Women and cake: A love-hate story
You know you shouldn’t. You really shouldn’t. You’ll spend the whole time loudly berating yourself for being such a pig, or adding a defense about how you haven’t eaten all day, or how you never do this. You’ll hate yourself afterwards, feel guilty for being weak. You’ve broken a promise with yourself to be good.
When did eating a piece of cake become so complicated? As little kids, it was always a treat. We’d wish for it, exclaim over it, gobble it up and beg for more until we were full and sick and covered in chocolate crumbs. But then we started to grow up, became young women. And now cake is messy in another way.
Growing up means developing a new relationship with our body, and therefore with food. Eating becomes a complicated system of signs and symbols. We’re acutely conscious of shoulds and shouldnts, of what other women seem to be eating. Where we used to think ‘I want chocolate,’ we now think ‘I want chocolate… but that would be bad.’ One little Tim Tam can be our comfort or our enemy, or somehow both at once.
Obviously, it’s a good thing that we develop the reason and restraint not to give in to our every sugary whim. But wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy a piece of cake once in a while without beating ourselves up about it?
It’s this love-hate relationship so many women have with cake that Kate Fridkis was thinking of when she named her blog (which, by the way, is excellent) Eat the Damn Cake. Eating cake should just be eating cake. It shouldn’t be ‘bad’, it shouldn’t be a sin. As Kate so eloquently puts it: ‘I don’t want it to mean so much, every time. Or I want the meaning to change. I want it to mean, “Yes!” I want it to mean chocolate and cherries and ice cream and happiness. I want it to mean play and pleasure. I want to eat it defiantly. With dinner. Whenever the moods strikes. I want to eat it without having to think about it.’
It’s a great philosophy- and even more so when you see it. Teaming up with photographer Gloria Baker Feinstein, Kate invited women and girls to eat cake and talk about how they felt about it. The images and quotes have now been compiled as Women Eating Cake- an online art project celebrating cake, and the women who eat it.
The pictures are gorgeous, and the cake looks delicious. And you can be a part of it to. So maybe we should all slice up a big piece of creamy, chocolaty goodness- and damn well enjoy it.