The Real Problem With “300 Sandwiches” Has Little to Do With Feminism

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Kudos to Stephanie Smith. She’s the “blogger” and “reporter” who wrote a piece for the New York Post yesterday about how she’s going to make a man marry her by making him 300 sandwiches. The post reverberated around the Internet; some women started #300sandwiches and #300feministsandwiches Twitter hashtags; great fun was had by all. Perhaps Smith will get a book deal. No harm, no foul, in my opinion. We had a healthy public conversation about why it’s frankly, in 2013, a little weird to seal true love by cooking for your man and to unironically use the word “sammies.” We did it without anyone sending death threats to the woman in question, as far as I know. Good job, Internet.

But now, she wants to whine more about it in the pages of the newspaper. The money shot comes when she says, “I’m no less of a woman because I decided to make him 300 [sandwiches] after a flip joke.” I don’t think anyone thinks she’s “less of a woman,” just perhaps less self-aware than she might perceive herself to be. But even the angriest feminist on Twitter knows that “being a good woman” is a scam, a ruse, a devil’s bargain. No one’s criticizing this lady, or more like dismissing her, because they think she isn’t a woman. It’s because people think this lady’s idea is silly!

I have to admit that when I was first alerted to this story yesterday, some phrase in the manner of “patriarchal bullshit” floated through my mind. But like a gust of particularly smelly wind, it disappeared just as quickly. I understand that in the economy of “how to become an Internet celebrity” these days, you need an outrageous hook. Talent alone won’t carry you, and in fact, it doesn’t matter a whit in the matter of worldly success. Just check out the video blog entries of one Brit Morin, who has raised literally millions of dollars with her Christmas Tree Cheese expertise (NB: video is not a joke). After watching those, you can see why anybody might be tempted to get an SLR and an Etsy-looking blog and a healthy dose of disingenuousness.

I am not particularly worried, as a woman or a feminist or whatever my category is this week, that the individual mind of Stephanie Smith has been excessively contaminated by sexism. That is a question that I find both unanswerable on an individual level and rather boring. But I have to say I don’t love that this is a viable business strategy for women, and women only, this “I made him love me with blondie ice cream sandwiches” stuff. I could see men succeeding on such a strategy, don’t get me wrong, and I would be equally disgusted by it. But the particular, I’ll-lay-my-emotional-vulnerability-and-self-worth-on-the-line-for-a-cheap-gimmick market things like “300 Sandwiches” happen in? Yeah, that worries me. And to be totally honest, that’s in large part because I’m totally tempted by it on a near-daily basis. My cat and I want a sleek Brooklyn apartment and a really nice camera, too.

Image credit: Gawker commenter rudi_freunde