-Frank Bruni has called out foodie types for their "elitism." This fact alone will probably have many nodding along to his column, but the content itself makes no sense:
When [for-the-masses celebrity chef Paula] Deen fries a chicken, many of us balk. When the Manhattan chefs David Chang or Andrew Carmellini do, we grovel for reservations and swoon over the homey exhilaration of it all. Her strips of bacon, skirting pancakes, represent heedless gluttony. Chang’s dominoes of pork belly, swaddled in an Asian bun, signify high art.Is this snobbery? Or is it perhaps the fact that there is no obesity crisis among the customer base of expensive Manhattan restaurants. Whether this is because even wealthy New Yorkers are not dining out every night (and are in all likelihood eating all other meals at home, using Greenmarket ingredients), or because they're so rich that they think nothing of picking at their food and tossing the rest, sneering at the bourgeois convention that at an expensive restaurant one must finish one's plate, the fact of the matter is, they're a skinny bunch. Bruni might as well be saying that because many Americans are obese, the French, if they're going to point this out, need to cut back on Camembert, that to do otherwise would be hypocritical.
-From the beauty blog I love to hate, hate to love, for a change, a PhD student profile. One who uses no makeup whatsoever, and whose beauty routine consists of bathing. A female grad student, to be clear, and one not averse to wearing a pretty floral dress. Continuing the love-hate theme, this latest post makes the useful point that if many women gave up on complicated and expensive processes of de- and rehydrating their skin with products and just used soap, the same balance would be achieved, and probably with less exposure to chemicals than using glob after glob of products marketed as "natural." (OK, this woman doesn't use soap, but soap-free "gentle cleansing wash," because she is, after all, a woman.) It's brave, in a way, for someone whose blog is about finding the perfect products to spread onto one's skin to offer up the idea that glob-less works, too.
So that's the love. The non-love ("hate" seems a bit extreme) is that this version of "low-maintenance," while of course available to all, is something not so many women can get away with while still looking conventionally attractive. Most women have to choose. For women with any hair texture other than fine, straight, and summered-in-Martha's-Vineyard, using whatever shampoo's lying around means not caring how your hair looks. "Normal" hair is still defined by shampoo companies as what this woman happens to have, which is how she gets to have a no-fuss approach and still look nice. And because she's blond, too, she's able to avoid hair-salon primping altogether and still look 'done.' "I’m out in the sun a lot doing research on boats, so my hair just gets naturally lighter." She's also, conveniently enough, thin, pretty, and occupied with a kind of research that keeps her fit. (Kind of the opposite of reading 19th C newspapers in Paris on the way to and from croissants.)
Given how much "maintenance" women do is about looking how this one does naturally, it hardly seems a ringing endorsement of self-acceptance that this particular woman keeps things simple. But I wouldn't exactly say that anyone's privilege is showing - I get the sense that the PhD student in question found it amusing that a beauty blogger wanted to interview her on her "routine," and don't get the impression at all that she's judging those who do such things as schlep home giant and not-so-cheap containers of the only shampoo and conditioner that work for their hair, on account of they're about to move to a place that might not sell it, only to come home and look up something called "soap.com" where the product is not only available for delivery but also cheaper. Ahem.