Walking down the boardwalk is like being in an overgrown carnival. Booth after booth, vendor after vendor, big lit-up sign after big lit-up sign all advertising food. Each featured artery clogging, cholesterol raising, life span shortening, yet seemingly irresistible fare. Pizza, hot dogs, cheesy fries, sausages, fried chicken, fried Snickers, fried Twinkies, milkshakes, cotton candy, corn dogs, burgers, ice cream; you name it, they had it. I practically had to get out a fine tooth comb to search for suitable lunch food. When I finally spotted a place that sold VitaCoco Coconut Water and a sub-par fruit cup, I gladly forked over $8 in exchange for something that didn’t have “Partially Hydrogenated” or “High Fructose Corn Syrup” in the ingredient list.
After grabbing my lunch and continuing my stroll down the boardwalk, the girls and I decided we wanted to splurge for new outfits to wear that night at Karma. I felt like I was in a fashion photo shoot while in there. All of the sales associates were petite, tan, blonde and well endowed in the chest. I tried on the few items in the store that wouldn’t be found in a call girl’s wardrobe and settled on a ribbed corset top which was pretty snug, to say the least. I made a joke that I’d have to get a size bigger so that I’d have room for dinner and not have to “suck it in” all night. Every single item in that store (and all other stores) was made to be form-fitting, revealing, sexy. but SO tight and uncomfortable. Every item modeled was on a size 0 or 2, and of course fit like a glove. Well what happens when REAL women with curves try on the same stuff? They don’t feel so good. I found myself immediately feeling less than thrilled about the way I looked. Even me- a fit person who eats very well, works out regularly- I still felt self conscious about the way I looked. I bought the shirt and walked back out of the store.
Back out into fried food land. And that’s when it hit me. HOW on Earth can we have so much junk and crap flashed in our faces as the cheapest, most appetizing, and sometimes only food around and then be expected to fit into and feel comfortable in such restrictive clothing?! The more I thought about it, the more furious I became. I started looking at the types of people walking down the boardwalk. The majority were overweight, and some were obese. Yes there were also those who seemed to be in the “normal” weight range, and some who even looked a bit underweight. But no matter what, they were all eating that junk. They were putting food into their mouths that will directly raise their chances of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even premature death. I wondered how many people were eating this fare just because it was nearly the ONLY option, and how many didn’t think twice about eating this way. How many women would walk into that shop and try to find a “hot outfit” for the club? How many would feel just as uncomfortable as I had?
The greater picture boils down to this: junk food has become the most affordable, most accessible, and most flashy food out there. Calories, trans and saturated fats, sodium, and chemicals are being pumped into people’s bodies at an alarming rate. Simultaneously, the fashion industry and the media at large make it painfully obvious that skinny is in and tight, revealing clothing is what’s “hot”. Just open up any magazine, you’ll see what I mean. There will be an anorexic looking model on one page and an ad for a $.99 Big Mac on the next.
This double standard makes me sick and needs to change. Where to start? The truth is- I don’t know. There’s so many things that can be done- make healthy foods more affordable and accessible, shift the trends so that fashion isn’t impossible to wear unless you’re a size 0 or 2. Something, anything, needs to be done. As the famous quote says “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”