One night I was out with a group of friends at Olive Garden. I happily reached for a bread stick, and immediately was shocked by the astonished looks some of my friends gave me. One friend said “Wow, good for you!” as if eating a breadstick was an accomplishment.
Embarrassed, I put my half-eaten breadstick on my plate and didn’t have another bite. My other friend eagerly reached for another bread stick, not letting the bread shaming get to her.
If you’re asking yourself, “What the heck is bread shaming?” I have an answer. Bread shaming is when you’re enjoying a yummy bagel, piece of toast, or other bread item – and another scrutinizing female gives you a judgmental look. Bread has such a bad rap in today’s culture. “There’s just so many carbs!” that (as crazy as it sounds) some people simply don’t know how to handle another person eating bread! As a teenage girl, I can tell you that I am ALWAYS comparing my food intake with others.
It’s like a competition, yet no one is winning.
There’s always that one awkward person who orders a hamburger, when everyone else is ordering the salad with non-fat ranch dressing.
“That’s exactly what it is,” says Isabel Duke, a health coach whose job is to help clients separate food and self-worth. “In [our] culture, women constantly compare their weight and their food intake with each other. Sometimes it comes out as a ‘holier-than-thou’ declaration, like, ‘How can you eat that? It’s so bad for you!’ Note the people saying that are almost never doctors or nutritionists, by the way… but then there’s also a competitive aspect some friendships foster around food. You’ll think, ‘If you have a piece of bread, am I allowed to have a piece of bread? If you have a piece of bread, am I stronger and better than you because I can resist it?’
The more obsessed someone is with their weight, and their worth compared to others around them, then the more aggressive they are likely to be about Bread Shaming. Although you would think it would be easy to just say “Leave me alone and let me eat whatever I want” ….it’s not always that easy.
When a friend says to you “Do you know what’s in that?” she is in a sense saying that your thighs are too big to be eating bread. Once you have the confidence to realize that there is nothing wrong with you and that it’s only the system that’s wrong … it can make a lot of people really uncomfortable.
The funny thing about all of this, is that often a lot of the people who are bread shaming are the ones who are smoking, chewing gum, and drinking diet soda.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather put gluten into my body than harmful chemicals…have you read the ingredients on some of those things?
It just seems to me that bread shaming is mostly done by people who are insecure about their weight – or maybe even jealous about yours. What if instead of caring what other people are eating, we just ate what was good for our bodies? Yeah, having 23 slices of pizza probably isn’t the best idea, but neither is judging your friend for what she’s putting in her body.