In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Women and Drinking

I’m so very excited to have been interviewed by Drinking Diaries as part of their series on women and drinking. Check out the whole site, which features commentary on women and booze culture. A bit of my interview:

Breakfast: Not Sexier than Before, but Funnier than Ever

Having a product called “Sexcereal” is funny enough.
Seriously promoting it as being full of foods that make you sexy is funny enough.
Having different versions of it for men and women is funny enough.

But honestly, the folks behind Sexcereal are in the wrong business. Hollywood pays big bucks for people who can be this hilarious:

Fighting bad health, not obesity

In the Guardian this week I’m writing about how advocates for healthy food and journalists covering addictive junk food should focus on the bad health outcomes of that food instead of body size. I differ with much of the Feministe commentariat on a lot of food issues, especially insofar as I think the government should absolutely incentivize healthy eating and exercise, and I’m fine with limiting sizes of nutritionally useless, almost-entirely-bad-for-you processed items like soda (I’m also fine leveling taxes on products like soda, alcohol, cigarettes, etc). I prefer positive incentives — letting food stamps count double at farmers’ markets, for example — but I’m fine with doing both. That’s because at a basic level, it is the government’s job to promote the public health. How we eat is central to our health. My issue comes in with the obesity justification. Promote everyone’s health, whether we’re fat or thin or somewhere in between — because bad food is damaging to all bodies, not just fat ones. A piece of the column:

Tip your servers

Laura Beck is right — if you’re budgeting to go out to eat, you need to include a tip in that. And you need to tip even if your waitress isn’t as pleasant as you’d like, and even if the service is imperfect. It is a gender issue, and servers (who are disproportionately female) need tips to make a living wage. I also suspect that female servers are more often on the receiving end of a bad tip for not adequately stroking a diner’s ego — not laughing enough at his jokes, not flirting back, not smiling. So tip! Yes, 20%, even if the service was mediocre.

More reasons not to eat at Applebees, Papa Johns or Denny’s

Just in case you weren’t aware that the owners of some big-chain restaurants and huge jerks, check out this piece by Matt Yglesias highlighting the temper-tantrums being thrown by the owners of Applebees, Denny’s and Papa Johns over Obamacare. Their problem? Under Obamacare, small businesses don’t incur any additional tax burden; businesses that already provide health insurance are also in the clear; and so are businesses that pay their employees a living wage. But businesses that both employ more than 25 people and pay extremely low wages have to put some money into the health care system. The multi-millionaires who pay their employees pennies and are the beneficiaries of Republican tax breaks don’t like that, and they’re throwing fits:

The Meat We Eat

True story: I was mostly vegetarian (technically pescetarian) for 11 years. Then I moved to Sardinia to be a nanny for an Italian family. After a few weeks of not eating any meat, I started to feel bad about the fact that the family always had to make a different dish for me, so I abandoned my vegetarianism. The first piece of meat that I tucked into was a tough little hockey puck with some garlic and butter on top. I figured it was over-cooked beef until, after polishing it off, the father of the family asked me if I enjoyed the cavallo.

Two pieces I love

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these two pieces over the last week or so:

A Woman’s Guide to Hasidic Street Harassment by Lilit Marcus over at Heeb Magazine and The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater by Erica over at NW Edible.

The first one has me thinking about how we police people within our own communities. I agree with Lilit Marcus, that I get even more angry misbehavior when it comes from within my community. Part of it is anger at hypocrisy when it comes from people who claim to be religious. But I think part of it is both shame and a bit of fear. Is this what people will think of when they think of Jews? How will that affect my own life and safety? And then, along those lines, what are the most effective methods for getting them to stop. The article also has me thinking about separating of the sexes. I know that this isn’t new! feminist! news! but I’m pretty convinced that the deep sexism that is present in the most extreme Jewish sects has a lot to do with rigid gender roles and, most of all, from the constant separation of men and women, even from childhood.

The NW Edible article is heartbreaking, because I know so many people, myself included, trying to navigate the clusterfuck that is our current understanding of nutrition. People want the best lives for themselves and their families, but at what cost? I think that, at a certain point, we need to just eat what we eat and understand that no food or diet is a panacea. No food or diet is going to save us from death or illness. We just do the best we can with the knowledge that we have, and that has to be sufficient. In part, I blame media outlets for reactionary reporting and not considering nuance in scientific writing. And article that says that food x is correlated with y condition with a careful discussion of the experimental parameters and a caution that this conclusion isn’t shared by other studies does not necessarily make for an exciting article. But it does make for a more informed public.