How Does Food Intersect with Identity – Research Paper Example

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The paper "How Does Food Intersect with Identity? " is an outstanding example of an essay on anthropology. Identity entails the fact or state of being the same under different conditions or aspects. Identity suggests people’ s distinctiveness and their differences from others. Food, on the other hand, refers to any nutritious substance that animals or people drink or eat. While the principal role of food is nutrition, it also holds cultural dimensions where individuals eat what they eat not only based on nutritional value or flavor but also based on social status, class, gender and national identity.

Food touches on everything and it forms the basis for every economy besides shaping identities. Food acts as a lens by which society may be observed and interpreted. The contemporary world holds increasing complexity and mobility of food and food production. In this regard, learning where one fits through one’ s food habits is essential. Food habits offer the main organizing trope for many factors of group identities. While much has been said on how food habits function to demarcate self from others besides structuring communities, food habits can anchor a collective identity to specificities of place, gender, and class. Food and Gender Across cultures and history, women hold a special connection between appetite and food.

Women via their daily routines of family mean spread cultural codes relating to eating and food. The sense of self of women is founded on their capacity to feed their families. As a fundamental portion of their self-identity, this right becomes more essential to females in situations of swift social shifts and food insecurity (Koc 1999, p. 158). The source of identity and power for women may be lost if women lack access to food.

This can occur when men take over the right to feed their families or when effectiveness is viewed as more valuable compared to empowerment. Koc (1999, p. 158) asserts that when culture inscribes bodies, it is food that leaves the most apparent mark, and the mark is usually read on the bodies of women. In industrial nations, women’ s relationship to food is problematic given the connection amid body image and food in diet-conscious women. For instance, eating disorders such as anorexia that occur in Western societies are linked to women. Men seek pleasure via food while women suppress their desire and obtain pleasure through serving others.

A study carried out in Northern England indicated that women consider food as a perfidious friend; they like it for pleasure but they deny themselves food because of deplorable weight gain. With respect to psychological studies, women who eat smaller meals are perceived as being more feminine, more concerned about their body image and better looking compared to women who eat larger meals (Koc 1999, p. 158).

For women, food is a symbol of connection and friendship, but for men, food helps in experiencing competition and dominance. However, feminists have refused to make a too close connection between food and women.  

References

Ashley, B 2004, Food and cultural studies. London: Psychology Press.

Fine, B, Heasman, M., Wright, J 2002, Consumption in the age of affluence: The world of food. London: Routledge.

Kedia, S, Willigen, J 2005, Applied anthropology: Domains of Application. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Koc, M 1999, For hunger-proof cities: Sustainable urban food systems. New York: IDRC

Mclntosh, W 1996, Sociologies of food and nutrition. New York: Springer.

Wilson, T 2006, Food, drink and identity in Europe. London: Rodopi.

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