Social Desirability: Driver of Public Food Choices

This week in class, we discussed how food preferences and food consumption can heavily impact our identity. Similar to the male preference for magazines discussing weight lifting or nutritional supplements and female preferences for magazines including weight loss tips, there is a traditional understanding that men and women prefer certain foods. The psychological term social desirability refers to the idea that participants in a study will behave in a certain way in order to portray specific traits that are socially desirable or acceptable. I believe the same goes for men and women concerning the food choices we make in public. Therefore, people will alter their public food choices to portray an increased or decreased identification with a certain sex. For example when on a date with the opposite sex, I would anticipate a man to order some sort of meat while a woman might order a salad or lighter dish because of the motivation to portray a certain identity through food choices. Overall, public food choices are dependent on the environment and the type of identity one wants to portray to others.