Feminism and the corporitization of food

We’re always bitching about the fact that the food in this country has been turned into poison. We commented on twitter that feminism led to wide-spread processed food consumption and we had a tweeter who proposed that it was the other way around (sort-of). This is our rebuttal:

Note: If you’re interested in how the convo began, scroll down, we provided the exchange at the bottom of the page.


The washing machine is a great example of industrialization that led us to feminism.

There is no “down-side” to mass production freeing women’s time in this instance. The clothes are still cleaned just as well if not better, it just takes less time, energy and labor.

Modern ovens and stoves did the same. No difference in quality but a reduction in ‎time, energy and labor for women.

Processed foods however, are a different ball game.

We begin to see TV dinners in the 50s. Freezing tends to make the food taste like crap so they added tons of fat and salt to make them palatable. This is the dawn of processed foods. The BIG difference here is quality. It only saves time, energy and labor. It is not only bad for the consumer, ‎the quality is so inferior the American consumer (pre-feminism) would not have embraced low quality processed foods as daily meals simply to save women time. At the time TV dinners were considered acceptable “in a pinch”, manufacturers were not expecting to replace three meals prepared at home with processed foods.

Fast food restaurants have an earlier history and were considered a novelty or treat. The increase of car owners led to the spread of fast-food and again in the 50s we see an explosion but also again, not an explosion that was intended for daily consumption or as a replacement for home meals.
The wide-spread availability and acceptance of processed ‎food didn’t pave a road for feminism, it’s the other way around.

The idea that Americans or anyone would replace even one of their daily meals with processed foods was absurd. Swanson & White Castle did not expect to be standard fare for American families. They expected to be an occasional choice. ‎Processed food options would have increased past the 50s but they would have leveled out at a certain point because the market would not have supported the endless array of processed foods we have today.

It has only been in the last 30 years that processed foods have become standard fare. The result of the massive increase of not only women but particularly married women we saw entering the work force by the 80s. The swell from the 50s to the 80s was enormous. As those numbers increased, it was a new phenomenon, large numbers of married women were no longer available daily to prepare three quality meals for their husbands and families. Something had to fill this gap. Enter processed foods. It didn’t have to be what filled the gap though. The family could have pulled together to figure out meal preparation. This did not happen. It is a huge failure of feminism.

Feminism, instead of freeing women from the sole obligation of food preparation, left the job to women who had less time, more stress but more importantly more money. Many wives suddenly didn’t have the time anymore but had the money to purchase higher cost, lower quality foods. Now the real processed food saturation begins. It becomes acceptable to replace large parts of a meal or an entire daily meal with low quality processed food. Had feminism addressed this imminent change, had they approached the problem that undoubtedly arises when women are en masse entering the work force and yet still responsible for food prep, we would not have seen such an increase in acceptability towards processed foods. People’s attitudes towards processed foods changed dramatically as a result of the influx of working wives. Men weren’t going to chip in simply because women were less available to prepare food. So men ramped up production of processed foods to capitalize on a an exponentially growing market, the working wife and mother.

Feminism helped send married women and mothers into the office but totally ignored that she was still expected to fulfill all of her duties at home. The disparity is still present today. Working mothers and wives still do the lion’s share of household duties compared to their working husbands. Feminism succeeded in making more women working cogs, increasing tons of markets for corporate greed-pigs and failed to address many of the issues that this new state of affairs would undoubtedly create. The number of industries that have been affected by feminism are endless. Entrepreneurs and business owners, ie, men, were only too eager to fill the gaps feminism caused in our lives and unlike the women who sacrificed for their families,they didn’t give a shit how their new products & services affected those families. We removed an individual (ie wife & mother) who sacrificed and cared for her family but left her with all of the responsibility of continuing to do so. Feminism did not concentrate on putting more responsibility upon men, it never does. We now have a solution. Feed your family garbage.

Husbands and fathers to this day do not expect to be responsible for feeding their family three times a day. They’re often not even involved in the decision. It’s just not their “realm” so it is not a surprise we find ourselves in this state where so much of our food is poison. The only other alternative to the state of affairs we have now would have been to concentrate on putting more responsibility on the working husbands of working wives. Sure people talked about it but it was a lip-service bullshit “inequality” issue you’d see in an Op-Ed in the New York Times, it wasn’t taken seriously. It was an accepted collective *groan*. Everyone knew women were still responsible for figuring out how everyone was going to eat and no real effort was put into changing that. Huge fail.

Not acknowledging that this is what happened leaves us in the same place, not addressing an issue that has had devastating affects on American health. If we’re going to make “healthier” choices, someone still needs to prepare it at home and leaving it as mom’s job by default won’t help us arrive at healthier choices.

TLM long tweet: The corporatization of food is another unfortunate result of feminism. Women aren’t home to make food anymore. We’ve said it many times before, you can’t just change everything and put nothing in it’s place. Destroy, destroy, destroy. Obviously we’re not anti-feminist but you can’t just change the structure of everything and act like men aren’t going to take advantage of it and be disgusting.

Tweet replies via: @janethe1st

Urban/suburbanism destroyed community, without which you cannot expect housewives to function well.
Feminism still inevitable result of scale-based alienation. Industrialization-caused atomization created feminine mystique

Social “conservatives” think you can plop nuclear family in modern atomized society & it should still function. Hilarious.

Or should I say what became liberal feminism was the result of industrial centralization, not the cause of it.

Like you I’m not antifeminist – just noting both left & right are infected by neoliberal idea that people are blank slates.

Also centralization of food production would have happened with or without feminism, but I see your general point.

Posted in: General