Hunger as Ideology

Societys views on conventional roles of women when it comes to preparing and serving food have shifted, more than they have changed over the last twenty years.  Women have been raised to prepare meals for their families, and to ensure that all have been served the meal before preparing their own plate.

More women are employed and seeking careers other than the role of homemaker.  While there are still children to be raised and fed, the markets are filled with new foods being produced which target families with working moms.  These new foods typically have everything included for a complete and nutritious meal, only needing to add meat.  They can be found in your grocers freezer.

If you would have told society fifty years ago that men would be responsible for preparing and cooking their own meals and that women were going to be less than enthusiastic about hanging out in a kitchen, cooking a meal, and serving the meal to their family, you would have been viewed as mentally incapacitated.   The womans role as homemaker was thought to be necessary in finding balance between men and women.
The increase over the years of women taking on careers caused an even greater upset to that balance.  This was a great opportunity to the food industry as it ensured women could still prepare and serve food at home.  This makes women feel better about them-selves, in not feeling as if they are neglecting their families for their own selfish gain.  Food markets have established the convenience of easy preparation after a hard days work, which restores balance in having a meal to eat, but not healthy eating by itself.  Men also benefit from todays types of meals that can be prepared in as little as 5  10 minutes from start to finish.

This is a long way from the days of old when everything we ate was made from scratch.  Fresh baked bread, cake, and pie.  Homemade egg noodles and biscuits.  More people are taking vitamins and supplements as a response to contemporary eating habits due to the lack of proper dietary consumption with the shift in conventional meal preparation and serving by women.

Packaged foods or dining out is the wave of the times as everyone is too busy to eat properly.  It is much more convenient to grab something to eat at a nearby restaurant, or store deli, and let us not forget McDonalds, Burger King, and Arbys, to name a few fast food restaurants.  

Conventionally it was the woman who made sure that meals were nutritious and that the helpings placed on a plate were of an amount that would be satisfactory in meeting daily requirements for vitamins, and minerals.  It was how society deemed the roles of women in being the weaker of the sexes yet the more organized in facilitating home life, with a husband, and children.  The era of male chauvinism was born.

With contemporary shifting, women had come to terms with their sexuality, and the want of a career.  This caused an upset in societys patterns that over time would prove not to be the last.  The word oppression would come to be used many times in the years to come, as both women, and blacks would seek equality in being human.  During these times, there was a change in the way men viewed food.  Most acclimated to the patterns set by the woman, whether dating them or being married.  Many learned to cook for them-selves and some turned out to have quite a talent for cooking.  An interesting fact is there are quite a few men who tend to lean toward gourmet cooking vs. comfort food.  Men found out they enjoyed cooking, and women found out they enjoyed sports, besides many other changes that occurred in the roles of men and women.

The downfall to this age of contemporary eating habits is that focus on dietary substance took a backseat to the busy hustle and bustle of everyday life.  People were being so pushed by life that it was expressed there was not enough time to eat right.  For those who would claim to have the time, they would complain that food prices, especially fresh fruits and vegetables were too expensive, and this made eating right impossibility.

Some things remain the same as in romantic dinners.  This conventional practice is still alive and thriving.  The only difference is that more couples go out for a romantic dinner vs. those who prepare it at home.  This has nothing to do with the food, which would have been made at home.  The reason is more to the factor of doing something together in spending quality time, and in proving that the man has a chivalrous nature and cares enough to shoulder the expense.  In this manner the conventional way of courting has not changed much today.

Women are obsessed with body image.  This fact has increased over time.  Technology is so advanced that a woman can have any type of body she chooses.   Both men and women alike can now gorge them-selves if they want to, knowing that if they become obese, they can opt for liposuction.  The same holds true for men.   It would seem that more men, than women, actually love the art of preparing meals, and as far as serving food, there is a higher impact of men serving foods in a restaurant than there are women.

The trends involving eating have a lot to do with weight, and health.  There are health conscious individuals who refrain from any junk food in their diets.  The age of juicers, and smoothies were born as individuals felt compelled to eat healthy and stay healthy.  This motivation was driven by the awareness that women were no longer chained to their kitchens, resulting in a need for men to branch out and explore all of their nutrition possibilities.

Women having shaken off the chains of primarily being homemakers and in doing this they have become even more concerned with their weight.  They feel that a conventional home cooked meal is the road to obesity.  The truth is that dining out packs on the pounds.  Dining out and a decrease or lack of exercise.  This is another trend, men and women alike are joining health clubs, going to the gym and working out in order to stay fit.

Commercials on television remind women that they are overweight, and need to do something about it, while other commercials tempt and tantalize.  Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are well known companies that promise weight loss.   These two programs are not cheap, with Jenny Craig requiring large sign up fees upfront.   Weight Watchers is not any cheaper however, they do allow low monthly payments.

An old quote the way to a mans heart is through his stomach (Popik, 2009) This saying was a motivator for women to prepare and serve food to their potential mates.  This conventional way of thinking has crossed over into a contemporary outlook, yet, it is not said as often as it once was.  In fact, women worry that they may not be able to prepare an adequate meal.  This may be due to the decrease of women who find time to cook these days.

Conventional ways of eating for women in alignment with contemporary society have invoked feelings of guilt.  Guilt at not feeding families right, guilt of overeating, and then again, not eating at all in keeping up with fashion and in being conscious of how much one weighs.  It is all about image these days and the same holds true for men.  Many will forego meals in an effort to stay thin.

Lost are the ways of practicality in bestowing good eating habits on our young.  Many youth are overweight a product of bad eating habits.  This new age of dealing with hunger is not a healthy answer for what is viewed as lifes ups, and downs.  Young women are obsessing over being thin, as they develop eating disorders such as Bulimia, and Anorexia.  Again, it is about body image, except for those with these types of disorders they envision that they are obese and stress over losing the weight.  Ultimately, they starve themselves, damaging their hearts and other organs.  Many lose their lives in this battle (Bordo 191)

In conclusion
Conventional times were built on the family unit.  Men and women had designated roles.  Women were considered the weaker of the sexes and it was thought (by men) they were better suited to keep house, cook, and tend to the children.  Men considered this type of lifestyle easy, and a way of living women could do easily.  So began a lifelong endurance of being a type of indentured slave for many women.  Also began the existence of stereotyping.

The world has come a long way in looking at the roles of men and women.  The mighty efforts brought forth by women evoked a change in, and put a stop to, what was considered male chauvinism.  Men could not understand why women complained about their role in society. Women were taking a stand in being able to express them-selves.  They had hopes and dreams that they wanted to pursue, and so, womens liberation came into being (German 1994)

The days of conventional family units, which produced well-fed, healthy individuals were gone.  The contemporary ways of families consist of many failed marriages, affecting both men and women.  Children are probably hardest hit when changes in society occur.  The eating habits of most are inadequate and the fear of gaining weight has caused even more problems when it comes to proper diets.  Not only for women, but for men as well.


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