Weight Watchers Movement

The consumption of food and ideas about food is a shared social activity. Food is necessary to sustaining life and eating is a cultural activity. Margaret Mead argues that there is socialization to overeating. Pressure to eat is due to a variety of factors including abundance of food, cooking, and enjoyment of eating. There are attitudes towards food that victimize the obese. An attractive body is a thin and healthy looking one.

The Weight Watchers Movement is defined by Mead as an American idea that success at something that is unpleasant is achieved through the support of others in a similar situation. Weight Watcher’s mutual-support groups are marketed specifically toward women who are overweight. They are “social outcasts” who are able to succeed within a social environment with other women who are going through similar processes.

Celebrities who have undergone the process of weight loss including Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson, spokeswomen for Weight Watchers, encourage these women. Weight Watchers chooses to market to women, though they provide information for men as well. What does this mean? Are ideas about the body and food more closely tied to women?



Mead, Margaret. “Why Do We Overeat?.” Food and Culture: A Reader (2013): 19.