This came from a most excellent discussion about sex positivity over at The Lady Garden, and is well deserving of further dissemination.
Max Rose said this in the comments:
A better analogy might be “The world would be a better place if more people ate more and better chocolate”. Unlike vegetables, most people acknowledge that chocolate makes them feel good, but they are sometimes made to feel guilty about it if they enjoy it more than moderately or don’t enjoy it in socially sanctioned ways, and a lot of people never get to experience really fine chocolate.
What would a chocolate-positive world look like?
People who really enjoy chocolate for its own sake wouldn’t be told that they really only ought to have chocolate on special occasions with that special someone, and that if they enjoy chocolate too immoderately that they’re only doing it to fill an emotional void.
People would openly discuss what it takes to have a healthy chocolate life, and acknowledge that there are certain chocolate practices that could be bad for your health, without the assumption that because you love chocolate you’re automatically makes unwell.
People who like gooey caramello will be able to acknowledge that some people prefer hard, bitter dark chocolate, and vice versa.
While acknowledging that parts of the chocolate industry are rife with exploitation, that is not a reason to ban the sale of chocolate or assume that anyone in the chocolate industry is a sad, exploited, broken person. Instead, making the chocolate industry legal and well-regulated should raise the standards of chocolate and the working standards of those that sell it, and we can openly advocate for the establishment of fair trade practices. We might even find that some people sell chocolate because they like chocolate, they like making others happy through providing chocolate, and make good money doing so.
When someone takes chocolate from you without your consent, you won’t be judged for how much you like chocolate or whether your chocolate was presented in a particularly enticing way.
We can celebrate the joy of chocolate in all its rich diversity, rather than making anyone who loves chocolate feel guilty or calling them “chocoholics”. Calling chocolate “sinful, wicked and decadent” may still provide an added frisson for certain chocolate lovers, but it mostly just contributes to the commercialisation of chocolate rather than recognising that it is a vital and legitimate part of most people’s lives. And celebrating all that is good about chocolate won’t stop us from working to improve or eliminate bad chocolate, or acknowledging that for some people, chocolate will never interest them or will be at most a mildly pleasant occasional experience.
And here’s where I might get a bit more controversial. “More people eating more and better chocolate” doesn’t expect everyone to like chocolate, but it does suggest that a lot of people who currently don’t see what all the fuss is about might have happier lives if they could explore more of what chocolate has to offer.
Some people might have decided that they can take or leave chocolate, based on a lifetime of Cadbury Dairy Milk. Maybe if they tried some Schoc dark chocolate with chilli their lives would suddenly open up to a whole new world of fierce chocolatey delight, but society has always told them that it’s immoral and decadent to go looking for new chocolate experiences.
Some people may have started off loving chocolate, and have stocked up on a lifetime supply of Whittakers. Now, Whittakers is good, tasty, wholesome chocolate, and most people would be delighted to enjoy it. But perhaps after a few years it’s starting to go a bit stale, and maybe you’d be tempted by a bit of a dalliance with a slender Lindt or a secret rendezvous with some fun but trashy Roses chocolates. Society tells you that brand loyalty is more important than enjoying the taste and texture of chocolate for its own sake, so instead you tell yourself that chocolate isn’t much to get excited about, and carry on with a fortnightly square of good old Whittakers.
Perhaps we could get to the stage where everyone who wants to can proudly and openly say that no one chocolate will ever meet all their needs in life, and that variety and experimentation are part of what makes chocolate great. No-one would be called a chocoslut if they have more than 20 chocolates in their life; no-one would be accused of being afraid of committing to one chocolate; no-one would be made to feel pervy because they like watching other people have chocolate. Hell, you could even invite your friends around for a big old messy chocolate fondue, even it that does sound very Seventies, without being told that your taste in chocolate is perverse.
That’s what it would mean to me to be chocolate-positive rather than just chocolate-open: acknowledging that chocolate is not for everyone, but realising that there are chocolate-negative pressures in society that stop a lot of people from realising all the diverse joys that glorious chocolate could bring to their lives.
What do you think?