Career women don’t have time to eat healthily. Did feminism make me fat?

Was it the prosecco that did it? Or was it the cheesy chips that made me fat? I often ask myself these questions when I navel-gaze at weekends. That is, literally navel-gaze, inspecting the newly-formed layers of tummy flab I’ve amassed.

It wasn’t always this way. As a student, my buttocks were as pert as the apples in Alan Titchmarsh’s garden, and you could have ironed shirts on my stomach.

But I have been replaced with a chunkier, hungrier version of myself. For the first time ever, my BMI has ventured into the orange section of the chart. I am, technically speaking, ‘overweight’.

Like many women, I have constantly blamed myself for this transition into chubbiness; me and my insatiable appetite for carbohydrates and parties (two passions that sustain each other, if I’m honest).

But now I know I shouldn’t have been so self-critical, as it’s actually feminism’s fault that I’m fat.

And don’t just take my word for it, Rosie Boycott – Sadiq Khan’s food advisor – was the one to suggest it. Speaking at the Hay Festival recently, Boycott blamed women going into work for a decline in eating habits, and the nation’s subsequent weight gain. ‘Everyone gave up cooking’, she said.

Tell me about it, Rosie, I thought when I first heard the words. Because what’s happened is that – whereas women were once traditionally homemakers – we are now so busy nurturing our careers that there simply isn’t time to conjure up meals for ourselves, let alone other mouths. As a result, we’ve increasingly turned to microwave meals, takeaways and worse (is there worse?) to get our fuel.

I like Boycott’s hypothesis; particularly as something bigger than Space Raiders has to be responsible for the nation’s obesity levels, which have trebled in the past 30 years. Estimates indicate half the population could be obese by 2030.

The consequences are grave; obesity has been blamed for a surge in diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and has put a strain on NHS resources. Estimates suggest it is responsible for about 30,000 deaths a year in the UK, 9000 of which occur before retirement age. So something’s got to be blamed.

Her opinion really does chime with my own experience as a ‘career’ woman who’s only ever used a saucepan to check her mascara. I hate cooking. It’s so dull, and frankly I care much more about high-flying than frying. Thus I have turned to some functional alternatives.

My real downfall is Pret. The sandwiches there are like meth to me; I stuff them into my face as if egg mayonnaise was my only reason for living. Not that Pret is particularly devious, but it’s certainly not given me the Britney Spears figure I dream of.

I’m not sure what the answer to this feminism-related obesity is, anyway, particularly as cooking is such a drag, and I hardly want us to put our pinnies on and get back in the kitchen. Men are going to have to help out more, if they’re not doing so already, to even things out.

As women continue to do well in the workplace, the problem can only get worse. And as Boycott points out, these changes are being replicated around the world: ‘Societies change, women start working, and the fast food and takeaways arrive’, were her exact words.

Perhaps it’s better to be circumspect about all this; weight gain is a small price to pay for a better career. Especially when, should it pay off, women will be richer than ever – and able to afford things like chefs and personal trainers. Quite simply, if we keep going, we can handle our own obesity crisis.


  • nelliescroggit

    I’m not sure what the answer to this feminism-related obesity is?……………..

    Are you serious? Stuff less food in your gob! There – sorted it for you.

  • reaguns

    I see two solutions to this, from the east.

    In China, people can cook meals which are as tasty as takeaways, but are also very fast and healthy. That’s one thing.

    More interestingly, in Malaysia, which was in the group of tiger economies and has high employment of men and women in factories, tourism and everything else, very few people cook. There are eateries everywhere. But what Malaysian men and women will tell you, is that eating out is so cheap, hence very few people bother to cook. You can get a healthy, tasty and convenient meal (ie at a table in a cafe or diner, or small restaurant, with very little queuing etc) for about £2 or less. We are still paying far too much for the same thing here, and too much of it is unhealthy. But can it be solved? Yes. Malaysia has solved it.

  • AlexB

    You want something external to blame for the obesity crisis? The modern food pyramid. The mount of grains they call ‘healthy’ is a sugar overdose before you even start looking at fast foods and ready meals. They just compound the problem. Nutrient-dense vegetables, healthy fats and proteins, with limited fruit and grains would serve a person better. But note the term “nutrient-dense”. Quality, not quantity. Eating too much is still eating too much.

    Feminism doesn’t make you fat. Stupid attitudes towards food and food management make you fat. Cooking can be a drag, yes. But the ability to cook your own meals isn’t anti-feminist. It’s a bloody life skill that everyone should have, men and women both.

    Batch cook. At the weekend or whenever you have a few hours free time, cook several healthy meals. Freeze. Grab one and throw it into the microwave as required. Batch cooking can be done once a week, or, if you have a big block of time and enough freezer space, once a month.

    If you have a husband or kids, get them involved. Then it can also be family time, and the poor career feminist isn’t doing all the work, but is also putting the man to good use. If he refuses to help, you can always make it a thing that you each cook for yourselves, and hands off your home-made ready meals.

    Really, there is NO excuse. If you are happy with being overweight, that’s fine. If you aren’t but lack motivation or willpower, sucks, but own it. There are occasionally people who do try everything and find nothing works. This article proves you are not one of them, but rather someone looking to place blame anywhere but on yourself.

    If you want to do just one thing to improve your health, cut out Pret and find a healthier way to get your egg mayo fix.

  • Bosanova

    Funny how men who have a career are generally capable of rustling up an omelette or better while a career woman sees it as a badge of honour to declare her incompetence in her ability to feed herself.
    Eating is a basic human need. And feeding yourself, by preparing a meal for your own consumption, is a way to show yourself love and self respect. So, if you’d prefer to chomp on a sarnie at your desk in front of your computer it says a lot about your self respect.

  • Owi Wowi

    Feminism and the body-positive movement also tells women that it is fine to be fat – and that men must find you attractive whilst fat else they are misogynists (or paedophiles). An air of general disapproval may very well help you from stuffing that almond croissant in your gob hole.

  • JonathanBagley

    There is no easy fix, particularly if you have children and hence, probably, tempting cakes and biscuits in the house and the expectation that the main course will be followed by a pudding. I suggest cutting down total carbohydrate (starch and sugar) intake. Not as drastically as advocated in low carb diets – you’d give up pretty soon, but to start with, at most 160 g a day (for a woman) if you are already eating more. I try to keep mine to 200 g a day. All packaged food now states total carbohydrate on the label and, for loose food and wine, there is the internet and pocket books are available giving the carbohydrate content of meats, vegetables, fruits and alcoholic drinks. For example, your Pret egg mayonnaise sandwich contains 47.2 g of carbohydrate
    https://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb/483-sandwiches-free-range-egg-mayo.aspx
    Tesco chicken curry and rice 64.7 g; a slice of Warburtons wholemeal medium bread 16.9 g; a Starbucks blueberry muffin 55 g; one large carrot 7-10 g; Tesco spaghetti 54.8 g per portion.
    By doing this, you’ll automatically eat more low carbohydrate vegetables, which, we are told, are good for us; and protein and fat, which taste good and, will make you feel fuller and deter you from over eating.

  • Marat

    Feminism didn’t make you fat. Feminism made you blame anything except yourself for being fat.

    • chizwoz

      Nailed it. You know when you’ve been patriarchied.

  • Trump Action

    Chicken or egg?

    Did feminism make women fat, or does feminism attract fatties?

    • Chicken and egg presumably and bacon and whatever else they shove down their cakeholes. Feminist Pride = Fat Pride. Yes, fat is a feminist issue all over again.

  • Plenty of career women workout at a gym, but then they are unlikely to be as self-pitying as the author of the above article.

  • Nephthys

    Poor women don’t have the money to eat healthily! Did capitalism make me fat?
    Perpetuating gendered exploitation within the capitalist paradigm may well have improved the lives of some consumerist lumpenprole women but do you think junior nurses forced on foodbanks by Tory austerity get the option of low carb feta cheese to go with their Kale chips? Perhaps you believe weight disorders only afflict middle class careerists?

    There’s a social solution to the problem of women’s obesity and the solution is socialism at the end of the day.