I’m in two minds about this compelling article about food fascism – “Why I Hate Food” by Mary Rechner, and it is partly because my own cynicism about this movement is being slowly watered down by my recent participation in it.
Becoming a mother seemed to increase the number of interactions I had with people attempting to make me feel insecure. People began asking many questions designed to determine if I was nursing too much or too little, whether I was too attached or not attached enough, and how I planned to educate my progeny, i.e. was I planning to home school? (Add providing a comprehensive K-12 education to that to-do list!) When my children began eating solid food, people were curious to know what I was feeding them, i.e. did I use a food mill and grind the sweet potato myself or did it come from a jar?
Perhaps we focus so closely on food because feeding our families creates an illusion of control. On Facebook, a friend posts about her son refusing to eat a conventionally-grown banana. He can taste the difference—he will only eat organic. What is the subtext of such a post? My child has been taught correctly? My child has learned what I’ve taught? We are good, we are safe, no harm will come to us? Perhaps also this: If your child cannot taste this difference between organic and conventional bananas, clearly our family is better than yours.
As a child, my elder son never set foot in a McDonald’s. He believed us when we told him the burgers were unhealthy. As a pre-teen, he watched Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me, and his anti-McDonald’s stance appeared permanently fixed. He refused even one bite of my large fries. We were at a Connecticut rest stop on I-95—I was desperate! Thus, I never could have imagined the current scenario: my teenage son regularly hanging out in McDonald’s after school. When I asked him if he eats any of the food, he replied, “I eat all of it.”
There is a problem with über-mumming and radical housewife movements in that they do not particularly rock the status quo – one where women’s labour is under-valued and under-recognised.. but on the other hand, not everyone is going to be an artist or a writer so homecrafts probably aren’t, in reality, robbing us of all the world’s female artists. And is there anything wrong with women finding something artistic and beautiful about their everyday pursuits? Basically, home-makers are a fucking soft target.