Sunday, July 6, 2008

against chocofeminism

'There has always been resistance to feminism - the backlash that Susan Faludi chronicled in her 1991 book of the same name. But there is also the satisfaction of arguments won, rights enshrined, respect ensured, the sense that the central feminist project - the fight for women to be treated as human beings, no more, no less - is inching along. In fact, reading a recent piece by US feminist writer, Katha Pollitt, headlined Backlash Spectacular and charting the ways in which North American culture is regressing on women's rights, I felt smug. Thank God that's not happening here, I thought, sinking into my seat and reaching for another chocolate.' (Kira Cochrane in today's Guardian)

What is it with the f*&%ing chocolate? Do you think it's cute? Suggestive of a slightly naughty non-po-faced feminism of the most modern kind? Does chocolate constitute your very identity? If you could choose between chocolate and, say, the right to vote, how long would it take you to make up your mind?

I noticed with a kind of resigned horror a new line of chocolates the other day. The following three images sum up the ideology of chocolate in the most obscene way:

(obscene images over on Infinite Thought's Cinestatics)

[I think Mithridates is right, in comments, not sure IT caught the way the irony was meant to work (but made me laugh). So blog in haste, repent at leisure - I liked KC's piece (which didn't make me laugh).


Mithridates said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mithridates said...

[Initial comment removed b/c of typo]

I don't think IT allows comments, so I'll comment here. Isn't Cochrane using the chocolate line to indicate just the sort of smugness she cautions against in the next paragraph? It seems that Cochrane would not disagree with IT, who seems to think that KC is using the image without irony.

Interesting though. I found this abstract (here: for a study done at Cornell:

This study investigated relationships of culture and physiology with chocolate cravings. Gender differences in chocolate cravings in Spaniards and Americans were examined using parallel Spanish- and English-version questionnaires administered to 259 undergraduate students at one university in Spain and 306 at one university in the US. Responses were examined separately for men and women in American and Spanish samples using multivariate analyses to control for variables like chocolate availability and cultural involvement (which was described by country of birth, years spent in that country, media use, and cultural identification). Chocolate was the most craved food among all Spanish students, but only female American students. A total of 91% of American women and 59% of American men reported chocolate cravings, and this significant difference persisted when controlling for American cultural involvement. In contrast, 90% of Spanish women versus 78% of Spanish men reported chocolate cravings, but the gender difference was no longer significant when controlling for Spanish cultural involvement. These results do not reject a role of physiology in chocolate cravings, but suggest that American culture encourages disproportionately more chocolate cravings among females than males, and that globalization may have led to a similar craving pattern among Spaniards, although gender differences in cravings are less clear-cut than they are in the US.

Anonymous said...

In contrast, 90% of Spanish women versus 78% of Spanish men reported chocolate cravings, but the gender difference was no longer significant when controlling for Spanish cultural involvement.

I have no idea what "controlling for Spanish cultural involvement" might mean; I suppose reading the full article would help. My first thought was that they meant "real" Spaniard men, as opposed to immigrant workers, but why would they be including the latter in the first place in a study meant to illuminate the cravings of Spaniards? But I am not as statistically literate as I would like to be.