I saw this link on Twitter from Rachel over at The-F-Word.
The article is “Which is Worse These Days: Being Called Fat or Whore?”
It seems almost impossible for people to talk about their food without invoking a larger meaning. I do not know anyone for whom food is simply sustenance. And perhaps it has always been this way; a cellular mechanism designed for survival in lean times. The colloquial term for this is food porn. And our infatuation with it is growing. If the proliferation of food blogs is any indication, then food has become the new sex and our obsession with regulating food, the new national religion.
Mary Eberstadt of the Stanford-based think tank the Hoover Institute, has noticed this change but in addition to the deifying of food she adds the secularization of that other great appetite: sex. In an interesting switch, food and sex have completely reversed their roles in society. And all within only a matter of two generations.
Think of it: what if humans were given access to limitless food and sex. The bottomless cup of hedonism, if you will. What does common sense dictate that we would do? Most would think we would become unrestrained in both areas, succumbing with equal glee to both gluttony and promiscuity. Yet for the first time in history we have a very large society in exactly this situation and the answer is not what anyone expected.
Eberstadt illustrates her point by using the example of Betty, a 1950’s housewife, and her contemporary granddaughter Jennifer summing up their attitudes by saying, “Betty thinks food is a matter of taste, whereas sex is governed by universal moral law; and Jennifer thinks exactly the reverse.”
The second link, the one in the block quote, goes to the full article talked about in the first link (and is written from a decidedly and unabashedly Western viewpoint, but also the author states she’s talking about more affluent Western nations). She takes an arbitrary fictional example, but it’s not so far off from people I know (both people who grew up in or were adults in the 50’s and people who grew up in the 90’s are are adults today).
It makes interesting claims about the juxtaposition of the immorality of sex (pre-70’s) to the immorality of food (now). While I don’t agree with everything that’s written, it’s definitely food for thought.
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