the one where i rant about bacon

Posted on Jul 20, 2012 in Food

I was originally going to write a post all about canning for today—and even have an awesome giveaway from Ball jars for you—but that’ll have to wait until next week, because, kids, I’ve got something to say. And it probably isn’t going to be popular.

I’m annoyed by bacon.

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that bacon and really, other kinds of “naughty” stigma foods, have become really hip and trendy. I know it sounds silly to say food has become trendy, but when you can walk into an Urban Outfitters and find a whole section of bacon-themed goods, it’s trendy. Hipsters, unite!

Now, I have no issues with bacon itself. In fact, quite the opposite. I freaking love bacon. It’s delicious! And good with just about everything. Bacon rocks! I’d actually love to be noming on some bacon rightthisverysecond.

My issue with bacon is the fact that it (and again, other not-so-healthy foods) have become this calling card for women to project their care-free approach to eating. I don’t have disordered eating! You know why? Because I eat lots of bacon! I put bacon on everything! I love bacon! I’m slender and like bacon! Look how cute and quirky I am!  I can eat twenty pounds of bacon and still fit into my Daisy Dukes! That’s balance! 

And that, in-and-of-itself, is even fine, in moderation. My real problem with this whole situation is the complete and total double-standard.

I really a lot of blogs. A lot of blogs. And a whole lot of those are food blogs. And the vast majority of them are written by beautiful, intelligent, clever, creative women (or else, I wouldn’t read them, obviously). But I’ve noticed an insane double standard when it comes to posting decadent recipes. A hypothetical example: a slender, single-digit-sized blogger can post a recipe with bacon and chocolate and cheese and twenty pounds of pork rinds and get lauded for how carefree she is about food. She’s a hero! She’s skinny AND eats like that! She must be super woman!

The double-standard comes in when a more zaftig blogger posts a similar recipe. I have my fair share of decadent desserts on this blog (which are way out-numbered by healthified, clean-eating recipes, by the way) and I have gotten multiple emails and comments telling me I shouldn’t be posting recipes like that. I’m not being a good role model. I’m celebrating obesity. I’m being irresponsible. I’ve even been told I should just stop trying to pretend I’m healthy because I post a recipe for Butterfinger Cheesecake or Bacon and Brie Mac and Cheese every now and again. Somehow, because I weigh 75+ pounds more than your “average” blogger it’s downright offensive that I post food like that. How dare I! I’m fat. I should be eating kale only! I’m a terrible role model!

If you’re a size six and eat bacon, you’re a hero! But if you’re a size 16 and eat it, you should be berated for your bad behavior. Why, hello there, double-standard. Nice to see you.

Oh wait, not really.

It’s not only in the blog world, obviously. It’s rampant in all of our media. You all know I love Gilmore Girls, but one of the top things I can’t stand about it (right behind Alexis Bledel’s painfully awkward hugs) is the portrayal of their diet of candy, fried food, take-out and coffee as cute and quirky. We’re led to believe that it’s an adorable characteristic that these naturally slender women can binge on pizza and cookie dough for seven straight seasons without gaining an ounce. There is something endearing about their pig out sessions. Why? Because it’s cute when skinny girls pig out. But there is article after article chastising Mike and Molly for portraying an overweight couple that eats unhealthy foods. Oh hey, double-standard is double. It’s okay for the beautiful skinny girls to eat like crap, but showing the fatties eating like crap is disgusting!

And what about the infamous Burger King bacon sundae? It finds itself in the center of the obesity debate. How dare they come out with such a fat-laden, caloric food in the midst of the obesity crisis! Yet, if a slender chef on Food Network suggested a similar recipe or a bacon sundae recipe shows up in the pages of a glossy magazine, it’s cheered. Now I’m in no way condoning the consumption of fast food, but what’s the difference? Why is it such a terrible thing from Burger King but so innovative and fun from someone else?

So why is it okay in our culture to be skinny and eat crappy, but not be fat and eat crappy? To me, there isn’t much difference. Even worse, it seems like to be skinny and eat crappy is even better than to be fat and eat healthy. How in the heck does that make any sense? In high school, I was the smallest I’ve ever been. I was about 50 pounds lighter than I am now, I lived on a diet of Honey Buns from the school vending machine and Mountain Dew. Let me tell you, I feel better, more alive, more energetic now at 50 pounds heavier than I ever did then. Food matters. And I think it matters a heck of a lot more than dress size.

I say, let’s eat bacon. Let’s all eat bacon, if that’s your thing! But let’s do it in moderation and without it being a social commentary on our eating styles. Just because I eat bacon every now and again doesn’t make me a lazy lardass who can’t control her eating habits and just because a slender girl eats bacon doesn’t make her the epitome of balanced eating. So let’s stop treating certain foods as if they speak volumes. Let’s stop celebrating slender women for eating something “bad” and let’s stop shaming overweight women for doing the same. Because neither of those are productive.

In general, let’s just…judge less, k? You with me?

Now go make yourself a B.L.T.

What do you think? Do you see the double standard? Do you think it’s fair? Am I overreacting? Do you think overweight people should be shamed for making poor choices? Do you think slender people should be celebrated for making the same choices? Do you think food choices should be judged, period?

144 Comments

  1. Wow – I read this this morning, and came back to comment – and see 95 comments! You hit a nerve. I had to write because I was thinking of you as I was in the drive-thru window at KFC feeling guilty to be there! I hate that I feel guilt about anything I eat – I know I’m not perfect, and I exercise, eat well, and go off the edge now and again. I just try to have the good food outweigh the bad. But why, then, do allow myself to feel bad, and hope not to be seen in a drive thru line?
    As far as bacon – I live 260 miles from Portland, OR, home of Voodoo Doughnuts – home of the bacon-maple bar! Heaven on earth! I had one after I ran a 15K, and plan to have one after my marathon in October! No guilt when eaten AFTER I’ve done something – but then again, why should I feel this sense of checks and balances? Sometimes I just want to sit and eat junk and watch a movie and NOT do anything to earn my snacks.
    You really outdid yourself on this blog -it should be submitted to a broader audience – who else do you write for? Go for it!

    • I despise feeling guilty about food. Whatever it is! The rare times I do buy a Mountain Dew or Combos (YUM!) I am always terrified I’m going to run into someone and they are going to see me eating bad food. Of course, those are MY issues. Things I need to recover from.

      And I keep hearing about Voodoo Doughnuts!

  2. America has such a completely skewed relationship with food. We really do. And honestly, it’s saddening. It’s sad that I spend an hour in Wal-Mart (which I usually avoid, preferring to find ways to fit my budget at other stores just because of the crowds) and all I walk away with are non-perishables because they think it’s okay to have the produce literally MOLDING in the cases, but the line for the fried foods at the deli is 15 people long! How is that okay?

    And I love pinterest, but I had to stop clicking on the food topic because of the one-up-manship that came with it. Even if you searched for something healthy, you still ended up with “healthy” brownies wrapped in cookies covered in reese’s alternatives which aren’t healthy at all because they’re made with processed chemical “food” that isn’t really food at all!

    • YES. YES! The Walmart thing! We were in Meijer yesterday and there was an obscene aisle of no-name potato chips, but they organic produce section was so sad.

      And I really wish Pinterest broke down their categories a little more. The Food & Drink section is 95% obnoxious desserts. Which is great, for the one time of year when you need an obnoxious dessert, not so great for the other 364 days.

  3. Lets not forget the awful “Oh, you’re Jewish and don’t eat bacon? Your entire life is wrong.”

    Obviously, the double standard about women is much more disturbing, but I am SO effing sick of all the hipster bacon crap. And yes I’m Jewish, and I get so tired of because I don’t eat bacon sundaes/bacon donuts/bacon m&ms or Mt. Dew or whatthefuckever bacon non-food is being pushed these days, I can’t ever be a foodie or an adventurous eater.

    • Oh gosh, I hadn’t even thought about that! You are so right.

  4. I don’t read many blogs, I don’t look at pinterest, I don’t tweet, I don’t have time (I am a 43 year old working mom mom of a 14 and 10 year old) but I do read your blog – this post is why!

    • Awww, thank you so much! :)

  5. <3 I don't think I've ever commented on your blog but I wanted to say that yours is one of my absolute favorites and even though I have this weird thing where I have to read the blogs in order on my reader, I always skip to yours when I see it. :)

    I guess I am your stereotypical "slender" food blogger who makes bacon chocolate chip cookies and talks about how I ate the entire batch. (Which I did.) Do I get judged less because I'm "thin"? I have no idea – I've never had anyone comment about it which I guess answers the question. I don't think anyone has a right to shame others for eating what they want and honestly, if someone decided to school me on what I should/shouldn't be eating, they'd probably get a pretty nasty email in return. Eating is an incredibly personal thing and we all have a right to make those decisions for ourselves. Maybe I don't agree with what you (general you) put in your body, but it's not my flippin' body so I'm not going to spend my time worried about it.

    Anyway, I just woke up so I have no idea if that made any sense. I eat a slice of bacon before my workouts. It's easy, gives me some protein to get going, and doesn't make me want to puke. Bacon is good. :)

    • Thank you so much, Amanda! I think you are totally right about shaming. Not only do people not have the right, but it’s also totally not productive! I’ve never met anyone who changed their eating habits because they were shamed into it.

  6. I haven’t read through all the comments so I’m sure I’ll be repeating what others have said. I agree with you. Celebrating unhealthful eating, or thinking it’s cute/trendy/whatever is not cool. I don’t care if the person eating the food is fat, skinny, old, or young, bacon and other unhealthy foods shouldn’t be put on any sort of pedestal. Is it okay to eat them and indulge sometimes, no matter what your size? Sure. But leave it at that. It’s not hip; it’s not admirable in any way. It’s a part of life. No one eats a perfect diet all the time and that’s fine. I’m so completely sick of the infatuation with bacon. Get over it, already.

    • Yup! Here, here! :)

  7. Hi Cassie!

    Great post! I don’t have much to add that hasn’t been said before, but I thought you might enjoy this post, which looks at the stereotype that “Any fat person eating a salad or exercising is trying to lose weight.” It’s part of a series of posts about stereotypes about overweight people that you might find interesting!

    http://www.shakesville.com/2012/06/fatsronauts-101_20.html

    Thanks!

    • That is such an awesome post, Lesley! Thanks for sending it along. So many great points are made. :) I love the part about how we can’t know by just looking at food if it’s healthy or not. And even so, something might look healthier if it’s being eaten by a slim person versus an overweight person. Fascinating!

  8. I was JUST having this conversation with someone the other day. I’m a size 18/20. I’m not small, never have been and I dream but probably never will be. Most days I’m okay with that.

    It’s AH-DORABLE when a super thin friend eats two plates of food at a bbq but I eat a hamburger, no bun, AND a piece of bbq chicken and it’s like “Shew girl, we gotta get on a diet tomorrow.” WHY!?!?!? Why do thin people get to eat until their heart is content but I don’t? Don’t our arteries clog the same way?!

    • Ugh! Food judging in general is just…horrible. It’s horrible that we’ve, as a society, made food something to feel guilty about. It tastes good for a reason. We are supposed to enjoy it!

  9. Bravo Cassie!!! I loved this blog so much I made my fiance listen as I read it out loud to him. You just made me realize that I’ve been giving him excuses to eat like crap just because he ‘only’ needs to lose about 30 pounds where I need to lose about 100. I excuse him for eating crap food while I am eating healthy because ‘he’s not the one who needs to 100 pounds’. I need to stop doing that. Double Standard.

    • I’m guilty of doing it, too. I’ll serve Babyface a bigger portion while giving myself something smaller, even though I probably need more calories than he does!

  10. love this post!! There are way too many double standards, not just in the blogging world, but everywhere…You have the answer–let’s just stop judging each other!

    • Yup! Wouldn’t it be amazing if it was just a switch that we turned off? No more judging!

  11. Cassie…another great article and you make so many points that really hit home for me. I hate that double standard, but what I hate even more is that I wish that I were thin so that then I COULD eat whatever I want and not worry about what someone will think when I am …eating at a public event…buying food in the grocery store…That’s pretty sad. I try to eat 80/20 but because I’m heavier, people assume I know nothing about good food choices. Most of the time I want to say, “hey I know a LOT more about good food choices than you, you fool” hello, let’s compare grocery carts…mine full of fruits and veggies, dairy…yours filled with processed boxed items! DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!!
    Okay, end of rant! I guess I really needed to vent my frustrations as well. I think many people feel this type of double standard and appreciate reading a commentary that points its finger to the wrongness of this by our society.
    As always, I love your blog and keep on doing what your doing!
    **I love Gilmore Girls too and I also think to myself…NO TWO people could eat as much as they do and be as thin as they are :) Just re-watched the Movie Night with Dean and still can’t get over all the junk food!

    • I constantly worry that people are judging me for my food choices, especially in the grocery store. And to be honest, I’m guilty of it too. More than once I’ve looked at a mother with a bunch of kids and a cartful of junk food and though, “If only she knew…’ but really, who am I to judge her?

  12. Thank you for this post. This post (for me) spoke less to how other people make assumptions about my weight and my choices, and more about how I’m constantly reacting and acting in fear of those assumptions (even when they aren’t even happening), and how I make those very assumptions myself! I’m constantly watching how I behave in front of other people just waiting for how they might judge me. I’ll deny myself a treat at the grocery store thinking “if I buy this, the check-out person is going to think this is why I’m fat”. And even worse, I’m constantly partaking in this double-standard with regard to the way my slender boyfriend and I eat. I’ll whine that he “gets” to eat treats because he’s skinny, but I can’t because I’m fat. I’ll insist he take much bigger portions and sometimes deny myself full meals because I don’t “get” to eat like he does. Like it’s some sort of gift he’s been granted and I’m missing out on – the power of skinny.

    • I do the same thing! I give my husband larger portions because he “can” eat it. Which isn’t right. I “can” eat it too!

  13. When I started thinking about a theme for my blog, I quickly pushed the health and fitness idea to the side. I eat pretty healthy and I love working out but sometimes I don’t.

    Sometimes I enjoy creating the most cheese dripped, meat stuffed sandwich possible. I can go a week without working out.

    I knew I would feel some sort of guilt if I were to eat from the Burger King window. Also, I’m not your typical single digit blogger. I felt that I wouldn’t be taken seriously.

    Reading about your experience sadly confirmed my suspicions. I think it’s unfortunate women are judge so harshly on their size. When are we going to get over this?

    • I love writing a health and fitness blog that shows the “real” side of it. And I hope people appreciate it, too. There are way too many perfect health and fitness bloggers out there (or, at the very least, all they project on their blog is perfection). It just isn’t realistic.

      I’m not sure we’re ever going to get over it. Which makes me so, so sad.

  14. COMPLETELY agree with this post! Drives me nuts. The idea that it’s ok for skinny people to chow down on junk but not overweight people is just mind boggling to me. It basically just encourages the idea that the way you look is more important than taking care of yourself and being health. So crazy!

  15. Cassie –

    Thank you for writing what clearly so many of us feel (based on the comments here alone). The double standards that are in every aspect of our lives seem to be punctuated by those that we impose on our eating habits – it’s such a raw nerve for so many of us, so many of us that have struggled through the last (goodnessonlyknowshowmany) pounds multiple times.

    We judge ourselves and others, and yet we are the only ones who carry the sum total of our life experiences.

    Thank you for sharing yours.

  16. Love this. Sharing it.

    I just started Weight Watchers two weeks ago, and had no idea that BK had come out with a bacon sundae..now I may need to change my route home so I’m not tempted to blow a week’s worth of points.

    First time reading your blog, glad I found it! Rock on.

  17. I just had to chime in to say I totally agree! It makes no sense at all. No one eats 100% “clean” all the time anyways. Whatever that even means, because it’s different for everyone. Everyone needs treats and has special occasions and no one should be judged for those! Thank you so much for writing this!

  18. By the time I got to the end of your post, I was fist-pumping along with you. Way to say it, sister!! And thank you!

    By the way, have you ever tried kale braised with bacon? It’s delicious. :)

    Your blog is a great new find for me, looking forward to more.

  19. I was talking about this at my Bootcamp class tonight (in which none of us are skinnies, but all are attempting to be healthies). One of the other women (there are four of us) commented that she forgot her workout clothes at home, so she ran to Target on her lunch break to get workout clothes.

    Only, they don’t MAKE workout clothes for people who are qualified as plus-size (aka, average).

    Oh, the irony!

    They don’t make workout clothes for those women who they implore on every tv show known to man to ‘get moving’. The articles in every magazine you read often say ‘get yourself a new workout outfit to kick your new regimen off right’…only, what if you don’t FIT into the cute workout clothes and are, instead, relegated to wearing the tent-like t-shirts you’re trying to hard to un-embrace?

  20. I cannot believe people actually take time to email you and give you crap about posting what I call “indulgent” recipes!!! I call them “indulgent” recipes…not “every-day” recipes for a reason…you don’t freakin’ eat them everyday! I’m sorry you have to be put through that crap and it’s definitely not fair! I love all of your posts…keep ‘em up.

  21. I think it’s equally bad when skinny and larger people eat unhealthily ALL the time, but I don’t think it’s bad for people of either body type to treat themselves every once and a while. I do agree that there is a double standard in the media and the world around us that skinny people can eat unhealthily all they want and larger people shouldn’t, because the culture is completely focused on image, and the image being currently touted is a skinny one. So people that are naturally skinny are usually left alone as far as badgering goes about nutrition because they’ve already “arrived”.

    However, I believe that being healthy is more important than being skinny, so I don’t really think its okay for people of either body type to live completely unhealthy lifestyles..both should take care of their bodies and live a healthy lifestyle.

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