Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Macho Grub

As I ponder the online menu of Freshii, complete with a nutritional facts label that auto-calculates everything from calories, fats, cholesterol and salt content, I am flipping the browser tabs back and forth between this article on the Toronto Star website "Concerned with looking tough, men opt for macho grub".and mentally face-palming myself.
According to a new study, men really are concerned with eating manly foods, opting for a cup of Joe over a café latte, spaghetti with big homemade meatballs over a tomato and basil sauce, and salad piled with cold cuts and cheese over something more worthy of being called a salad.

The study, by researchers from the Kellogg School of Management at Chicago’s Northwestern University, suggests men are more likely than women to conform to gendered notions of food.
 It's unsettling that men are still so concerned about being perceived as tough and gruff that that perception manifests itself in our choices of food. But I am not in the list bit surprised. 
Food isn’t the only consumer product imbued with gendered meaning. Another experiment in the study looked at household objects instead of food — items like doorknobs, beds, tables and trash cans — offering participants a choice between angular, sharp-angled items and more rounded versions of the same items. 
Seriously?  Round foods are too feminine for most men?  So no tomatoes (or really any fruit for that matter)? I would readily give up my hexagonal trashcan for a plate of heirloom tomatoes right about now.

It is unfortunate that the end result of the study is the suggestion that women just deal with men's "masculine" eating habits "because women don’t really care so much about an item being perceived as masculine” while clearly men are scared half to death of being perceived as feminine, even though “(i)nitially men are trying to make choices, just like women, based on what tastes better, what they like better."

I would suggest instead, that men step back and realize that it shouldn't matter what other people think about their eating habits.

I think I'll have a chicken wrap with cucumber dill dressing, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes and bean sprouts.  416 calories!

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