A Tale of Men and Muffins

MIXED RACE FEMINIST: Hi, do you have any more lemon and poppy seed muffins?
STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE: No, I’m sorry, they ran out earlier.
MIXED RACE FEMINIST: Oh, okay, never mind.
STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE: The blueberry muffin is also very good, you could try that one…
MIXED RACE FEMINIST: (I can choose my own food, thanks…)
STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE: …and it’s skinny as well.
STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE: The blueberry muffin is skinny too.
MIXED RACE FEMINIST: [appalled] Er… thank you?!
THE BOYFRIEND: [thoroughly amused] He’s calling you fat!
STARBUCKS EMPLOYEE: No, I didn’t mean that! It’s just, that’s why you wanted the lemon muffin, right? Because it’s skinny?

BECAUSE DIETING IS MY MISSION IN LIFE. See also: my preference for Diet Coke, only worse because there is no non-skinny option for the Starbucks lemon and poppy seed muffins (of which I happen to love the FLAVOUR) so I don’t even get to choose to subject myself to a stranger’s assessment of my contentment with my body and eating habits! I have actually ordered Diet Coke before and been told kindly, “Oh, you don’t need to diet!” I happen to agree with this assessment from the angle of “Yes, because very few people actually NEED to diet!”, but will make filthy eyes and a biting response anyway because I cannot describe just how much I despise strangers commenting on my appearance, positively or negatively. (See also:  “You’re dead pretty! If only you lost some weight…”)

For what it’s worth, Mr “I’m Entitled To Comment On Your Food Choices” Starbucks Employee, I love my body the 90% of the time I can block out the world telling me I shouldn’t, and the other 10% of the time I can usually find somebody else who loves my body to (problematically but effectively) bolster my self-confidence. ALSO, I went into your store for those damn muffins and didn’t fancy anything else, so you’d better not think you put me off a potential purchase by getting me all worried about my weight, because I will eat a lemon and poppy seed muffin every day of my life if I choose because I LOVE FOOD and will enjoy as much of it as I damn well please, ’skinny’ or not!

And for anyone who thinks I’m getting up in arms over a harmless comment, let me ask you this: If a man of my size had requested a skinny muffin that was not available would the employee have taken the liberty of pointing out an equally skinny option? No. Because women, even women of a socially acceptable size, are not just expected to be on a diet; they are expected to want to diet. And I can’t think of many more harmful messages to give women OR men than that.



Filed under feminist rage, the personal is political

2 responses to “A Tale of Men and Muffins

  1. Couldn’t agree more – although I would give the bloke the benefit of the doubt in that he probably gets briefed to offer up other ‘skinny’ (what a word for a food) options on these occasions. Not that the company isn’t at fault though, if that’s the case.

  2. Wow, I am incredibly sorry for such a massive delay! I’ve been on an unintended hiatus, which I will be apologising for in my next post…

    I have to say, I don’t think Starbucks briefs its customers to offer alternatives like that. On a personal level I’ve never been recommended any kind of alternative food or drink when what I want has been out of stock, but on a corporate level I’ve read a few books on the Starbucks approach to business and it just isn’t about making sales in that way. I don’t think the guy deserves the benefit of the doubt on this one; it seems much more likely that he, as a physically fit and athletic guy, made an assumption about my request (which was for a “lemon and poppy seed muffin”, NOT a “skinny lemon and poppy seed muffin”) based on the fact that I am a woman. Which, given the society we live in, is sadly all too plausible.

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