Sex_ Gender and Food

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					Sex, Gender and Food

      Nutritional Anthropology
"Sex” refers to the biological and
physiological characteristics that
define men and women.
 Sex- “female” and “male”

 Biological categories based on-
 chromosomes, hormones, reproductive
 organs and functions
 Females cyclic hormonal and metabolic
  Nutritional needs of pregnancy and
 Life history Approaches
Life History Approach
  Life history theory is an analytical framework
  widely used in animal and human biology,
  psychology, and evolutionary anthropology which
  postulates that many of the physiological traits and
  behaviors of individuals may be best understood in
  terms of the key maturational and reproductive
  characteristics that define the life course.

Examples of these characteristics include:
  Age at weaning
  Age of sexual maturity or puberty
  Adult body size and compostion
  Age specific morbidity and mortality
  Age specific fecundity
  Time to first sexual activity or mating
  Time to first reproduction
“Gender” refers to the socially
constructed roles, behaviors,
activities, and attributes that a given
society considers appropriate for
men and women.
   “feminine” and “masculine” or possible third
   gender Hijras of India and Pakistan
   Fa'afafine of Polynesia, and Sworn virgins
   of the Balkans,Two-Spirit of native
   Cultural, psychological, social categories
   define social roles and behaviors
     Differential Food Access
         Based on Gender
Female babies have shorter nursing times
Higher tolerance of prevalence of infant
undernutrition & illness in females
Men are fed first and most desirable foods
Men have access to meat while hunting
Men have access to more food & variety in
work settings
Men have access to food in ritual context
Men have access to food in men’s –only
Widespread Food Discrimination
       against Females
Food taboos during menstruation
Food taboos during pregnancy
Food taboos during lactation
Food taboos related to sexual behavior
Ritual fasting more frequent or sever for
“Your can never be too thin or too rich”
Gender and Food Production

 Division of labor- age , sex
 Hunting vs. Trapping vs. Gathering
 Gardening- crop type, activities
 Economics- market production, home
 Pastoralism- animal species
Gender and Food Consumption

 What is eaten and amounts
 Symbolic and ritual consumption
 Roles and status, social identity
Food aid programs – often target
 children and women – but do they get
 the food?
Discussion of Readings

 Constructions of femininity and
 masculinity regarding food behaviors
 across cultures
 Intersection of race and gender
 regarding food-related stereotypes

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