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Rabbit Food —

July 23, 2013

Trigger warning: Discussion of dieting culture.

There’s just one media source I know I can rely on when I need whether Britney Spears is still sexy or if she’s become “bloated and unkempt” or “out of shape.”

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:

Lena Dunham

If the act of placing fork to mouth is “shoveling,” then sure, Dunham is a fucking dump truck.

Dump Truck

OMG! Lena Dunham stuffs her fat face with apples!!!

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:


I pray the paparazzi never photographs me eating.

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!”

11 Comments leave one →
  1. duff permalink
    July 23, 2013 12:30 pm

    I want to romance that salad and then fall face first into it.

  2. nof permalink
    July 23, 2013 12:42 pm

    Many people are so neurotic about food that I truly think they can’t conceive of eating something “healthy” just for pleasure, the same way they can’t conceive of exercise that is fun and feels good. People seem confused sometimes when I’ll, for instance, order a salad and a burger at a restaurant or fast food place. Why would you bother eating the salad, since the burger would just cancel out any “good” the salad does? I want the burger because the burger is delicious, and I want the salad for the same reason: it is delicious.

    Mmm, crispy, crunchy romaine hearts with some crunchy croutons and a good heaping of delicate baby spinach, with some garden cucumbers and carrots for garnish, and just a sprinkle of parmesan. Salads are awesome.

    • October 2, 2013 10:46 am

      🙂 Yes! I’ve also noticed that if I have salad instead of fries with a burger , I don’t get that mega-drowsy feeling afterward that often seems to come from the meat-potatoes combo. Very helpful if I want my burger at lunch instead of dinner.

  3. Duckie permalink
    July 23, 2013 1:43 pm

    My favorite salad: spinach & baby greens mix, diced shallots, chopped walnuts or pecans, chopped dried fruit of some kind, sliced avocado, sliced mushroom, random freshly cooked meat sliced on top, and your favorite dressing. YUM!

  4. Lindsay permalink
    July 23, 2013 8:31 pm

    Totally agree with you on salad. I love it, and hate that people associate it with dieting. I also hate it when people assume having cheese/dressing/meat on the salad makes it “unhealthy” and that you were unaware these items make the salad higher in calories. Sorry I like some protein and fat in my lunch instead of just vegetables?

    Also can’t get over the pics of Britney “bloated and unkempt.” She is perfectly done up except for the fact that she looks a little sleepy I’d hate to hear what they think of me at a restroom pit stop during a long car ride.

  5. July 23, 2013 8:56 pm

    I’m pretty sure that, under the right circumstances, the Dalai Lama would deliver a Sweet Louise salad to you. He’s so very averse to conflict. In the interest of Abundance he might even add some artichoke hearts. ‘Cause you gotta have hearts.

  6. July 24, 2013 7:55 am

    And, of course, it’s summer time! Why would anybody want to eat anything besides a really big piece of pork smothered in gravy in the middle of hot weather?

  7. July 26, 2013 1:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Slogging On and commented:
    Sometimes when I read the FFF blog it’s like putting a mirror up against my life, and all of a sudden I can see everything clearly. This is one of those times. I can’t believe how many times I haven’t chosen something “healthy” that I’ve seen on a menu or done some kind of public exercise because I’ve feared that people would give me that patronizing pat on the head.

    I’ve spent so long carefully walking the line between fat-stereotype and dieter-stereotype because I don’t want people to treat me like either. It’s this subconscious dance that I’ve been doing for much much too long. Looking back with open eyes, I can see all the times that I’ve made choices based on the expectations of others. The sick part is that because everyone’s expectations are different, I get torn between the two choices depending on who I’m around. In one circumstance I may take the stairs because I don’t want to be judged for taking the elevator, but in another I’ll take the elevator because I don’t want people to notice the fatty climbing the stairs.

    My life choices have almost always been made based on which choice will keep me flying under the radar. Is everyone else ordering a salad? I better order one too. Everyone else getting greasy burgers and fries? Then I better get that . . . I’ve been doing it so long and made it such an internal process, I don’t even know if I’m capable of making a choice on what I actually want.

    Most of the time I just WANT to be left alone. I give up my own personal choices in food or activities in the hopes of getting what I really want: I want to be treated like a normal person. Unfortunately I don’t see that happening any time soon, no matter how many other sacrifices I make.

  8. Dizzyd permalink
    July 28, 2013 7:18 pm

    I know. I’ve felt that way too – like if I choose a salad then I’m eating “diet food”. It makes me want to get a burger and fries just to thumb my nose at the “food police”. But I also like salads, too, and if I feel like a salad, well then that’s just what I’m gonna eat!

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