Many women are captive to their own low self-esteem
in the "thin" society in which they live. Women often
blame their unhappiness and insecurities on objects and actions.
The film Eating (1990) exemplifies this through a series
of conversations taking place at a joint birthday party.
that eating, food, and weight are the villains and heroes in the
lives of the models, actresses, moms, and daughters examined in
this film. Food is viewed as the substitute for a variety of values
and ideals. It is a substitute for love, from partners and fathers,
for best friends, and for control. It is the substance which makes
women feel emotionally "full" inside and secure because
food provides unconditional love 24 hours a day.
Food also takes on a variety of negative and
anthropomorphic qualities. It is described as evil and these women
believe that they are at the mercy of food. Food is only an immortal
scapegoat while the real enemy of these women is clearly their
own mental instability and low self-esteem. This characteristic
of blaming unhappiness on other people and things is exaggerated
in the character Sophie who appears to be in the midst of a mental
The character Sophie exaggerates how women
are their own worst enemies. Everything that comes out of her
mouth is a reflection of how she feels about herself and her life.
She constantly speaks of how she worries about the mental health
and physical appearance of her superficial friends at the party.
This is all a desperate attempt to mask her own problems and
Sophie is a character which exhibits a common female method of
comforting herself through the manipulation of others who are
viewed as a threat to her. Sophie is obviously an exaggerated
and fictional character however she is the only character in the
film who is strange enough to keep the film moving and interesting.
Eating is successful in that is conveys that women are their own worst enemies. The film clearly depicts that food is not really the problem or solution to the unhappiness in the character's lives. It also shows the degree of vanity and self-centeredness women can have through the character Sophie.