Lifestyle bloggers (and random thin celebrities) on Instagram, beware. Someone out there wants to get to the bottom of whether you really ate that plate of lemon ricotta pancakes you Instagrammed at brunch last week.
"You Did Not Eat That," an account run by an anonymous food-consumption truther, pulls images of models, bloggers and actresses posing with food, and shames them for pretending to eat things that they supposedly would never actually put in their mouths. Because how else would they maintain their beautiful physiques? No way anyone with a thin, toned body ever eats an omelet. Or a Greek salad. Or fruit. Or has pasta in Italy. Or splits sushi with friends.
I am of the opinion that women should eat what they want, when they want to. And if they decide to share images of food they encounter or eat on Instagram, that's fine by me. But if this particular account is to be believed, droves of thin women on Instagram are deceptively purchasing and photographing food they have no intention of eating, just to keep up a facade. Um, what?
Calling out a brand for using the same fake ice cream cone in three posts is one thing. And no one likes those lifestyle bloggers' ridiculously chic interior design images, oh-so-carefully curated and often sponsored for commercial gain -- they make us feel like lesser humans because we don't have a living room sprinkled with Diptyque candles, peonies and cashmere throws. But what a woman is ordering at a restaurant, eating at an event, or cooking up in their own kitchen is an entirely different matter. Publicly claiming that women aren't eating the food they're posting because they "couldn't" consume those things and still have "good" bodies is plain wrong.
Why is this Instagrammer hell-bent on "proving" that people are lying about what they consume? Picking on individual people for images they uploaded of meals or treats they're about to enjoy sounds a lot like shaming. "On Tuesdays we pretend to eat Cheetos," one caption on the account reads. "After reviewing several dozen photos of @iza_goulart in various states of undress we are going to go with #youdidnoteatthat," says another.
In an interview with The Cut, the anonymous Instagrammer claimed that the account was "fun and done in good spirit" while explaining her need to "detect bullshit:"
If you're a size zero, and you're frolicking in a tiny bikini on the beach, you probably did not eat the doughnuts that you posed with the sunglasses. It's just presenting this curated life that's beautiful and perfect and totally unrealistic. More power to you for rocking that! You look awesome! Don't lie about how you got there! It's fine.
The interview implies that the only way to "get there" -- to a size zero -- is to eat a steady diet of kale and lettuce. And of course to then purposefully purchase sugary foods just to photograph, before throwing them away.
Many skinny women can and do eat all kinds of food, and claiming that those who share hearty meals and sugary treats are liars is a petty endeavor. There are far better ways to call out the hypocrisy of the fashion and beauty industry than shaming models for Instagramming a bagel.
Follow Nina Bahadur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nbahadur