Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Superwoman (of Competitive Eating)

I never thought that I would be writing about competitive eating for my first post on this blog, but this short article that popped up on my Yahoo! news feed yesterday morning inspired me to test some new ground. The article gave new meaning to the "modern superwoman" and proved that a heroine can exist in every field, no matter how testosterone-filled it normally is.

Perhaps not a superheroine by conventional means, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas possesses enough of the traits of our favorite ass-kicking superwomen to make her worthy of our admiration. Misleading looks? Check. A memorable nickname? Check. Superior speed, stamina, and skill? Check, check, and check. Her most recent feat of devouring 183 chicken wings in 12 minutes earned her a well-deserved first place at the tenth annual National Buffalo Wings and a new world record, among many jealous glares from her male competitors.

The taste of success isn't new to the 44-year old, 100-pound Thomas, who proudly lists some of her other competitive eating records on her own website. Such achievements include consuming 552 oysters in 10 minutes, 44 lobsters in 12 minutes, and 65 eggs in less than 7 minutes.

Despite the messy nature of competitive eating, Thomas is able to maintain her cute and cheery appearance without much of a problem. However, the most interesting aspect of Sonya Thomas' competitive eating profile just may be her self-given nickname, "The Black Widow." When asked why she chose the nickname, Thomas answered, "Like the female black widow spider, it is my desire to eliminate the males. In competitive eating, I want to eat more or faster than the men. I want to make boys out of them."

Going back to our recent class discussion about heroes vs. heroines, I found it intriguing how Thomas completely toppled the idea of male supremacy by making it clear that her goal was to defeat any and all competitors in the competitive eating field, which, like the superhero world, has typically been dominated by men. Her bravery and outspokenness certainly make her a respectable heroine, at least in my book.


  1. This article was very interesting. Competitive food eating is such a male-dominated practice that it is always shocking when a woman beats the men, and not just by a small amount. I really like the parallel you drew between our class discussions about various heroes and now the men and women differ. Sonya Thomas is certainly very outspoken, respectable, and unique.

    To be honest, at first glance, I didn't think Sonya could be considered a heroine. What does winning a lot of food eating contests have to do with "saving the world?" However, after reading your post, I realize that Sonya Thomas is definitely a modern heroine. Her actions open the door for women everywhere to do what they love. Her actions prove that women can beat men, even at physically-demanding activities. By winning all of these competitions, Sonya is illustrating that her gender and small size have absolutely nothing to do with her willpower to win these contests.

    Great idea and points, Yvonne!

  2. Maybe it's just me, but this article makes me want to victoriously fist pump to women power. I find it ridiculous that people find things more impressive just because a woman did it. We live in a world of alleged "gender equality", but the truth is that people still believe that in some sports and activities, men will always prevail. To some, Sonya's competitive eating title may be just a small feat, but I am still very thankful for these little victories in woman-power because they will ultimately lead to the true gender-equality that we strive for.

  3. I don't see why being the best at what you do should have to do with men at all. It seems to me that being a hero is doing the best you can, loving what you do, and owning at it. Not working or fighting with the goal being to catch up to / defeat men. I don't know if this is a significant step forward for women.

  4. I really like this post. I think it's great that a woman can go into such a male dominated area like competitive eating and as you said, make boys out of the men. It made me laugh and it also made me glad to see that she doesn't let that she's a woman stop her from doing what makes her happy.


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