Author Archives: jjohnston72

New Article in Ag & Human Values: Meat and Mothering

When Kate Cairns and I first worked on the topic of Food and Femininity, we didn’t anticipate that the topic of meat would hold such an important, but contradictory place in everyday foodwork. People worry about meat — where it comes from, whether it is safe to eat, how the animals were treated, and if they should teach kids about where meat comes from.

In this article in Agriculture and Human Values,  we draw from qualitative data collected with Toronto mothers to explore how meat figures into foodwork and childrearing. We identify a central paradox surrounding meat consumption. On the one hand, good mothers are expected to teach kids where food comes from, a perspective strongly informed by ethical consumption discourse. On the other hand, good mothers are expected to protect children from the harsh realities of modern life — realities like slaughterhouses, factory farms, and eating animals. This paradox is not easily resolved, and can force mothers to confront some of the visceral discomforts of eating meat, especially in settings that are far-removed from the lives and deaths of animals. More generally, this articles speaks to the idea that food habits are not just about knowing (e.g., knowing the backstory of your meal), but also involve care, concern, and discordant emotions.

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Read more: “On (not) knowing where you food comes from: meat, mothering and ethical eating”, Kate Cairns and Josée Johnston. Agriculture and Human Values. Published online 24 January 2018.

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Calibrating Extremes: The Balancing Act of Maternal Foodwork

bananasKate Cairns, Merin Oleschuk and I recently wrote a short piece for the Gender & Society blog on the pressures mothers face when feeding children. We write: “When it comes to feeding children, mothers today must avoid the appearance of caring too little, or too much. Either extreme garners social stigma, although the penalties are far from equal.” Read the full piece here.

Narrow visions of sex and beauty

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Model, Paloma Eslesser, posing for Glossier (as part of their “body hero” product campaign).

I have teamed up with my friend and colleague, Judith Taylor to write a commentary on the legacy of Hugh Hefner. Definitions of feminine beauty are being broadened and contested (as we see in the Glossier model depicted here). Still, it seems important to continue to interrogate gendered double-standards that persist around physical appearance, sex, and the body.

https://theconversation.com/hugh-hefners-legacy-narrow-visions-of-sex-and-beauty-85083

 

Small-P Politics: New article in British Journal of Sociology

I am happy to report that an article I have worked on with Emily Huddart Kennedy and John Parkins is now available in British Journal of Sociology.  The article is called “Small-p politics: how pleasurable, convivial and pragmatic political ideals influence engagement in eat-local initiatives”.

In the realm of local food, it’s often important to emphasize how food can be pleasurable and convivial. This is a pragmatic strategy for many reasons, and forces scholars to think carefully about what we mean by “politics”. Interviewing and observing food actors located in civil, state and market spheres in three Canadian cities, we describe a set of commonly articulated political ideals that inform and shape an engagement approach that we call “small-p politics”. We analyze why small-p politics is such an attractive option for food movement actors, but caution that narrowing the scope of tools and topics available for civic participation may compromise the ability for collective action to tackle barriers to justice and sustainability.