Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving and Social Norms

Wow, it's been almost two months since I last posted here. Sorry about that. Whew! There's been a lot going on that I'd rather not get into on a blog connected with my real name, but it does have a lot to do with why I've been silent here lately...

Anyway, with Thanksgiving coming up, I thought I'd write another Asperger's-persepective post about the neurotypical world and how that world manifests on Thanksgiving (or any other major holiday where extended family comes over). One thing I hate about Thanksgiving is how much food there is. Think about it-- we're supposed to be thankful for what we already have, and to celebrate that we overeat? I recently lost a lot of weight and have been trying to keep it under control, and Thanksgiving is one of the most threatening holidays in terms of that. 

Why is there always so much food on Thanksgiving? Why are there usually no fewer than ten different desserts? It's ridiculous. Well, think about it. Even if the person who is hosting Thanksgiving wants to limit the number of desserts, how dare s/he tell the guests not to bring any? It sounds rude and ungrateful to the guests who are being oh, so nice and buying or baking something. On the other hand, guests are expected to bring food or else they're "bad guests" who are taking advantage of the host. Meanwhile, both parties might be thinking about how the overeating will impact their weight, or even that it's just so unnecessary to have so much food. It's just another case of people following social conventions in order to maintain bonds despite their own objections or concerns.

Is it really that rude, when hosting a Thanksgiving, to say, "Hey you know what? It's so silly to overeat on a holiday in which we give thanks for what we already have. It's not healthy to overeat, and a couple people are trying to watch their weight. Why don't we decide on one dessert that we all like and we'll have that?" Is someone who had planned to bring a 1200-calorie-per-slice chocolate cake (yes, we actually had that one year) because social norms dictate that s/he must bring something going to be offended? I highly doubt it. And I bet s/he will be secretly relieved that s/he doesn't have to spend money on it or time baking it. No, really. Why don't we try it? Why don't we buck social norms for a change and be a little more rational? 

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