I often think about this while dining in a crowd. Particularly at work where all of my female coworkers are thinner, generally smaller women. Food consumption would fall under the umbrella category of “Comparing Yourself To Others.” I can’t help but sub-consciously catalog those around me’s food consumption. If they eat less, or exhibit excess self-control, I name them vain, someone who doesn’t want to have fun, but would rather make sure they look good tomorrow. If they eat as much as me I feel a connection, validation, evidence that how much I eat is normal.
I never think this while dining with men. I never think their food choice is saying something about their personality, their priorities (unless it is that they’re vegetarians for “moral reasons,” or other food choices which are inherently political), and I don’t think we should be eating the same amount, because I should either be eating less (because “I’m a girl,”) or eating as much because I’m a cool nonchalant girl who is one of the guys. It’s all part of walking that tenuous line between cool and looking attractive. A line I am trying very hard not to see, but which my feet keep returning to.