I’m going to talk about a sensitive topic today.
As a business, we LOVE festivals. There is nothing better than seeing sparkling eyes gaze upon our chocolates with delight and sharing our beautiful business with new friends.
However in this post, I’d like to focus on a societal norm that often re-emerges in the new year. When the focus shifts from our chocolate to our bodies in comments like the following, it takes the delight out of our space:
“How are you so skinny and work in chocolate?”
“I could never work at a chocolate shop, I’d eat too much!”
“Oh I can’t stop here! I’m trying to be GOOD!”
“Oh I really shouldn’t…”
These statements are thrown out by speakers who believe them to be harmless, and yet there are two main harmful components hidden in these comments:
- Unsolicited comments on our bodies. It might sound like a nice thing or a compliment to call us skinny – on the surface. Underneath the chocolatier is a woman. We are women who have weight fluctuations. Women who have given birth to beautiful babies and have found unexpected and, sometimes, unwelcome changes in our body structures. Women who have struggled with stress and maintaining our health while running a business, surviving a pandemic, and raising small children. We strictly oppose the idea that is hidden in these comments: skinny = beautiful or good. We want our children and others to be healthy and strong. And we know that being healthy and strong can have many different forms. We, like many other women, strive to achieve and set a different standard for beauty. We want to find our beauty in the way we treat others in our community, in the way we show up for our families, in the way we stand with grace against injustices.
- Placing morality on food choices. Chocolate is not a ‘bad’ food. You’ll hear us discuss ethically sourced chocolate often- but that doesn’t mean we don’t understand that not everyone has access to higher priced/ethically sourced chocolate. Those who don’t or those who choose to indulge in a grocery store chocolate bar are not inherently bad. We fight for ethically sourced chocolate as opposition to the industry- not people. Choosing to eat broccoli has no higher moral standard than choosing to eat a truffle. Food can be comfort, sustenance, vitamins, energy, and more.
In addition to making us feel uncomfortable, I can’t help but be concerned for others overhearing these comments. The young girl who is entering her teenage years who may now question her desire to have a bite of a truffle. The young child who hears the message that skinny is good and begins to look at and judge others as they hadn’t before. They begin to question themselves, their body, and their choices. And I worry about our next generation.
Do these comments arise because individuals are concerned about how their body looks now or how it might look if they consume a chocolate bar? I want you to know you’re beautiful.
Are people saying these things because we’ve been taught that there are foods that are bad and choosing certain foods can cause shame? I want you to know you can consume all delicious foods in the way that is healthy for you. You have the power to know your body and self better than anyone else. You are not better or worse for choosing a chocolate bar to enjoy.
Are we hearing these things because shoppers don’t know how else to walk by our table, and these social constructs provide them an ‘out’? I want you to know it’s okay to simply smile at us.
No matter the reason, innocuous or not, I ask that as a society we pause to consider the effects of the words we choose. If you don’t have chocolate on your list for the day, we appreciate your presence and smiles. If you’re looking for something to say as you pass by, wishing us a successful day or commenting on the display or the beauty of our chocolates is genuinely the best thing to hear. We are out in the community to share our passion for delicious, ethically sourced chocolate and will continue to make it available for anyone who wishes to enjoy that with us!