Diet Culture And Your Mental Health. Pt. 2
October 30, 2021
In reference to this article, I’d like to put a TW for ED up top. If you can’t handle this information, I understand. I’ll see you next week friends!
Today I’m going to talk more about diet culture, this time particularly in advertisements and grocery stores. It’s almost impossible to speak on diet culture and food without also speaking on food insecurity and food deserts.
If you are unsure of what a “Food Desert” is, in laymen’s terms it is when there is little-to-no access to fresh, healthy food. This seems like it’s something that can happen only in a 3rd world country, but it is common in rural and even suburban America. Access to fresh, organic fruits and vegetables is a privilege that I am lucky to have. Some aren’t so lucky. Learn more from Feeding America at https://hungerandhealth.feedingamerica.org/understand-food-insecurity/
For those of you still here, I’m going to start with the media. We’ve discussed how to be cautious of what you consume when it comes to tv and movies, but I didn’t touch on things like magazines and tabloids. How many times have you seen normal, average looking women on the covers of tabloids with huge, red letters pointing to their stomach or wrinkles? Think of where these are placed: grocery stores. While you’re waiting in line to purchase your food, it might make you rethink your choices in your cart. We all know I’m a firm believer that no moral spin should be tied to food. Good and bad food simply doesn’t exist. That’s why these tabloids can be so harmful, particularly to women, specifically young teens and new mothers.
I want to also add that while in the grocery store, diet culture is all around us. When in reality, most people are just trying to feed their family and themselves while staying in budget, maybe getting a few treats here and there. Things like “guilt free” and “eating clean” can activate the moral compass in our brains, when in reality, consuming food is a necessity. Food is morally neutral. You don’t need to have guilt associated with fueling your body, and to be honest I’m tired of every conversation that revolves around food also revolving around calories, guilt, shame, and morality.
Why does this happen?
Think about it, if you are going through a major transition in your life such as puberty, marriage, divorce, or pregnancy, you are much more susceptible to these harmful advertisements. The high emotional level when going through stressful, transformational times in your life can amplify any previously held anxieties. Anxieties can focus around looks, health, weight, sickness, and other factors. Note that health and weight aren’t interchangeable – in this house we recognize that some people will be ill no matter their weight, and some are healthy no matter their weight.
Now that I’ve climbed down from my soap box, I want to remind you of something to keep with you. Whenever you see those tabloids, or commercials for clothes, or even only seeing an overweight person on television for comedic purposes, keep in mind that the opinions of advertising companies in today’s world are way off. Brands have started to become more inclusive, but we have a long way to go. Keep this in mind the next time you buy a box of cookies.
Thanks for reading!
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