On Tuesday all of Yale College received the following email from YSAC:
YSAC Presents: S’Wings Wing Fling
Ever wanted to put your eating skills to the test? Join YOUR residential college team!
This year at the Yale-Princeton Tailgate on Nov. 11th the colleges will compete.
5-person teams of 4 guys and 1 girl, going at it for 10 minutes to determine eternal glory.
Can you bring your college the awesome trophy?
We here at Broad Recognition forwarded this email amongst ourselves and discussed whether or not we thought it was sexist. I want to preface the following by saying that at the end of the day, my goal is not to eradicate sexism in competitive eating--I am not sure that its an area of sports in need to particular attention. That said, I do think its important to note how we as a culture totally take sexist stereotypes for granted and I think its important that we point out the basic fallacies that these stereotypes rest on.
So allow me to introduce you to the Black Widow. Sonya Thomas is a petite Korean woman who loves to win competitive eating contests. She holds the world record in asparagus eating, as well as in the divisions of cheesecake, eggs, jambalaya, and a host of other random food groups. At 105 lb she is the second ranked competitive eater in the United States and third in the world.
The point being that winning at competitive eating has little to do with sex or size (in fact, this wikipedia article suggests that Sonya's petite stature may put her at an advantage) and is instead all about drive, sheer force of will, and the willingness to stuff oneself with an enormous amount of a designated food product. So though I acknowledge that more men may want to eat themselves silly on wings, a four male to one female rule does nothing in terms of giving the teams a fair playing field, nor does it enhance the teams. Its simply a rule based on outdated, disproven, sexist reasoning.