Women Eating Cake


Women Eating Cake

It’s always a big decision. There’s always a disclaimer. There might be a brief struggle. We’re never supposed to. Actually, we really shouldn’t. We’re always saying that. “I shouldn’t.” We insult ourselves. “I’m such a pig.” We roll our eyes. “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

It’s a piece of cake.

But it’s never JUST a piece of cake.

It’s sinful. It’s disobedient. It’s wrong. It’s bad. It’s breaking a promise with ourselves– with the world. It’s unhealthy.

It’s delicious.

I don’t want it to mean so much, every time. Or I want the meaning to change. I want it to mean, “Yes!” I want it to mean chocolate and cherries and ice cream and happiness. I want it to mean play and pleasure. I want to eat it defiantly. With dinner. Whenever the moods strikes. I want to eat it without having to think about it.

So many women have developed an antagonistic relationship with food. Because of our bodies and the ways we want them to look, and the ways our world tells us over and over they should look. When I noticed that very young women and even girls, who were fifteen and eighteen and twenty and twenty-three, would say, “I shouldn’t,” when I offered dessert, I got confused. When I noticed myself turning down cake, I got angry. I named my blog “Eat the Damn Cake,” and started talking about my relationship with my body. I wanted other women and girls to talk, too. And while we were talking, I wanted us to eat some cake.

I’ve teamed up with the absolutely incredible photographer Gloria Baker Feinstein on a project that’s all about women and cake. Gloria invited women and girls into her studio to eat cake and talk about how they felt about it, and then we compiled the photos and quotes. Please check it out! I really want this project to grow. I would love to share any pictures you send me of yourself with cake. Spread the word! And the love! And, most importantly, the cake!

Thank you so much to all the women and girls (and several toddlers) who participated. You are all amazing!

* * *

Un-roast: Today I love how excited I always am about eating.


Kate on February 16th 2011 in body, food, weight

28 Responses to “Women Eating Cake”

  1. HUnter4086 responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Life is too damn short not to have a bit of fat on you.

    I used to think it was evidence against me, a testament to all of the times I was “weak.” What a perverse way of thinking! I am strong, I am healthy – I eat.

    I say yes to bourbon in my coffee, yes to toast (one of the finest foods this side of noon), yes to veggies, yes to cake (albeit vegan cake!). I say yes to food so I’m better able to say yes to life and life is good when my food is good. Virginia Woolf reiterates this sort of idea in “A Room of One’s Own”:

    “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”

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  3. sophie responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    I have always been one of those “I really shouldn’t…but I want to so much…” people when it comes to cake (or biscuits, or most food of any kind) and if I did ‘cave’ and have a piece of cake I’d feel guilty as if I’d let someone down. Er and who would that be exactly?
    I’m now trying to accept that my body is the way it is and always will be and that in light of that, a little cake every now and again will do no harm whatsoever. I try to eat healthy (I enjoy healthy food) but I’m a baker at heart and am always coming up with new cake and biscuit ideas. I bake something at least once a week and give it to my friends. I’m pleased to say, they eat the cake straight away and I never hear a word of complaint that they’re getting fat. In this way, I’d say they’re my role models

  4. Kate responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Hooray for your friends!

  5. Deanna responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Life is too short not to enjoy food. I always admire the Europeans and the way they eat. They don’t eat huge quantities but they eat good food.

    Because of the nature of my work, I am frequently around people who follow certain diets. When they tell me the restrictions on what they can eat I get so hungry I want to eat an entire cheese cake. They tell me they’ve been able to lower cholesterol or how they feel better etc but I get so hungry just thinking about all the things I can’t eat or how going to a restaurant will be a challenge in ordering…I have to stop listening.

    Enjoy food, be sensible, exercise, eat in moderation…it’s all possible.

  6. B1 responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    I’ve eaten way too much cake and a lot of other things without guilt and watched the pounds pile on.

    But the reason the pounds piled on is really due to my addiction. I’m a food addict! Combine that with the mentality driven into me as a child that I’m supposed to eat everything on my plate, the fact that restaurant portion sizes have gotten bigger over the years, and the fact that our dinner plates have gotten bigger over the years… well, my addition won.

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE food! All foods sweet and savory! I love to cook it, bake it, broil it, bbq it, boil it, think about it, and eat it raw.

    If I were addicted to drugs, it would be so much easier to go cold turkey, but with food… if you don’t eat, you die… and if I continue eating, I can die.

    I’m learning control my eating in moderation and do envy the Europeans who grew up learning to enjoy food but keep moderation in mind too. Maybe one day I will get to that point too.

  7. Erinleigh responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    I absolutely LOVE red velvet cake, it is my favorite!!! I like to keep it in the fridge so it’s nice and cold…then when I sneak a few bites in the morning with my coffee it takes extra scrumpdillyiscious!

    oh…and I also love love love my Mom’s coconut cake she makes every Easter…just for me…YAY! Easter is coming SOON! :) !!!

  8. Corny responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    While I think there are times when “shouldn’t” is a good response (example: me + vending machines + too much spare change = ugh), keeping moderation in mind simply because I like to be healthy…yes! Yes!

    Except for me it’s any and all bread products. I’m eating some very excellent multi-grain french bread right now. Must stop typing. It calls my name.

  9. Christin@purplebirdblog responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    I’m so grateful there are delicious gluten-free cakes out there so I can still indulge in my lovely, lovely cake! :)

  10. Mandy responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    If you want to blame someone for starting the “abstinence is a virtue” trend, blame Benjamin Franklin.
    And, no, I’m not kidding. I read his biography in college, and he rather smugly patted himself on the back for substituting water for beer with his lunch. And, he had some unkind things to say about those who do drink beer with their lunch. The first time in American history that food has been labelled as “good” or “bad,” instead of just another dining choice, and it began with one of our most revered founding fathers.
    And, let’s face it, people–our country was founded by PURITANS. You, know, the folks who equated pleasure with sin? And brought us the Salem Witch Trials?
    So, thumb your nose at the Puritans–eat the damn cake!

  11. Mere responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    All things in moderation…except chocolate and cake! ;-)

  12. Ellie Di responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    The portraits (and project) are absolutely incredible. Thank you both so much for sharing them with us!

  13. Suzanne responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    at kids birthday parties the parents always ask if any of the adults want a piece of cake and all of the moms decline. except me. and then I feel self concious. because I am always the most overweight woman there and I feel as if everyone is judging me. But i can’t help it b/c I LOVE cake. and all food. but cake most especially.

    great post!

  14. MarieElizabeth responded on 16 Feb 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    You’ll be so much happier when you realize it’s just cake.

  15. Miriam Martin responded on 17 Feb 2011 at 1:45 pm #

    This is such a great project and Gloria’s photos are beautiful. I am still working on coordinating our “staff cake eating” photo shoot at Positive Women’s Network; it’ll happen. I can appreciate your un-roast today, because I am also somebody who gets VERY excited about eating … still working on seeing it as a good thing though! :)

  16. JEss responded on 17 Feb 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Such amazing photos!!!

  17. Kate responded on 17 Feb 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    I can’t wait to see/post those photos!

  18. EA-The Spicy RD responded on 17 Feb 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Great photos! I have to admit I enjoy cake, but especially love the frosting. My favorite is German Chocolate cake. Yum!

  19. Wei-Wei responded on 17 Feb 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    It’s just cake. Cake. Cake is good. Cake is yummy. How can it be wrong to eat the damn cake? :D

    I like how everyone’s discreetly throwing in a reference to your blog name there.

  20. Kath responded on 18 Feb 2011 at 4:41 am #

    I love the Women Eating Cake blog! Brilliant!

    How loaded is cake? When fatties speak in public, the response is always “Just put down the damn cake.” Even if the topic has nothing to do with food, out comes the “Put down the cake.” comment.

    Who would have thought that a mixture of butter, sugar, eggs, flour, milk and various other simple ingredients, blended perfectly and then baked until just right, could be so political?

    Damn, I feel like cake now. Wish I had some.

  21. Ellie Di responded on 18 Feb 2011 at 7:55 am #

    (I just said this last night, and I realized it’s true: I’m the chick that eats the last piece of cake. You know when everyone else is like, “Oh, I’d feel bad if I ate the last piece”? I eat it.)

  22. Stacy responded on 18 Feb 2011 at 1:01 pm #


  23. Alex @ Healing Beauty responded on 18 Feb 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    What a wonderful idea! I thought this post was very inspiring and really, why shouldn’t we eat the damn cake?

  24. adria responded on 18 Feb 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Yes! This is incredible and I love the idea, the concept, and most of all, the words of all of the incredibly smart and powerful cake-eating women!

  25. No Celery Please responded on 23 Feb 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    This is a picture of me at a Divorce Cake Party I went to.

    Everyone brought a different cake (or pie, etc.)

    Then we all ate all the ones that looked good to us.

    OK, yeah, maybe I was a little sick when I got done.

    But MAN, I love cake!

    (Seriously, I have a tattoo of carrot cake).


  26. Dali responded on 15 Mar 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    I had myself a big slice of RED VELVET cake today. Dammit, it was delicious!

  27. Addie responded on 06 Aug 2011 at 9:49 am #

    Wow this is incredible. Im only 20 but for a long time i restricted anything “bad” for me because i would love to be a nutritionist. A few months ago i decided to live again, and yesterday i had 3 slices of cake i myself made for my little sister. I dont feel bad at all:> your article certanly helps! Thanks

  28. Sheri responded on 22 Nov 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    I loved this article. I noticed when I was 19 how often women say they are “bad” or “horrible” in relation to something they ate. And I hated it. Food is not good or bad. Food is energy. And I think we’d have a lot less obesity and a lot less self esteem issues in women and girls if we just realized that by making food “bad” we are making it forbidden, and therefore even more tempting. Eat the cake. Eat two pieces. The key is balance. In food, exercise, life…Thank you so much for sharing this.