New book reviews for Food and Femininity

Food and Femininity CoverIt’s been exciting to read the critical ideas and discussions stimulated by Food and Femininity. In this book, Kate Cairns and I explore the complex and emotionally-charged tensions underpinning women’s relationship to food today.

Our insights are drawn from in-depth qualitative research with more than 100 food-oriented men and women in Toronto from a range of race and class positions. We find that whether as mothers, home cooks, conscientious consumers, or as health-conscious eaters, women’s food choices remain closely scrutinized. To avoid being perceived as too “extreme” (e.g. health-obsessed or insufficiently concerned about health), women must perform a careful balancing act. We use the term calibration to describe this act of constantly adapting to elusive ideals of femininity, health and physical attractiveness. Calibration is politically significant because it shows the narrow space women navigate between performing ideal, hegemonic femininity on the one hand, and pathologized femininity on the other. Despite advances in gender equality, when women “fail” at food, it is still regarded as a failure of femininity.

Here is some recent coverage of Food and Femininity: