Delish Delights — A Passion Project Combining Food and Social Justice
Updated: Aug 15
A Rising Issue Amongst Youth
It only takes a few scrolls and likes for social media algorithms to come into play, exposing millions of teens to harmful and pro-anorexic content. With hashtags such as “wieiad” and “mealspo” recently trending, users have taken to apps such as TikTok and Instagram to share—and often promote—their dangerously low-calorie meals. Eating disorders and diet culture are issues that are unfortunately far too prevalent in our everyday lives and our school community. The ANAD (National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders) estimates that almost 9% of the world’s population will suffer from disordered eating at some point in their lives.
In the digital age, false standards of beauty on social media and the unattainable figures we are constantly exposed to in the media have created a breeding ground of insecurities. This is especially true for youth, who have endless online connections and are the primary users of most social media apps, such as TikTok and Instagram. For example, a 2022 study published in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics found that out of 78 young adults, 59% experienced negative effects on their self-esteem when exposure to TikTok increased. As young adults and adolescents are continuously exposed to potentially harmful content online, it can be easy to fall into the dangerous trap of disordered eating. With pressures from peers, digital content, and sociocultural standards of beauty, eating disorders are an issue that have, and will likely continue to, plague our society’s youth.
Who We Are
As teens, we have a first-hand understanding of the harmful effects of social media on body image and its subsequent impact on personal identity, relationships with peers, and the overall student community. Eating disorders and mental wellbeing are issues we are extremely passionate about, so we have decided to create Delish Delights: a summer passion project in which we combine our love for baking with our desire for social change. Through biweekly bake sales featuring a variety of desserts, we hope to raise funds for NEDIC, the National Eating Disorder Information Centre, and support those who are struggling with their body image. Our aim is to not only raise money for charity, but also to spark awareness, start conversations, and educate our local community about the danger of eating disorders.
Our aim is to use a variety of social and political activities to target harmful online content and uplift our community. We plan to host two bake sales over a six-week term in which we will sell desserts to our peers in the Markham region. Each sale will offer a variety of hand-made desserts and beverages, along with information about our project, links to our online platforms, and additional resources on eating disorders. All proceeds will be donated to NEDIC as part of our initiative to raise awareness on both a local and international scale.
To expand past our local community, we have also created an online platform to uplift and amplify student voices through submitted poetry, personal essays, and opinion editorials. Students can use this blog post outlet to express their experiences in a written format and read their peers’ pieces at the same time. In using the blog feature on our website, we aim to provide a safe and interactive space for students who have had negative relationships with food and body image to share their personal stories and diverse perspectives with an understanding group of peers.
Furthermore, we plan to launch the “Spotlight” initiative in the coming fall semester, in which we will highlight different corporations and their social impact. Every month, a company will go under the “spotlight” and their role in perpetuating negative online influence will be analyzed. Specifically, this initiative would focus on bringing awareness to media corporations that promote unrealistic standards of beauty to impressionable youth—whether through advertisements, app algorithms, etc. The Delish Delights Spotlight would call out companies’ problematic behaviours as well as outline specific and actionable ways they can improve their online presence.
However, as teens, we recognize that our resources are limited in terms of addressing social change on a larger scale. This is why we will continue to raise awareness on eating disorders and the effects of societal pressures on teens, both online and in-person. We hope to continue our legacy of social change throughout the school year and into post-secondary education through these social and political activities targeted towards addressing harmful online content and uplifting the community. In the future, we look forward to utilizing the resources available to us to create further impact on a larger, global scale.
Contact and Further Information
Delish Delight’s Instagram account (@projectdelishdelights) provides information on bake sales and aims to connect with youth in the GTA and to provide credible information about the impacts of eating disorders on impressionable teens. Further information on our fundraising progress, written submissions from our team and highschoolers across the region, a as well as the Spotlight initiative will be published on the Delish Delights website, (https://projectdelishdelig.wixsite.com/delish-delights)