I was not impressed by “A Wing-sperience to Remember,” the article about the Wing Bowl, a competitive eating contest of who can eat the most buffalo wings. Celebrating the worst of things all things American, it glorified gluttony with a side display of sexism.
In a world where too many American children go to bed hungry, a world where Congress cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and a public school took lunches away from its students because the parents were behind on the bills, publicly celebrating excessive eating is callous and wasteful.
I’m also curious as to how competitive eating is considered a sport. We admire athletes because they push their bodies to maximize physical strength through rigorous training and a good diet. Beer and buffalo wings, especially when consumed in excess, do not meet these standards.
The experience is sexist as well. Showing scantily clad women and the presence of a “can cam” is appalling and objectifies these women’s bodies for money. Whether they are willing participants or not, their bodies are being used to peddle beer and wings, while those of the men who attend are not. The added element of crowd coercion and jeering makes this choice seem more like coercion. The author concludes that the event must be okay because a “female” won. Such a statement is dehumanizing because it uses the word “female,” reducing the winner to just her female anatomy, and is also akin to stating that racism is no longer a problem in this country because we have a biracial president.
The DP’s coverage brushed over the sexist aspects of the event, used dehumanizing language and even featured a bikini-clad model next to a regularly clad male attendee. It also glorified the ability to consume to excess in an era when many are struggling to survive. I hope, in the future, the DP looks at non-traditional competitions and sports with a more sensitive eye.
Caitlin Dougherty, CAS ‘14
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