Alison Jameson: Essay
Many women are captive to their own low self-esteemin the “thin” society in which they live. Women oftenblame their unhappiness and insecurities on objects and actions.The film Eating (1990) exemplifies this through a seriesof conversations taking place at a joint birthday party.
Eating explainsthat eating, food, and weight are the villains and heroes in thelives of the models, actresses, moms, and daughters examined inthis film. Food is viewed as the substitute for a variety of valuesand ideals. It is a substitute for love, from partners and fathers,for best friends, and for control. It is the substance which makeswomen feel emotionally “full” inside and secure becausefood provides unconditional love 24 hours a day.
Food also takes on a variety of negative andanthropomorphic qualities. It is described as evil and these womenbelieve that they are at the mercy of food. Food is only an immortalscapegoat while the real enemy of these women is clearly theirown mental instability and low self-esteem. This characteristicof blaming unhappiness on other people and things is exaggeratedin the character Sophie who appears to be in the midst of a mentalbreakdown.
The character Sophie exaggerates how womenare their own worst enemies. Everything that comes out of hermouth is a reflection of how she feels about herself and her life.She constantly speaks of how she worries about the mental healthand 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 ofcomforting herself through the manipulation of others who areviewed as a threat to her. Sophie is obviously an exaggeratedand fictional character however she is the only character in thefilm who is strange enough to keep the film moving and interesting.
Eating issuccessful in that is conveys that women are their own worst enemies.The film clearly depicts that food is not really the problem orsolution to the unhappiness in the character’s lives. It alsoshows the degree of vanity and self-centeredness women can havethrough the character Sophie.