Dude Food is a Thing and Yes, You Should Care
Marketing to women vs. men is not a new concept. Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, right? And right now, there’s a real amplifier on the pros and cons of gender-specific marketing in the media (see: Gillette’s latest ad on toxic masculinity).
But now, gender-specific marketing is hitting the food scene pretty hard with the growing trend of “Dude Food.”
Food marketers are targeting the “ultimate” man with over-the-top culinary creations that rely heavily on meaty dishes that feature exaggerated ingredients like whiskey, barbecue sauce, and bacon. Think: doughnut burgers (bacon, cheddar cheeseburgers sandwiched between two glazed doughnuts) or Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt (a grilled cheese sandwich with fried mozzarella sticks between the sourdough bread). The trend speaks to anything that can be deemed “masculine,” and they’re not exactly calorie friendly.
The trend amplifies a common misconception where we associate grilling and barbecuing as “manly.” Fire, meat, a can of beer, and Dad’s Kiss the Cook apron – it’s a recipe for a stereotype that we’ve seen 100x times in pop culture and beyond.
Marketers have caught on.
One quick tour of the cookbook aisle at your local bookstore (or on Amazon) and you’ll see titles directed at this manly phenomenon. “Dude Food: A Guy’s Guide to Cooking Kick-Ass Food,” “Man Food: Good For for a Food Time,” “The Dude Diet: Clean(ish) Food for People Who Like to Eat Dirty” – the list goes on.
The Psychology Behind “His” & “Hers” Foods
Thanks to the era of Instagram, we’ve all been saturated with the side-by-side photos of the same meal, one labeled “his” and the other labeled “hers.” The one noticeable difference – portion size.
This idea that women and men eat drastically different from one other based on gender doesn’t end there. Evidence shows that both women and men consider some foods to be feminine (think: salads, acai bowls, and avocado toast) or masculine (hello rare steaks, ribs, double bacon cheeseburgers). Unfortunately, for men, the masculine food is usually more calorie-dense and is more likely to consist of foods that may have long-term health implications.
The likelihood of eating more plants and less meat or vice versa may be due to your gender, according to one survey, which found that women have a higher intake of fruits and vegetables while men consume more animal protein. Another study published in 2013 in Psychology of Men & Masculinity found that men have more pro-meat attitudes than women do, which helps to confirm the theory that men eat meat because it “makes them feel like real men.”
What a joke.
It’s no secret that this pattern of “manly” eating may have negative health implications since research shows that eating less animal protein and more plants can have a positive impact on health. This is one of the reasons why a “dude food” diet is concerning for men over the long term.
It's time to rethink what “Eating Like a Man” looks like.
With the Super Bowl around the corner, your Game Day menu is the perfect time to rethink what you’re serving. Sure – we all love hot wings and Buffalo Chicken dip, but learn to make healthier versions or serve a dip with vegetable crudité too.
What We Were Talking About in 2018: Super Bowl Eats: Green Pea, Chickpea, Cauliflower "Meatballs"
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