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Boobs, branding and bravado served up with a side of wings: it’s what happens when the worst of American pop-culture collides

31 Mar
Jeff Fusco-Getty Images

Jeff Fusco-Getty Images

Another annual Philadelphia chicken wing-bowl has come and gone, apparently. I wasn’t even aware of the event until my husband stumbled upon a BBC article about it. It is, or was in the past, exactly what one might imagine, a chicken-wing eating contest. As with pies, pancakes and hotdogs, wings are another popular favorite among America’s competitive eaters. To be honest I’m not particularly bothered by people who competitively eat or eating contests in general but I still have no burning desire to attend witness either. The wing bowl however, has morphed into more than your run-of-the mill eating competition. What one ESPN journalist called the ‘the worst event ever’ and what a Philly journalist described as a ‘ gigantic boozy frat ‘n’ bachelor party at a disgusting strip joint that just happens, one night, to hold an eating contest’, the wing bowl is what happens when the worst of American culture collides in a stadium-sized space. Participants and, by default, champs are mostly men, unsurprisingly. Sure, women go to this event and this years winner happened to be a woman but let’s face it, meat, men and competition do go together in the psyche like a triptych.

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