It’s a bit of a challenge working my way back to stories of experiencing womanhood and recipes as I still only feel that non-culinary school life is half real. Nonetheless, being in France has also given me time to gather more stories, for better or for worse.

I was intrigued/shocked/surprised to find that quite a number of the students – both female and male-identifying – had struggled with their weight and had nonetheless, or perhaps precisely for this reason, paved themselves a way into the kitchen. While cooking had become a positive experience for everyone, there was one conversation that however bothered me. I was talking to a few girls about our previous eating habits one afternoon, and we discussed extreme weight loss. And even though all of us were outspoken feminists and clearly against radical dieting etc., there was some kind of fascination and jealousy involved.

“Look at this Facebook picture from 2012 – I was literally a stick!” “Oh, but you should have seen me when I weighed 45 kg.” “I was living off a carrot a day!”

It’s no surprise that we continue to propagate an unhealthy body image when even our conversations about their harm is only a disguised competition to see who has come closest to the waist of a Barbie. Should we just stop discussing our bodies entirely?

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