Hillary Clinton's Ice Cream Calories Are None Of Your Business
When I first read that on Monday a reporter asked Hillary Clinton about the calorie count of her ice cream during a stop to Mikey Likes, a New York City ice cream shop, it earned the requisite eye roll and exasperated "Really?" Then I went from exasperated to actively angry. Naturally, I stomped over to my freezer, only to realize that I had no ice cream to spitefully eat while I glared at my computer screen and meditated on the various bizarre double standards that have saturated this election year. Here was a situation that brought intersections of body politics and American politics together. The remark even earned an "Oh come on!" and a "Boo!" (albeit a good-humored one) from the former secretary of state, who was just trying to eat some damn ice cream — and, you know, get elected president.
In case it wasn't obvious, nothing can send me into a blood-boiling tizzy like people breaking the true golden rule (particularly when it comes to women's bodies and food choices): the nunyabidness rule. It applies for all those questions where the simple, polite answer is "None of your business." Food is a significant part of this category for me. Seriously, why ask a question about what's going into another person's body? Why should you care about the number of calories or Weight Watchers points or whatever is in it? Find some chill. Get a hobby. Go home.
I feel like there's a running list of things that are weird and/or uncool to ask female politicians. This list includes (among other things): hair, pantsuits or other fashion choices, makeup or no makeup, her sex life, and, yes, the calories in the food she consumes. Due to a long history of equating a woman's value with her looks, body type and overall "desirability," this last one kind of seems obvious to me. Granted, it's also not okay to probe male politicians about these things, but women seem to disproportionate face such queries.
The thing is, I see a double standard here: When Jon Kasich was incorrectly eating pizza or Pac-Manning his way through Bronx deli menus, no one questioned what the food would do to his figure or asked him to produce some caloric numbers to let readers do the guesswork. Although we all wish someone taught him the proper thin crust folding method, he was pretty much left alone to enjoy his meal(s). Dudes typically are. Meanwhile, a question about calories is bound to leave a bitter, concern-troll-y taste in countless women's mouths.
Here's the deal: Talking about women's food choices and bodies carries some historical sexist baggage, and I think it's pretty much never a good idea to do so when talking about one of the country's most prominent politicians. (It also makes you no fun and very much deserving of those boos).
In an election year that's all but promised to check off every sexist trope imaginable, it's unfortunately not a surprise that this calorie-counting crap went down. My modest proposal here is that if someone feels so inclined to ask a female politician — or let's be real, anyone — about the calories in what they're eating, I will eat them. Like a snake, I will unhinge my jaw and swallow them whole — and never consider the calorie count.