Humor

 

Hunger is

a social

construct

 

 

 

Roxana Kreimer

@RoxanaKreimer

@feminiscience

 

 

 

"Hungrism" is a term coined by Natacha Sad in her book "Gender mirages" to describe how neuroscience is wrong when it assumes that hunger is a natural phenomenon through which men eat more than women (Sad, 2010, p.161). The process of disciplining women to eat less begins hours after birth, when the mother encourages her son to suckle more. In a study psychologists Daniel Yuss and Daniel B. Litt argue that men all over the world feel hungrier, think more about food, try more food and often rejoice imagining that they steal food from a woman´s mouth, but Sad argues that as a girl's mouth tends to be smaller than the one of a boy, the mother infers that she needs less food and gives her a smaller ration. When women reach adulthood, the media, science and society in general exert pressure to keep her skinny. Just as science maintained in the XIXth century that women were less intelligent, now it presumes that women are less hungry.

Sad states that it is evident that animals don´t eat and that if they attack others, it´s because they want to exercise power. Society disciplines women to believe that feeding men is an act of love, while they deprive other women of enough food so they remain skinny. Evolutionary psychologist Freddy Schiller suggests that gastronomy may have evolved so that men can seduce women by inviting them to eat, but for Sad the existence of restaurants and supermarkets reveals that hunger is a social construction, and the imperative for women to remain thin legitimizes the unjust food distribution between men and women.

The debate reached its climax recently because a Google employee was fired for holding the determinist thesis that men on average are born with more hunger. His exemplary dismissal shows that an inclusive gender policy should take into account that hunger is the patriarchal and therefore cultural use of coercion of white, heterosexual and proprietary males who want to eat more than women.