Good Gender And Society Write-Up Essay Example
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Family, Cooking, Sociology, Eating, Gender Equality, Women's Rights, Feminism, Food
Eating and food patterns are unequivocally social practices that retain significant implications about the social role of food as well as public health implications. A litany of studies has proliferated regarding how ethnicity has shaped the contours of the eating habits of Americans. Indeed, food is imbued with immense political and social currency and symbolism. Cooking behaviors and diets offer an intriguing window into the very character of the society and nation in which such behaviors take place. Although many might consider the cooking and eating behaviors of families as trivial, they in fact provide a window into a society’s gender roles and cosmogony. As such, they are anything but trivial. Social practices must be understood without a structural paradigm that considers social structure and agency as they relate to cooking and eating patterns. Indeed, analyzing the socio-cultural contexts that cooking and eating patterns germinate from. Social structures are critical to fully understanding cooking and food practices and choices.
Public discourses and social media have vis-à-vis television, magazines and other forums have underscored the significance for families to enjoy home-cooked meals together in other to amplify to overall well-being of families as well as the physical health of the family members. However, recent studies have proliferated and concluded that cooking and eating patterns within the home have exacerbated stress levels in certain families. Popular culture repeatedly depicts the ideal of family dinners and family-oriented cooking patterns both to reify the hegemonic heteronormative paradigm as well as gender norms according to tradition paradigms. Unfortunately, popular culture depictions are incommensurate with lived realities. Class figures prominently in the cooking and eating behaviors of families, thereby underscoring how social constructs such as race, gender, and class, although they are biological fictions, they have real, material consequences. As such, cooking and eating patterns are critical and relevant in the study of societies from a sociological vantage point.
A seminal feminist and pundit on both gender and race issues, Audre Lorde recounts her experiences with one of her first male clients who perceived of himself as a feminist because he abhorred being a man. Lorde retorted that his self-hatred was indeed unfortunate and problematic. The man child, according to Lorde, was constantly in fear of his own emotional capacity as he was afraid to actually feel emotion because of the association between emotion and femininity. Critiquing western society social mores, Audre Lorde laments: "Men who are afraid to feel must keep women around to do their feeling for them while dismissing us for the same supposedly “inferior” capacity to feel deeply. But in this way also, men deny themselves their own essential humanity, becoming trapped in dependency and fear" (“Man Child” 74). In this vein of thinking, one can imagine that the son of Lorde would eschew traditional patriarchal prototypes that Lorde laments so much time and again in her writings. As a feminist raising a son, Lorde seemingly opines about the struggles she would face raising a son in a culture so steeped in patriarchal and heteronormative thinking and paradigms. Lorde proffers a litany of anecdotes in her discussion about raising her son Jonathan in a culture steeped in heteropatriarchy. When responding to questions about her reaction to her son being the victim of school bullying, Lorde responds that she was furious at her own impotence while also commiserating about the pain and suffering her son had to endure. Her immediate response was anger towards her victimized son, an immediate reaction that horrified her. Indeed, sons born and raised in societies so charactized by violence and fear is the reason why young men self destruct. Although a staunch feminist in her own right, Lorde caught herself buying into the hegemonic notions about manhood and manliness, especially when her son began to cry about the horror he experienced as a victim of school bullying. Her reaction is directly related to her own personal experiences and situation. Her son will not grow up to be a prototypical hyper-masculine adult associated with western patriarchal societies. Lorde recalls that an older and wiser woman once asked her if she had ever told her son that she herself used to be afraid at one time too. Lorde perceived this question as farfetched at the time it was posed to her, yet when she saw her son crying from having to run away from his bullies, she recognized that her son was ashamed and felt like a failure as a son.