This is a real thing in the world: The emotional eating prevention bra


Is Walter White guilty of emotional eating?
Is Walter White guilty of emotional eating?

Microsoft, the company that is famous for making expensive and bad operating systems, has now decided to turn its collective hive mind to prevent the scourge of emotional eating in women by making a smart bra. Because of course us lady folk are not able to tell the difference between eating for hunger and eating because we have an emotion. According to Microsoft:

The research is based on the idea that people eat not just when they are hungry but also for a host of emotional and habitual reasons. The goal was to provide a system that could intervene before the person turns to food for emotional support.

The trope this device is pandering to is that women are so overtaken by our emotions that we need something to intervene and tell us we are emotional before we raid the refrigerator. As slaves to our emotions, we are also, apparently, slaves to eating. We don’t eat only when we are hungry, we eat to cope with all sorts of things. Here is a great example from the article:

Sally has been home from work for a few hours, and she finds herself rather bored. An application on Sally’s mobile phone has also detected that she is bored by reading her physiological state through wearable sensors. Since this mobile application has previously learned that Sally is most susceptible to emotional eating when she is bored, the application provides an intervention to distract Sally and hopefully prevent her from eating at that moment.

In this lovely example, ‘Sally’ needs some gadget to tell her that she is bored and she should not run to the kitchen for a snack. She is unable to regulate her own behaviour or have insight into it. I am sure ‘Sally’ has a fully functioning brain that can easily discern the difference between eating because she is hungry versus eating because she is bored.

Emotional eating prevention?
Emotional eating prevention?

The very idea that women need to wear a special bra that will measure our heart rate and level of perspiration to alert us that we shouldn’t eat right now as it would be for emotional reasons is ludicrous. First, the very idea that feeling complex emotions could be reduced to sensing how much we sweat or increases in our heart beat is ridiculous. A woman could be out for a walk or laughing hysterically or doing stuff around the house only to have her bra beep at her warning her against emotional eating. The idea that women’s (or men’s) emotional response could be reduced to physical symptoms is incredibly simplistic and insulting.

Conflating food intake with emotional response panders to the worst tropes about women. The idea that we are all ruled by our emotions and stuffing our faces with food as a means to cope is demeaning. This device seeks to be a solution without a bona fide problem. It casts women as beings ruled only by emotion engaging in destructive behaviour without any idea of what they are doing. I think every person (in first world countries anyway) has eaten when they are upset or bored. But this device is only being marketed to women. Interestingly to have the machine learn your emotional patterns, women would use a mobile app to “to log their mood and food intake. There were reminded via text to log emotion every hour, at least ten times per day.” So pretty much for every waking hour women would be slave to this app. This is just another, in a  long line of things, that seek to make women tractable thereby reducing our effectiveness in our professions and other activities.

The other message contained her is that it is only women who engage in inappropriate emotional eating. There is no companion her and his devices; no boxers or ‘tighty whiteys’ with the same device.* Or perhaps the developers think that it is only people with boobs who have an emotional eating problem.

There are so many messages women receive on a daily basis that tell us we are not good enough, thin enough, beautiful enough nor smart enough. Now we need wear a special bra that will connect with our phones to deliver yet another message of how we don’t measure up. This device is yet another thing to police women ensuring that we are slaves to self-improvement lest we take our energy and focus it somewhere else like challenging the very structures and messages that keep us down.

The one sliver of hope here is that the device is being developed by Microsoft. The chances of it actually working as advertised are slim. And, even if it sort of works Microsoft will update the operating system and eliminate the ‘Start Button.’

*As I am writing this, I am getting a vision of Walter White in Breaking Bad in the first couple of episodes where he strips off his pants and cooks meth in his underwear. I can just imagine him wearing one of these devices as he is sweating in the New Mexico heat and his device going off, reminding him to log his food and emotional state while it is telling him that he needs to put the Cheetos down because he is emotional right now!


TV from the Swamp – the ‘I am trying to distract myself from current events’ edition

I am a TV addict – it relaxes me along with crocheting. Here are some of the top shows enjoyed at The Swamp:

  1. The Good Wife – if you have not checked this show out with Juliana Margulies you are really missing something great. The acting and the storylines are fabulous. It is now in its 4th season and the show continues its excellence. Even if you hate lawyers you should watch it for Archie Panjabi who plays Kalinda. Ahh, Kalinda!!
  2. Burn Notice – this show got me through the summer; I watched all 5 seasons that have been released. The show is about a ‘burned’ spy, Michael Westen, who is basically out in the cold. He can’t travel, he has no access to his money or credit and no job history.  He has a dysfunctional family including his mother, played by Sharon Gless. He takes on jobs for people with problems where he uses his skills to fix things. It took a bit for me to get into this show but by season 3 I was hooked. The best part of Burn Notice is Fiona and her ‘can we shoot them’ line.
  3. Parenthood – I watched the first episode of this show when it started and didn’t like it for some reason. Now, I think it is one of the best ensemble shows on TV. It can be a bit sappy at times but the rest of the content makes up for it. The character development is fabulous. They present current issues in an authentic manner and with compassion. The development of one of the children: Max has been quite astounding. Max has Asperger’s and they do not sugar coat it or have him be suddenly ok one day. Well done.
  4. Scandal – this show was a mid-season replacement last spring. It is another Shonda Rhimes show and it is good. It does feature that rapid-fire dialogue that she is known for. This show is about a lawyer who fixes things for her clients. She also had an affair with the POTUS and they continue to be drawn to each other.
  5. Homeland – this show is amazing! Clare Danes and Mandy Patinkin are fabulous. The content is very timely and it poses many dilemmas. How do you balance national security without killing people in other countries? It explores issues of mental illness, subterfuge, Islam and politics. It won a lot of Emmys for a reason.
  6. Dexter – has been one of my favourite shows for a very long time. Last season it started to lose its way with the ‘tableau’ season that was a big yawn. The ending of that season was anything but boring with Deb finally learning about Dexter. This season is showing promise for sure!
  7. Breaking Bad – hands down this is one of the best shows on TV. The acting and story development are outstanding. The show does a really good job of exploring how people can become corrupt and do things they would not normally do.
  8. In Plain Sight – this show is about 2 US Marshalls who work in the Witness Protection Program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It has some of the best sarcastic dialogue on TV. While not terribly deep or meaningful, this show is good entertainment.
  9. Nurse Jackie – we love this show! Edie Falco is at her best as a drug-addicted nurse. The supporting cast is equally fabulous.

10. Blue Bloods – this is the show I love to mock. Deb would almost always rather watch a police procedural than anything else. We burned our way through two seasons of Blue Bloods this summer. Almost all of the episodes can be summed up as follows:

–       a crime is committed somewhere in New York City.

–       Danny Reagan, who seems to be the only detective in the city, catches the case regardless of the type of case: rape, murder, robbery, fraud etc.

–       Danny loses his shit as he bumps up against frustrations in solving the case.

–       Erin Reagan, who is apparently the only prosecutor in New York and Danny’s sister, is assigned the case.

–       A fight ensues between Danny and Erin as Danny doesn’t always do things by the book and Erin is very by the book.

–       There will be some type of ethical conflict involving Frank Reagan, the Police Commissioner and father to Danny and Erin.

–       Frank will hold on dearly to his ethics and morals and do the right thing.

–       In this season, Danny’s wife Linda has gone back to work as a nurse in the ER of a hospital. She will now be the only nurse and will treat all of Danny’s victims.

–       The episode will end with a family dinner after church on Sunday where one of the children will ask a question. Last week for example, one of the kids asked what would be done about a man who attacked a woman and Jamie (another son who is also a cop) basically stated that Danny would arrest the man, Erin would prosecute them and Linda would help make them all better (gag!).

–       There will also be some sort of pithy piece of advice thrown out by Danny’s grandfather who also used to be the Police Commissioner. This show does not do subtle in anyway!


Do you watch any of these shows?