[cross-posted from Sulia]

I recently read Barbara Wallace’s The Man Behind The Mask, which is a cute book about a long-time assistant and her boss falling in love:

A weekend to change everything…

Delilah St. Germaine fell for New York’s most in-demand bachelor, Simon Cartwright, the moment she began working for him. Four years later, her heart still flutters every time he saunters into the office—much to her frustration. He’s so far out of her reach it’s embarrassing!

Thrown together with him for a working weekend, Delilah glimpses the cracks in Simon’s glittering facade. Now she’s tasted the sweetness of his kisses, she’s determined to uncover the secrets he’s hiding and learn who the real Simon Cartwright is. But will innocent Delilah’s life ever be the same once the truth is revealed?

The book was just published January 1 by Harlequin Romance. I give it 3 (out of 5) stars.

But it did have one of those scenes that I highlight only because it gets under my skin. The I-Like-A-Woman-Who-Eats-Scene:

“Now, that’s what I like to see,” he said. “A woman who’s not shy about eating.”

Popping a dangling piece of cheese in her mouth, she told him, “Smells too good to be obsessive.”

“It’s still refreshing. Most of the women I know refuse to be seen eating in public. Did you know Finland refused to order anything in a restaurant other than mixed greens and sparkling water?”

“Sounds like you need to date a different type of woman.”

It reminds me of Mary, the character the beautiful and very thin Cameron Diaz played in There’s Something About Mary. A big part of her pull for men was that she liked to drink non-lite beer and eat hot dogs off of sticks.

This is such a grating trope because it chastises women for doing what they can to fit into society’s beauty standards even as almost all parts of our pop culture continues to push that exact beauty standards, including – I may add – many romance novels.

Does how a woman eats need to be part of why someone falls in love with her?

[If you want to read more in depth about this, this post by Jenny Trout has a great post about this type of phenomenon with America’s current sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence: “Jennifer Lawrence body shames you more than you might have realized.“]

One Thought on “Trope I Hate: A Lady Who Is Not Afraid To Eat

  1. Rachel Oz on February 7, 2014 at 4:29 am said:

    I wouldn’t mind this if it were done in a different way. For instance, if the heroine weren’t impossibly thin while displaying a healthy appetite AND she and the hero bonded over their love of dim sum. I suppose you could view it as wish fulfillment of a different kind? I agree that it is annoying, however.

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