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Response to Carolyn

2014 June 18
by Frank Saunders III

Carolyn asked us to think about a particular situation that we all had probably been in at one point in our life. I am at the age where I meet people out for ‘drinks’ and usually I am rushing from some place to meet up and am starving. However, when I arrive everyone has one thing and one thing only on their minds, alcohol, and not going to lie it is usually on my mind as well. Sometimes though I am hungry, and I am the kind of person where┬áI could care less whether or not the people I am with see me eat. This is primarily because the people I am meeting for a drink are my close friends, and they would do the same if put in my situation. If I were out with my elders or with people that reserved respect from me, I would simply ask whether or not it was appropriate to eat.

There is also the opposite situation where you meet people out and they are all eating and you aren’t hungry for whatever reason. Do you order food at this point? I wouldn’t, but is this something that is socially constructed, or maybe gender constructed? There are arguments that go either way.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Maggie Roth permalink
    June 18, 2014

    Even though food is a primal need, Trey points out its incredible role in our social lives; escalating its importance to our daily lives. Most of the time when we hang out with friends or family, the outing usually revolves around food in some way. Either the night ends with getting 3am Cookout, or it begins with a nice dinner at a restaurant. I think what is important to understand (which is highlighted by Trey in his post) is since we already establish food as having a power over us, how do we combat the socially constructed “rules.”

    As a SMAD major, our focus is much more on the media than any other venue, and I think the media are the ones really at fault for how people interact with food in a social settings. Everything from movies to commercials to magazine ads, depict the way you should act towards food– creating a way of life that we the public feels the need to follow.

  2. Charlotte Harnad permalink
    June 18, 2014

    Maggie, you have an excellent point. Food is such an important thing in our individual lives, so sharing it with others that are close to us is one of the most popular ways to bond with friends and family. Sitting around a table, or even just eating snacks on a couch at home is a comfortable setting to us that provides food and warmth not only speaks to our primitive needs, but to our social needs as well. Humans are very social individuals, so there are tons and tons of social constructions that have been established in the world of food. Your example discussing the variety of food settings really reinforces how food and people are very diverse, it becomes difficult to decipher who has the upper hand. It is like Buerkle argues that food demonstrates a power struggle between individuals, as well as between men and women.
    I strongly agree with the media being a major contributor towards the shameful society that exists today. We are taught that if you are not a size 2 or below you are not skinny. However, skinny is not what matters; health is. Having advertisements of frail and poorly clothed models with tons of makeup on holding a burger is not sending a good message to the public, and something definitely needs to be done.

  3. Robert Bamsey permalink
    June 19, 2014

    I strongly agree with Maggie that media has a very powerful effect on how we eat, what we eat, and how much. From commercials, to television sitcoms that constantly try and portray “normal” families – these shows and images teach the viewers what is supposed to be average or normal. When we constantly see in movies and shows that women who are skinny and pretty are the most successful and happy while eating only salads or even eating a bunch of bad food without working out and staying in perfect shape – it’s harmful and confusing to young people and can be detrimental to their health, because many develop eating disorders to try and be like what they see on tv.

  4. Lindsay Kagalis permalink
    June 19, 2014

    Robert, you actually sparked a conversation I remember having in class last semester about the portrayal of people in food commercials. I find myself having this conversation with my family members and friends all the time. I think it becomes a really huge double standard, especially in commercials for fast food, to see really fit and attractive people eating a big mac and large friends, yet when a consumer goes out and purchases the same things, sooner rather than later they find themselves gaining weight, losing stamina and having other health issues. I believe that the media creates a scene of people maintaining this body image that is held as the norm for people, yet maintaining that image is close to impossible if a real person actually eats the food seen on the commercials.

  5. Cassidy Clayton permalink
    June 20, 2014

    Lindsay and Robert, I love your argument here! I completely agree that the media and advertisers create this totally fake and false portrayal of how the real world is in their commercials or ads. McDonald’s has young 20-somethings dancing around, in stylish clothes, and being super fit while eating a meal off the dollar menu. KFC has commercials of families sitting down around the table for dinner, usually the mom is talking about how great the enormous bucket of fried chicken is for her and her family because she doesn’t have time to cook but its not realistic. Especially with the children. Kids are being force fed these misinterpretations of food and it’s affects on human health and are paying the price with child obesity. I think that just as much as we find commercials to be false, children do not and it affects them negatively!

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