Diners, Dudes & Diets


Diners, Dudes & Diets: How Gender & Power Collide in Food Media & Culture (November 2020)

“sharp-as-hell…fascinating, mordant, enraging, illuminating” —Helen Rosner

“engaging…a significant contribution” —Kathleen LeBesco  

“a master storyteller…the perfect teaching text” —Warren Belasco  

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The phrase “dude food” likely brings to mind a range of images: burgers stacked impossibly high with an assortment of toppings that were themselves once considered a meal; crazed sports fans demolishing plates of radioactively hot wings; barbecued or bacon-wrapped . . . anything. But there is much more to the phenomenon of dude food than what’s on the plate. Emily J. H. Contois’s provocative book begins with the dude himself—a man who retains a degree of masculine privilege but doesn’t meet traditional standards of economic and social success or manly self-control. In the Great Recession’s aftermath, dude masculinity collided with food producers and marketers desperate to find new customers. The result was a wave of new diet sodas and yogurts marketed with dude-friendly stereotypes, a transformation of food media, and weight loss programs just for guys.

In a work brimming with fresh insights about contemporary American food media and culture, Contois shows how the gendered world of food production and consumption has influenced the way we eat and how food itself is central to the contest over our identities. Understanding that process just might help all of us to find more joy and justice in our media lives.

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Wondering how to pronounce my last name?

No worries! It’s pronounced “con-twah,” from my husband’s French Canadian ancestors.

Want More Writing Like Diners, Dudes & Diets?

Here’s a list of the articles, chapters, and short pieces I wrote before this book, and a couple of pieces I’ve written as the book has launched too. These are here if you’d like to see how these ideas evolved over time; want more to read on these topics of media, food, bodies, and gender; or if you’re teaching on these topics and it doesn’t quite work to assign the entire book.

Headshot Photo: KC Hysmith