In recent weeks something of a storm has appeared in London and the rest of the U.K. regarding a Facebook page entitled “Women Who Eat On The Tube” and predictably shows photos of women who are eating, sometimes scoffing their face on the London Underground trains and usually surrounded by passengers. Once the photos are posted on-line then viewers are free to leave comments or poke fun at those snacking on the train.
Things started heating up when a journalist by the name of Sophie Wilkinson was herself snapped whilst eating on the tube only to find herself on this Facebook page which she said was hurtful and humiliating. However, Sophie admitted that she herself had taken many photos of people in public places and sent them to her friends to make fun of on various social networks. Despite her hypocritical situation, she argued that taking photos of women eating on the train was uniquely anti-woman although there are also popular websites with photos of men for women to leave comments on too.
Personally, I found the whole thing shocking though not for the same reason Sophie did. Having never dreamt of taking a photo of someone in public or as far as I know, seen anyone take such a photo I’m wondering when did it become ok to take anyones photo without their permission.
It’s not illegal to take a photo on the London Underground, maybe it should be. It’s not illegal to eat on the Underground but that definitely should be. When I was little, everyone was taught that it was rude to eat or drink in public. Whether it is drinking in the street or eating a subway walking to the office, it’s still wrong.
There are so many food shops and restaurants in London, that it really isn’t necessary to eat on the move at all and indeed most people don’t. If it is illegal to drink alcohol on the London Underground which in many ways is much less intrusive than food then surely food should be banned too.
What could be ruder than eating in public just a few inches away from the person sat next to you. The passenger opposite definitely doesn’t want to watch anyone stuff their face and who wants to have the whole carriage smelling of junk and fast food which is just as offensive and often worse smelling than cigarette smoke which is rightly banned.
There is little fresh air on tube trains, obviously as they spend hours or in some cases days underground. Inevitably, the person eating doesn’t eat the whole meal and then someone 2 hours later ends up putting their feet or bottom on an old cheeseburger or bag of chips.
Besides which, everyone knows it is bad to eat on the go. If you can’t spare 5 minutes to eat outside the tube trains then you’re obviously very bad at planning your time. The icing on the cake though has to be just how unhygienic it is for the person eating the food. Not just exposed to all the bugs from people breathing but the filth of the tube trains anyway. Even though they are all regularly cleaned, it has been proven that the average hand rail on a tube train has more bacteria on it than a toilet seat. Hhmmmm, yummy.
Maybe the people taking photos should stop it, maybe the women eating should stop it too. Perhaps like in the good old days instead of banning either, people should just have a bit more consideration for those around them and if they don’t rather than take their photo, politely ask them to put their food away. As it happens, if you don’t want to have your photo taken and have people make fun of you, a good starting point is probably not eat on a public train.
Today Facebook closed the page down but it has immediately re-opened. Whilst more people are arguing that the group is wrong, the publicity is bringing more and more members, it seems more people hate eating on the tube than who don’t like being photographed eating on the tube. Maybe this is the 21st century way of shaming people.
What do you think? Would you eat in public? Would you take a photo of someone without telling them? Personally I wouldn’t do either and I definitely wouldn’t want to look at photos of people eating on trains, that is almost as bad as being there in person.