Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

Living Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Body Image, Gender, and Food

  • Lisa Jean MooreEmail author
  • Mari Kate Mycek
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6167-4_6-1



While human bodies must consume food to live, lives are organized around the actual harvesting, gathering, preparing, and eating of food. These practices, particularly consumption, are deeply cultured and gendered. The ranges of appropriate body sizes and shapes are also highly gendered. In the USA, men on average are 5.5 in. taller and 29.3 lb heavier than women (CDC 2012b). Though not all men are larger nor all women smaller, they are expected to be based on feminine and masculine body ideals. Most people strive for socially and culturally normative body sizes.

The presentation of self as a gendered person is achieved through the use of markers and symbols, including clothing, hairstyles, and jewelry. Humans manage their interactions with others using behavior and physical activities considered appropriate for one’s sex category (Goffman 1959). Internal and external body image, its size, shape, contours, and...


Body Image Black Woman Eating Disorder Binge Eating Body Dissatisfaction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology and Gender Studies, Purchase CollegeState University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.SociologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA