Rabbit Food —
Trigger warning: Discussion of dieting culture.
That source is The Daily Mail.
I know, I know, it’s tabloid trash and I shouldn’t take it seriously, but last week a headline caught my eye that made me shudder:
If the act of placing fork to mouth is “shoveling,” then sure, Dunham is a fucking dump truck.
It gets worse from there (in case you can’t read the text above the photo):
As the spirited, sassy and sometimes pretty selfish anti-heroine of HBO’s GIRLS, we’ve come to learn one thing about Hannah Horvath… the young woman hasn’t a sensible idea in her head.
And that pertains to her diet, which in the first two series seemed consist squarely of cupcakes and chips, washed down with a bit of beer and in one episode, a barrel load of drugs.
But all that could be about to change as Lena Dunham was spotted shovelling salad into her mouth as she filmed series three near Gramercy Park in Manhattan.
It’s almost as if the article’s author, Amelia Proud, has no idea that Hannah Horvath is a character the Dunham plays. It’s as if she believes that because her character consumes cupcakes, chips, beer and drugs, so does Dunham. Of course, Proud also wrote the article on how Superman and Batman aren’t really going to fight each other in the 2015 blockbuster because she saw Henry Cavill and Christian Bale eating lunch together.
But here’s the thing: setting aside the fact that Dunham eating a salad has absolutely nothing to do with her show, Girls, it bears repeating Lena Dunham eating a salad has absolutely nothing to do with dieting.
Are there people who subsist on salad, salad and more salad as part of their weight loss attempts? Yup. The same can be said for walking or running or pretty much any physical activity: for some, the primary function is to make you thin. But for some people, going for a walk just feels good and eating a salad is simply delicious. I mean, look at this thing:
Spring greens, mandarin oranges, cheese and croutons? That looks like an awesome fucking salad. To me, it looks like Dunham wanted something crispy and sweet and maybe a little healthy. But what it doesn’t look like is a new subplot for Girls where Hannah Horvath goes on a diet.
When I began incorporating Health at Every Size® into my life, one of the first things I had to overcome was my fear of salad. The fear wasn’t of salad itself, but of the perceptions of others who believe salad = diet. Despite seeing salads on menus that sounded delicious, I used to feel weird ordering them because I didn’t want others thinking I was on a diet. Eventually, I said “fuck that noise” and started ordering salads because I like the way they taste and they provide a shitload of beneficial nutrients. My favorite salad is the “Sweet Louise,” which looks a lot like Dunham’s, but has cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese with a poppyseed dressing. I would punch the Dalai Lama in the face for a Sweet Louise salad right now, but not because it’s diet food.
Same with exercise. When I first started training for the stair climb at work, I was coming down in between my first and second 10 flights when I passed two women who began praising me and telling me that I would lose weight in no time. Bear in mind, I’m not begrudging the women for being supportive, as they clearly had the best of intentions. But there is nothing more irritating than the patronizing pat on the head that fatties get when they eat a salad or go for a walk or do anything that the public assumes fatties can’t/won’t do. Couple that condescension with promises of shedding calories and dropping pant sizes, and you’ve got an awkward and unpleasant ordeal.
So how about instead of transforming a photo of Lena Dunham eating a salad into a speculative article on how she’s a self-loathing fatty on a quest for Daily Mail-approved thinness, we look at Lena Dunham eating a salad and say, “Hey! There’s Lena Dunham eating a salad, which is perfectly normal thing for a human to do!”