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Term Paper - Gender & Food: Kinds Of Food (3)

Continuing from the chapter before it is recognizable that there are various differences between the genders concerning the reasons of eating food. So as a result, there has to be some differences of what men and women eat, too. And so it is, like studies show.

Throughout the diagram above it becomes obvious that women (middle) lead in consuming fruits and vegetables. During the time of six years from 2001 (blue) to 2007 (red), the consumption of vegetables and fruits in England increased. Interesting is the fact that not only the women eat healthier but the men do so, too. This represents a new trend to a conscious way of nutrition whereas the women still eat more vegetables (over a third of women eat more than five portions of vegetables and fruits every single day) because they want to keep control over their body, for instance in form of having an overview about the amount of the nutrients in the incorporated nourishments. Women also often count the calories in their food, follow principles and try to stay under a certain limit. Through these guidelines, they feel good because the think they do something for their health and physical appearance and so they feel more attractive. Therefore it is necessary to be thin, is the cliché, given by the media and the society in general. This daily influence in magazines, TV-shows, advertisements and so on is nearer regarded in the relation to dieting and eating disorders, where this situation plays a main role.

Personally, I also started a survey concerning the topic gender and food where I wanted to find out in reality what the people think of this theme and of course what their eating behavior was like. I questioned about 30 people in my school and my environment, half male and half female. The results are very interesting, and during my essay I will bring in some facts I gained through this survey.

So at this place, I can verify the results of the study above with the knowledge of what the persons I asked responded. In my outcomes, over the half of the women stated they would eat at least one portion of vegetables every day, whereas the highest rate of the men was five times a week. So the stereotype of women eating more vegetables and “green stuff” seems to be not that false. Quite the contrary, women take more care of their way of nutrition, in fact they eat in average more than 100 g vegetables a day, which is 20% more than the men’s consumption. Besides, under the questioned peoples the sole vegetarian was female. But what is the reason for this situation? A possible explanation gives the division of work in regard to the purchase of food in prehistoric times. In those days, the growing of fruits and especially vegetables was the task of the woman while the man was hunting and building tools, huts, etc. So there is a connection between women and vegetables all along and this is also visible in the today living primitive cultures where the women still are responsible for working on the fields. Another indication is that in averts for vegetables usually women get addressed. As an example there was a slogan: “From Mother Earth to mummy’s table” (“Von Mutter Erde auf Muttis Tisch" ).

But there is also the trend recognizable that men take care of their way of nutrition as well. Their rates of daily consumption of carrots, collards and Co. are increasing. Furthermore, it is the case that especially young men become vegetarians or food combiner. This development of men regarding on their nourishment is among others visible through the fact that more and more men cook. It already exist cook-books for men and there are even courses for men to learn how to prepare their food on their own. Of course, this development is at the very beginning, except the gastronomical cooks where men by the way are dominating. Nevertheless, Cooking is still the main task of the women in the belief of big parts of the society but also often in reality.  

A further point concerning the differentiations in regard of what men and women are eating is meat. Here we could conversely transmit what we found out about the consumption of vegetables. The men are leading in the consumption of meat with 71g per day in average whereas women get along with 10 g less. All in all, the whole meat consumption of men is about 20% higher than the women’s one. This situation of men consuming more meat than women do is also the case in the survey I did. There, over 40% of the male candidates said they would eat meat every day. If you look at the women’s answers, the highest respond was four times a week which fully underlines the numbers above concerning the gender depending consumption of meat. Further acknowledgement in regard of men seeming to be the main consumers and admirers of meat is given through a study which shows the generally dislike of especially younger women of red meat varieties and the more positive attitude of men in this point. In the study 206 women and men in the age of 14 to 30 had to evaluate attributions of different kinds of meat, from white to red. This attributes worsened with increasing level of red color intensity by the women, whereas the attitude of the male candidates was more positive. Another additional chart to show the consumption of meat, in this case the one of young people from the United Kingdom is the one you find at the following link: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/content_images/fig/0170340602006.png 

(I'm sorry but I wasn't able to include the chart in this blog). There the amount of consumed meat is represented, divided in mean, median, minimum and maximum. As visible, boys in this study lead again in the consumption of meat with up to 393 g per day contrary to maximum 263 g per day for the girls.
Now the question arises, why now the men are leading in the eating of meat. Many people think the reason is that men have more muscles which contain out of proteins and so they had to eat much meat to get enough of this nutrient. Against this stands the fact that proteins are as well needed to sustain bones, the blood, sinews, skin and other organics. So women need also many proteins to stay healthy and therefore the thesis cannot be the truth. Scientifically regarded the need of proteins differs rarely between the genders. Women need about 1 g per kilogram body weight and men do so, too. Pregnant women even need twice the normal dose.  
Beside these facts, there are other victuals existing which provide proteins. Tuna fish
for instance contains 23% of proteins per 100 g, lentils 24% and some cheese sorts (Roquefort; Cabrales) likewise over 20%, just to name a few protein containing viands.
A food chemist from Munich, Josef Wahler
, explained the popular belief that animal proteins would be better than the one of plants was a misapprehension. And these falsities would be responsible for a too high consumption of meat and in this way also for the thereof resulting negative aspects for health, especially for men as main consumers. Consequences of too much of meat and fat could be for example arterioscleroses or gout.

So what is then the reason why men eat so much meat? It is not essentially necessary for the nutrient content and in greater amounts even worse for health.

This also has to do with the former meaning of food, which was seen as something that makes men strong and more muscular. Moreover, Helene Karmasin from the Viennese institute of motivation research has the opinion that this favor for meat on the part of the men has again something to do with the prehistoric times, when men kind of overcame the nature in being successful as a hunter. This feeling could be one of the main points concerning the reasons why men in average eat so much meat.
As a consequence, the food industry is orientated in meat lasting food selling like for example in so-called “Stone edge-restaurants” where the mostly male guests have to eat with their fingers as in the former times. Another example are the big fast food chains such as Burger King or McDonalds and also the advertisement is specialized on men
. So in a TV-advert there was a father with his little son riding with the bike uphill and easily overtaking a group of road bikers. The message the viewer should get is that all this power would come from meat. This advertisement therefore forces the misbelieve of people that eating meat would be very good to became strong and healthy and of course successful because like in the commercial the father won the “competition” with the professional bikers.
This extremely overvalued character which gets attributed to meat of making someone strong and all in all more powerful together with the prehistoric argument of feeling like a successful hunter and of course also the fact that many people like it to eat food, which is as well influenced by the food industry, are the main reasons for the situation that men eat more meat than women do.
Generally, men like to eat good and proper meals like cutlets, roast meat and similar meals in contrast to women who prefer lighter food like pasta and salads. Already for breakfast many men betake to ham and eggs, while women prefer cheese and fruit jam.

Finally, it becomes obvious that there definitely are differences existing in regard of what men and women are eating.

8.6.11 18:18

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