Feb. 10th, 2012

tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)
I expected a fair bit of culture shock when I changed careers last year, but one particular aspect of my new job's office culture has caught me completely by surprise: food policing.

I hesitate to attribute this to the fact that my previous job was a male-dominated, military-offshoot environment and my current one skews female, but... that's kind of what it's starting to look like.

So, don't get me wrong: at my previous job, female bodies were discussed constantly by others, both male and female. Who had the biggest tits, who was hot, who dressed like a slut. But it was the kind of gossip that tended to happen behind people's backs-- probably the worst I ever got to my face was when I wore a low-cut top and at least four different guys said, "Oh, so you have a promotion interview today? Hur hur." Which isn't cool, but given that so much worse happened in that office, it was kind of the least of my problems. But in all my time there, you know what I never heard? People telling me not to eat something. People telling me not to eat too much. People commenting that I "eat a lot", that I'm "constantly eating", or "Oh my god, are you eating again?" People making snide comments: "How can you eat that and not be the size of a whale?" People commenting on my weight as a greeting. "Hope you had a good New Year! Ooh, looks like you've gained some weight over the holidays." (I think this last was supposed to be some kind of awkward joke.)

What the everlasting hell?

Okay, I know that my fairly petite build has sheltered me from being the subject of public food or weight policing, but this is honestly not something I expected to have to deal with professionally. Just this week I've had my eating habits commented on by two separate people (one of them twice!), and my boss saw me reaching for a chocolate biscuit displayed on the free-for-all snack table and said in a jokingly hectoring tone, "You shouldn't eat that." Uh, I'm sorry? I wasn't aware that we shouldn't eat the food given to us to eat.

Is this what other people's workplaces are like?

I am confused and annoyed.

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