Historically, we have not been great friends. It has always seemed inherently shameful to admit you, though my male friends and fellow athletes never seemed to have trouble with you. I remember being very young and stashing food up in my room simply so that I could eat without anyone knowing or watching me. My actions showed so much concern for that, though I didn’t really recognize it at the time.
Shauna Niequist does a great job describing the state of our culture about you, hunger, when she writes in Bread & Wine that;
“To feed one’s body, to admit one’s hunger, to look one’s appetite straight in the eye without fear or shame – this is controversial work in our culture.”
And isn’t that so true?
There’s a whole heap of gender specifics to this issue, certainly, and I have fallen victim to many as a young woman. It’s challenging to navigate the society’s cultural mandates about female weight and body type without vilifying the hunger that seems to be the culprit of the terror of weight gain.
As humans, we have a strange variety of relationships with our own bodies – some starve, some binge, some manage, some ignore, some discipline, some love. And yet, as Shauna says, to look our own appetite in the eye without the shame that so often accompanies it, is brave and rare. It is so tempting to see our bodies as our enemies, or as something we are simply accommodating residence in during our time on earth, or as something weak and uncontrollable.
I wish I had a succinct, theologically-grounded answer for this issue. Unfortunately, I find myself often wracked with the shame that comes from existing as a human being, specifically, a female, in today’s world. I desire to have a healthy relationship with myself, and to be able to model that biblically and with integrity for my students.
Fellow humans, I’m praying for each of you who read this and understand the struggle of hunger and food, and remain hopeful that in community we will continue to be encouraged towards truth.
P.S. To read my review of Shauna’s newest book, “Bread and Wine”, click here!