By Lisa Newman, Publisher
I’ve spent many hours surveying stock photos of women eating during the creation of this website. And let me tell you it’s given me an up close and personal view of how women and food are seen in our culture. It’s been frustrating to find images that reflect the Women Eat philosophy.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about our culture through the eyes of stock photography.
First and foremost, it appears that salad greens make women orgasmic. Croutons, dressing, or even avocado apparently reduce the effect because they aren’t in the happiest photos. If salads don’t do it for you, try other green food. Or apples.
The message is clear that if salads and fruit make you sad then there’s something wrong.
Happy, thin, beautiful women eat almost exclusively plain salads and fruit except when they’re with men. Then it’s okay to indulge in hamburgers, or maybe pizza.
Women do eat pizza alone, but these women often look a little, well … crazy.
Food definitely has morality in stock photography. There are many depictions of women being tempted between “bad for you” and “good for you” options. In particular, women who aren’t thin are often photographed to look very sad or guilty when they eat. Notice the beer bottle in the photo below. We’ll talk about that in a minute.
There aren’t many middle-aged women depicted at all. In stock photography you are either young or old. And if you’re on the older side and thin, you’re mostly outside with your doting husband and fun friends, eating lots of salad. If you’re old and fat, you’re mostly depicted in a grandmotherly role. The inherent judgment is subtle but present.
As for sweets, those are mostly eaten alone in secret. I’ve seen so many of those images that I almost expect the next page of photos to show these women being carted off to some kind of food jail (and maybe they are in the jail of their next diet).
Aside from the foods already discussed, there aren’t many other kinds of food featured in stock photography. A few bowls of spaghetti. Some pancakes. Occasional popcorn. But mostly pizza, burgers, salad, fruit, and sweets.
Women in stock photography don’t drink much of the other forms of alcohol – unless they’re fat, crazy, slutty, depressed, or obviously partying too much.
But, hey – who needs any drink but wine?
Of course stock photography reflects what sells in our culture. When we change how we see ourselves, the photographs that sell will change too. Until then, we’ll do the best we can at Women Eat to present realistic, inspiring images in our articles.
Lisa Newman serves women in mid-life who want to get beyond emotional eating. She approaches healing from the bottom up in order to affect real and lasting change while developing each woman’s inner wisdom as to what is uniquely right for them. She is also the Publisher of the website Women Eat, bringing together the best voices in the fields of psychology, nutrition, fitness, and personal growth to answer the question, “If diets don’t work, what does?”
She is a certified Psychology of Eating Coach with over 30 years of experience in peer counseling, coaching, speaking, and teaching. You can find out more at the Beyond Emotional Eating Virtual Group and on the WomenEat About page.