Junk Food By Jane Fitchen Analysis

2147 Words 9 Pages
Register to read the introduction… Fitchen talks about malnutrition in the United States, a country, which most people expect that it feeds its citizens well. She elaborates the cultural values and meanings that are attached to the opposition rich-poor on the image of a poor person buying a steak with a food stamp. She shows that domestic hunger often goes unnoticed, because those people who are poor enough to qualify for government food stamps, may be seen in grocery stores, purchasing not only basic food stuffs, but also popular items, such as potato chips, desserts, and beef steaks. With such purchases, low-income people may seek to affirm that they can live like other Americans, and thus attempt to hide their hunger from the public. At the same time, these foods contribute to their malnutrition, and the public concludes that if poor people can eat steak, they must be neither poor nor very hungry. She argues that the poor, despite their limited economic resources, try to follow dominant American cultural practices, in order to express their membership in society, and food is seen as a tool to "eat oneself into the middle class". On he other hand, there are strong cultural beliefs that the poor "should eat differently because they are different." She shows how the poor try to overcome deprivation by buying popular and heavily advertized junk food, which however damages them more than the affluent who are able to afford both junk food and nutritious food and thus balance its negative effects. Similarly, the poor families she has studied regard food and drink as important to social interaction, as others do. Thus, visits are always accompanied by gestures of offering food, and additionally many families depend on informal reciprocal networks of food sharing. Fitchen explains attitudes toward poor in the context of the American ideology that the individual shapes its destiny, and that poverty hence is the condition of individuals, not of society. Thus, a common myth, which also impacts …show more content…
If one might find some of them less appealing, they can be skipped by the reader since there are still enough left. Even one who is not particularly interested in food could find the book useful, since it deals in general with cultural meaning, symbolism, political economy, gender, and consumption. I liked especially the papers that dealt with the roots of thinness, since it is such a prevailing paradigm today in many parts of the world, and so heavily promoted by the media as an almost ahistorical and essential ideal. The book shows how bodily dysfunctions can be approached with cultural terms and further examines how access to food is a marker of power and how food can be used as a tool for manipulation and social control. It also provides a broad range of methodology: from fieldwork to historical

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