Of course today’s New York Times article, “The Fat Pack Wonders if the Party’s Over” is timely since I write about food and am apparently at death’s door. But what I was gratified to see was a focus on my most loathed double standard: fat dudes—in Hollywood, in media, and yes, the culinary world—getting a pass.
I honestly don’t care about strangers’ BMIs but when people fixate over Nigella Lawson’s fat ass and gut, while Mario Batali is revered as some lovable carrot-topped, Bacchus, I can’t ignore it.
I’m not sure if it was because there is a lack of female fatsos in food journalism (though that tends to be true—it’s much more fashionable to attend events and write about chefs and trends, or even cook, while eating sparingly) but there weren’t many substantial anecdotes involving women in this article. Pam Anderson (not the Pam Anderson) gets mentioned; she is a diet book author who writes for USA Today and has zilch to do with gluttonous food bloggers. Mimi Sheraton is name checked, though I’m not certain that she was ever obese. The only concrete example given was Marlena Spieler, a SF Chronicle columnist who’s lost over ninety pounds. That’s it, there’s one formerly fat lady writer in the country. Not that the bias doesn’t amuse me.
But it brings up the other end of the spectrum. It seems like gluttony is only frowned upon if it physically shows. As long as you maintain a svelte figure, you can practically brag about culinary excess.
The article I’d like to see would be about skinny women who profess to eat whatever they want, and whether or not such a freakish condition truly exists. There are the women with obvious eating disorders who make such statements but if you actually tracked what they ingest you’d find nothing more than lots of hyphenated non-foods like Tic-Tacs, Tasti D-Lite and Emergen-C. I am not interested in these women.
I’m fascinated (and disgusted) by females who do seem to eat whatever they want, are small in stature and document it on the internet. These are the predominantly Asian (American and otherwise) girls that I have no personal beefs with but kind of love to hate. (This list is now quite dated, but I would be shocked if even 1% of these gazillion bloggers were hefty.) There is something awe inspiring and perverse about tiny women eating everything in sight, I won’t deny it. I mean, who would want to read about a Japanese/Thai/Korean/Chinese lass snacking with abandon or fine dining around the world if she weighed 250 pounds? Other than feeder/gainer fetishists, of course.
I hate it when people say that haters are just jealous because sometimes you just hate. But in this case it’s pure jealousy. I have no shame.
I’m all for personal responsibility, and one can only blame genes for so much. With that said, my family tree is thick-trunked not spindly. One side is a tall, hearty (I was just bitching about people who can’t grasp bare/bear but I’ll admit that hardy/hearty confounds me) beefy Germanic mish mash, the other is stereotypically Mexican: short, stocky, rotund and all die before retirement age. Litheness doesn’t come naturally. I can’t think of a single thin relative, medium-to-large, maybe, but definitely not thin.
My one solace is that my cholesterol is perfectly normal and I’ve never had a problem with it. And anyone with common sense knows that fat doesn’t make you fat (and that exercise alone doesn’t make you thin–I do love Gary Taubes’s propensity for myth-busting). My heart and pancreas may eventually give out but I’ll be nibbling on carnitas and pork belly while it happens.