I work in the kind of office where, at 11am every day, someone will come over and offer you a cup of coffee and a biscuit. It’s very civilised.
Because I am British, I have extremely strong opinions about biscuits (and all kinds of baked goods). Because also I am trying to lose weight, I have restrictions on biscuits. This means most of the time I take the coffee and leave the biscuits, unless they have one of the Brilliant Biscuit Types, and then I’ll have one. What are the Brilliant Biscuit Types, you ask? They are –
- Jaffa Cakes
- Choco Leibniz
- Chocolate hobnobs (NOT regular hobnobs)
- Caramel chocolate digestives
And that’s it. No, not custard creams. Fuck custard creams.
All my colleagues know that I normally refuse the biscuits. One of them, every time, will smile at me, and say “Oh, yes. Good girl.”
Come on, now.
It is not “good” to refuse food, and nor is it shameful to eat it. Being offered approval for food choices like this makes me SO uncomfortable, and vulnerable, and… well, just pissed off.
The fact is, yes, your assumption was correct, I’m not eating the biscuit because I want to lose weight. I hate that this is painted as a “good” act – the kind of thing nice, obedient girls do. I’m not a nice obedient girl! I don’t like being called one! And this was so easy to deal with when I didn’t restrict my food choices at all. “Riot, don’t diet!” I’d shout, biting into a whole wheel of brie while staring disapprovers in the face. “You can’t control my body!”
I still think that we, as a society, are fat phobic, and this is wrong. I still think that we, as a society, police women’s bodies, and that we should stop. And I also think that these views are not incompatible to me wanting to lose weight; in fact, they are the same view – everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their skin, and no one else gets to dictate what that looks like.
But when your choice dovetails with what is “correct” to do under a misogynistic, fat phobic system (“good girls don’t eat biscuits”) that can feel a bit uncomfortable, because it’s like you’re shoring it up, agreeing with it somehow. But no! This is wrong too. The point is, no one is allowed opinions on other people’s biscuit consumption. I can just have an apple instead, it doesn’t make me a handmaiden to the patriarchy. So why does it feel like that, every time?
I’m still feeling my way around all of this. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
I have another colleague who has also noticed I generally don’t eat the biscuits. He has a little joke with me – every time he brings the tin around, he looks sorrowful, and shakes his head at me.
“I’m sorry, Lucy. There are no A list biscuits today. Only digestives. I don’t think you will deem these biscuits worthy of consumption.”
Yes! Quite right. I am not your Good Girl. I am Queen of the Biscuits.