Let me start off this evening's post by putting out the disclaimer that I am not, by any means, a healthy living blogger. While I do enjoy putting spinach into my smoothies and the occasional jog around the neighborhood, my version of health is putting an extra lime in my margarita and buying extra dark instead of milk chocolate. (it is better for your heart ya know)
However, I do enjoy reading some healthy living blogs and for those who aren't as hopelessly addicted to their Twitter feeds and blog rolls as I am, there is quite the controversy going on in this quaint little blogging community. Marie Claire magazine featured an article painting the most popular healthy living bloggers as eating-disordered, exercise-obsessed women who posed as potentially harmful influences to their readers. Since the article's release earlier this week, thousands of readers have come forward to express their opinions about it; the majority of them being overwhelmingly angry and disgusted with the slant the article took, coming to defense of the bloggers. It has created some great discussions and some major chaos around the blogosphere.
Now while I've been following the fall out of this article in the virtual world, in my real world I've been going about my days here in London...going to school, learning to say "bloody blokes" in my best English accent, and just generally being awesome. Yet, something I read in a magazine here today made me feel like I was more than just an ocean and 5 hour time difference away, I felt like I was on a completely different planet.
The Stylist featured an article in this week's edition called "Food For Thought". First of all, this article was written by a woman, which I always like to see, but it is especially relevant to the article's overall message. The article talked about what major "foodies" Britons have become. (It took me about 2 weeks to realize the people of Britain were called Britons not Britains. There is your grammar lesson for the day. Go forth and spread the word.) It talked about how farmer's markets are booming here and it talked about how pretty much every grocery store carries labels touting organic, natural, and fresh ingredients. But my favorite part was when she said
On a recent trip to Tuscany, I skipped the duty-free perfume and booze, and loaded up on Parmesan, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil instead.
She went on further to praise food blogs by saying "Finally, don't miss out on the new crop of food bloggers- we love Eat Like A Girl (eatlikeagirl.com)..."
But the gem of her article? The creme de la creme that made me sit up straight in my seat on the tube?
While I draw the line at making my own pastry, the great thing about being a woman today is that you can do (and like) whatever you want, without having to defend your choices. Plus there are far more dangerous obsessions to have than food glorious food.
Wait a minute. Go back. Let's rewind and read that again. Judgement? Hypocrisy? Feelings of guilt and shame over eating that piece of cake? WHERE ARE YOU!? I can't find you anywhere in this article.
Oh yeah. That's because they aren't there.
What is happening to our society? Was the Marie Claire article just a massive PR stunt at the helm of a flailing magazine economy, hoping to dim some of the spotlights blogs have been receiving as of late? Were they truly concerned about our health and well-being? and if so, why would they in the SAME magazine post articles about "quick weight loss tips" and "Virtual Body Makeovers". The hypocrisy of it ALL is astounding. and by ALL, I mean everyone. Bloggers, Journalists, Publishers, Readers, everyone. What happened? If women are overweight, they are told to lose weight. If women are skinny, they are called anorexic. As women, we are constantly judging and being judged for what we do to our bodies. Eat This, Not That. Do This, Not That. Her skirt's too short, her tan is fake, my boobs are too small, my butt's too big.
What happened to eating food and just enjoying it? When did we let guilt and self worth become part of the recipe?
The stark differences between this article and the one published by Marie Claire are simply astounding. It's a shame really. Don't get me wrong, I miss a lot of things about the United States. I miss OnDemand, using dollars instead of these silly coins, I miss Dunkin Donuts, heck I even miss Snooki's poof.
but I am beginning to really appreciate the European attitude towards food, health, and beauty. They've gotten some things right. I mean, these are the people who invented the siesta. A two hour nap in the middle of the work day? Ummm yes please. Where do I sign up?
Perhaps we could learn something from this. Instead of judging each other, and defending our food choices, whether it is a salad or a steak, let food be what it is...something to nourish us, something to bring us together at the end of the day, something to celebrate.
Okay I know, I know. This is a margarita. It's not food. But I love it and celebrate it and nothing brings people together better than a Happy Hour.