Sunday, January 30, 2011

Being Healthy Isn’t Unmanly

I saw this commercial for Applebee's and it got me thinking about eating healthy in relationship to gender. I know what the ad is trying to portray, that eating healthy isn’t considered “manly” and I realized this is a common belief in our culture. But why?

Or how about this radio ad for Bud Light. These commercials are about as manly as they come- “Real Men” of Genius. Why is an all you can eat buffet “manly”?

I find it interesting looking at the ads that are marketed towards men versus the ads marketed towards women. Foods that are considered “diet” foods are more often marketed toward women. Can you imagine a commercial, like either of the ones above, with women in them instead of men? Not likely because for a woman to like all you can eat buffets would be just plain wrong and for women to order anything OTHER than meals with less than 500 calories would be even more taboo in our culture. Right? At least that’s what advertising and media in general leads us to believe.

I can just imagine the kind of ridicule a man would get if he ordered a salad when he was out with the guys. I can just imagine the kind of looks a woman would get if she ordered a juicy steak when all of her friends ordered salads with no croutons or cheese and dressing on side. Men are to order steak, cheeseburgers and bacon, and women are to order fish, salads and nothing with cheese or butter.

My main point is that making healthy choices is not unmanly. It’s smart. It means that he is informed. It means he cares about himself and his health. It means he wants to be around to grow old with you. It means so many things, but it does not make him less of a man.

I could never see my husband ordering a salad as his main course when we dine out. Do men just like different food than women? Would a woman order whatever she wanted if she wasn’t looked down on for it? Would a man?

So why is there the double standard for men versus women? What are your thoughts on this? 


  1. This is definitely interesting to think about, the only male driven weight loss ad I've seen recently was the Dan Marino Nutrisystem ad that's been on TV recently. I think they have a special "male" food package or something. There might also be some supplement ads like hydroxycut that have pictures of men but other than that, yes, you do figure that a man would get ridiculed if they didn't order something manly.

    Maybe it's because women are more vocal about their weight loss goals, but guys don't really talk much about it. ????

  2. Well, let's just talk about the general double standard for men and women LOL!!!

    I think grocery foods are what are geared towards women because women usually do the majority of food shopping.

  3. I think it has a lot to do with how women are told from an early age what beauty is and there's a lot of pressure to fit into that cookie cutter body type. I personally haven't seen near the amount of pressure for men to have toned buns n' thighs, you know? Men are definitely pressured, but not to look good in a bikini :) Thus the much larger market for diet tools targeted at women rather than men. Just my opinion!

  4. You're absolutely right. As @Weas said, there's not much in the weight loss directed towards men. A few of the supplements are, but actual programs are geared to women. Cheers, Rick

  5. I have a hubby who will always order a salad...before his huge meal lol. Seriously, though, I agree not much seemed to be geared towards men.


    My boyfriend eats meat and I'm vegan, but we never even come close to eating similarly. Most of the time, he doesn't even try what I make.

    I don't think it has anything to do with what each gender likes, I think it has to do with a few other things. One being that women are always watching what they eat. Two is that many women don't like eating in public, so get the healthiest thing on the menu (often) so that they don't feel judged about eating something unhealthy.

    This post is just really interesting. If I go out with my female friends, we usually get a salad and a veggie burger, or some soup and a small sandwich. But when I've gone out with my boyfriend and his friends, they often will get buffalo wings, fries, mozzerella sticks, hamburgers, etc...

    And I don't think it's that women don't like those foods that the men are eating. I think they either they know it's not as healthy, or they really just feel more satisfied with what they get. Even though the "man food" might taste a bit better (depending on people's opinions), the "woman food" is usually more filling.

  7. The Real Men of Genius ads were my absolute favorite ads ever! And that Applebee's commercial is SO dumb! I hate the dieting and food taboos. It's time that we break these, starting with ourselves. If I want a steak, I'm getting a steak!! Also, my husband and I went to Red Robin the other day, and he got a salad and I got the turkey burger! Talk about role reversal. The lady who brought out our food thought the salad was for me. HA!

  8. I thought the same thing when I saw that! There really is a double standard, especially in the media. On TV, a girl who orders the steak, potatoes, and other high calorie foods is always kind of highlighted, like, "Wow, she can really eat!"

    I find it hard to eat well around people who aren't concerned with calories and such, but I am sure it is much worse for a guy, especially around his friends.

    I guess dieting is considered "girly" by the media and common sterotypes. I mean, I just started blogging about my weight loss and am following others who are too... and I haven't come across one male blog! It's interesting...

  9. That's totally true. My husband scoffs at me anytime I mention him ordering a salad. The more meat and cheese thats on it, the more likely he is to order it. Though, he's still as thin as can be.

    I think that while guys struggle with their weight, there are way more women than the men, and the women are held to a much higher standard of "thin" than men, so we're constantly working at it much harder.


  10. There is a double standard and it sucks! Usually when we go out, the husband will ask me what he should order and we will end up ordering someting similar, but that's probably not the norm!


  11. Hmm.. I’d never paid much attention to gender specific diet foods. That’s odd!
    On a different issue, I saw a post the other day that had a picture of a boat and it said “MEN, protect what matters” 1-800-DIVORCE. Ugh!! So wrong!



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