Evil Food
Alison Jameson

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.

Eating explains 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 breakdown.

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 insecurities. 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.

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