Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Girls & Food (Part 1 of Food-Related Gender Posts)

A thought struck me the other day:  what is innate in (most) little girls that makes them act out “tea parties” with their friends & stuff animals?  And why is that trait missing in most little boys?  Lots of little girls get play kitchens & the complimentary accessories for toys.  Do girls naturally have an affinity for high end food?  Or any food, for that matter?  

Our society is probably coming closer to an equalizing point in this area, but studies still show that more girls than boys have eating disorders and anxiety about body image.  All of this is in direct relation to food.  I think most of us would agree that the stereotype of “emotional eating” is linked closer to girls than boys.  Recently on an episode of the TV show “Greek”, one of the female characters taught a male character how to cope with a breakup by eating a whole carton of ice cream with a spoon.  I’ve seen this play out on many TV shows and movies, where the female characters soothe themselves with ice cream.  Rarely (if ever) have I seen a male character do so.  Usually men in entertainment are depicted as coping with a breakup by going to a strip club or some other such nonsense.  (As much nonsense as a girl actually eating a whole container of ice cream – I’ve NEVER done this.  Though I could be alone in that, I doubt it.)

And I’m sure you’ve heard your boyfriend / husband / brother / father / co-worker / boss espouse that a particular restaurant (Panera Bread, perhaps) is a “chick” restaurant.  I’m not certain what traits these eateries possess that make them so, but I do understand what they’re saying.  I don’t agree that this has to be the case, but I get it. 

But to all this, I ask “Why?” 

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