So, apparently Kelly Gale, a Victoria’s Secret angel, took a day trip to an In-N-Out Burger restaurant to eat a pear and work out not too long ago.
Wow. There’s a lot to unpack here.
E! News recorded her whole Instagram story that showed her “meal” and routine outside of the fast food chain and published it on Twitter. Needless to say, fans and foes alike were not happy.
The video begins recording the lingerie model inside the popular West-coast restaurant, but instead of ordering fries, she shrugs with the caption “pear time at in n out” and takes a bite. The next clip shows her doing leg lifts and jumping rope outside.
After probably a few hours pass (the sun looks like it’s setting by the end of the video), her “reward” is a veggie platter and cherry tomatoes.
So, I don’t think I need to explain that Gale’s actions made In-N-Out and fast food fans feel self-conscious and ashamed of their food choices and bodies, but let me explain the unhealthy implications of her video.
The Guardian did an in-depth feature a few years ago about the life of a Victoria’s Secret angel, and how the industry promotes “starvation diets”, hours of daily exercise, liquid fasts, and other extreme measures of weight loss.
Then, when these women are paraded on stage, the covers of magazines, on billboards, in commercials, in the media, and paid huge salaries to do so, other women can take in the message that “hey, to be seen, accepted, and worthy, I probably need to look like that and do what they’re doing to look like that”, whether they consciously think that or not.
Not only is it dangerous and unhealthy for models to starve themselves (it’s no secret that the industry promotes eating disorders), but their implication that others should do the same can spread the message that disordered eating, like eating a pear and exercising instead of an actual meal, is desirable and even praise-worthy. (Men portrayed only as ripped male models aren't exempt from this either, sadly.)
The National Eating Disorder Association states that disordered eating can become obsessive and turn into a full-blown eating disorder, especially for those with the genetic predisposition for one.
Small beliefs that food has moral implications (“good” and “clean” or “bad” and “junk”), that eating must be negated by compensatory measures (exercise, purging, and/or laxative abuse), and that a body at an otherwise normal weight should look different can set some up for a debilitating, life-long, and often fatal mental illness.
It becomes a constant struggle between thoughts that urge one to eat less and a body that begs for proper nourishment. This then leads into a cycle of restriction, the body taking over to refeed, excessive guilt over eating again, and compensatory measures, which can include more restriction.
Yeah, not a fun time.
This excessive food and body shame game may not (hopefully) deeply affect a majority of people, but no one deserves to feel even a little embarrassed about doing what they need to do to survive and thrive. Can’t we just love ourselves all the way to what is well and normal for each individual rather than bully ourselves to look and eat in a specific, “one-size-fits-all” way that may not even naturally fit us?
What are your thoughts? What do you think Gale’s actions in the video are really saying? Share your opinion in the comments below.
Do you struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating? Visit www.nationaleatingdisorders.org for recovery resources. You are worthy of wellness.