April 1, 2010

Femivore? Hegan? You Must Be Kidding…..

In case you all hadn’t already noticed – I am a little bit obsessed with food. I love it. I love to grow it, shop for it, chop it, cook it….and, despite some annoyingly, gratuitously non-feminist argument to the contrary, I love to eat it!! My top two “intellectual crushes” are on Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation). They’re work has changed the ways that we discuss food and the politics that surround the consumer culture that produces our food. I also feel elated by the rise in cultural acceptance and understanding of the choice to be vegetarian or vegan. I believe that this is mostly due to the voices of these two men. Though I sometimes question the motivations of a book like Skinny Bitch, but its authors have done one thing very well: they have the ear of a demographic that previously wouldn’t have given a second look to a lifestyle not made of convenience and microwaves. There has also been a surge of energy around locally grown food, as well as growing your own food!

However, there is still a stigma that surrounds vegetarian and veganism. It’s feminine. In the same way, growing your own food is taken to be “masculine.” Recently, two words have been popping up in magazines and newspapers that irritate the you know what out of me: Hegan and Femivore. It seems mundane enough, but as Paula Forbes of Eat Me Daily pointed out,

“They are artificially gendering aspects of food culture that don’t naturally align themselves according to traditional views of what is male and female. The greatest potential food has is to be a unifying force: everyone has to eat, and food is one of the best ways to experience other cultures.”

Attempting to invalidate someones decisions by gendering them (or calling them “gay.” Ugh.) is really just an impertinent, easy way to say that you don’t care about or understand their beliefs. But here is an obviously intelligent group of people who seem to respect what these people have chosen, and still they are using language that is denigrating.

The women and men who choose to make these decisions (and, are lucky enough to have the option), as well as everybody else, have to reject these words the way that men should have rejected the word “metrosexual” as nothing more than media-propagated, gendered fear……

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