Politicians who don’t like their vegetables

I found this little article pretty interesting in light of what I’ve been reading in The Sexual Politics of Meat: a Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory, by Carol Adams . . . regarding the history of meat as a symbol of patriarchy and vegetables as a metaphor for ‘feminine passivity’.

(AP) John Edwards has to be a mighty hungry man before he’ll touch that mushroom on his plate. Mitt Romney says he’s never met an eggplant he’d eat.

Presidential candidates do not seem to be fussy eaters for the most part. Yet they have distinct dislikes, mostly from the veggie kingdom.

Read more here.

I don’t think I need to point out that for men to eschew eating meat is still considered emasculating (remember that commercial about the wimpy tofu-eating boy?). Mostly, as Adams points out, this is tied to economics and distribution of animal-food resources: when that distribution is controlled by men there is more relative dominance on the part of men. Vegetables/plant foods, on the other hand, are often classified as ‘women’s food’ and Adams provides a lot of examples of this – from 1950s era American cookbooks to certain tribal societies to the 1988 Presidential Campain where practically all the (male) candidates were compared to vegetables- arguing that “Colloquilly [vegetable] is a synonym for a person severly brain-damaged or in a coma” and is used to express distain, criticism, and weakeness and passivity. Meat, on the other hand, equals action, strength, dominance and macho-ness – and “men who choose not to eat meat repudiate one of their masculine privileges.”

So it’s not really a surprise that Mitt Romney or Barack Obama wouldn’t wan’t to seem like a sissy. Interestingly, they didn’t ask Kucinich, who is a vegan, but we all knew he’s about as weak on principle as a fresh zuchinni … and what about H. Clinton’s response? “I don’t like the things that are still alive.” How vague is that ? and as is typical, Clinton has to appear middle of the road, non-threatening and not too masculine or feminine.
The candidates answers are perfectly crafted in response to the public perception and institutionalized ideas about what our food represents -patriarchy.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ben Boynton said,

    Consider who considers eschewing or chewing meat emasculating. When I eat vegetables and other plants I’m quite sexy in the male way-really! To further buttress my assertion here that veggies could be manly: Beans and the farting that follows and the laughter that follows that is one sure way I know my baby loves me!!!

  2. 2

    Cody said,

    I can only hope you were being sarcastic when you called Kucinich “weak on principle,” unless you’re saying a zucchini is as strong as steel. I don’t know of many other men who nobly stand up for their beliefs rather than sell themselves to the game of politics. Honestly, you might not agree with what Kucinich says, but you’re foolish if you think he doesn’t stand up for his beliefs when others won’t. Likewise, you’re foolish if you think any of the other “candidates” (I thought candidates meant they were qualified for this position) are half as genuine as Kucinich. You might call him “kooky” or whatever, but I’m sure the other guys have their own quirks, but they’d never show it.

    At any rate, Kucinich is elected to represent his district time and time again.

  3. 3

    alethafaye said,

    Yes, I was being sarcastic.
    totally agree with you, Cody.

  4. 4

    alethafaye said,

    Oh, yeah, I was trying to think of a hard vegetable … thus the zuchinni. I can see how that might be confusing.
    thanks for the comment!

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: