Women Eating Bugs… Ladylike or taboo?
Eating any kind of bugs is something I never thought I would do. I saw Jeff do it time and time again, but I don’t want to be near a bug, let alone put one in my mouth. Just two days before Jeff and I left to head back home for the holidays we found ourselves at a market in Phuket, Thailand. We had dinner from the street venders, were shopping for Christmas presents for our friends and family and had enjoyed a few crisp Thai beers. Maybe it was the alcohol that gave me the push, but I decided I could try just one teeny tiny little cricket.
As a women, excuse me, as a women who hates bugs, I was nervous just picking up the little guy let alone putting it into my mouth. With all the Thai women watching, wait for me to freak out and back out, I closed my eyes and bit down. I was surprised at the taste and how he really just tasted like a burnt french fry or a burn chip. I know my mother was appalled when she found out I had tried one, because for her it was improper and discussing. While I admit it wasn’t my new favorite food, I was glowing with adrenaline and quite proud that I had pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. I think every guy and gal should try it at least once just to see what the other side is like.
Eating bugs in Thailand is a very common thing. They are deep fried and spiced with salts and chillies. The bugs range from small crickets to large grasshoppers and even maggots. Although to us, eating bugs is taboo and most westerners wouldn’t dream of it, we often forget that in most other places food is just food. Bugs are a great source of nutrition and while I’m not eager to eat more anytime soon I’m glad I was able to muster up the courage and understand a little Thai culture.
Why is it acceptable to eat bugs in Asia, but not to the western world? We eat prawns, shrimp, lobsters and crabs? Arn’t they similar? I too find myself cringing at the thought of eating these crispy little guys, but I love shrimp! Why do I feel like it’s taboo? My fear of spiders might play a small factor but also in America I grew up eating because of taste and not necessity. We focus so much of our appetite on what looks and tastes good and fail to realize that food is nutrition and serves as fuel for our bodies. If you think of food as energy, you may start to see what’s on your plate in a new light.
Thailand has indulged in insect cuisine for many years and now with tourism at an all time high, westerners are starting to experience and witness Thai’s eating a bag of bugs like it’s a bag of chips. With this cultural fusion I think we can start to see things a little different and learn form each other. Now, while I’m not eager to eat any spiders any time soon, my new perspective on food will serve as a way to try new things and think outside the box.
So, women eating bugs… ladylike or taboo? I vote ladylike! It’s a new era and a chance for women to thrive as travelers and adventures just like our male counterparts. In our generation women are continuing to push the boundaries and while we can be a lady at the same time we need to break our delicate stereotypes. So ladies, grab that cricket and don’t look back!
As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world.
Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more.