Feminism and Food

      No Comments on Feminism and Food

It might seem a bit random, but the reading that we have done thus far in class has actually brought to mind for me feminist issues. One might not think that feminism and food have much to do with each other, but I see a direct link to it in comments such as Michael Carolan’s about possessing sufficient time to prepare and cook foods containing fruits and vegetables and Michael Pollan’s about going back to the way that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers cooked (73; 5). Pollan in particular mentions how his grandmother made most of her family’s food from scratch (5). However, there is a reason why he says his grandmother and not his grandfather as well as why she had hours to spend on food preparation: it was a time in which women were relegated to the home and the kitchen.

The industrialization of food and dramatic increase in processed and fast foods occurred just before and around the time of women’s entrance into the workforce. Nowadays, in households in which both parents work full time, one can hardly expect the parents (or in most cases, the woman) to have enough time to tend to a home garden (as Pollan would suggest) and/or do the grocery shopping and then cook meals from scratch (Pollan 158). The case of homes headed by single women would exacerbate even further this situation. Women/couples who make enough money can sometimes outsource some of their home tasks, but for many middle-class and lower wage workers this is not an option. (Women) workers who are lower income also could also gravitate towards the more affordable processed foods as opposed to fruits and vegetables, which are rising in costs (Carolan 73). Workers living in poorer neighborhoods also have to grapple with a lack of nearby grocery stores, thus having to choose between the time and money spent driving to a further away grocery store (if they are lucky enough to have a car, and, if not, taking public transportation) or going to a closer convenience store or fast food restaurant.

However, eating more processed and fast foods is not a solution to helping working women and their families, and women should also not be discouraged from working full time in order to tend more to the cooking and shopping for their families. There is much discussion about making offices more flexible for parents to be able to juggle childcare with work; perhaps similar policies could be applied to promote healthy eating and home cooking as well. Or perhaps community gardens could be started, particularly in low-income neighborhoods, to promote neighborly collaboration and alleviate the individual burden falling on one family’s shoulders. Free school meals could also be revolutionized to be healthier, and perhaps schools could even implement their own gardens- which could also be a part of the students’ curriculum. Workplaces could even start offering healthy food options for employee lunches. Leave a comment below if you have any other ideas for solutions.

Works Cited:

Carolan, Michael. “Cheap Food, Hunger, and Obesity.” The Real Cost of Cheap Food. Earthscan, 2011.

Pollan, Michael. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. Penguin Books, 2008.


Leave a Reply