Monday, February 10, 2014

Cleavage and Advice

I am always intrigued by how experts resonate with people. Sometimes it’s warmth, I think of my friend/nutritionist Keri Glassman who has a fantastic smile and interest in people that comes across when she’s on TV or sitting at lunch. At times intellect does it, think Alton Brown or Michael Pollan. They say things that we remember or say things in a way we haven’t heard. Other times it’s passion, if someone feels so strongly about his or her subject matter then I often feel maybe I should too. But there’s another trend I’m noticing and that’s sexiness bordering on porn-iness and not just where you'd expect it. I understand swimsuit models or actresses playing the sexy card but experts? Or maybe a new type of  “sexpert”?

At a recent nutrition conference, a lecture on blogging encouraged nutrition bloggers to make content sexy and “sex it up”. At Foodtrainers, we always try to fun it up, even snark it up but sexy smoothie advice?  No thanks.
Then, I was forwarded this. The content (about nasty ingredients in Subway bread)
 is actually fine but the “expert’ rolling around on the ground, breasts front and center?  We actually looked and liked much of what the “Food Babe” had to say on her website but “babe”?  Can you imagine for a second Dr Phil looking sexy (see above)? Is it that brains-only work only for men?

There’s also Tracy Anderson, I really do admire the business she’s built and I get that a fitness professional is often in very little clothing (thank goodness I’m in nutrition).  This (see photo) is more than just a workout outfit and it’s not that I’m jealous I don’t have “more” to offer (my "offerings" will never be on full display). I'm the first one to raise my hand and say I wouldn't want an out of shape fitness instructor but this is a whole other subject.

Obviously I get the appeal of these images to men (maybe) and I understand sex sells. I fully appreciate that looks matter and that doesn't bother me. But where do you stand on experts and sexiness or cleavage? Does it matter to you? Do you think it’s a good thing? Or does it “turn you off”?


  1. totally understand that sex sells but if you're an expert, do you really need to be "sexy" to get people to listen to you? Is it that females can only get attention by wearing less clothes and men can get you to listen to them even in a spacesuit? Kind of feel like if that is the case, the more experts are "sexing it up," the more they are contributing to this double standard that exists in society. L, you can wear a monkey suit and I would still go to you for nutrition advice,

  2. Thank you Joanna, monkey suit anytime over the other "out"fits.

  3. Having a shtick can definitely help an expert get attention, allowing for their actual expertise to be heard. Alton's is that nerdy/intellectual angle, Zoey Deschanel is quirky, etc etc. I feel like using sex is the ultimate fall-back for women. Instead of finding one's own special angle, I think its an easy option for women (who have the goods) to lead with sex and then follow up with knowledge. But if a woman is smart enough to be an "expert" at something, I would hope that she's also smart enough to come up with a clever way to garner attention that doesn't involve her body.

  4. Thank you for writing this! Have had these exact thoughts about both examples you've used. Love TA workouts but seriously feel inappropriate doing some of them with her dressed like that and wouldn't want someone to walk in and see. And food babe totally turned me off too. It feels so cheap and unnecessary like they have some other agenda they are pushing.

  5. That outfit is not just ridiculous it's not practical! Could you imagine trying to run or do any sort of jumping movement? Those things would bounce right out! Unless of course they're so plastic they don't move ;)

  6. I follow the Foodbabe and think she's doing great work, but the name makes me cringe. Do you have a Chicago event coming up?