Too much social activity at work is making us fat? Seriously, that’s what The Faculty of Dental Surgery at Britain’s Royal College of Surgeons claims. That the office ‘cake culture’ is slowly killing us all… and the finger seems to be pointed at women.
Yes, once again, women are said to be wrecking the joint — this time with their weapons of marzipan destruction, sugar-laced artillery of cupcakes, slices and biscuits. And of course the big gun: fudge.
Admittedly there is some truth to the claim. Birthdays, anniversaries and other occasions worth celebrating (like reaching targets) always end up with a smorgasbord of cakes, biscuits, croissants and more. And we even know of one office where a wager was made about the US election with a cake as the winnings.
But blaming women for this is tantamount to saying it is women’s fault if there is social interaction and collegiality in the workplace. Yes women are the one’s most likely bringing in the baked goods, but if there weren’t such women in the workplace would people actually have the same personal interaction? No.
We would sit at our desks and send emails to people sitting right next to us.
The ‘cake culture’ is also the social culture of the workplace and is the backbone to keeping people engaged with each other at work.
However, I believe there is a deeper problem lurking: the problem of “cake shaming”.
If you attend these activities and decline a piece of cake or a biscuit (often because it is highly processed, and full of brightly coloured chemicals… believe us, that teal blue icing colour does not occur in nature) you are suddenly the focus of the room?
Why don’t you want a piece? You’re fit… you can afford it? Or the classic “oh are you on a diet?”
All questions that are highly inappropriate to ask (mind you we wouldn’t say that to a man, would we?)
Women are more likely to end up with self-esteem issues or feel pressured to eat foods they don’t want to purely because of peer pressure and bullying.
And now to that we are going to add pressure and bullying from the Royal College of Surgeons if we do indulge! You can neither have your cake nor eat it too!
Yes, there are strategies to avoid both kinds of shaming. Have 50% of the office spread be gluten free or preservative free. And don’t listen to ludicrous criticism of women bringing cake culture into the office.