Mini cupcakes? Really, Google Maps? (Guest Post)

by Megan Dean

No, Google Maps, I do not want to know that my walk to the post office will burn off a “mini cupcake” worth of calories. This is not useful or motivational or even innocuous information. In fact, it kinda ruined my afternoon.

I have put a lot of effort into keeping “calories” out of my life. I don’t read fitness magazines, I actively ignore the screen on the elliptical machine, I avert my eyes from nutrient breakdowns on prepared foods and recipes, and avoid diet conversations like the plague.

I never expected Google Maps to invade my carefully cultivated calorie-free mental space with unsolicited information about my afternoon stroll, accompanied by a stupid little emoji.

In any case, I KNOW how many calories a 20 minute walk burns. It is etched into my mind and taking up space there permanently, as is the number of calories in an apple, a slice of angel food cake, an egg, a cup of vegetable soup.

I know this because I have spent hours of my life calculating how many calories I ate in a day and how many I burnt off. It has take me years of work, thousands of dollars of therapy, and a good number of self-help books (shout out to Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy!) to stop quantifying all my daily activities in calorie form.

Reducing everything to calories might be helpful for some people but for me it’s soul-crushing, pleasure-destroying, time-wasting bs. It flattens out my life, and makes me feel I need to earn the right to eat.

No thank you. Cupcakes can be delicious, walks can be pleasant, these things shouldn’t be interchangeable, exchangeable, or commensurable.

So, shove it Google Maps. I’d rather ask for directions, and I’m an introvert.

Megan Dean is a PhD candidate in Philosophy at Georgetown University, and a pre-doctoral fellow with the Mellon Sawyer seminar “Approaching the Anthropocene: Global Culture and Planetary Change.” She really likes eating and considers that an achievement.

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

14 thoughts on “Mini cupcakes? Really, Google Maps? (Guest Post)

  1. Pelin says:

    Smart! Doesn’t everyone (including app designers at Google) know that counting calories is not, and has never been effective in losing weight or maintaining a healthy life style? It’s not how much, it is what and how we eat.
    And besides, saying you’ve burned a cupcake worth of calories somehow encourages the idea of eating a cupcake. It crosses your mind and you crave it. And because you “burned the calories”, it feels okay to eat it. Very misleading.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebecca Kukla says:

    I love you so much.

    Like

  3. ainsobriety says:

    I’m with you. I hate being blindsided by there’s “cute” attempts at motivation.
    They throw off my balance. Like when the yoga instructor talks about weight loss…just no.

    Like

  4. bone&silver says:

    FFS, does the policing of our female bodies never stop??

    And that’s a killer funny last line too by the way : )

    Like

  5. Tracy I says:

    More evidence of dieting as an ideology! Great post. Thank you, Megan!

    Like

  6. Sam B says:

    Reblogged this on Fit Is a Feminist Issue and commented:

    Phew. The cupcake-talk didn’t last. See https://boingboing.net/2017/10/17/google-maps-pulls-feature-that.html.

    “Responding to complaints from people with eating disorders, Google quickly shuttered a test feature from the iOS version of Google Maps that showed how many mini-cupcakes’ worth of calories it would take to walk somewhere.”

    Like

  7. E says:

    I’m gasping. My phone is not allowed to tell me how much food I’ve earned. Privilege culture curses. Sigh.

    Like

  8. fieldpoppy says:

    This made me go buy a cupcake. Not a mini one.

    Like

  9. […] adoré lire les articles sur ce blog et écrit récemment par Megan Dean m'a vraiment frappé. Répondant à la nouvelle fonctionnalité fat phobique de Google qui vous […]

    Like

  10. runningrara says:

    Word! What a crock of shit.

    Like

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