The pressure of social norms seems to increase in the digital age. Social media places a new pressure on everyone to remain forever photogenic, forever young, forever thin and fit, forever wrinkle-free. While eating Instagrammable food.
The trope of “doing it for the ‘gram” has become an inescapable religion with impossible, Sisyphean expectations. We watch the stories of already-thin women lamenting that they are “so behind” in their Coachella diets, and other people proudly starving themselves before Burning Man (a festival ironically born out of radical inclusion). When women don’t eat, it is criticized as anorexia; when men don’t eat, it is lauded as “biohacking.”
With all the messaging about “wellness” and “clean eating” and “intermittent fasting,” do you really even know how or what to eat anymore?
Taffy Brodesser-Akner writes:
About two years ago, I decided to yield to what every statistic I knew was telling me and stop trying to lose weight at all. I decided to stop dieting, but when I did, I realized I couldn’t. I didn’t know what or how to eat. I couldn’t fathom planning my food without thinking first about its ability to help or hinder a weight-loss effort.
Do you feel pleasure at sitting down to a meal? Would you feel healthier anticipation about a trip if you didn’t worry so much about how your body looked?
Are we exhausted now by what we’ve defined as beauty?
Megan Nolan writes:
It has seemed to take up so much of my life, being desperate to not only be acceptable to look at, but also beautiful, exceptional, enchanting. What might I have experienced if I had not been trying to claw my way toward beauty? What things might I have thought, feelings might I have felt, if that space were freed up inside of myself?
What would it have been like to pass that mirror in my hometown, and to see myself — on the way to the library, or a party with friends, or a walk in the park — and simply feel glad that I was able to do those things, that I have a body that allows me to? What would it have been like not to look at it at all?