I was on my way back from a conference in London on the train one evening and hadn’t had the chance to eat anything substantial. I managed to grab an M&S sandwich before the train left and set about eating it as soon as humanly possible. I usually have headphones in on public transport but this time, on a crowded train, weighed down by multiple bags I decided just to find a seat and eat. I was opposite a very loved up looking couple who were talking to the woman sat next to me (a mum?) I began devouring the sandwich, making sure I wasn’t noisy and knowing full well there was no attractive way to go about this… the woman sat opposite me whispered quite audibly to the woman next to me “it’s like watching a caterpillar”
This provoked facebook update from me:
Having had an unhealthy relationship with food when I was doing my degree and by contrast now being able to eat a full meal is an achievement for me. OK it was only a sandwich on the train but I wondered, what made that woman think that was OK to say anything? I mean – KEEP IT IN YOUR HEAD?!
The reason I am writing about this is due to a facebook page I discovered last night called “Women who eat on tubes” or WWEOT the link I have put in there is to an article that describes the motives for this site from the creator who chooses to ignore why it’s wrong in favour of “art”. If ever there were a hipster to hate…
I have friends who live and work in London and they will occasionally tweet or facebook funny sounding anecdotes about some strange goings on. For example, the time a man was eating an entire onion like it was an apple springs to mind. But the difference between my friends anecdotes and this page is that the updates my friends share aren’t intended to shame anyone. There are genuinely weird things that go on down there. It’s the London smog I guess? Or the power going to people’s brains? I don’t know … ANYWAY, the people who are running WWEOT seem to have amplified things that are meant to be for private humour between friends to the public sphere. This is the blurring of events or jokes that are meant to be private onto a public platform.
It’s not all guys posting on there though. From what I have read there are girls that have joined in with this as well. I can speak from experience that joining in with the banter or “laddish” behavior can be the easiest way to engage with it for some people. But the fact girls (and yes I will call them girls because that is what they are: children) are joining in doesn’t validate the WWEOT cause! It doesn’t justify it! It just makes it more nasty! Have you not got anything better to do than stare at someone eating? I THOUGHT YOU LONDON FOLK WERE BUSY?!
I would be interested to learn from any of my female friends or acquaintances out there how they would feel if they got snapped by someone they don’t know? I for one am grateful that I decided to ignore the nasty comment on the train and that a camera wasn’t involved but I know if someone did post a photo of me without my CONSENT then I would go mad! Unfortunately the people running WWEOT are just another group who want to get famous or recognised for doing nothing. For contributing nothing. And this isn’t about censorship or “nanny state gone mad” or people needing to get a sense of humor or crazy men hating feminists. It’s about basic respect. The people running these pages need to seriously reassess what they want their online footprint to look like. I for one am glad to see there is a rival page that has emerged and I think it is bang on message.
The creator of the original page says that the fact it’s people eating is mundane or whatever and so something so normal is now being discussed or made into an “art form” but I’m sorry dude (just to be extra patronising), that does not make you an artist. There is a German phrase, which a colleague told me and google translate has had to help me out with so please correct me if I am wrong:
“Ist es Kunst? Oder kann ich es wegwerfen?”
which means “Is it art? Or can I throw it away?” All I can say is PLEASE throw it away.