What is the Skinny Bastard diet?
The Skinny Bastard diet can be found in the book “Skinny Bastard”, a foul mouthed companion diet to the popular “Skinny Bitch” series of weight loss books which suggest a vegan diet as a route to weight loss. One difference between “Skinny Bitch” and “Skinny Bastard” — the book aimed at men suggests ways that men can “get ripped”, or add muscle mass.
In an effort to capture the attention of males, the “Skinny” series authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin have reclothed their vegan manifesto with terms and concepts aimed at men. Their best-selling diet book franchise includes titles like “Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven” and is known for being a bit over the top. The new book, “Skinny Bastard” is published by Running Press and went on sale Monday May 11th 2009.
The authors and publisher seem to think that a “tough-love” message (one similar to the message found in the original book aimed at women) will translate wel for men who are under the same pressures to lose weight and build muscle. Running Press, which is a division of Perseus Books, has an initial print run of 100,000 copies planned.
The original book “Skinny Bitch,” containing weight loss gems like “soda is liquid Satan” and “sugar is the Devil”, has appeared on the New York Times Advice, How To , and Miscellaneous Paperback Best-Seller list for a total of 92 weeks, selling over a million copies thus far. The book’s authors have also come up with a recipe book, called “Skinny Bitch in the Kitch,” which sold a solid but not stellar 217,000 copies. Their book for pregnant mothers, “Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven,” has no doubt been a disappointment to the publisher, moving only about 26,000 copies.
An executive at Perseus Books had this to say about the latest addition to the “Skinny” series — “Skinny Bastard is a testosterone repackaging of basically the same book, prepared in a way that will get the message out to men.” Critics wonder if men will respond to massive social pressure the same way as women.
Ms. Freedman said she and Ms. Barnouin claim they always planned to write a book for men, but decided to establish their target audience among women — who are indeed more likely to buy diet books.
What does the book look like? “Skinny Bastard” does in fact follow the same outline as “Skinny Bitch,” with some big changes in language meant to raise the book’s appeal to the male psyche. When you compare the male version of the book with the female, you get a good idea of the tactics the authors are using to attract the different genders. In the original book, “Skinny Bitch”, we get this from the introduction to women — “If you can’t take one more day of self-loathing, you’re ready to get skinny.” Note the assumption of low self esteem and the appeal to women’s eagerness to “fit in”. In the men’s version, the message is gentler. The introduction to “Skinny Bastard” reads, in part: “Chances are, you haven’t done so badly . . . don’t kid yourself, pal: A hot-bodied man is a head-turner.” This message appeals to men’s apparently higher self esteem (” . . . you haven’t done so badly . . .”) while trying to convince them that a man with a certain type of body is more appealing to women. I tend to agree with this philosophy — as a man, I’ve seen this behavior work on other men. If you tell a man that he’ll attract more women by eating crushed glass, he’s likely to do it.
In another attempt to appeal to males, the authors have included a section on professional athletes who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet — just the kind of diet that the authors of “Skinny Bastard” support. Athletes featured in the book include Ricky Williams, infamous running back for the Miami Dolphins. I’m not sure that men will want to follow the diet of such a controversial character, but their appeal to the sports loving side of men is not misguided. The authors have also added a new chapter not found in the “Skinny Bitch” diet. Called “No Girls Allowed”, this chapter outlines the male exclusive benefits of eating a vegan diet, such as the prevention of prostate cancer and certain heart diseases more often found in men.
In general, diet books that men have purchased in the past tend to focus on the fitness aspect of weight loss and muscle mass building rather than telling men what to eat. When “Skinny Bastard” suggests that men should abandon the typically masculine “meat and potatoes” diet they may be barking up the wrong tree. Though I know a handful of men who are vegetarians, and at least one who claims to be a vegan, I know hundreds, maybe thousands of men who would be very cautious about abandoning their standard diet habits. In fact, it is doubtful that men will buy a diet book at all. According to the survey experts at Nielson, as many as 8 out of 10 people who buy diet books are women. “Skinny Bastard” may be a huge gamble for the women whose success with “Skinny Bitch” was both surprising and a bit upsetting to most women. There is a chance that women will buy “Skinny Bastard” for their friends, boyfriends, or husbands, but can this “gift” market be as popular as the self help market was?
Only time will tell.