The New Food Puritans Print E-mail

Why moralizing about food choices has replaced moralizing about sexual choices: A Truth in Food conversation with author Mary Eberstadt


eberstadt_146x220Though it doesn't appear to be polite dinner conversation in some circles, it's obvious the sexual revolution of the last 50 years has come at great price to some members of our society, according to author Mary Eberstadt. A research fellow at the Hoover Institution and consulting editor to the Institution's bimonthly Policy Review, Mary argued last year in a brilliant Policy Review essay, "Is Food the New Sex?" that the evaporation of moralizing over today's sexuality has led to a parallel flood in moralizing over other areas. Specifically, yesterday's bedroom prude has given way to today's kitchen prude: a paradoxical libertine, zealously non-judgemental about whom, how, where and why one makes sexual choices--even as she grows increasingly shrill, dogmatic and restrictive about what makes for a morally proper diet.

loserletters_220“I find it really interesting that these two codes, one about food and one about sex, seem to be existing in this inverse relationship, where as one gets stricter the other gets more lenient,” Mary tells Truth in Food interviewer Kevin Murphy. “I think the fallout [over the negative consequences of the post-pill sexual revolution] makes a lot of people uncomfortable, in a way that they’re not even necessarily fully aware of. We live with these major consequences…day in and day out. And I think a lot of people have the sense this has all gone too far, that nobody meant for the party to have gotten so out of hand, and no one knows how to stop it. My supposition is that part of what’s behind these increasingly moralistic attitudes toward food is that people have displaced the kinds of feelings human beings have always had about sex onto food instead,” says the author of the new The Loser Letters, a darkly satiric send-up of the not-so-liberating liberation of young women via the abandonment of morality based on God.

Food for thought for those left perplexed by the seeming contradictions of today's criticism of the food system, Mary's insight on the underlying morality of the movement is crystallized in this engaging interview with Truth in Food.

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+2 #1 T Sch 2013-11-08 12:22
The anti food moralizer movement is so small... I had hoped to meet like-minded people. Instead I am ashamed to be sharing it with the likes of Eberstadt here. :(

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