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Term Paper - Gender & Food: Eating Habits (2)

To continue with the extracts with important gender related information concerning food I want to show you my chapter about the eating habits. At first, there is a little definition about what these eating habits are and how the look like.

The eating habits can be divided up in different subchapters such as why are we eating, what kinds of food, where and how long. These were the four subthemes in which I divided the mainchapter of the eatinh habits.

The expression eating habits refers to the reason why and what kinds of food people eat, where, how and with whom they eat as well as the handling of food in general. These eating habits are influenced by many different factors like e.g. cultural, social, religious, individual, environmental and economic factors. Even political aspects are able to influence what, which whom or where people eat or don’t eat, for instance as a sign of protest or something like this.
So to sum up in the term of eating habits much information is given about a person. That’s why these habits show that much of the personal identity and therefore of course also the gender of the people.

Especially the differences concerning gender were clarified. It exist various differences in the nutrition of men and women, so for instance do men and women have different reasons why they eat at all, apart from dealing with hunger of course.

This is what the the first subchapter is about: What are the reasons for eating without any hunger?

As already known do people in the western society often eat although it is not necessary.  So the aspect of ingestion is not relevant.
The reasons for this behavior are manifold: So as mentioned in the chapter of the meaning of food, usually people of both genders eat something what is specially made for them, exemplarily a cake made for the mother’s day or for the girlfriend or something similar.
But there are also some differences existing in regard to this subject. On the one side, women often leave out meals at home or at work, but on the other side eat because of the fact that someone else made the food so they had not to do it. Besides, women eat more often due to the sense of belonging to a group, for example at a hen party where a feeling of togetherness is given by sitting and eating in common.  Comparatively to men, the last point is rather regarded to drink a beer together with a few mates than to eat something with them. Men stop more than women with eating something up, they usually don’t care if their plate is empty or not (except older men who e.g. know the famines times after/during war). Women in contrast rather care about that no food gets wasted what surely is affected by the aspect that in most cases women are responsible for preparing the food. They want their efforts to be respected and do not want the feeling that their work gets wasted.

To the reasons why men eat there counts also the point scientists of the German institute for nourishment found out: namely that eating lifts the mood of the men more than it is the case on the part of the women. Matter therefore is that men see well prepared food as a kind of reward for hard working, as a reparation for the daily trouble or stress at work.

2 Kommentare 8.6.11 17:17, kommentieren

Term Paper - Gender & Food (1)

Now we are really in the final period of our seminarcourse with the topic of (Introducing) Gender Studies.

About three weeks ago we had to hand in our term paper which is an essay about a special topic in regard to the genders. Personally, I had chosen the topic "Gender & Food" with the main regards on the eating habits and dieting.

So here I want you present you a few extracts out of my essay which I concern the most important.

By the way, we had also to hold a presentation about the gender related knowledge we gained in our essays.

In my term paper I wanted to find out if there are significantly differences respectively similarities between the genders in relation to food or if there are just stereotypes existing. I chose the topic fod because I think it guaranties a great variability of themes and subtopics. Besides, it is something we have to do with every single day and so it is very interesting to know more about it and to analyze exemplarily the eating behaviour of your personal environment.

 First of all, I want to make clear the general and special meaning of food.

Food is essential not only for us human beings. We need food to gain energy to keep our body temperature constant, to keep ourselves” functional” and in general to allow us to live.
So everybody needs food and is forced to get enough energy as well as vitamins and essential nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates and fats to guarantee healthiness. In former times and also in some very poor regions nowadays the main task in the life of the people there is the supply of food for themselves and their family. In contrast to our western society today food became something self-evident. We eat because we just like the taste of a special victual or because we have to wait for the bus etc. We actually don’t need to be hungry to eat something; it suffices a sense of belonging e.g. as a kind of family custom or the like, in form of eating a cake because someone made it for you. It becomes obvious that parts in the world are over-nourished while other regions have to fight with malnutrition.
Besides this issue there exist also other, albeit not that grave, problems concerning food like for example the divers illnesses, allergies and the overweight of many people because of false nutrition. These factors mostly develop out of the unhealthy lifestyle which is becoming normal or is already usual for many people today.
Here we yet have a basic approach about a very important characteristic of food because it is able to tell more than supposed about a person: Where he or she lives, what a social status relatively money the person has, what lifestyle is preferred, how the eating habits are defined individually, in what culture the person lives and much more. So the eating habits and -behavior can also be very meaningful aspects of the individual identity of every human being.
So as an example, phrases like “You are what you’re eating” (“Du bist, was du isst" ) express that the individual bill of fare is part of the personal identity. Some people even believe in the credo: “Show me what you eat and I’ll show you what you earn” (“Zeig mir, was du isst, und ich zeige dir, was du verdienst" ), concerning the quality and quantity of the consumed food or maybe the place (restaurant, snack bar, ...) where the person ate.
Additionally, food consumption can also signify gender and sexuality. So in some cultures food expresses male and female identities trough a certain meaning of the food relatively the rule of consumption. So in Papua New Guinea food is classified in male and female: typically male products are characterized as dry, hot, hard, infertile and slow growing. In opposition, female victuals are wet, cold, soft and fertile as well as fast growing.
The rules of consumption are another important fact concerning the gender roles. In the end of the twentieth century, there was still the opinion that meat stimulates sexuality and men should eat a lot of it but women don’t. They should eat lighter foods and in this way reduce themselves by disowning their desires or at least their appetites (Brumberg, 1988).
In conclusion, food is also able to represent the gender (-roles), power and ultimately the identity of people.


1 Kommentar 8.6.11 16:32, kommentieren

A Gender For Change

In recent courses, we heard all of the little presentations we had to do as a preparation for our oral exam which will take place after the Whitsun holidays.

So another text somebody had to work with dealed with "Gender For Change".

There it was spoken about the glorious revolution which happend in 1968. This was a mobement against the current political circumstances at that time. The movement did not really achieve a change of the situation of gender equality but the issue came to people's senses. This is very important to improve the unfair conditions because the general attitude of society changes and as a result there is a solid base for a permanent positive developement.

Another point who changed is the meaning of the term "macho". This term stands for a man who is very self-confident in regard of talking to women and flirt with them. He makes himself out to be extremly and exaggerated male. Nowadays, however, this term has become a kind of joke. Only people in an insecure situation would still put on the "macho".

Furthermore, the current role of men changed. Masculine would no longer be the "old-style" masculine, the attitudes would have changed. Consequentially, hero stereotypes such as John Wayne, Clint Eastwood or Chuck Norris would no longer exist.

In the discourse it were also mentionned the achievements as well as the failures of feminism. Political agenda set up by feminists involved equal opportunities, equal rights and equal pay. Feminism would have failed in regard to engage men as allies, so persons who provide their help. But I think this is not right to 100 per cent, there are also men supporting women in their effort to achieve equality.

A further point which was spoken to were the trade unionists. Women had to fight more and harder to achieve any mensure of euqlity within the union movement. Women are mostly seen as an oppressed class, althought there were women in higher positions even before the feminists movement started.

The "enemies" of the feminists would be of course the men. Succeeding feminists would require men to give up things they want and therefore men were the enemy. The official enemy on the other side is patriarchy, so the power of the men over the women which they did not want to give up and so oppress the female population.

Finally, the tactics of the feminists were presented. The former ones would not longer be the most effectives, so exemplarily expressing feelings would no longer wreck masculinity. Men had to see the potential advantages the would gain by feminist movements and as a consequence deal with it or even kind of support it. But all in all, political changes would be the most important and neccessary tactics the feminists need to really change something. 

1 Kommentar 2.6.11 14:34, kommentieren

Prattle of the sexes

In this blog I want to talk about a further presentation of two fellow stuents of our course. Their subject was to find out wether men and women "speak the same language" or not. For finding out the differences, they got an article in our book like the other groups, too.

The results the gained out of this text were that there are some basic differences between the two sexes.

So men would often confirm the stereoptype of being bad listeners in regard of female prattling. They would rather prefer to discuss something with facts and arguments because they see the conversation as concerned with their status, like they had to prove themselves and assert independance.

On the side of the women there are the aspects that they would for example never get to the point when they tell you something. Besides, they would take everything too serious and always want to enhance intimicy as well as reinforce the relationship towards the dialogue partner. In contrast to men, they like it to share all their feelings with others, in particular with their best friends.

An example for the different ways of talking between men and women is the "Lost-in-the-car scenario". If women get lost, they want to ask other people for the direction etc., also because this would reinforce the bond between the people. Men on the other side rather give information than ask to receive some.

Another point was boasting. In regard to men, they would do it for gaining a higher status towards the other men around them, to dominate. In regard to women, it looks completly different. They try even to avoid boasting at all because they want to be accepted by everybody and don't impress the others.

To sum up, the main problem respectively difference in the way women and men are talking is the meta-message of what they say, "the unspoken attitudes, thoughts and intentions behind the main message" to quote our book (Viewfinder;p.57,l.89f).

So as a conclusion, according to the author of the article, Deborah Tannen, men and women do not speak the same language at all. The point is that they have different "aims" they want to achieve and the way of communicating itself (->meta-message).

1 Kommentar 29.5.11 22:16, kommentieren

A "Bad Victory For Women"

This blog entry is about my own little presentation I had to do with a fellow member of our seminarcourse, like everybody else had respectively has to do, too.

Our source was an article about a woman who sued her employer because of mistreatment of her gender. She worked for the USB AG, an european financial company. Her job there was the one of a top manager. The reasons for her suing the company she worked for were more detailed that she regularily was treaten patronized in front of her colleagues. Besides, she had the impression that lucrative businesses were refused to her. This would be supported by the next argument, namely that she would be discriminated against due to not being invented to company outings as for instance baseball games or golf plays.She even brought in that she felt excluded and bullied by not being asked for an outing into a strip club. At this excursions, important or new clients would be represented so she would also be disadvantaged. But she further quoted the position of her desk as a reason for suing the USB AG because of mistreatment by positioning her desk among the one's of the lowly employees.

Actually, she went to court and won the process so far (althought USB planned to appeal) with a compensation money of a whopping 15,6 million Pounds. Before, she already got an annual wage of 350,000 Pounds as one of USB's best paid executives. This money should be better used for victims of child abuse or rape instead of the one's of mistreatment of gender, claimed the female author of the article, India Knight. She also approached that it would not be a single-case scenario of being bullied, this would also happen to men or in other institutions like in school. And these men or school-chilrdren in contrast would not run to the courts and sue their bully. Furthermore, the amount of the money of compensation woul in no case represent the heaviness of the committed crime. Additionally, the victim has already worked a long time for the bank and has a high working position there, so apparently she could live with the bullying quite well till then. The author also approached that some charges, as for example the one concerning the position of her desk, would be non-serious and ridiciulous. Especially criticized was that the victim after the won process spoke of a "triumph for sisterhood". There, India Knight contradicted clearly: The executive shouldn't claim her personal and in particular financial triumph as a victory for women. Because it would be a "bad victory" for them. Women who demand for equal treatment should stay their "man" if they get treaten like a man. So they could not deal with equal treatment if they receive it because men would treat each other simply in another way than they usually behave in appearance of a woman. When women get treaten in the same way, they would have got what they demanded and as a result shouldn't feel bullied and personally injured.

Moreover, there would still exist typical male bastions, thus men dominated and therefore usually no "women-friendly" environments, as for instance financial centres like the Wall Street or the city of London. There and at other places, too, would of course exist sexual discrimination and even sexual harassment. So in London there was a similar case where a female employee charged the financial company she was working for, this time it was Merill Lynch. She also won her process and got one million pounds of compensation.

So finally, you have to seperate real mistreatment or harassment because of gender and women who cannot deal with being treaten like a men, like a "grown-up" as the author expressed it in her article about this topic.

1 Kommentar 28.5.11 21:13, kommentieren

The Myth Of Super Dad

Hey there

Our seminarcourse is slowly but surely entering the final period. So we already had and will have other presentations about different smaller topics concerning gender to be well prepared for the final exam .

Last time, we heard a presentation about the myth of super dad. The text of the both who hold the presentation dealed with Tony Blair, the politican who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2nd May 1997 till 27th June 2007. He, in the eyes of the press, succesfully combines being a busy person with being a lovely caring dad for his children. Of course, everybody can imagine how hard it must be for him to care about them, because he hast no time to relax and has to stand up at night because of his children. But is this really good for his job? Is he able not to sleep and work nevertheless as a very high politican?

This is very questionnable. It would therefore exist three types of being a dad, and not everyone is ideal.

So there is the so-called "Smug Dad Syndrome" (SDS), which probably could be the one Tony Blair represents. This type describes the changing of men's behavior in public and at home in private. These dads play the nicest and best exisiting dad who ever lived on earth - but only in public. At home, it is again the task of the woman to care about the children. The men belonging to this group see a baby or little children as a chance for a better image. This type is in particular appearing under popular men who get presented as "superdads" in the media which is able to turn facts from black to white and projects stare pictures of persons. Hardly expressed: These men are no real fathers for their offspring.

Then we have the type of the "New Man". He cares for his baby and sacrifies himself for it. He is determinded but loves his children and looks for his style and the fashion and so on, his appearance at all.

The best of all dads is tough the "Super Dad". This signifies a men who really and without any limitation stands up for his children and cares about them. He only want them to have a happy lifetime and enjoy it. These type of father is the ideal picture for many women. But the chance if there is a Super Dad existing depends on the idea of the women which kind of father they want to have for their child, and this is as I think similar to the idea with whom the women want to be together forever because only with that person they usually can imagine to get a child.

Finally, I think in a "good-working" family, in which everybody feels secure and content, the men has the role of the Super Dad because the woman who is with him wanted to have a child or children with him and if they really love each other they will also love their children and care about them.

1 Kommentar 26.5.11 13:28, kommentieren

Trip to the St. Dominikus High School For Girls

Last tuesday our seminarcourse made a trip to the St. Dominikus, a high school only for girls. This was a very interesting thing, because it was hard for myself to imagine what this school would be looking like.

And it was a little bit curious to come into the school and there are only girls around you, everywhere. Exept for one or two male teachers and the boys of our course there was no single male person in the building. And it was strange as well to move in the stairway and feel the views of the girls walking down the stairs.

In small groups we went in different classes to observate and analyze the lessons. We focused on the relation between the pupils as well as with the teacher, the behaviour of the girls in class and during the break, the methods used by the teacher to organize the lesson and the teacher's reaction if a pupil puts her hand up relatively if there are disruptions in class. Besides, we had a look at the learning efficiency and the willingness to learn.

So we introduced us in the classes we visited and explained why we were here and then we sat us and made notes concerning the points listed above.

What I think is a really good aspect was the small number of pupils in each class I visited. There were never more than maybe sixteen or seventeen girls in one class. That's a great learning atmosphere after my opinion because then it's more silent in class and additionally the teacher is able to be more responsive to every single pupil.

So what I found out about the behaviour in the pauses doesn't differ in what we do: eating, talking, maybe have a look over a few vocabs before a test .

The willingness and the learn efficiency were quite good, the girls worked most of the time concentrated and seemed to be interested. And against my prejudice they liked it to work practically, for example with tools (saws, drills, etc.).

Another point was the relation between the teacher and the pupils. All in all there was a quite relaxed contact which also allowed a little joke from time to time. And concerning the work with tools there was a high discipline with regard to safety measures. But back to the teachers, they were all (at least the ones I met) very nice and just used little admonitions to ensure the silence.

Well, that was the only thing where I felt - a little - certified with regard to my prejudices: the willingness to communicate among the girls. Everytime they built little groups and talked about different things (which had not exactly always to do with the topic of the lesson^^). But on the other side, I think that's the case in most schools, maybe just a little more pronounced in a school with only girls.

After the lessons we were allowed to visit the teacher's place and ask them questions. At home, I created a few questions for a short interview but the conversation quickly spread out what was very good because I got a first impression what it is like to teach only girls. Especially interesting where the dialogues with teachers who worked at mixed schools before and so could say something about the differences they experienced on their own. As an example, a female teacher told us that she found it more difficult to built up a deeper relation with her class if there were only boys in it. At the St. Dominikus she feels better in regard to the interhuman bonding to her pupils.

So all in all, it was a very impressive and interesting day for me. At this point again a big thank you to the people of the St. Dominikus for their cooperativeness which made this day possible at all! And of course to our teacher for organizing such trips for us .

1 Kommentar 21.4.11 13:03, kommentieren