A-Rod might just have A-Problem.
Have you seen the most recent Alex Rodriguez YouTube blog? The one where he talks about starving himself to fit into a size 44 Versace tux — he usually wears a 48 — so he “wouldn’t look fat” at the 2019 Met Gala? The former ball player, and current J.Lo fan club president, walks us through his pre-party routine, which involves yoga, stair-running and strategic sweating, all on a self-imposed prisoner’s diet of water…that’s it.
When did it become okay for people to deny themselves food like this? Oh silly me, I remember now — it was when men started doing it.
Disordered eating is getting a dude-friendly rebrand, with self-denial being reframed as a “hack,” or some kind of mind-over-body optimization. Instead of desperately shedding the 6.5 pounds he needed to lose to squeeze into his too-tight pink suit, Rodriguez might have simply requested a roomier waistband and a more benevolent tailor.
But no — the baseball star sucked it up — and in. And he was praised for it, with YouTube commenters roundly applauding the “down to earth” celeb for his humor and dedication.
Sure, the poor guy comes off as delightful, even as he’s waxing poetic about pizza and steak like he’s performing in a cautionary tale against veganism.
But what if the roles were switched, and instead of sweetly munching her plate of grilled chicken and veggies in the background, it was Lopez who was fiending for food?
Seriously — just imagine it.
There would be outrage, of course. Imagine the angry tweets. How could J.Lo, an international role model, starve herself for something as silly as wearing a dress? Is she endorsing anorexia? Think of the children!
That’s not to say that people don’t balk when powerful men ‘fess up about their particularly weird diets. Last month, Twitter blew up after Jack Dorsey — a powerhouse Silicon Valley CEO — divulged details about his eating habits on a popular fitness podcast. Apparently, the 42-year-old consumes just one meal a day, consisting only of protein, fruits and vegetables. And that’s on weekdays – on Saturday and Sundays, he fasts.
Critics were quick to point out that Dorsey’s diet sounds unhealthy. But the responses would have been so much worse if he were a woman. Where would people even start? Look how dangerously Type-A women in power are! And it’s so irresponsible for a female CEO to suggest that this kind of deprivation is required — whether to maintain a slim figure or otherwise — in order to break the glass ceiling.
I’m not a doctor, but the overwhelming consensus seems to be that A-Rod’s crash dieting and Jack Dorsey’s severe calorie restriction isn’t good for you. Still, when high-profile men cop to doing it, they’re given wide berth, with the subtext being that they’re still somehow reasonable, in control and justified.
For women, however, it’s different. We’re dealing with stricter beauty standards – see Kim Kardashian’s impossibly thin waist at the Met Gala — as well as more oppressive rules about our behavior in general.
So what if a famous man, instead of jumping aboard the disordered eating train, openly admitted that trying to drop down two sizes in 24 hours is crazy, and unnecessary?
A-Rod, I’m looking at you.
By Rachelle Bergstein