Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Subsidizing Inner City Tomatoes

I was reading Hannah's Cooking Manager and she pointed to another post...
Vered at MomGrind wrote a post called Fat Acceptance, and it triggered all kinds of angry feelings in me and in a bunch of her readers - you can read the comments. And then I looked back at what she'd written and I pulled it apart again to figure out why.

Here's the thing. I agree with the second part of her post - modern societies need to work on better food education, better food choices, and better nutrition. When I was in Philadelphia a few years ago, I paid about a dollar for a single tomato. I grant you that this was in a smaller convenience-type mini-market, but still! A dollar for a tomato, when a whole bag of chips that could keep 3 kids from whining "I'm hungry" for at least an hour costs less than $2? There might need to be subsidies for inner-city families to get vegetables at reasonable prices without having to go far outside of the city to places they may not be able to get to because they may not have cars or simply may not have the time.

The first part of her post, though, made me angry. Who are you to judge? What possible benefit could your staring have? How could your judgment help her?

The reality is that Vered has no idea of this girl's story. Maybe the girl is suffering some terrible trauma. I put on about 30 lbs the year that my best friend died and my grandmother died. A year later, I took it all off. Maybe this girl has a thyroid problem and no matter what she does, she doesn't lose weight, so she figures she might as well at least enjoy herself. (A friend of mine got down to 500 calories a day and still GAINED weight.) Maybe the girl just doesn't think about it. What is certain is that society's stares and mistreatment will cause the girl to hate herself and lose self-respect and while she may lose weight from self-loathing, it will probably be through bulimia and self-starvation, not through the sensible, healthy life choices that come from self-love.

Am I missing something? Does anyone really think that their stares and nasty comments and mistreatment can help the problem?