The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Antonio Anderson
Assistant Features Editor

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Staff Column

I’ll admit it. I tweeze my unibrow, wash myself with a loofah and would rather eat salmon piccata for dinner than a 32 oz. steak. And I’m a man.

Last weekend I stumbled upon the Web site for Swanson Hungry Man Dinners — a line of frozen entrées so “meaty” and “hearty” that they can only be fit for the voracious appetite of a manly man. The television ads on the site feature a group of men eating yogurt before being instantly emasculated as they walk into the room with the “real man” eating a large amount of chicken. The “real man” announces that the yogurt-eaters are “ladies” and laughs at them as they blush. An unseen announcer voices over: “A full pound of meat and potatoes so you can eat like a man and be full like a man.”

Since I’ve been at college, I’ve gotten fat — to put it bluntly — so lately, I have been working on eating healthy, low-fat meals. But in today’s world of macho-men and Hungry Man dinners, it’s a wonder that my penis hasn’t withered, shriveled and fallen off because of my total lack of “manliness.”

Each of the XXL Hungry Man dinners contains a pound and half of food. They also contain over 1,000 calories, and 48 grams of fat, which is more than 100 percent of the daily suggested value of fat. There should be nothing “manly” about eating over half of one’s recommended daily calories in a single meal.

Story continues below advertisement

Swanson isn’t the only company that has hijacked our sense of masculinity in an attempt to coerce guys into eating greasy and unhealthy food. Last year, Burger King ran a commercial for their Texas Double Whopper which featured a horde of men marching down the streets singing, “I Am Man” — a parody of the hit ’70s song, “I Am Woman.” The commercial ends with an overweight man straining himself to pull a dumptruck down the street as he chases a burger on a shovel.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over 350,000 men in America will die from heart disease this year. This new popular image of the gluttonous and feasting man will do nothing to help these numbers in the future.

One of the reasons the CDC lists as a risk factor for heart disease is “an unhealthy diet.” What it recommends to help combat heart disease is a diet that is low in cholesterol — a description that is the exact opposite of the Hungry Man dinners and other so-called manly food.

The obesity and heart disease that often results from eating obscene amounts of food is not seen as a sexy or desirable quality in our society. It is certainly not seen as manly.

What these companies are telling Americans is that it is manly to eat like a pig, but it’s not OK to look like you have been stuffing your face with fried chicken and eating an average of 3,000 calories a day.

Men in today’s society need to ignore these unsafe images that are put forth in advertisements like the one made by Swanson.

Instead, next time someone laughs at you when you pull out your low-fat frozen entrée or cup of yogurt for lunch, just know that you likely won’t be part of those 350,000 men I mentioned before, and the person laughing at you very well may be.

More to Discover