CHAPTER 8 STILL HUNGRY
• Foodwork – the efforts involved in food production, procurement, preparation, service, and clean-up.
It may be paid (as employment) or unpaid (in the household). Unpaid foodwork is generally performed
by women in the context of caring for members of their families and kinship networks. Paid foodwork
is performed by men and women; however, women tend to occupy insecure, part-time positions that
are less prestigious and receive less pay.
• Body – used in sociological and cultural studies to conceptualize the social, cultural, metaphoric, and
symbolic aspects of the physical body, including the construction of identity.
• Food nourishes the physical body; however, food is never just about nutrition. Food carries multiple
levels of emotional, social, cultural, and political meanings, intertwined with taste, memory, tradition,
• Despite the rhetoric of a more equal gender division of household labour, women continue to do
the majority of the foodwork in Canadian families.
o Defined: the way in which paid and unpaid work roles have been allocated to men and
women based on prevailing notions of masculinity and femininity.
• Women also show unhappiness with their bodies, resulting in high rates of eating problems.
• White, upper-middle-class cultural obsession is with thinness, and buying products/services to ensure
the ‘perfect body’.
• Women do foodwork not just as people with a particular gender identity, but also as people of
particular classes, races, ethnicities, and sexualities.
• Embodied – describes one’s experiences of one’s particular physical body with respect to socially
constructed positions and roles (e.g., gender, racialization, sexuality, age), relationships (e.g.,
motherhood), thoughts, and emotions.
• What happens to food studies when we look at it through a feminist lens? We have 2 intertwined
o (1) feminist lens – unseen and unspoken about women, food, foodwork, and the body;
o (2) highlight the need to further consider gender in the food studies literature;
o (3) deepen, strengthen, and politicize the emergent field of food studies by drawing
lessons from feminism and related critical scholarly fields, and thus to analyze relations of
power and understand social inequalities related to food, foodwork and the body.
• Peoples relationships with food are felt intimately; at the same time these relationships are partly
constituted by ‘the power that society allocates or denies to men and women through their access to
and control of one essential resource: food’.
Gender, Food, and the Body
• Feminism is concerned with the historical, social, and political meanings of sexual difference in the
human body, and the spectrum of experiences those meanings produce.
• Moral Imperative of Food and Eating
o The dominant contemporary moral imperative facing women: eating ‘good food’ which is
less about the physical pleasure of eating, but rather the health values that come from
our dietary habits, which in turn serves as the basis for the moral judgement we make
about ourselves and others.
o Nutritionism – a paradigm that reduces the value and benefits of food to its nutrients,
assuming that we eat only to promote physical health.
The singular preoccupation with food – measuring food by its nutrient
o Nutritionism assumes that food’s role in promoting bodily health is the only one that really
matters. Professionals have caused the dominant popular culture discourse about food,
dividing food into ‘healthy or unhealthy’ food. Good or bad.
o This dominant approach ignores the multiple symbolic dimensions of food and the joy,
pleasure and satisfactions of food, cooking, and eating.
o Nutritionism’s simple message: it is your responsibility to eat right and thus be healthy. o Healthism – an ideology that sees health as a metaphor for all that is good in life, and
that holds the individual responsible for health.
o In contemporary society, health acts as a secular religion, justifying the scrutiny of
individuals’ everyday activities for their health-promoting or health-denying properties,
and setting up an associated moral hierarchy of these everyday activities.
o Neo-liberalism – a politics ideology and practice that emphasizes the withdrawal of
government from services that promote the health and well-being of communities of
citizens; these needs would be met through individual responsibility and for-profit,
Dominant political ideology.
Emphasizes individual responsibilities for security and well-being, cutting back
welfare state activities, favours collective government action.
Food is a collection of nutrients that responsible eaters/feeders consume/provide