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Gendered Consumption

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Kate Handley

on 6 November 2014

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Transcript of Gendered Consumption

Gendered Consumption
Performing Gender
Gender as performance
'Doing Gender' - West and Zimmerman
Gender is a practice that is continually negotiated through social relations and performed differently depending on the situation

Food is Gendered
Gendered Foods
Distinction between feminine and masculine foods

Delineate the boundaries of acceptable eating

Facilitate social impressions of others made during the eating process

Breakdown of the Literature
Gendering of specific foods as masculine or feminine

The effects of meal size and content on perceived femininity and social identity

Women change their eating behavior to project a specific social image

Perceived Femininity and Social Identity
Social Image is connected to conformity to gendered food ideologies

Link between perceived fat and calorie content on perceptions of masculinity, femininity, and social desirability

Bascow and Kobrynowicz (1993)
Effect of Meal Size on perceived social status
Smallest, feminine meal most socially appealing

Mooney, DeTore and Mallory (1994)
Study on female college students
Fat-restrictive, ‘feminine’ diet -> more attractive, intelligent, calm and conscientious

Social perceptions of women are directly dependent on both the type and amount of food they consume

Moderating Consumption
Women are aware of the effects of eating behavior on social identity

Moderate behavior based on the people they are eating with

"Food for Thought: What you eat depends on your sex and eating companions"
(2009) by Young et al.
Lower caloric value if with a male companion
Total calories decreased as a function of the number of male companions
Total calories increased in correlation with the number of female companions

Performing Gender Through Food
Gender Policing
Gap in the Literature
women eat
The way women change their eating behavior while with a male companion
Contemporary understanding of gendered eating
Moderating consumption - self-surveillance over women's bodies
The imposition or enforcement of normative gender expressions on an individual
Judith Butler

Devalues or de-legitimizes expressions that deviate from normative conceptions of gender
Formal and Informal Sanctioning
Self-policing gender

Self Policing Gender
Helen O'Grady - "Woman's Relationship with Herself: Gender, Foucault and Therapy"
Self-surveillance as a form of contemporary social control

Moderating consumption is a way that women self-police their gender

Gender Policing

Coded 4 out of 5 etiquette books
Not making a scene (at least 2x)
Never finishing all the food on your plate
Do not eat directly from the serving dish

Observed 18 tables (10 hours of observation)
6 - 2 women
12 - man and a woman
2 women: gesticulate more, eat more quickly, speak more quickly, talk with mouth full (often covering mouth) more often
Man and a woman: more time between bites, speak more slowly, server addresses the man first, less animated discussions

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