Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Man Food, Again

Are you kidding me with this book?

It's called: Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys

Product Description (I shit you not. Also, emphasis in original.):

"Civilize the wild beasts in your life, one meal at a time."

From Publisher's Weekly:

"Television host and Martha Stewart Living's Executive Food Director, Quinn forays into the tricky world of feeding men with this colorful volume, awash in Stewart's clean, classy and crowd-pleasing aesthetic. Though the emphasis is on men, Quinn's instructions keep the whole family in mind, especially the woman doing the cooking..."

One helpful tip: "Never be caught without bacon"


Just, in general, what is so especially tricky about "feeding" men as opposed to "feeding" women? Do these purported differences really necessitate a special book devoted to the topic? Can't "the woman doing the cooking" just pretty much fix herself a salad and buy the wildebeasts' food in bulk from, like, Petco?

Taking a peek inside, I read the introduction, barfed, made a few farting noises, and then knew ya'll would want to see it:

"Men eat differently from women- they eat more, they eat constantly, and they eat passionately. They ransack a packed refrigerator and scrounge crumbs from an empty one. They eat standing in front of the fridge, and they eat with their fingers. They always make a mess and never notice."

So, I do a lot of those things too as do, I suspect, many other women. Especially my lovely girlfriend, whose crumbs I am constantly wiping up. Because I'm the lady. But she cooks too. And we both like food. But we're both women. Are men and boys are sneaking into our house, raiding our fridge, and leaving crumby messes on our countertops? SO confusing. (OMG, marketing opp. I can see it already: The Hunger: Satiating the Lesbian in Your Life)

On a serious note, we see here how the gender binary is perpetuated for marketing purposes in that gross essentialist Men Are From Mars manner. Because men and women are so very different, they apparently have vastly different feeding habits. Therefore, a book needs to be written, and then bought, on how women can feed the men in their lives.

Notice, too, how being passionate about eating is presented as being somewhat endearing when it's men and boys doing the eating. As in, ho ho ho boys will be boys, what with all their amazing bottomless pits of stomachs! as though being really hungry sometimes is a "male" thing instead of a human thing. This framing is similar to how authenticity in male appearance is sometimes heralded as Real Manhood while authenticity in female appearance is framed as "masculine" and "un-feminine."

I mean, can you even imagine a book existing on how men can feed the voraciously hungry women and girls in their lives? Hunger in women is unbecoming. It is manly. And most importantly, a book giving girls and women the entitlement to feel okay and natural for loving food would put a real damper on the market telling us not to.

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