I’ve been thinking about the big, systemic things that make being a mother, being a women, being a PERSON difficult right now. You know what those things are in your own life — maybe it’s crushing student loan debt, lack of universal healthcare and family leave, or diet culture. Maybe it’s something else. There’s a lot to choose from.
I’ve also been thinking about about how our culture places the responsibility on *individuals* to address and even transcend the challenges caused by those big, systemic things *by themselves.* And that is not a reasonable ask. #Selfcare, Lean In, self help, side hustles — by whatever name, these strategies all have the same bootstrapping roots and corresponding shortcomings.
At the same time, these strategies can be useful. That’s at least part of why they gain traction. I think we just have to maintain perspective about the big, systemic things, too.
That’s a lot of vague talk. Here’s a specific story. This week I took my kids out for donuts @glamdolldonuts. (PS I think we were the last three people in #Minneapolis to try these donuts, and they were as fantastic as everyone says.) I felt empowered to enjoy delicious, sweet, fried dough and turn my thoughts away from mental tabulations about calories or fat grams or other shitty stories diet culture wants to tell women about food. I felt good about showing my boys a woman delighting in fun food. Good, right? Well, since eating the donut (well, donuts), I have off and on wondered if perhaps my pants are fitting a little tighter and maybe I shouldn’t have eaten those donuts after all. Why am I feeling guilty? Did I just personally fail at being empowered?
Here’s the thing: Diet culture did not topple as I chewed that delicious, delicious fried dough. My act of self care can’t take down a system, and I shouldn’t expect it to. The donuts were never meant to #smashthepatriarchy; they were just meant to be delicious. And I hear donuts are excellent fuel for the work ahead. 🍩