The social construction of feminity through food and dieting in the contemporary society Essay


The building of gender by and large has been influenced by societal procedures. There is a twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours dialogue on what it means to be a adult male or a adult female. Bing a female is a uninterrupted acquisition procedure that is continuously negotiated depending on the society. There is a common being of the female organic structure and the society. The society causes the female organic structure to hold different egos which are associated to different things. The female organic structure becomes portion of the embodiness which is shaped. The female organic structure is a societal tegument which involves the person and the society governed by norms and desires. This societal tegument links you with the outer universe.

Though the organic structure experiences certain freedom it is normally constrained by the environing environment. They manner people make their individuality and how they make is portion of that society. Wenzel E ( 1983 ) , explains that “ organic structure consciousness, bodily experiences and bodily looks are non merely capable to single picks of one life style over another ; they are chiefly structured by societal communicating and interaction, both of which are dependent upon the symbolic construction of the societal system, i.e. , the value system, normative outlooks and symbolic classs such as wellness, wealth, felicity, satisfaction, power, etc. This is besides applied to dieting which is a pattern amongst most adult females which is organizing and keeping the organic structure image that the society wants.

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This paper therefore focal points on how the society controls the female organic structure through nutrient and dieting. Showing how there is a uninterrupted dialogue on the image of the female organic structure.

The Social Construction of Feminity through Food and Dieting In the Contemporary Society

The modern-day society is continuously imputing different significances when it comes to adult females, nutrient, feeding and dieting. Eating play an of import function in the manner the female organic structure is being controlled. Food intake promotes different reactions depending on the infinite and clip. Counihan C.M ( 1999 ) acknowledges that, although there are other constituents of female individuality and other beginnings of their authorization, the power of adult females has frequently derived from the power of nutrient. It is a paradox that though adult females are the suppliers of nutrient and doing nutrient is frequently associated with female functions in most societies, the society indirectly restricts them from devouring this nutrient. Though some work forces give a assisting manus in nutrient readying, the undertaking of guaranting that repasts are ready on clip still belong mostly on the adult female. Women hence consider dieting non merely as a set of regulations but a adept they need to full fill so as to to the full incorporate in the society they find themselves. Feminity image today particularly in most western societies is attributed to slenderness.

The building of feminity is extremely influenced by popular civilization. Most adult females are forced with the thought of watching their weight through dieting and maintaining fit. These adult females, immature or old are really much concern in watching their weight by commanding their nutrient consumptions. The ideal female organic structure portrayed on magazines is a slender organic structure non a fat one. Multiple merchandises are being advertised to keep these ideal female organic structure forms. Most modern-day adult females strive to look like the theoretical accounts on the magazine which is normally a slender adult female. It is rare to see a merchandise being advertised for increasing weight. These magazine controls the female organic structure because they want to be what they see on the magazines. Though the thought of slender female organic structures was attributed largely to adult females in developed states, the media has made the thought to be globalised. The issue narrow margin being the ideal form for adult females is increasing in non developed states every bit good.

In the yesteryear in the African society, fat adult females were in manner. Most work forces preferred acquiring married to flesh out adult females because they were considered physically healthy and appealing particularly when it came to sex. These adult females with large buts and chest were more appealing and sexually luring. Besides, being fat meant that you were populating a good life. They sizes of the member of a adult male ‘s household determined his wealth. Having fat kids was a mark of good life. Work force who got married to reduce misss finally fed them to go fat. Dieting was out of inquiry and flesh outing class was encouraged. To cognize that a adult male is taking good attention of his married woman was seen in has physical morphology after matrimony. If she grew fatter after matrimony, it meant the matrimony was very well. This pattern is still common in some parts universe, but by and large fattening classs are out of inquiry in the modern-day universe.

Today it is the contrary in the modern society, most hubbies prefer their married womans to look slender. Bing slender does non do her expression younger but besides sexually flexible. Most adult females want to stay immature for life and the ideal form they need is being slender. The station modern construct of juvenility is cosmopolitan and has made the female organic structure to go an object of societal power. The society appreciates slender female organic structure because it is more elegant and easier to pull strings than a fat organic structure. Most male childs in my town will bask taking their slender miss friends for a party than fat misss. Even when they get married to a fat miss, they will ever promote her to reduce down. There is a continuously use of the female organic structure all linked to gender. Most of these adult females want to remain immature and look sexually attractive.

Dieting hence becomes a cultural phenomenon in most modern-day societies because it is common amongst a peculiar group of people. It is besides determine by a societal category. In order to hold an effectual diet control, you need to hold the agencies. Besides, if you want to incorporate in that peculiar society, you need to hold a peculiar organic structure form as a adult female. Images of female that are fat are associated with lower category. Identity is non determined by what you do in the Western universe but what you consume. The form of the female organic structure does n’t show merely the societal category but besides the moral value. A welled molded adult female shows that she is morally unsloped, because the manner the society appreciates you from exterior is what you are indoors.

Narrow margin is considered as clean and desirable, while looking fat is seen as dirty. These adult females have hence taken dieting to be a manner of life so as to be comfy in the society. They chose what to or non to eat, how to fix it and when to eat. Most frequently, the first ground advanced by adult females for dieting is keeping a peculiar organic structure image and wellness grounds merely come in as secondary. Womans in the modern-day universe are by and large dissatisfied with their organic structure forms. African American adult females might prefer manner to determine but there is a general grasp for narrow margin. They ever need to make something or to amend something, they want to look like their ideal theoretical account.

This has made the figure of adult females with anorexia nervosa to increase. The female organic structure continuously suffers from force caused by the society. Violence suffered by hungering the organic structure creates the female individuality and is considered normal. This goes in line with Michel Foucault who explains that the society through political, societal, cultural and economical steps has shaped the human organic structure. The impact of these steps on the human organic structure has been exaggerated to a point that we could non conceive of it will make. The female organic structure through utmost dieting reflects a clear indicant of Foucault ‘s work. The organic structure has been manipulated by the society beyond outlooks.


Feminity is uninterrupted constructed by the influence of the society. The female organic structure image is what it is because the society wants it to be that manner. Food, feeding and dieting are non the lone issues that the society uses to command the female organic structure but there are other facets of control.


    Wenzel, E. ( 1983 ) : “ Lifestyles and Living Conditions and Their Impact on Health – A Report of the Meeting ” in Scots Health Education Group ed. European Monographs in Health Education Research. Vol. 5. Edinburgh: pp.1-18


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