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Food, Culture, and the Environment

6 Pages 1548 Words December 2019

In a world of mass media that defines what masculine and feminine ideologies are acceptable to the public, “rules about food consumption are an important means from which human beings construct [their] realit[ies].”1 “Since World War II, [United States] middle class [citizens] have experienced a veritable revolution in terms of how and what eat, as well as how we think about eating.”2 Thus, this indicates that food is a social construct that determines an individual’s standing within different societies. This standard of masculine and feminine ideologies created generates dangerous expectations for both men and women. These advertisements in mass media on what masculine and feminine characteristics are desired creates dangerous forms of how to achieve this goal. This paper is going to look into what “food rules” the public has created for men versus women, giving food gendered identities. In addition, this paper is going to explore how women think about their bodies in relationship to food and how food creates hierarchal status among peers.

“FOOD RULES” THAT CREATE GENDER IDENTITYWhile media creates and defines what masculine and feminine ideologies are desired, media also defines what “food rules” males and females should partake in, such as the preparation, cooking, and eating of food. The expectation of women being in the kitchen stems from the “dominant ideals of feminine and social reproduction [that] emphasize the maternal practice of feeding children.”3 This standard of feminine ideals is advertised in women’s cooking magazines, cooking shows and cookbooks, all indicating that as a woman you should be able to cook. While the expectations for a woman are to cook in the kitchen, the more masculine process of grilling food is left up to the man.4 Thus, in “contrast, men’s relationship to cooking has been defined as a [leisure pastime], [or] a means of helping out for special occasions.”5 In Confli...

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