Sunday, January 31, 2010

Food, Sex and Gender....A new semester at Indiana University



So its a new semester for me at Indiana University (as of a month ago:P) and I'm excited to say that my first class of the week, my Monday afternoon delight, is a course taught by my advisor Rick Wilk on food, sex and gender. This lovely triumverate of topics brings a whole new meaning to the term "food porn" and elicites thought about the extremely gendered nature of food and food advertising. For example, to judge by today's advertisements, only women consume yogurt or soymilk in any form. These foods are almost exclusively marketed to women: svelte, healthy and happy looking women with perfect digestive tracts thanks to the wonders of the products they are consuming.

Some other highly gendered foods: chocolate, salads, steak, hamburgers, desserts and sweets, quiche ("real men don't eat quiche"). What gender is my photo up top? I would love to hear peoples' views on how marketing and social interaction genders certain foods. What foods are gender neutral? Any comments? Insights?

Our class is doing a panel at an international food studies conference in May. The title? "Sometimes a Banana is Just a Banana". And sometimes it isn't. What do you think?

5 comments:

32.flavors.and.then.some said...

First of all, yay for new posts! And secondly, it's funny that you commented that, "to judge by today's advertisements, only women consume yogurt or soymilk in any form. These foods are almost exclusively marketed to women: svelte, healthy and happy looking women with perfect digestive tracts thanks to the wonders of the products they are consuming" because I was just talking about that to a friend the other day--as far as advertisements are concerned, it's as though men don't have digestive tracts.

Anyway, your class sounds really interesting. I'd love to hear more about it if you have any free time (or, more likely, procrastination time?) at some point in time.

Oh, and in terms of your photo, I'm going to go with stereotypically masculine...except maybe for the kabobs....

Lyra said...

I would agree with the photo designation. The class is fascinating. The irony is, of course, that most of the men I know do eat yogurt. And certainly in India I didnt notice any gendering of yogurt consumption. For marketing purposes, it only seems to make sense to market yogurt to women if you are doing a divide and conquer thing where you market one line of yogurt to men and one to women, make them believe that they can only eat that line, and then the result is households buying twice as much yogurt. Otherwise, ignoring half the potential market and only advertising to the other half is beyond me. I know women still do most of the food planning and grocery buying in most households, but if the guys arent eating the yogurt that they buy, because they think its only for women, then the companies are missing out on making more money...

Pam said...

I agree with 32...I saw the photo and thought, defintely male, except for the kabobs. Kabobs seem to be a girl thing to me.

The comment from Lyra is interesting in that most of the men I know (here in the US) don't eat yogurt, or wouldn't admit it if they did. Marketing for yogurt is definitely toward women. However, it's also marketed as a "health" thing, so that automatically gears it more toward women.

Your class sounds really interesting. I wish there had been classes like that back when I was in college!

Pam said...

Just read one of your earlier posts. This class makes sense now with your field of study.

Sounds interesting...good luck!

Marjorie said...

Hi Lyra,
was surprised to find your blog. I was looking up Belize and bird pepper which are only my favorite things, well pepper and anything is my favorite. I am Belizean as well so I was all too happy to see someone else who knows what panades are...lol I also saw that you know my childhood friend Sr. S a.k.a. Said...small world. Great job on the blog too I cant stop scrolling