This particular image was chosen to point out genderism of food choices in our society. The puff-man seen carving into the dead animal with one foot on the cutting board may represents entitlement, power and control. Although this is just an image it actually says a lot about our social norms, where everything has a role – we associate food in derogatory terms with identity – sex, gender, race, culture etc. “So does meat make the man?….Meat still being the manly” choice, it becomes even harder for male consumers to opt for a meat-free lifestyle, even if they supported it in theory. It’s hard to shift an individual’s perception without first tackling their society’s view” (Eisenberg).
Cultures differs when it comes to gendered foods but in the US especially, men identify meat eating with “masculinity”. This is what they were taught growing up, “eat like a man” (Eisenberg), meaning eat more protein to look muscular. This is not healthy eating, it’s one that encourages obesity in men and starvation in women by “fat shaming” them into eating foods such as salads or yogurt to stay skinny. The practice here is that men must eat meat, which means we undervalue nutrition and instead are more concerned with identifying food with appearance. Eisenberg’s article makes light of the fact that when it comes to meat in US culture, “not all men find meat-free to be a hit to their mojo” (Eisenberg). This implies that some men want to make the change, some for health reasons others because they want to but is hard. This lets us know that we should be worried more about changing the dynamics of “genderism” pertaining to our behavior with meat.
Another issue that we deal with when it comes to food that are claimed to be “gendered”, is the lack of understanding for what these foods entails. For instance, I think foods such as quinoa is considered to be a gendered food because women, more than men tend to like it. Also, because it is a plant-based food that can be used in salads, light dishes and is a great source of protein for vegetarians, which most men aren’t. Women’s Health Magazine, labels it a “superfood” because of it’s tremendous health benefits – “nutty, nutritious, and filling, quinoa is one of only a few plant-based foods that provides complete protein, meaning it contains all of the amino acids your body requires—no additions needed ”(Sara Faye Green,). Not only that, but it is a great source of fiber.
So why do I consider quinoa to be a gendered food? Because of its origins. Although it has only became a popular “superfood” in the US in recent years, it’s considered to be the “mother grain” in the Incan culture. “Quinoa is native to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. This crop has been called 41 vegetable caviar” or Inca rice, and has been eaten continuously for 5,000 years by people who live on the mountain plateaus and in the valleys of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. Quinua means “mother grain” in the Inca language.” (hot.purdue.edu). These countries are still struggling to be developed and farming is one of the strengths so grains like quinoa is how they make a living (women in particular). However, competing, commercial markets are trying take away their way of life by producing the crop via factory farming. “Not least, acknowledgment of the value of “underutilized and neglected species” NUS in traditional foods and cultures can empower indigenous communities (women in particular) and reaffirm their identity” (Emma McDonnel, NCLA).
Ecofeminists perception to non-human animals and our relations to them are no different than that of the exploitation as well as despotism of women. The correlation with the two stems from the fact that animals are considered “less than”. This is illustrated in the barbaric treatment toward animals, and women. Curtain sees it in the sense that we should not eat animals unless absolutely necessary – “Though I am committed to moral vegetarianism, I cannot say that I would never kill an animal for food” (Curtain). However, Gaards view has more to do with the relationship we have with animals. In that, “no matter how much we love the animals we take into our homes and into our hearts, our relationship with them is always unequal” (Gaard). Both perspectives share the similar views for animals as they relate to women. Yet Curtain’s “ecofeminist ethic of care” brings empathy to animals and women due to the mistreatment. Whereas Gaard feels that we are “complicit” in the mistreatment and lack awareness in the relationships we have with animals, simply because they are pets.
Eisenberg, Zoe. “Meat Heads”, Jan 13, 2017, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/meat-heads-new-study-focuses_b_8964048
Curtin, Deane. “Contextual Moral Vegetarianism ‘Toward an Ecological Ethic of Care’.”, Hypathia, No. 6, spring 1991, pp. 68-71, http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/curtin01.htm
Faye Green, Sara. “This Is How Much Protein Is In A Cup Of Quinoa”, SEP 27, 2017, https://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/a19938205/what-is-quinoa/
Gaard, Gretta. “Ecofeminism on the Wing: Perspectives on Human-Animal Relations”, 2001, https://www.academia.edu/2489929/Ecofeminism_on_the_Wing_Perspectives_on_Human-Animal_Relations
McDonnel, Emma. “The Quinoa Boom Goes Bust in the Andes”, March 12 2018, https://nacla.org/news/2018/03/12/quinoa-boom-goes-bust-andes