Male Food Privilege in Two Charts

Photo: Getty Images

By now, we know that men are afforded a vast many privileges simply because they possess a Y chromosome. Getting paid more for the same work, for example. Automatically being taken seriously. The ability to relieve themselves standing up. We’d like to introduce you to another advantage enjoyed by men: food privilege.

You may have intuitively understood that men can eat more than women by the sheer fact that they seem to gain weight slower and lose it faster than we do. After all, men are typically taller than women and have a larger percentage of muscle than we do, so their calorie needs are higher. Now, data visualization site FlowingData has put this caloric disparity into chart form, and it is nothing but upsetting.

This first graphic shows the average calorie needs per day for women by age and activity level. (The gray section represents how much women actually eat.) Our needs climb until we hit our mid-to-late teens, then level off and start to decline in our 20s. Active women need the most calories, topping off at 2,400 until age 30, then 2,200 until hitting 60. Moderately active women need 2,000 until they reach 50. All in all, not too terrible.

Calorie needs for women. Photo: Nathan Yau/FlowingData

Now look at the chart for men. Active guys in their 20s and early 30s are allotted an astounding 3,000 calories per day. And men ages 20 to 40 who are sedentary — meaning they do no activity outside of daily living — get as many calories as active women 15 to 30.

Calorie needs for men. Photo: Nathan Yau/FlowingData

So men can eat more and move less without gaining weight. This is, in a word, rude. Male food privilege, everybody. A true outrage.