The politics of foodWell of course, there’s many reasons why people choose not to eat animal products, whether they’re religious, ethical or environmental. However, one underlying influence that can be overlooked is the role the mainstream media has in affecting our food choices. It’s easy to dismiss this as an insignificant link, but when food plays such a huge part of our everyday lives (and evidently has a big impact on our climate) it’s important to look at the nuances of our eating habits and the subconscious gendering of specific foods. Food is an inherently political commodity – whether it’s a lack of resource sharing or the powerful influence of the food industry on what we put into our bodies They often push a ‘more, more, more’ attitude that isn’t always the best for our nutrition. However, it’s important to note that often the food that is promoted via mainstream media, like fast-food options, is cheap, quick and accessible which is the best option for many people.
We are what we eatThere are lots of perspectives on why more women are vegetarian or vegan than men, including women feeling more connected and empathetic with animals and nature or these diets being linked to healthy eating. There are also some strands of feminists who believe that all should be vegan because of the inherent connection between women and animals. But what about the media’s influence? Mainstream media is an extremely influential factor in our lives and the idea that the media presents a gendered bias isn’t novel. There are sadly countless examples that show the mass media promoting unattainable, unrealistic body types for all genders. One element of this is the media representing types of as food as masculine or feminine, for example meat is perceived as manly and vegetables shown as ‘rabbit food’ for women. Some examples include:
- A Burger King advert, for example, describes vegetables as ‘chick food’ and shows that ‘real men’ eat burgers.
- American fast food chain Carl’s Junior shows a female film character holding a burger and transforming into a man before eating it, with the phrase ‘MAN UP FOR 2X THE BACON’ appearing on the screen.