Op-Ed: Culture of bad food

On Monday, March 4th, a student body campaign booth offered slices of fresh, homemade bread that could be either buttered or spread with homemade jam. I never expected such a feeling of delight. That delight merged with an upwelling of complex feelings that had been unknowingly submerged for semesters. It is not that you are bribed; it’s what they bribe you with. That tells volumes about who people are and what they care about. Along these lines, pizza and cotton candy mark an unconscious gendering of the foods offered in the halls. Recently, a class I was in discussed the differences between when men and women prepare meals. When the obligation comes along, men often respond by buying pizza for the clan. The quick exchange of money for a product is a presentation of male earning power. Someone with more than a cursory involvement with the responsibilities of nutrition would quickly realize that offering empty calories, grease, and white flour is almost purely symbolic. The issue is systemic.

 

It’s often said that students are starving and just happy to be fed. A lot of people didn’t grow up eating good foods. Many actually prefer pizza. But if people really are starving, why not break that viscous cycle and expand their nutritive pallets? Healthy food programs have

been started in quite a few schools around the country. Big surprise: those students soon appear more alert, have healthier skin, get better sleep, and perform on tests. I urge the winners of this election – whomever they are – to take this into account. Bags of tangerines versus a fleet of cotton candy machine (plus the electricity required to make pure, processed sugar palatable.) Popcorn versus fresh bread. What a difference this can make. Anthropology student at UVU.

By JR harper

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