Eat Like A Man, But Don't Get Fat


Photograph: Melissa Maples

On the heels of Esquire's meat and chili-filled "Eat Like a Man" section comes this story by Zach Weisberg about how obese people face job discrimination, and how some companies are offering incentives for employees to slim down.

Practicing outright fat discrimination is deplorable no matter who you are, but this can be a particularly charged issue for men. Eating heartily is a classic trademark of being a "real man," a notion reinforced by TV Dinners, and fast-food joints like Hardee's (or Carl's Jr.) and Burger King. In order to be masculine, it seems you have to have the intestinal fortitude of a steel lumberjack, and must eat fatty food, such as burgers and wings. In order to get or keep a job, however, you're expected to stay fit and trim so you don't raise your company's health-insurance premiums.

While Esquire is asking why pushing people to be "healthier" (read: not be fat) is a bad thing, it simultaneously spends precious pages in its print edition on blatantly seductive shots of food and articles about steakhouses in Montana that serve giant slabs of beef on a plate. At least women's magazines are consistent enough to fill their pages with stick-thin models and make you feel bad about eating.

Welcome to the world of conflicting standards, boys.

Rachael Oehring

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Comment Feed

  1. "Welcome to the world of conflicting standards, boys." AMEN.

    I think part of it is that many have lost a since of personal responsibility. Add to that the busy lives we lead and food often becomes that stuff we eat on the fun that is absolutely horrible for us. The Hardee's commercials have been very successful in playing upon desire and easy of access and that combo is something marketing agencies work to exploit. Who is to blame? That gets dicey.

    Unless of course your a class action trial lawyer.

  2. Hey Rachael, While I agree with your overall point about the hypocrisy of Esquire, I'd challenge the underlying hypocritical assumption embedded in your own facile statement: "it simultaneously spends precious pages in its print edition on blatantly seductive shots of food and articles about steakhouses in Montana that serve giant slabs of beef on a plate." Wherein, you seem to be uncritically rehearsing this common fallacy of the dietary/nutritionisa cabal: "red meat is bad for you."

    That is, simply, false.

  3. gcb

    I gotta agree with Jon P above - it's not the steaks that are going to make you fat. If anything, it's the fries/baked potato!

    By way of example, I spent a month in Argentina, and ate steak and salad twice a day while I was there. I lost weight, because I was not taking in any starchy carbs, and I was never hungry between meals. This, by the way, is the root of the "paleo diet" - if you eat "people food", rather than fodder (i.e. grains), you lose weight without being hungry. The recent meta-study written up in AJCN showed the link between animal fats and CVD to be specious at best, so please stop spreading lies about delicious steaks!

  4. I wasn't disparaging red meat itself, I was disparaging the fact that, in order to be considered a man, you have to eat a crap ton of it. Hence, why I used the term "giant slabs." You could insert chicken or bacon or tofu into that sentence and it wouldn't be any less true; that just happened to be one of the specific examples from the magazine itself that detailed the hypocrisy of their argument in the article which I was discussing.

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