Friday, October 31, 2008

Female hunger (quote from Susan Bordo)

A while ago I wrote a blog post about the (self-)disiplining of the female body and the issue of taking up room, filling space. I was reminded of some of the same self-disciplining when I read one of Susan Bordo's great reflections on female hunger the other day:
"On television, the Betty Crocker commercials symbolically speak to men of the legitimacy of their wildest, most abandoned desires: 'I've got a passion for you; I'm wild, crazy, out of control' the hungry man croons to the sensuously presented chocolate cake, offered lovingly by the (always present) female. Female hunger, on the other hand, is depicted as needful of containment and control, and female eating is seen as a furtive, shameful, illicit act, as in the Andes Candies and 'Mon Cheri' commercials, where a 'tiny bite' of chocolate, privately savored, is supposed to be ample reward for a day of serving others (Bordo 1986). Food is not the real issue here, of course; rather, the control of female appetite for food is merely the most concrete expression of the general rule governing the construction of femininity that female hunger - for public power, for independence, for sexual gratification - be contained, and the public space that women be allowed to take up be circumscribed, limited." (18)

- Bordo, Susan. 1989. The body and the reproduction of femininity: A feminist appropriation of Foucault. In Gender/body/knowledge: Feminist reconstructions of being and knowing (eds) Alison Jaggar and Susan Bordo, 13-33. Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

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