“NO! Please don’t eat my leftovers! Of course, I’m not going to eat them. But what if someone saw the empty plates and concluded that I alone ate the whole thing?!”
You mean you ate the food you paid for?
Oh, no. It’s a wonder that chair is not breaking beneath you. I’m definitely judging you now. Fatty. Obviously, this is not my response. It’s not my sister’s fault that she is made to feel self conscious about what she eats. It’s society’s. More directly, it’s the restaurant industry’s.
A food-lover, I never leave something on the plate that could be enjoyed. So when I see something leftover on Caroline’s plate, my stomach begs me to allow it the pleasure of digesting more yummy food.
Is it “lady like” to order a jumbo burger when everyone else at the table asks for a salad? Does it really matter what I order? Twenty-first century, right?
Max and Erma’s would expect me to feel ashamed about my calorie-heavy meal choice. Any dish I, a meat loving, gravy enthusiast would really enjoy probably will not have this label on their menu:
I’m a girl like Erma. Therefore, I must “be good” like a girl. I must order healthy like a girl. I mustn’t consume over 550 calories, for that would make a girl feel guilty.
If only I was a boy, I could order “Max” sized-meals that would be easy to finish even with my female stomach, but which contain almost double the calories of any “Erma” sized dish.
With their gender-oriented sizing, Max and Erma’s is perpetuating society’s philosophy that girls need to worry about what they eat. It is expected that women, more than men, are concerned about calorie counts and are happier ordering dishes that are lighter in portion, and, thus, more healthy.
This is a problem. Yes, health is extremely important. Certainly, no one needs to eat 1200-calorie burgers every day. That is, no one. Not only girls. Biologically, humans of similar fitness need the same amount of calories to sustain them each day; females do not necessarily need less than males.
Then why does Max and Erma’s continue to endorse these gender stereotypes? In doing so, they and other restaurants are encouraging female diners to be self conscious about the food they eat. This mindset is poisonous and can easily lead to unhealthy struggles with body image.
So, no thank you, Max and Erma’s. I do not need your meal suggestions. And I will not be tipping for your sexist advice.
Written by Kendall Silwonuk ’15
Photo by Kendall Silwonuk ’15