How Did Gender Get Associated With Food; Some Food Is Feminine; Some Masculine

Ritika Nijhawan
·2-min read

Gender stereotypes have a long-dated history and unfortunately, despite various efforts all across the globe, gender stereotypes are still prevalent in society, in one form or the other. Be it gender roles in household chores, fashion choices, or even dietary preferences, stereotypes still influence our lifestyles in some way or the other.

Certain food items and dishes such as quiche, salads, fruits, white wine, cupcakes, and all those lip-smacking desserts are considered to be more feminine than others. Chili, steak, and bacon are generally included in masculine diets.

A glimpse of a menu from gender reveal party
A glimpse of a menu from gender reveal party

Ever wondered how we drew these lines between feminine food items and masculine food items?

How Did Food Stereotypes Originate?

Food stereotypes originated from America, in the 1870s when more and more women increasingly started joining the workforce. It was during this period that corporate advertising and magazine articles demarcated male and female taste preferences.

Before the American Civil War, families used to consume similar items together. There was no demarcation between feminine food items and masculine food items. Reports suggest that even the women-only restaurants had similar menus as the other restaurants.

Read Also: How Do The Everyday Objects Around Us Reinforce Gender Stereotypes?

As women’s participation in the workforce increased, they got more opportunities to dine in the company of their female friends and acquaintances. Various restaurants that catered to only women, proliferated during this period as they used to create an alcohol-free space for the women.

Marketing Left A Mark On Food Stereotypes

Over a period of time, a notion that certain foods were more preferred among women, started to emerge. Ladies supposedly could not resist dessert items, as marketed by magazine articles and newspaper columns.

Various restaurants, especially women’s restaurants, started incorporating this aspect into their menus. Their menus offered light main courses, followed by elaborate dessert courses that included various decorated, colourful, and joyful sweets and desserts.

Talkwalker depicted trends for the food industry
Talkwalker depicted trends for the food industry

In the 1970s, people started spending more money on dining out and despite radical social changes, the distinction between male and female taste preferences in advertisements remained evident.

Light and healthy foods such as Kale, Quinoa, etc. are gendered as feminine food whereas barbecue meals are considered masculine.

Advertisers take a common expression “You are what you eat”, very seriously. By associating food items with gender, they tend to convey gender-specific messages to the viewers, thereby attracting more and more consumers.

All in all, advertising played a critical role in associating gender with food and beverages, and such stereotypes are still prevalent in society.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Scroll.in, The Guardian, The Washington Post

Find the blogger: @_RitikaNijhawan

This post is tagged under: gender and food, food items and gender, wine for the lady, steak for the man, food items and femininity, masculine food items, sexism in food industry

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