Vanity and image is obsessed over in this day and age, especially within the United States. We are wired to think and base assumptions off of first impressions or visual context. With the slew of narcissism and the fixation of image comes a wave of faux-conscious nutritionist suddenly grappled by the obesity we are faced with today. Modern molds suggest that body image, such as thickness, is directly correlated with your health. Author Maxfield delves into that ideology amongst various others. She addresses attacks and at times agrees with countless various issues and conversations currently in place regarding this topic.
Food as Though: Resisting the Moralization of Eating expands on how the idea that what we consume directly correlates with our state of health is conflicting. To start her piece, Maxfield introduces the fixation of the American consumer to eat healthy in a corporately underwritten society – to emphasize that our confusion and lack of knowledge works for their monetary gain. The author moves on to analyze Michael Pollan and his ideologies; she notes that his “algorithms” of food and health lack other individual information imperative for a proper correlation. As a culture, we parallel weight with health something Maxfield counters by notating how low BMI ensures into higher mortality rates. The author’s “I Say” emphasizes the deep problem there is with assimilating weight with health. She says that instead of focusing on what is being consumed; we focus on how much we consume thus never addressing the heath implicating aspect of our diets. The author concludes her thoughts by explaining her analogy of the moralization of food which translates as follows: food is not moral or immortal but neutral. Our culture and life experiences determine their individualized cultural standing and our willingness to consume it or not.
Mary Maxfield starts her piece annotating three prominent points. The first is the arrogance ensued in general nutritionist’s ideology or approach of this hot topic, the second was corporations dealing and effect on health and the way people eat. Finally, the author adds a bang to her piece by raising the question: why do we assimilate “fat” with unhealthy?
I agree that it is presumptuous to believe that we can dismantle our current health crisis by creating a cookie cutter formula that is expected to fit people that vary from the most extremes of spectrum. NCBI elaborates on the factors racial and ethnicity diversity have on obesity stating: “although childhood obesity is increasing in all ethnic and racial groups, its prevalence is higher in nonwhite populations”- further proving that although we are biologically constructed similarly- our customs, traditions and cultures play a significant role in our overall health. When we include other factors such as social-economic status the health consciousness gap disparages even further. Healthy foods are higher in cost than their cheap counterpart therefore making them less accessible for the community that would need it the most. This is seen in the poverty stricken areas, every corner has a McDonalds or Jack in the Box all readily available, affordable and efficient. However, look for a Whole Foods. Chances are that you will seldom find one in the vicinity. This feeds into the greater issue – corporations exploiting our poor.
A second point I that I delved into was Maxfield’s sentiments in regards to the enormous hold that corporate machines have in the general population’s health stake. Although I was a bit taken aback in regards to this – it made sense once I thought of a corporation’s purpose: money. Big named companies such as Coca Cola and Mc Donald’s profit from the poverty stricken and necessity of the poor. They allure a group of people by their very attractive and obtainable prices alongside, the ease of the fast processed food. All the whist disregarding the quality of the food provided. As a money making machine, corporations look to gain the most product at the least possible price in order to generate the highest profitability possible revenue. Their money buys them access to our policy makers and facilitates the chain of moral corruption leaving the defenseless burdened.
“Fatness is fatal and thinness is immortal” (Maxfield, 445.) The author of this composition hit on a key point that is rarely brought up – skinny does not equate to healthy! My bias will ensue in this segment of my response due to personal experience. The culture we live in does not perpetuate the dangers of being skinny; it feeds the misinformed notion that as long as you are a size two you are healthy. This is obviously not the case. Instead of addressing what we put into put bodies and the quality of what is being consumed – the idea presented perpetuates the desire to be skinny and therefore misleads the greater masses into eating less not better. This could be the most regressive point in the discussion because we are taught to see obesity as a nuisance or a plague. In fact, throughout the readings we have had in the course – being unhealthy due to improper nutrients have yet to be paralleled to a skinny individual. However, as exemplified in the reading, having a lower BMI leads to having a greater mortality risk. The daily mail puts it best: “It’s more dangerous to be ‘Skinny Fat’ than it is to be OBESE”. The problem with focusing solely on obesity is that the point of a more healthy community becomes diluted by imagery. The general conversation on obesity becomes mute when the fact that being skinny and unhealthy is significantly more dangerous. The problem with being “skinny fat” is that since the conversation about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle targets “obese” people; we are left with a growing number of malnutrition skinny people that pose a greater threat to our lifestyle since we do not presume them to be a problem.That mentality has only provides greater probability to stem body image issues to our younger population without entirely fixing the premise.
Although the author fluctuates points throughout the narrative, her ideology and thought process is in lieu of mine. The three premises that I most regarded were: nutritionist behavior such as their superiority complex, the profitability drive of big corporations and the drilled-on idea that weight correlates with health. I agree with many of her sentiments but also believe that the issue of health and obesity is a very complex, multifaceted issue.
Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel K. Durst. Food as Thought: Resisting the Moralization
of Eating. “They Say / I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, with Readings. New York: W.W. Norton, 2017. 442-47. Print.