WWEOT: Women Who Eat On Tubes – Male Gaze or Misandry?

So there’s this thing called Women Who Eat On Tubes which is a group dedicated to taking pictures of women eating as it suggests in the title. The idea behind it is that it captures people naturally for the purposes of art and some argue ‘it combats the glorified media image of women; that all women MUST be skinny, fabulous, with make-up to the eyeballs always and forever more’, which of course is a ridiculous notion.

Why then are women kicking off about this group? Well according to a lot of women and some men “it degrades women”. Confused at the hypocrisy, me too, but let’s take a closer look.

Woman and Banana, no this isn't the next NUTS cover.

Woman and Banana, no this isn’t the next NUTS cover. Pic courtesy of Dollie Honey.

Many people argue that the photo’s are degrading simply because there is not a male equivalent. Well that’s bollocks. There is an abundance of other photo’s of men being funny all in the name of art as seen in the links below. What annoys me the most is there seems to be an overwhelming demonisation of men from people who are misunderstood and whom obviously have no clue what the group is about, the people who post in it or how they themselves are widening the gender gap:

Men Taking Up Too Much Space On The Train

Women Taking Photo’s of Men They Fancy – OBJECTIFICATION!?

Women Putting On Make-up – A Blog Run By WOMEN

My argument is that breastfeeding and eating are natural, I don’t think it objectifies women in the slightest. Also, if people eat and breastfeed in public it’s not objectification, it’s an active and conscious decision, sexism comes from the bystander and not by the person doing the action, being sexist would be if a bloke shouted “put your tits away love!”. Another point is that men AND women post on the WWEOT can you be sexist against your own gender? So again I don’t think the argument is that it’s degrading or that it’s some ‘Male Gaze’ but instead vulnerability through photo sharing on Social Media, as if personal spaces are being destroyed.

Hypocrisy and Double Standards

Hypocrisy and Double Standards

The metro are outraged at WWEOT...then they post this...

The metro are outraged at WWEOT…then they post this…

If you want another slap of idiocy how about heading to the Circle line at 1pm Monday 14/04/2014 whereby women are staging an ‘eating’ protest (yeah you heard it…women are angry that people are taking photo’s of them eating on the Tube, so they’ve invited the BBC to film them and take photo’s of them eating on the Tube:

“Yes, you heard us correctly, two Goldsmiths students are inviting commuters to have lunch on the Circle line on April 14, in response to a controversial Facebook group which caused a public outcry”.

Lucy Mckay one of the founders of this sit-in had this to say about the men’s groups such as TubeCrush:

“A lot of men have been asking us why aren’t you fighting other pages like TubeCrush, but why do feminists have to ‘fight the fight’ for women and men? If it bothers men then they should do something about it, but with WWEOT I think it is part of the patriarchal structure that is still on going, and it more than taking photos of women.”

Eastlondonlines Article here

So basically what she’s saying is that men should deal with man only problems. Correct me if I’m mistaken but isn’t feminism about equality? McKay also doesn’t particularly talk about what ‘…more than taking photos of women’ means, what is it then? An amalgamated and preposterous idea conjured in your own mind? If anything TubeCrush is more degrading, not because it only targets men with the majority of up-loaders being women, but because men are being judged solely on looks and nothing else which is objectification in it’s purest form, women eating is observational, it’s about mannerisms and how they react amongst others, not about pure aesthetics.

For equality and balance here is a feminist approach:

WWEOT – Not a Feminist Issue

I have huge reservations about people taking photos of strangers on trains in the first place. Particularly when those people are made easily identifiable and the subject of anonymous, derisive, malicious humour. But this group sticks in my gullet for other reasons.

Firstly, Women Who Eat On Tubes highlights, once again, that age-old, tiresome comparison between sex and food. I hate that plus-size models are so often photographed chewing on bloody steaks or drizzled in honey. It is exasperating beyond words to be leered at by sweaty idiots when I’m seen eating anything that’s even tenuously phallic. And I find it more than faintly offensive that women are told that greed, sensual pleasure and appetite are unladylike, unfeminine and unattractive’ –

I think the point here isn’t about women or men, but in fact that people’s privacy has been infringed. Through my comments and posts on public forums, I too have been targeted by a group and my picture publicly displayed, but that’s fair enough, my privacy settings on Facebook are set to ‘Public’ which I was unaware of … cheers for that Mimi ‘wink’. Note I was also talking about Sophie the Journalist as I will explain below.

Zoolander

Zoolander

But it’s unfair for me to have a picture of myself online without one of her for balance:

540109_3112228383846_1866872629_n

Of course there’s hypocrisy in me posting a photo of her…but as per our conversation in Facebook and her privacy settings to ‘Public’ one assumes this is alright as it proves a point.

But the real stem of the problem is derived from ‘Journalist’ Sophie Wilkinson who posted this article about never ‘Stranger Shaming again’ despite the fact she is still in her job and is still tweeting about other people:

Article here

‘The thing is, I’m also of a generation whose default setting is “broadcast”. I tweet prolifically. I Instagram a new picture each day. I’ve perused blogs such as “Look At My F**king Red Trousers” and properly laughed at “Jeans and Sheuxs” (anonymous photos of the fashion crime of wide-legged denim with smart pointy shoes). I admit that I’ve taken photos of people without their permission and uploaded them to social networks or texted them to friends – although it’s never been broadcast to thousands of people and it’s never for something so basic as eating food on public transport.’

So what’s she annoyed about the fact that it’s basic?

The problem is, despite sending it to a few friends or via Social Media, it’s sharing and it’s still privacy invading. Also another thing I don’t understand is that she’s written this article for The Independent, giving it even more publicity which is of course the height of hypocrisy if she’s annoyed that someone took a picture of her, she then takes said picture and plasters it online explaining how shes annoyed about it. To go one step further she also Tweeted about it to which I think I had witty rhetoric.

#Banter

#Banter

But see for yourself, join in the argument on these Facebook groups or let me know what you think in the comment’s below.

Shout out goes to MiMi Kempton-Stewart who, despite our initial differences, actually had intelligent and pleasant discussion, it’s rare to find that quality in people.

WWEOT Facebook

‘WWEOT is observational not judgemental. It doesn’t intimidate nor bully.

Women are embraced and cherished. We celebrate and encourage women eating food on tubes. We do not marginalise them. We always look for the story in the picture.’

Men Who Post On WWEOT Facebook – May I point out this is sexist, not all men post, women do too.

On a side-note, this quote from Casper Fox, brilliantly and utterly sum’s the argument from both sides.

I think I’m probably one of the few who actually sits right in the middle of this argument. Personally, I don’t get the concept. Is it art? Is it funny? Is interesting? For me… no. What I do find interesting however, is the massive difference in opinion and warped views certain people have on it.

On the whole I’ve encountered nothing but pleasant remarks about the majority of the subjects. Any derogatory comments have been dealt with swiftly and by many. So in that respect, I don’t see a problem.
The issue lies with the lack respect from privacy. Whilst I don’t see the group as having the same connotations as most (misogyny, objectification etc), I do think everyone (not just women) has the right to feel any particular emotion over unwittingly having their picture taken. Me personally, I wouldn’t care (I don’t mean to brag, but I did make it on to ‘Tube Crush’ once upon a time) – One of my best friends however is a girl and explained to me that, should someone take a picture of her without her knowledge and put it online, she’d be really upset, and to me, her opinion really matters.


The fact is though, that the group is not out to hurt anybody’s feelings and the overzealous feminist approach to “taking it down” is doing more harm than good. It’s drawing attention to it from the wrong people (I’ve certainly seen a rise in inflammatory comments in the last 48 hours). In addition to this, the sensationalist approach taken by certain media reps are just as inflammatory as the few ACTUAL misogynists that reside within the group.

Obviously my stance on this whole issue that this is a case of feminism gone wrong. That it’s another misguided case of Double Standard’s amongst angry and confused men and women. The fact that the owner Tony Burke is getting DEATH THREATS because of some pictures is utterly the icing on the cake as to how pathetic some of these people are. Here are some more calm and collected opinions about the ANTI-WWEOT group.

WWEOT - Interesting perspective.

WWEOT – Interesting perspective.

Article by Caroline Zielinski

Explaining that WWEOT is degrading to women, then coming out with a statement like this…what a dick and a cunt (for equality).

“derives pleasure from demeaning his (let’s face it – it’s probably a guy) subject in a largely anonymous space.”

8 thoughts on “WWEOT: Women Who Eat On Tubes – Male Gaze or Misandry?

  1. This may sound simplistic but as nearly every adult, and many children, have immediate access to a camera surely we should be ultra careful of what we do, especially in public. Given the above circumstances if our photo appears wherever and we not pleased about it we should just ” Grin and bear it ” – there’s a thought !

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