Kitchen bitching: food as a means for female power struggles.

Publication Date: Thursday 31 December 2015
Author(s): De Backer, C.J.S.; Hudders, L. & Fisher, M.
Appeared in: Handbook of Women and Competition, vol.: Oxford University Press


Food often brings to mind diet and health, but it also has important social functions. Food is about so much more than just caloric intake and providing nourishment to oneself and others under one’s care. It signals, for example, care about oneself and others by means of careful planning, preparation, and consumption. After reviewing several perspectives on the social dynamics of food, this chapter connects food to women’s intrasexual competition. Specifically it addresses how cooking and food intake are self-promotion strategies, not only due to one’s demonstration of an excellent domestic ability to a potential audience but also by boosting one’s physical attractiveness via controlling food intake. While there exists little direct, empirical evidence on the relationship between interpersonal competition and food preparation and consumption, research from a wide array of topics offers support. The chapter closes with numerous directions for future research in the area of food studies.

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