With the status quo being challenged left and right (#lovewins!), it’s about time we started talking about other outdated stereotypes that need to pack their bags and go back to the 17th century. That’s right, it’s time to talk about the gendering of food (ie. the idea that there are stereotypically “male” foods and “female” foods).
I know what you’re thinking. “Chill out, dude. Food is food. My Whopper isn’t capable of making a fancy ~*political statement*~.” To which I respond, “Actually, duuuuude, what you eat can reveal a lot about your identity, as well as how others perceive you.”
What Hypothetical Dude #1 doesn’t realize is that the old “you are what you eat” saying is pretty damn accurate, and this message is echoed loudly by advertising media. Think your Whopper’s just a burger? This 2006 Burger King commercial will change your mind.
“I’m way too hungry to settle for chick food”
“Wave tofu bye-bye, now it’s for Whopper beef I reach”
Um, tofu is actually pretty tasty.
“I am hungry, I am incorrigible, I AM MAN”
So, no, eating a slice of pizza won’t turn you into a life-size pie (although, admittedly, that’d be kinda awesome), but long-held gender stereotypes that the media perpetuates are what makes a woman order a salad on a date when she really wants the steak.
Some of this food gendering is subtle, like Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman categorizing recipes on her website as “Cowboy Food” (ie. Beef Fajitas and Chicken Nachos) and “Cowgirl Food” (Zucchini Noodles and Sesame Chicken Salad), but a lot of it is more in-your-face, like when Man V. Food host Adam Richman declared that his burger had the “biggest buns in Texas.” Because, obviously, the female body is akin to something that can be consumed, duh.
While dumb commercials, unnecessary categorizing, and sexist TV shows are certainly annoying, I think the only way to break through this gastronomic glass ceiling is to simply stop worrying about what others are eating. Quit judging the girl that orders the bacon cheeseburger or the guy who goes on a juice cleanse and focus on yourself.
The beauty of food is in its ability to transcend perceived differences and remind us of our common humanity. Food should bring people together, not stratify them further.
So, guys, if you wanna eat tofu and kale, go for it.
Ladies, if you wanna skip the salad and get the burger, go for it.
Hell, you should even pay the extra $3 and get bacon on it. It’s the right thing to do.