In Which a Professional Urologist Calls My Partner a “Sissy” for Eating Yogurt

Okay, I was sitting here writing Something Completely Different when Melissa’s Quote of the Day appeared. Then my partner L. came home with a ridiculous tale of how Dr. S., a urologist who often has lunch in one of the restaurants L. manages, laughed at him and called him a “sissy” for eating yogurt.

Yogurt isn’t manly man food. Yogurt is woman food!

L. also informs me that colorful or decorative food items such as parsley, orange slices, or other garnishes are also not considered properly “manly” by many of his customers—some even specify that no garnish should appear on their strong, manly plates.

I don’t know if Dr. S. has really internalized the “yogurt = woman food” message from advertising, or if he was merely using a popular cultural trope to take a sideswipe at L.’s masculinity. What I do know is that whenever L. calls out Dr. S.’s frequent sexist and/or ultra-rightwing comments, Dr. S. has no response ready and can only splutter and change the subject. So, I think the “sissy” comment was retribution; that Dr. S.'s weapon of choice was the old impugn-his-masculinity gambit; and that he just used food to do it.

Here’s the take-home message: when someone calls your gender conformity into question, it is always about control. That person is trying to control you or to feel more in control hirself. I am trying to think of an exception from my experience, and I can’t come up with one. So, while it’s easy to laugh at Dr. S. and his sissy-yogurt nonsense, it’s important to remember that nobody who makes this kind of “joke” is ever really “just” joking.

And, since no reference to the feminization of yogurt is complete without Sarah Haskins’s Target Women: Yogurt Edition, here it is (transcript is below the fold, and it’s pretty long):

Intro: Sexy...! Target: Women!

Announcer: Marketing has gotten so sophisticated these days that advertisers can aim for 19-year-old males with one year of college education who love cheese but hate rap music and live in Montana. Then there are some demographics that advertisers still like to hit with the obvious bat. Like, an entire gender. Here’s Sarah Haskins with Target: Women.

Haskins: Hey! Why am I holding all this yogurt? Because I’m a woman! And Yogurt is the official food of women. Thanks. Just turn on your TV day or night—but mostly day, unless you’re watching Lifetime—and there’s gonna be some ladies just chilling out, eating some yogurt, and appealing to our Inner Woman, to get us to do it too.

Woman A: Mmm. This is good!
Woman B: No. This is really good
Woman A: This is like, private island good
Woman B: No, this is like, long massage good!
Woman A: First kiss good!
Woman B: Shoe-shopping good!

Haskins: Say more stuff I generically relate to, then go to a wedding!

Second Commercial, same actresses:
Woman B: This is like cute best man good.
Woman A: No—this is like burning this dress good!
Woman B: Never having to stand in line at the ladies’ room good.
Woman A: Not catching the bouquet good!

Haskins: It’s Who-serves-yogurt-at-their-wedding good! It’s substitute-for-human-experience good. It’s being first woman president good (to HRC) Eat it!

Voice-over: Yogurt can do anything!

Haskins: Yogurt-eaters come from every race, but just one socioeconomic class: the class that wears gray hoodies; it’s that “I have a Master’s, but then I got married” look. These ladies are on diets.

Kitchen Commercial:
Yogurt woman: My diet? Well, yesterday I had an Apple Turnover. Well, that, and Boston Cream Pie, White Chocolate Strawberry...

Dry-cleaners’ Commercial:
Yogurt woman:...The Apple Turnover, and the White Chocolate Strawberry, and the Key Lime Pie!

Haskins: Get it? It’s not real food—it’s yogurt! The dry-cleaning lady doesn’t get it!

Dry-cleaning lady: So, you need them let out?
Yogurt woman: No, in!
Dry-cleaning lady: Out?
Yogurt woman: No, in!

Haskins: Who’s on first? Yogurt is!

VO: Yogurt power!

Haskins: But, maybe after you eat all 12 flavors, you feel a little, ehhhh...? Don’t worry; Jamie Lee Curtis understands.

Jamie Lee: First, the bad news: 87% of this country suffers from digestive issues like occasional irregularity.

Haskins: She read that in Blue Paper Daily! But now Jamie, tell me the good news!

Jamie Lee: But now the good news—I just discovered a yogurt called Activia that can help.

Man’s VO: With the natural culture Bifidus regularis, Activia, eaten every day is clinically proven to help regulate your digestive system in just 2 weeks.

Haskins: It makes your insides, go out! And if you’ve opened the refrigerator of a woman over 40 lately, just move over that half-eaten rotisserie chicken and yes, you’ll se Activia. It’s very popular. So popular, that everyone else decided to make one. There’s Fiber One, and then there’s YoPlus, the funnest yogurt ever.

Woman’s commercial voice over: When you feel good inside, you feel good all over. Try YoPlus for ten days, and you might just feel like—

Haskins: I’m gonna shit my pants!

VO: That’s good—And Bad!

Haskins: MMmmmm—yogurt! What else could a woman possibly need?

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