The Problem With “300 Sandwiches:” If You Liked It Then You Shoulda Put Mayo On It

2 Oct

by Brownout Betty

It is a modern A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, with added sandwich photos, without the rights of woman.

Gawker nails it as usual

Happy Thursday, everyone. So, this blog 300 Sandwiches has caused a bit of a stir on the Internet. I’m not sure if its enchanting power is because of the beautiful food porn or because it adds just the right amount of girl power to the classically misogynistic ‘bitch make me a sandwich’ trope or because no one is really sure whether this woman is serious or not.

I’m inclined to think it’s that last one, because I personally am fascinated by this woman and her blog.  There is just no way that Stephanie is so tone deaf to the 21st century that she doesn’t realize how she’s buying into – and perhaps even validating – this bizarre idea that woman have to bend over backwards to ‘snag’ a man.

For real, she’s this high flying career woman with a great boyfriend who’s himself a cook, so it seems unlikely that she’s into this super medieval pleasing-her-man-on-his-terms stuff. But I looked into it , and I’m not so sure. Consider this quote from an interview she did with NPR:

“It’s not just a girl making all this food to earn a man’s love. This is a journey between the two of us as we continue on towards engagement. And I don’t think I’m less of a woman or a hard-charging career woman because I want to do something nice for my boyfriend.”

Sounds nice, but the problem is that this is not a joint journey that they’re embarking in together.  It’s easy for her to say that to her readers because her blog has the feel of this Julie and Julia type thing where she sets herself a challenge and blogs about completing it. But it’s not like that at all, because she is doing something – on her own – with the explicit intention of locking this guy down. He has nothing to do with it, and it’s misleading for her to be like ‘oh we’re going on this magic carpet ride together.’ No, actually, she’s just making him a bunch of food, seeking his approval, and making a specific causal link between that food and that approval and an eventual proposal. Here’s a telling quotation from the post about sandwich 174:

E took one bite. “I feel fat already,” he said, tearing at the sandwich after eating a healthy dinner of salmon and sweet potatoes.

“But,” E smiled, “that sandwich is good. I can see why this is considered his forbidden sandwich. This. Is. Tasty.”

See? There’s no reciprocation or interaction here – they’re not taking a journey. He laid out the rules of engagement (in a manner of speaking) when he said “you’re 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring,” and she bought into it. Hard. (Aside: I’m sure that Eric is not actually making his proposal to her contingent on these sandwiches and that it’s probably going to happen no matter what, but if that’s the case then this blog is totally misrepresenting the situation. Or I’m taking life way too literally because I’m a radical feminist. Whatever).

And of course she’s not less of a woman for doing something nice for her boyfriend. But no one is saying that, and frankly I find it a little disingenuous for her to paint her critics into a corner like that. No one is criticizing her for being nice. I’m criticizing her for innocently masquerading her project as ‘nice.’ It’s way more than that. It’s a cute idea, but it gets into territory that’s touchy for many women – the feeling that society constantly puts them on the losing end of a power struggle with men – but then totally ignores the social and political implications of the “make me a sandwich” culture that our society hasn’t quite shed.

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