It is widely regarded that a healthy diet protects against major illness. Men on the whole however, are not given to healthy eating and lifestyle practices, although recent reports from the Department for Health (2009) suggest men’s health awareness is beginning to change.
One reason for men’s slow up-take of a healthy lifestyle and eating practices is the meanings men attach to food and the relationship between diet and health (Gough, 2007). Historically, diet and the concern with healthy eating have been associated with feminised ideals and practices which centre on consumption, health and embodiment (Gill, Henwood & McLean, 2005). These associations put pressure on men to conform to conventional masculine identity projects with their disinterest in health and appearance. The recent launch of the Super Scooby provides an interesting example of how masculine ideals can absolve men from changing their health-defeating ways.
The Metro’s article about the ‘Super Scooby’ with its ‘artery-busting 2,645 calories’ draws on conventional masculine identity markers, which allow men to engage unproblematically in eating the unhealthy meal. For example the ‘Super Scooby’ is offered to ‘real men’ who are willing to take up the challenge to ‘beat the (as yet unbeaten) beast’. Indeed, the ‘Super Scooby’ provides a man-size portion of meat with its eight rashers of bacon and four burgers (Gough 2007). Irony and humour (see Benwell, 2004) are also frequently used to mock health concerns associated with eating the burger ‘health concerns haven’t been completely ignored – the monster burger contains some salad. It boasts two lettuce leaves and six slices of tomato… accounting for all of 29 calories’.
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