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A Stark Challenge To The Idea Of Indulgence [NSFW]

Illustration for article titled A Stark Challenge To The Idea Of Indulgence [NSFW]

Growing up in America, we learn that sweets and junk food are "guilty pleasures." Women, especially, are supposed to refrain from such indulgences. And, if they cannot — if they, for example, desire more than that modest slice of cake served to each birthday guest — then they should feel not only guilt, but shame. For overindulging is grotesque and it, accordingly, should be hidden and kept secret.

This is the cultural background to Lee Price‘s realist paintings of women (mostly her) eating sweets and junk food. She draws two contrasts. First, she makes very public something we are supposed to do only in private. Not only do the paintings literally display the transgression, the birds eye view and frequent nudity exaggerates the sheer display of the indulgence. And, second, she takes something that is supposedly disgusting and shameful and presents it in a medium associated with (high) art, challenging the association of indulgence with poor character and a lack of refinement. Fascinating.

The image above is titled Jelly Donuts. Some more of Price's work:

Illustration for article titled A Stark Challenge To The Idea Of Indulgence [NSFW]
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Refuge

Illustration for article titled A Stark Challenge To The Idea Of Indulgence [NSFW]
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Cherry Cheesecake II

Illustration for article titled A Stark Challenge To The Idea Of Indulgence [NSFW]
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Strawberry Swirl

Illustration for article titled A Stark Challenge To The Idea Of Indulgence [NSFW]
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Grilled Cheese II

Visit Lee Price's website.
[Via].

Illustration for article titled A Stark Challenge To The Idea Of Indulgence [NSFW]
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This post originally appeared at Sociological Images. Republished with permission.

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DISCUSSION

I hate that message: that we (as women especially) should feel this guilt and shame surrounding not only eating in order to nourish our bodies, but moreover, eating something because it is pleasurable to eat.

I don't eat truffled mac n' cheese or key lime pie for sustenance (not completely anyway) - I eat these things because they taste magical in my mouth. And almost always prior to eating them I stupidly rationalize why I "deserve" to eat them. That mentality drives me nuts!

I have a firm rule of not vilifying any type of food in my house (and I mentioned this on the home-lunch ban article yesterday). We're raising two boys and I know that they aren't immune to the body scrutiny and issues that proliferate our culture. So, in teaching them that everything is ok in moderation, and not withholding one food or another from them, I'm truly helping myself get over this ridiculous mindset that I should "deserve" that creme brulee I crave. It's such a waste of a would-be pleasurable experience and life is too short to forgo good creme brulee.