Hmm, food abundance? I am not so sure. Between the erosion of safety nets like food stamps, loss of Medicaid, record numbers of Americans incarcerated, and ongoing unemployment and underemployment from the worst economy in the memory of most people alive today, I think the question assumes a certain point of view. Even for people who are not worried about how to pay for their food, there is often a history of restricting their intake, an awareness of their food and their bodies being monitored, and a disruption of the fundamental connection to food as a comforting, joyful experience.
Perhaps it is more useful to ask, why do people with economic privilege project our fears and guilt about how much we are consuming onto the bodies of higher-weight people? Ironically, these are people who are much more likely to consume less of everything, but portrayed as ungovernable around food, sexuality, and the civic responsibility not to burden others with their pesky illnesses.
Abundance does not cause anxiety; it bestows a feeling of security. Abundant food, abundant bodies, have been almost universally good in human history. But what about abundance in the context of unfairness, of fears about our vast and ongoing inequities and the limits of the resources of our earthly home? What about the abundance for me but not for you? Or abundance for you but not for me? How can that feel good?
For me, the holidays are times when worlds collide. From childhood I have belonged to multiple families (which keep multiplying with the generations, and my own bond-making with others), and I am aware of the inequities between those families. Even the history of these holidays brings up ways that I feel only commemorate a celebration for certain types of family, and demand that we ignore what was going on for other types of families during these events. I keep wondering, how do we enfold all of our families in a bigger acknowledgement? I am so tired of the demands to make some people invisible. It seems to come from an unwillingness to simply see the truth about how we have treated each other, and that keeps us stuck in our hamster wheels of distractions.
Deb Burgard answering: “As the holidays descend, so does advice about how to stay healthy during this time of food abundance for so many. Do people really benefit from such advice?” From Health at Every Size.