American Academy of Pediatrics makes major shift in recommendations on overweight and obesity
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The American Academy of Pediatrics announced last week that it was radically changing its guidelines for treatment of overweight and obesity in children and teens.  Specifically, it recommends DEemphasizing dieting and weight loss while avoiding any kind of public shaming … Continue reading

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“Why So Many Rich Kids Come to Enjoy the Taste of Healthier Foods”

This article at The Atlantic challenges conventional wisdom that wealthier people eat better because they are better informed. Recent empirical studies suggest that the extra cost of healthful foods being rejected by children influences the economic decisions of poorer parents at … Continue reading

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“Just Modeling?: The Modeling Industry, Eating Disorders, and the Law”

The University of Toronto Press blog is currently featuring an interview with Galya Hildesheimer and Hemda Gur-Arie (both at the School of Law at the Peres Academic Center, Rehovot, Israel), co-authors of IJFAB essay from which this post takes its title. Follow … Continue reading

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IJFAB 8.2, Special Issue Just Food, Now Available!

You can find the table of contents at Project Muse. Editor Mary C. Rawlinson’s introduction, “Food, Health, and Global Justice,” is available to read for free. (Other pieces require a subscription.) … Continue reading

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A Copernican Revolution in Nutrition?

Recently, Truthout published an article by Jeff Ritterman, M.D., about the impact of misdirected nutritional advice on our nation’s health. According to Ritterman, U.S. dietary guidelines formulated in the late 70’s that directed Americans to limit intake of fats, and … Continue reading

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“Is it moral to save this puppy?”

Peter Singer at Salon on factory farming. There is no feminist dimension to the piece, but it does nicely tie together the bioethical themes of food and climate to be featured in upcoming issues of IJFAB. There is still plenty of … Continue reading

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Women and Responsibility for Health:
Food, Physical Activity, and Feminism

Consider this new Kitchen Aid ad from 2013.  Notice anything?  The ability to make your own healthy food—made of quality ingredients and preservative-free—is emphasized, as is preparation skill and social activity: “…new knife skills… a fish you’ve never bought before… … Continue reading

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Women and Responsibility for Health: Food, Physical Activity, and Feminism

Consider this new Kitchen Aid ad from 2013.  Notice anything?  The ability to make your own healthy food—made of quality ingredients and preservative-free—is emphasized, as is preparation skill and social activity: “…new knife skills… a fish you’ve never bought before… … Continue reading

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“The Dark Side of Almond Use”

Okay, so there’s nothing specifically feminist about this one, but it makes a nice point about the importance of thinking about the foods we produce and eat in broader terms than just their touted health benefits. Everyone knows how terrible … Continue reading

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“See How She Runs: Feminists Rethink Fitness”

With all of these great posts and comments on eating and body image, I want to remind everyone of the upcoming IJFAB special issues, “JUST FOOD: Bioethics, Gender, and the Ethics of Eating” and “See How She Runs: Feminists Rethink … Continue reading

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Fat Phobia and Thin Privilege

“Fat phobia,” “thin privilege,” and “fat-shaming” are phrases that have started to enter mainstream discourses on body image and healthy eating, yet they remain contentious. A couple of recent debates on the topic suggest that not only is fat-oppression not … Continue reading

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Eating as Shameful: Food, Gender, Daily Life, and Media Messages

Why do women feel such shame about being seen to indulge, whether or not they are fat? Why do others take such glee in shaming them? Why does this extend even to non-indulgent foods?

I was recently at a social gathering of adults over the age of 25, the vast majority of whom hold PhDs and were academics. At this gathering, a male attendee speaking to a group of about seven people began to mock a pair of fat women he used to encounter who would walk together down the sidewalk briskly and clearly for exercise, and whom he would occasionally see end their walk at a fast food restaurant. He commented about the irony of this, and how much space they took up on the sidewalk which required him to get off the sidewalk to let them pass—as though this would not have been the case with two smaller women walking side by side—and connected this with their eating habits and fatness. Despite gentle pushback from myself and one other woman at the gathering, he doubled down on their rudeness and his shaming of them for eating at the fast food place despite the fact that he had no knowledge of their health other than their body size, no knowledge of what they ordered or ate at the fast food place, and was using them as an object of fun in an “amusing” party story. The raconteur fully expected everyone in his audience to share his attitude. And in many audiences, everyone would have.

This sort of shaming of fat people for eating is common. A “normal” sized man eating a hamburger with juices dripping down his chin and an expression of ecstasy may well be perceived as enjoying his food, but a larger man doing the same thing is likely to be perceived as a glutton.

But it goes far beyond shaming of fat people. Even skinny people, especially women, are often made to feel shame for what they eat. Just consider the standard stock photo of women eating salad joyfully. Or this image of model Barbara Palvin with food near her mouth, presented on a “thinspo” (thinsporation) blog critiquing Palvin for gaining weight (though not enough that her thighs actually touch). The phrase which introduces it is from the blog’s author, and is the way she herself introduced this image.

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The same blog also attacks Kate Upton for her curvy figure. For those who don’t follow such things, Upton was Sports Illustrated’s 2012 Swimsuit Issue Covergirl.  On a page called “Kate Upton is Well-Marbled”, Upton is routinely called a “cow” and the author bemoans what the fashion industry is coming to when Upton is representing the profession:

Look, I’ll admit – I love In’n’Out as much as the next gurl, but it’s not supposed to be an everyday thing, Kate! And we can be sure that Kate is the rare model who poses with food – and then actually devours it.

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