Sunday, August 30, 2009

jews & food - a love/hate relationship - part II

Now comes the hate part.

It's interesting that while food is so much a part of our culture, that thinness is too. In other cultures that condone fatty food (think KFC - I hope this example doesn't come off as racist), bootylicious bodies are celebrated.

But for some reason, Jewish girls and eating disorders seem to go hand in hand today.

Some people blame the Shidduch system (where a girl's dress size is a normal field on a 'resume').

But I never went to schools that frum. And yet I remember how in junior high and high school, the end of lunch and recess was when all the stalls in the little girls' room were taken. And not because anyone had to relieve the typical bodily functions. (hmm... maybe that was too much info -hope that doesn't make YOU barf). Almost everyone I knew had some type of eating disorder. Myself included.

But maybe even in our MO non-shidduch world, we were still part of the whole Jewish 'binge and purge' culture. We learned to binge on Shabbos, purge the rest of the week.

I can't totally blame our faith for our unhealthy activities. Maybe if we adhered more strongly to the Rambam's teachings then we would be in a better place.

Eating disorders are a part of the 'outside' world too. Maybe that's where it comes from. Maybe we haven't done a good enough job of insulating ourselves from those negative sources. (are the women in Kiryas Yoel less thin because they don't watch America's Next Top Model?)


Altie said...

You are right. It's funny, how people try to shelter themselves and their kids from the outside world, but they miss this crucial behavior. It's all pressure from different sources.

It is ironic how we push food on everyone, but also push them to be skinny. It doesn't work like that.

LonelyMan said...

It might just be part of the whole middle class lifestyle and culture that Jews have come to love. Bulimia is most prevalent in wealthier people, and part of me (the non-scientific part) thinks it's because poorer people can't afford or wouldn't imagine throwing up good food you paid for. Hell, I wouldn't either, but I grew up in a 3rd world country...well, the USSR was a 3rd world country in just about every respect anyways.

Anonymous said...

wow, how sad. I didn't realize eating disorders were that common with frum girl. But I always noticed the women would diet while the men got to enjoy the delicious food the women slaved over a hot stove cooking for them! And that didn't seem right. In the orthodox Jewish community, women are expected to be thin. Think = beautiful. In other cultures such as Latins, black etc. having curves and being voluptuous is beautiful.

Anonymous said...

sorry about typos in the above post
that was thin = beautiful

Moshe said...

I'm with LM, back in Mother Russia...
LM, where are you from?