In Everyday Feminism is a Joke and No One Should Ever Read It, I wrote that Everyday Feminism publishes a lot of ridiculous and sensational nonsense -- and if you disagree with them, they block you. (Though, to be fair, they are far from the only publisher who is guilty of this.) (And obviously, I'm, like, the hugest feminist, so my beef isn't with their cause.)
Last week, they published the most absurd article I've ever read on the whole internet:
The Feminist Guide to Being a Foodie Without Being Culturally Appropriative. Basically, it argues, if you're white:
1. "Asian-style" or "Asian fusion" food is racist.
2. Calling food "exotic," "ethnic" or "authentic," is racist.
3. Eating food from a different culture without understanding the culture's full history and traditions, is racist.
4. Eating food from a culture that experienced colonization is racist -- especially if the food in question is a "fusion" of the colonizer's culture and the colonized culture.
5. Thinking you're adventurous for trying a foreign new food is racist.
6. If you love Mexican food but don't care about labor or immigration issues, you're a racist.
The only point in the article I could even sort of relate to is the one about "repurposing" cheap ingredients from poor communities -- which, sometimes, can drive up the price (or down the supply) so much that it's literally like taking food out of poor peoples' mouths.
But the rest of it? Come on!
I'm not going to take a history class before my next order of kung pao chicken. Understanding the colonization behind curry is going to undo the suffering of past generations. It might enhance my enjoyment of the food (knowing more about the world around us makes us more appreciative and mindful), so it is something I might consider, if I ever have time.
But, unless there's a time-relevant, data-backed reason for me not to eat a burrito -- or, say, a Trader Joe's salad with a little quinoa on the side -- it's not going to hurt anyone if I enjoy an "authentic" or "exotic" lunch between a busy morning and an afternoon of meetings.
Another part of the article I thought was stupid:
Like early explorers “discovering” spices on their quests for new trade routes, some diners today are on similar quests to “discover” different ingredients and cuisines.
Because it's like... maybe you should try being less sensitive about my use of the word "discover." If I go to a new country or restaurant and try a cuisine I've never tried before, I have discovered something that is new to me. If I enjoyed it, I'm going to tell my friends about it. It's not so I get so-called "adventure points" -- it's because I want to share my experience with the people around me.
Just like if they "discovered" a cool new restaurant, I'd want them to tell me! (How is this anything but a win-win? We get to try cool new foods -- and the restaurants get new business. Which is great -- running a restaurant is sooooooo hard!)
Also, from a strictly psychological standpoint, people spend a lot of time on autopilot. Something like 90% of what we do is automated -- and we don't even realize it. So when someone actively sets out to try something new -- yes, that is cool. They get cool points with me for not just going to the same old place and ordering the same old thing. After all, as I wrote in Life Hack: Do What You Do When You Travel While You're At Home, "Life is only an adventure if you make it one." You should live like you're traveling. You should adopt a mindset in which you see yourself as brave, adventurous and excited to explore the world around you. Besides, who says you can't learn anything about a culture just by going to an Asian grocery store or a Middle Eastern restaurant? Some of the coolest conversations I've had have been with the strangers I ordered my food from.
So, yeah. Unless my food choices are depleting the oceans or taking food out of the mouths of poor people, you can go ahead and back off. Eating foods I like -- and trying new ones when I'm feeling adventurous (err... curious? Is "curious" racist?) -- is a personal choice, which has no bearing on you.
For more, check out I Used to Think Cultural Appropriation was "Wrong." Now, I'm Not So Sure.
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Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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