Earlier in this course, Leila M. wrote about how the digital media ia a stage filled with “nothing but actors”. One of the examples she gave was the food people choose to show on social media. An example of this is letting everyone and their moms know that you had a smoothie for breakfast because that is considered ‘healthy’ and thus something to be proud of, but not telling that you ate cheesecake for lunch, since that is not how you want to be perceived.
We are constantly showing off our best selves. That is great to do in a job interview, since you apply for a role in a company, but not so great to do if it is in relation to something more structural, such as food. There has already been a trend analysis of “that girl”, and now something similar crosses my timeline on Instagram every day.
This time, it is more about the audio in combination with the images, whereas the ‘that girl’-trend was mostly only about the images or videos that were there to see. To give you enough information to know what I am talking about, I will explain this a bit further. The audio says: “This is my meal, I call this girl dinner, girl dinner, girl dinner”. The main disturbing thing is, that most of the time the food that is called a ‘girl dinner’, is not really the dinner you hopefully grew up with at your parents’ place. Most of the time, the video is about food that is not a meal, but a snack, such as these chips, or a coffee that functions as a meal. In other video’s, these ‘dinners’ consist of not edible objects, such as books, or very small portions – in this video even consisting of candy.
What message do these videos try to communicate? There are different possible answers to that question. To start with the message that is maybe the most positive one: it is an act of rebellion against the idea that a ‘woman belongs in the kitchen, cooking dinner for the family’. By making a video about a dinner that consists of food that is not even cooked, the person who made the video, most probably someone who identifies as a girl, shows the audience that girls don’t always cook. Another message that these videos could communicate to their audiences is more problematic. I think about a meaning such as ‘food isn’t that important’, since in one of the examples of videos I just gave, books seem to be more important, and in another video it looks like eating way too little seems to be considered as not that big of a problem.
The fact that this audio and these videos are a trend, says something about how easy it can be to copy someone else’s behavior. By presenting this food as a meal and as ‘the normal way of life’ I think it could be quite hard to tell yourself that you don’t have to eat like this. Now I don’t think that these videos should be banned, but I do think that in this time, where there seems to be so much space for every body type, there should not be these videos that praise malnourishment such as a skipping meals.