Men that gather and women that hunt: Gender ideology in food
When you think of masculinity, what kind of foods do you think about? You probably think in images of big barbecues, and large fatty meats in absurd amounts. And if you think about women, what do you get? Fruits, salads, juices? But, why do we make this relation between concepts? With the arrival of new gender ideologies, it is worth taking the chance to examine the role of masculinity; the place it takes in our individual ideology and how we relate it with food.
Most of us have been told that during the early stages of humanity, it was the men who hunted and the women who gathered fruits. We can remember the images in history books and documentaries. However, now anthropologists and researchers have pointed out that this image is really a construction of anthropological sexism that could now be refuted.
In both current and prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies, roles and task distribution are equitable between men and women. According to the anthropologists Marvin Harris and Eric B. Ross, during the Paleolithic era, hunting strategies involved a high mortality rate and dangerous factors that required the participation of the majority of the group, and not just half or less, as suggested when considering only the male population as hunters.
Dividing work according to the sexes would imply a constant lack of food of animal origin, which required a large number of people to obtain it. Resources of all kinds were obtained and consumed by everyone.
We are used to dividing things by gender, this is how reality has been arranged for practical purposes, however this practicality stops working once the gender distinction breaks an equity gap. We are taught that hunting and meat is "for men" and harvesting fruits "for women", which has different types of implications depending on the ideology of each person.
However, it is worth reconstructing our concepts of "masculinity" and "femininity" from this idea of equality in gathering and hunting. This was an act between human beings ensuring their survival without any gender gap.
Prehistoric conditions pushed our ancestors to gather and hunt to ensure the survival of each group and the species as a whole. Currently the search for resources and the conditions of survival are different from prehistory, however, as a species it is still up to us to ensure our conservation and integrity. Our thirst to exploit the Earth's resources has forced human beings to a new form of extreme survival, in which it is in our hands to protect the environmental conditions to avoid our own extinction.
One of the solutions most explored by experts in various fields is the elimination of the consumption of animal products and transition to a plant-based diet, this to reduce the environmental impact and stabilize the conditions of the environment for our survival collectively. Putting an ideological construct before the survival of the entire species and the conservation of the ecosystem goes against what we could consider a modern adaptation of the species.
Currently, alternatives are offered to make this transition more friendly for any person and palate. Transitioning doesn't have to mean forgetting your favorite dishes and seasonings. ASANTÉ evolves traditions by offering a range of products that recreate Mexico's favorite dishes in a plant-based version.
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Cashdan, E. (1991) Cazadores y recolectores: El comportamiento económico de las bandas, en S. Plattner (ed.), Antropología económica. México, Alianza Editorial: 43-78.
Harris, M. y E. B. Ross (1991) “La regulación de la población entre los primeros recolectores humanos", en Muerte, sexo y fecundidad: La regulación demográfica en las sociedades preindustriales y en desarrollo. Madrid, Alianza Editorial: 30-45.
Binford, L. R. (1994) En busca del pasado: Descifrando el registro arqueológico. Barcelona, Crítica.