ashamed that we have these cravings at all, that we truly want that piece of chocolate or that brownie or that cookie. And that shame and that denial is not healthy. It does not lend to a healthy relationship with the food we eat, or the shape our bodies take. We shouldn't have to work out as penance for doing so, as though those extra fifteen minutes on a treadmill "make up" for that deviation the night before.
I eat. I personally don't eat a hell of a lot; and because of my hypoglycemia I have to be careful of my intake of sugar, lest I pass out and freak out those around me. I do eat what I want and generally when I want, though again the hypoglycemia leads to a somewhat more structured meal routine if I want to remain upright and cognizant. If I want a cookie, I have a cookie. I just make sure it's close enough to bed time so when I start getting dizzy I'm already laying down. I learned long ago that denying myself something I wanted - be it sweets or books or CDs - just meant that I would later binge on that very thing; which, by the way, is how I end up with things like Scott Weiland's solo CD. That still doesn't stop my some of coworkers from commenting about "how much" I eat and what I eat and how one day my metabolism will stop working for me and I'll have to be "good" like most of them. But I don't want to be. I want to be active; but I want to be active for the sake of being active, and not as a kind of Hail Mary when I do something like eat a piece of cake. And I want my cake, sans guilt. I want to not see commercials on my television set informing me that good girls and women chew gum after agonizing for dozens of seconds about whether or not they could rationalize actually eating something. I want a world in which women are considered good for actual acts of goodness, instead of self-denial. I want a world in which weight is no longer a measure of a person's moral worth. And I want a world in which people chew gum because they honestly want to, and not as a substitute for something else.