Food and female body image has changed drastically over time, leading body shapes from thin, to curvy, to muscular. In America, food and body image is extremely important to females, particularly teens and young adults. Currently, it is “fashionable” to eat organic food and sport a healthy, toned and muscular physique. In the nineties, women were more comfortable eating what they wished and having bodies slightly thicker than women today, wearing clothes that embraced their natural shape. What women choose to eat and how they choose to view their bodies is ever changing in America.
Is organic food the solution to our current extreme health conscious American culture? The Organic Trade Association statistics show that the organic food industry started at $1 billion in 1990 and has grown to $24.8 billion in 2009. As our ideal image of the female body type recently changed from ultra thin to healthy and toned, applied anthropologists, who apply anthropological methods to social problems to find solutions, may have been consulted by various corporations to renegotiate the food Americans were consuming. Because people are worried about health to an extreme degree, food must be free from any toxic pesticides and void of growth hormones. Food now has packaging that promotes the organic “brand,” along with “1/3 Less Fat,” etc. Applied anthropologists may have been called in to investigate and create new food ideas for this calorie conscious crowd. Why have we changed our diet from fast, easy, and fatty to simple and organic? This theory leads us to believe it was a solution of sorts, perhaps to the rise in weight gain, unhealthy bodies at young ages, and increased sightings of carcinogens in our generation, as these problems are increasingly more prevalent in our society today.
Fat, Skinny, Luscious, Curvy, Toned, Lean, Obese. These words affect how people view their bodies. Healthy, organic, all natural, balanced, fat free, enriched. These are words or phrases we look for when we’re trying to eat well. To a linguistic anthropologist, someone who studies language in the context of human social and cultural diversity in the past and present, these are just words and symbols, but when used in our culture, these words decide what we eat and how we define beautiful bodies. In our current culture, we tend to veer away from the words skinny and fat. Neither promotes positive body image for young females. People now want to be considered lean and toned. People often diet due to that daunting word: obesity. We have placed such a heavy emphasis on this word specifically; frightening people into thinking any type of extra weight will lead to unhappiness and death. This theory of linguistic anthropology focuses on language affecting the type of thoughts we have and how we are able to experience the world accordingly. In the case of food and body image, words may by the strongest factor in changing body types.
— Riley C.