A Season for Reflection

After a semester’s worth of posts, I think it is time to reflect on my blog. The purpose of this blog was to outline the history of women and food in order to determine their impact on each other.  I think my posts work together to demonstrate women’s impact on food and food’s impact on women.

I made the rhetorical decision to alternate the different types of posts I wrote. I was a little restricted with my decisions because I had to fulfill specific requirements for each posts. The way I fulfilled my requirements work in a way that I feel helps develop my theme. The requirements to connect my blog to a current event and a community issue allowed me to discover how women and food interact today. It allowed me to analysis how history is affecting us today and how it will affect us in the future.

I tried to write my blogs simply in order to make them more attainable for my audience. I wanted my blog to be appropriate and accessible for all people. I tried to use academic sources to support my points to make my point stronger. I believe that I could have used more research to help support some of my ideas.

I think my writing has improved throughout the blog assignment. I do not know if I learned the blogging style of writing or just became a better writer in general. I hope it is both, but I will never know unless I continue writing!

Hopefully this won’t be my last post because I have really learned to love writing for this blog, so hopefully you will hear from me soon!

Happy Holidays!

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Pizza or Salad?

It has been proven that from a young age, boys and girls eat differently. A study done by ALSPAC found out that at the age of 7, boys needed more encouragement to eat fruits and vegetables than girls. Girls tend to more naturally eat healthier and eat more fruits and vegetables then boys. This natural ability could be what helped form the gender eating stereotypes found in today’s society.

Women are expected to eat less and healthier in today’s society because of our beauty culture. Women are brainwashed to believe that they need to be skinny and supermodel like in order to be socially accepted. They believe the only way to get this way is to both eat right (or not at all, but that is another story) and exercise. This is what leads to women being associated with salads and dainty foods.

On the other hand, men are expected to eat a lot of carbs and junk food. They are pressured to be big and buff. Men get this way by eating a lot of carbs and then exercising. This is why men are associated with greasy/carb-loaded food.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University did an experiment on what college students eat. What they found falls into the stereotypes of men and women food habits. Male college students eat more carbonated beverages and high fat combination meals than female college students.

I took it upon myself to determine how Chapman students fall into the stereotyped role of women eating healthy foods (I tested salads) and men eating carbo-loaded foods (I used greasy pizza). For two days I sat in the cafeteria at lunch and observed the pizza and salad stations. I discovered that out of the 87 students to eat salad 76% of them were female and only 24% were male. Out of the 52 students to eat pizza 67% of them were male and only 33% were female.

From my results I discovered that the students at Chapman follow the gender stereotypes given by society. Women tend to eat more salads, which are representing healthier foods and men tend to eat more pizza, which is representing carbo-loaded foods. Even though my results fit into the stereotypes it does not mean that all women eat salad and all men eat pizza. Students tend to choose different foods depending on their moods and what other choices of food they have, so no matter if you are male or female what would you choose? Pizza or Salad?

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Eat to Live or Live to Eat?

In our culture women tend to always be dieting. They always have some crazy, usually unhealthy plan to loose weight. Lindsay Mathers, the author of the blog Healthylivesforwomen, made a great point about eating slowly in order to be healthier in her post titled “French Women Don’t Get Fat”.

One of the easiest ways to lose weight and become healthier is to stop overeating. It takes anywhere from ten to twenty minutes for the stomach to send signals to the brain telling it that you are full and need to stop eating. If you are eating too fast, then you will miss the signal that indicates when you are full. By eating slower your stomach has enough time to communicate with your brain and you do not overeat.

Not only is eating slower healthier for you, but it also allows you to enjoy your food. Mireille Guiliano the author of the cookbook French Women Don’t Get Fat” posed the question “Eat to live or live to eat?”

I would personally live to eat. Eating slowly creates the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your family and friends. There is nothing better to me than enjoying a quality meal with the people I love.

Humans are social beings, so both men and women love to talk. If people just incorporate communication with eating, then they will slow down their eating rate and get to enjoy quality social interaction.

What would you choose: eat to live or live to eat?

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The Cooking Mating Dance

It was breed in the 1950’s that if a woman can cook she can catch a man. Society made women think the only way to find a husband was to impress him with her cooking skills. The Feminist Kitchen author Addie Broyles talks about how early 1900s’ cookbooks were used to emphasize gender roles in her post “Book Club + Film Series: Bake Cookies to Snag a Man, ‘Because I Said So’”. Broyles and her book club get together once a month to talk about different books they are reading. The book they are currently is called Dinner Roles; it discusses the way women were supposed to behave regarding food.

Early 20th century cookbooks gave subtle hints to woman on how to be feminine. At the time, the only way to be feminine was to work in the kitchen and have babies. The women did not really have many options other than getting married and becoming housewives. The author of Dinner Roles states in the second chapter, “ Girls learned that good cooking skills were essential because they were the best means to attract boys (aka future husbands)” (45). I feel this is degrading to woman on many levels. Women are treated like animals in the fact that they are trying to draw attention to themselves in order to find a mate. Cooking acts as a “mating dance” that birds do in order to impress the opposite sex.  Women were pretty much forced to cook in order to display themselves for men to pick a worthy wife.

Cooking should not be about trying to impress a man. Cooking should allow people (men and women) to express their creativity without worrying about how they come across to the opposite sex. Luckily, in present day society, cooking has changed. Women are not required to cook to impress their future husbands. They are not forced to participate in the cooking mating dance. Instead the ability to cook has become a special trait that makes people unique instead of a common stereotypical trait.

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Cookie Monster

When you imagine your childhood you can smell your mom baking homemade chocolate chip cookies. You can imagine yourself breaking the warm cookie in half and watching the chocolate melt between the pieces. Can you imagine what your childhood would have been like if there never was chocolate chip cookies? Luckily for us, Ruth Graves Wakefield mistakenly invented the chocolate chip cookie in 1937.

Ruth worked in The Toll House Restaurant in Massachusetts. She was making her favorite cookies called “Butter Drop Do”. Her recipe called for bakers chocolate, which she was out of at the time. Instead of leaving out the chocolate, Ruth cut up a bar of semi-sweet chocolate and stuck them in her dough. She hoped that the chocolate would melt and spread throughout the dough, but luckily for us, the chocolate stayed in chunks throughout the cookie. Ruth called her new cookies The Toll House Crunch Cookie.

The Crunch Cookie became very popular around the area and nationally after Betty Crocker supported the recipe. In 1939, Ruth created an agreement with the Nestle Company to allow them to print her cookie recipe on the back of the semi-sweet chocolate bar. This agreement allowed for Wakefield to have an endless supply of chocolate for the rest of her life. In the 1940’s Wakefield officially sold the Toll House trademark to Nestle. Unfortunately for Nestle, they lost the Toll House trademark in federal court in 1983.

Without Ruth Wakefield we would not be able to enjoy this delicious American recipe, so remember to thank Ruth when you go back to your childhood and eat homemade chocolate chip cookies!

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Take a Walk Outside of the Home

This video made by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women demonstrates the feministic issue of traditional male breadwinners. In some cultures, it is still uncommon for women to make money by working outside of the home. The husbands do not like the idea of their wives making the money in their families because it is taking away one of their forms of masculinity and power.

In areas where employment is low, like the Palestinian territory, husbands are losing their jobs and are not being able to make enough money to live on. Lucky, in 2010 women like Istincar took action and found a job for women perfect for their economy. With the help of the Palestinian authority and international funding, women have created a business of making healthy meals for school children. These women make meals for thousands of children each day. This has taken women outside of the home and has allowed them to collect their own income.

It has taken some time for these women’s husbands to accept their new income. In the case of Istincar, with her husband losing his job, it has become vital that she have a source of income. This new job of feeding the school children has taken women outside of their traditional roles inside the home and has made them an important part of the economy. Even though these women are still participating in their stereotypical female roles as bread makers, feminists are pleased with this step in the direction of equality, but would like to continue to work for women to have more diverse jobs outside the home.

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International Day of Rural Women and World Food Day Event

October 14, 2011 is International Day of Rural Women and World Food Day Event. This is an event hosted by the United Methodist Women, the NGO Working Group on Food and Hunger, and the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders in New York City. These organizations put together panels to discuss rural women’s role in the security of food and how to end violence against women.

The panels on food security are intended to help the attendees visualize how important women are in the food industry in rural areas. The goal of the event is for the attendees to have enough information to accurately encourage participation and support to help these rural women.

Rural women make up the backbone of agricultural labor in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In the developing world, women are doing unpaid work on family farms or receiving low farming wages for necessary, hard work. The women are working harder and longer than men and still have to do all of the household work after they are done working outside the home. The International Day of Rural Women and World Food Day are trying to help educate people on how to help these extremely hardworking women by helping them find paid work with in the food industry that will eventually increase their power in society.

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