"This YouTube show creates, maintains, and manipulates inequitable gender hierarchies."
Tulsa University professor of media studies and feminist Emily J.H. Contois wrote an academic paper attacking the popular YouTube show "Hot Ones," in which celebrities are challenged to wolf down spicy chicken wings, for promoting masculinity and emboldening gender stereotypes.
The paper was titled "The Spicy Spectacular: food, gender, and celebrity on Hot Ones" and was published last week on "Feminist Media Studies."
"My analysis of Hot Ones informs feminist media studies, as it reveals how this YouTube show creates, maintains, and manipulates inequitable gender hierarchies through the interrelated performances of gender, food consumption, and celebrity," wrote Contois.
Contois argues that the three-year-old show has failed to consistently book female guests who are afraid of the social consequences of eating chicken wings.
"In all that time, only eleven women had been solo guests on the show, a stark underrepresentation... fewer women agree to come on the show based on the ways that chewing chicken wings during an interview conflicts with culturally constructed feminine conventions," according to Contois.
Beyond that, Contois believes that hot wings connote masculinity through association with sports bars and man-oriented events such as the Super Bowl.
Sean Evans, the show's host, also came under scrutiny. Contois suggested that Evans,"whose hot sauce mastery -- and white heterosexual, cisgendered, everyman brand of masculinity -- anchor the series," was himself embodying the misogynistically voracious attitude.
"He enthusiastically poses quirky questions to his guest," she wrote, "all the while never struggling to eat all of the wings himself." Is wing-shaming a word?
The attack doesn't stop with "Hot Ones" but extends to the whole food media.
"Food media -- including food network television shows, restaurant reviews, and chef profiles -- reinforce these gendered notions," she wrote. "They present male chefs personas, their culinary creations, and food media spaces as bold, innovative, and mobile, while depicting females chefs and their food as comforting, traditional, and confined to the domestic kitchen."
Meanwhile on Twitter, Contois' study is viewed as, well, silly.
@EmilyContois This pseudo-academic drivel is an embarrassment to the entire field of education. Stop wasting public resources and let real science be done instead.— #WokeCenterLeft (@WokeCenterLeft) July 8, 2018