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Gender Difference in the Consumption of Sweets

Macquarie University ANTH203 Food Across Cultures Presentation

Julie LaGuardia

on 22 May 2015

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Transcript of Gender Difference in the Consumption of Sweets

CHECK (sources)
Total lessons learned........................
Gender and the Consumption of Sweets
Presented by Julie and Olivia
Sweets and Gender perceptions in culture and in the Media
-youtube ads: snickers diva, Mr. T snickers, M&M sexy and I know it ad, 3 musketeers "cat walk", Audrey Hepburn galaxy chocolate, dove silk chocolate or "only human"
Men: Candy bars acts as a wing-man, make you more manly, make you desirable to women
Women: luxury, femininity, and sexual arousal.

Question: Are sweets a gendered food?
Research Observations
Analysis of findings:
Conclusion/ Final Thoughts
Where: Max Brenner and Coffee Fest at Macquarie Shopping Center
How long was the study: each place was observed for 1 hour.
What was observed: how many men and women ordered a sweet in the establishment.
Hypothesis: More women would order sweets than men
2000 BC:
Egyptians combined fruits, nuts , and honey.
Romans, Greeks, and Chinese made sweets with sesame seeds
Aztecs used cacao beans for a bitter chocolate drink
Middle ages:
rich enjoyed sugar candies, jam, dried fruits, and wafers.
Doctors also began using sugar to mask the taste of medicine.
Cortez took cocoa drink back to Spain where sugar was added, but it took another 100 years for it to spread to the rest of Europe.
1st shop that sold drinking chocolate opened in London.
Late 1600s:
The wealthy enjoyed eating chocolate ice cream.
the lower cost of sugar and manufacturing made it easier and more affordable to produce and distribute sweets to the masses.
Boiled sweets, marshmallows, and Turkish delight became popular
Joseph Fray made the 1st chocolate bar.
Henry Nestle and Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate
Milton S. Hershey invented Hershey's Milk Chocolate
Milky way
Mars Bars
The graph shows how many observed men and women ordered a sweet at an establishment
, including error bars calculated by the standard error to show the variability of data, and demonstrate the statistically significant difference in sweets consumption between genders.
Women were observed to eat sweets more than men, although frequency, quantity, and type of sweets consumed was not measured by our observations.
Aim of research:
Witnessing how/ what sweets are gendered.
To observe the identity of customers that order at these establishments in terms of their gender
To find out whether there is a significant difference in the amount of females and males that choose to eat at these places.
To test our hypothesis that more females than males consume sweets on a regular basis.
Hypothesis: More females than males consume sweets on a regular basis
Topic: The role gender plays in the consumption of sweets.
MAX BRENNER: Observations
Macquarie centre, Level 4
Social setting;
restaurant style
Plenty of seating, mostly eat in
Dim lighting, romantic intimate feel
Servers serve at table; order at counter
Very decorative, chocolates line the back walls
New York coffee shop feel, Smooth Jazz-like music
During the busier time (20:00)
most of the men were accompanied by women or were in a group.

Layout, ambiance, mood
COFFEE FEST: Observations
Layout, ambiance, mood
Macquarie Centre, level 4
less expensive
kiosk in middle of shopping centre
limited seating, mostly to-go
quicker service, order at counter receive food at counter,
morning is generally busiest time
What is comfort food?
Comfort food is food that evokes feelings of pleasure and nostalgia for a person (Wansink et al. 2003)
Males & comfort food
Research has shown that men tend to turn to warm comforting 'meal related' options for comfort foods rather than sweets (Kandiah et al. 2006)
e.g. Pizza, pasta, steak, casserole, soup
Cravings for chocolate less common than females
% of males that craved chocolate was less than half of women (Weingarten & Elston 1991)
According to Wansink et al. (2003) females prefer to eat dessert related foods such as chocolate and sweets for comfort food
Females chose sweeter foods over other types of comfort foods (Kandiah et al. 2006)
e.g. chocolate, ice cream, candy
It was also found that women had cravings of chocolate more than any other food type
Chocolate cravings & the menstrual cycle
One study reported links between cravings of chocolate and the menstrual cycle (Zellner et al. 2004)
Study was cross cultural- Only
Spanish and American women participated

American women were more likely to claim cravings for chocolate happened during or before menstrual cycle
conclusion was the craving were a cultural phenomenon not a biological one
Cultural perception of sweets and gender
It is biologically ingrained in humans to like the taste of sweetness (Krondl 2011)
But the association of sweet foods and desserts as feminine or masculine is purely a cultural phenomenon (Krondl 2011)
Different Cultural perceptions of sweets & gender (Krondl 2011)
All cultures have different perceptions of gender and sweets:
In western culture, desserts and sweets are usually associated with femininity
However in India, sweets are associated with masculinity, as in childhood, young boys are fed with sweets more often than girls
EXAMPLE: Hong Kong's perception of sweets and gender
According to Fung (2012):
Sweets are perceived as symbols of
perception- more females prefer to eat sweets
Sweetness associated with
softness, cuteness, beauty and bright colours
Male subject:
"Cakes are girlish"
Female subject:
"Dessert shops are girl places"
Feminine foods and places such as cakes and dessert shops are not often visited by men alone as it is seen lowering masculinity
In relation, females spend time at these dessert places to maintain their femininity

(Fung 2012)
Our Hypothesis was proven, so we can accept that sweets are gendered by cultural phenomena, and in our culture, sweets are feminized.
(Sweet History - Who Invented Sweets 2015)
Audrey Hepburn Galaxy Chocolate Commercial, online video, viewed 19 May 2015,
Candyhistory.net 2015, Sweet History - Who Invented Sweets, viewed 18 may 2015, http://www.candyhistory.net/candy-origin/sweet-history/
Dove Chocolate Commercial Brown Silk Slip, online video, viewed 19 May 2015,
DovechocolateTV 2010, DOVE® Chocolate "Only Human" TV Commercial, online video, viewed 19 May 2015,
M&Ms Super Bowl Commercial 2012 "I'm Sexy and I Know It", online video, viewed 19 May 2015,
Fung, N.L.K 2012, ‘Gender and consumption: searching for sweetness’, Hong Kong anthropologist, vol. 6.
Kandiah, J., Yake, M., Jones, J. and Meyer, M 2006, ‘Stress influences appetite and comfort food preferences in college women’. Nutrition Research, 26(3), pp.118-123.
Krondl, M 2011, ‘Sweet invention: A history of dessert’, Chicago Review Press, Chicago, Illinois.
Liza Minnelli-Diva's Snickers Commercial, online video, viewed 19 May 2015,
Mr T Snickers commercial, online video, viewed 19 May 2015,
Wansink, B., Cheney, M. and Chan, N 2003, ‘Exploring comfort food preferences across age and gender’, Physiology & Behavior, 79(4-5), pp.739-747.
Weingarten, H. and Elston, D 1991, ‘Food cravings in a college population’, Appetite, 17(3), pp.167-175.
Zellner, D., Garriga-Trillo, A., Centeno, S. and Wadsworth, E 2004, ‘Chocolate craving and the menstrual cycle’, Appetite, 42(1), pp.119-121.
3 Musketeers "Catwalk" Commercial , online video, viewed 19 May 2015,
Full transcript