How Food Affects Society

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There are many factors that play a major role in the health of a human being. One of the most important factors involved is food. Without food in the human life, the human life would cease to exist. The consumption of food is what energizes the human body, gives it the nutrition it needs, and most importantly, keeps the body actively working and living. Unfortunately over the years, numerous changes have taken an effect on food. Those effects have also had an impact on the human body being healthy verses unhealthy.

The type of food one chooses to consume is what will determine the stage of health your body will be in. Carole Counihan’s article, “Food Rules in the United States: Individualism, Control, and Hierarchy,” and Svetlana Ristovski-Slijepcevic’s et al article, “Being ‘thick’ indicates you are eating, you are healthy and you have an attractive body shape: Perspectives and fatness and food choice amongst Black and White men and women in Canada,” are two articles that help explain why we make those choices we make, and how society has an impact on those choices.

According to these two articles, two factors that play the biggest role in our choices toward the food we decide to consume are ethnicity and gender. They also play a significantly important role on how our food choices are constructed upon the society. As stated above, one of the major factors involved in our food choices is gender. Gender also plays a role in our everyday life situations. Each gender has its own norms and standards and people constantly apply these standards to the opposite sex. For example, food is one of those standards and norms. To be more specific, the amount of food consumed would be considered a standard and/or norm.

Food can give men and women an attractive body shape or, if abused, it can create a health risk and can cause them to think that they are unattractive. Counihan states in her article, “While college students today express vague notions that “lighter” foods such as salads and chicken are female, and “heavier” foods such as beef and potatoes are male, they much more consistently define male and female eating terms of how much rather than what is consumed. ” In the few lines above, Counihan stated that women eat “lighter” foods and men tend to eat “heavier” foods because of the standards the society has placed on humans.

Counihan also stated in her article that, “Fat is not only supremely unattractive in our culture, but it is a clear symbol of loss of control. ” That is why women also tend to eat “lighter” to be able to maintain their body shapes and curves with the help of dieting or eating healthier or consuming a smaller amount of food. In Counihan’s studies, the results show that there is a gender hierarchy relating to who has the right to control the food consumption. “It seems that if a woman eats a lot in front of a man, she takes on some kind of masculine quality. Males and females have certain rules and standards they must follow when accompanied by one another to maintain a division between them. Believe it or not, the amount of food people consume is also a way to show dominance and authority. There are numerous different ethnicities and not only does each ethnicity have their own food, but they also have their own standards for food consumption for both males and females. Svetlana Ristovski-Slijepcevic et al wrote in her article, about the different perspectives taken on weight, attractiveness, and the choices of food between the different genders.

According to Ristovski-Slijepcevic et al, “A large body of literature indicates that the loathing of fatness is gendered, so that women have been caught up far more acutely than men in issues related to body image and weight. ” Women have a fear of being overweight because they worry about their body shape, curves, and their appearances, which is why they watch what they eat and try to eat healthy However, the differences in ethnicities bring a rise that counters that ideology specifically based between the two races, white and colored females. This research suggests that Black women tend to be more satisfied with their body weight, size and overall appearance than White women and consequently exhibit less disordered eating.

” According to Ristovski-Slijepcevic et al, “Some researchers contend that as a result of their stigmatization in larger society, Black women may develop strong, positive self valuations and alternative standards for evaluating appearance and a more androgynous gender identity than white women. Ristovski-Slijepcevic et al goes on to state that, “Another plausible explanation may be that Black men prefer a larger body type for women and rend to associate more favorable characteristics with large women than do their White male counterparts. ” All those quotes above are correct, white and colored females do try to maintain their body weight and body shapes. It is not entirely the same in the case of the males. If a male has a belly, that is not seen as entirely unattractive compared to a female.

As you can see, the differences in gender and ethnicity play a role yet they go hand in hand. Both play an effect on the way we choose what we consume into our body. Gender and ethnicity seem to be the most considerable and prominent ways in which our food choices are socially constructed. Both gender and ethnicity play a major role as to how much food is consumed and how each and every person defines attraction. Gender and ethnicity work together to apply a social standard to food choices and it helps define the word attractiveness.

Works Cited Counihan, Carole M. “Food Rules in the United States: Individualism, Control, and Hierarchy. ” Anthropological Quarterly Apr. 1992, Volume 65 ed. , Number 2 sec. : 55-66. Web. Ristovski-Slijepcevic, Svetlana, Kirsten Bell, Gwen E. Chapman, and Brenda L. Beagan. “Being ‘thick’ Indicates You Are Eating, You Are Healthy and You Have an Attractive Body Shape: Perspectives N Fatness and Food Choice amongst Black and White Men and Women in Canada. ” Health Sociology Review. 2010. 317-29. Web

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