My Dinner can tell you my Social Status

Our food tells us who we are

Bourdieu said:

Taste, a class culture turned into nature, that is, embodied, helps to shape the class body. It is an incorporated principle of classification which governs all forms of incorporation, choosing and modifying everything that the body ingests and digests and assimilates, physiologically and psychologically” ( Taylor & Francis: 34).

The above picture, from the article How supermarkets prop up our class system, tells us a lot about the socioeconomic class of the two women depicted. First thing someone notices is the clothing and jewelry of the two individuals: leather jacket vs. T-shirt, pearls vs. hoops, nice hair style vs. hair in baseball hat. With a second look, the shopping bags reinforce our initial assumption about social status: wine and champaign vs. soft drink, fresh bread and organic food vs. canned food. The woman on the left most likely is of middle-upper social status, while the woman on the right belongs in the working class.

“In America, food has become the premier marker of social distinctions, that is to say—social class. It used to be clothing and fashion, but no longer, now that ‘luxury’ has become affordable and available to all.” (read more here)

There is this notion about lower-income families subsisting on fast food because they lack nutritional education. For most lower-income people that notion doesn’t stand true. It is not that they don’t have the proper knowledge that a salad is healthier than french fries or cake. The reason poor people consume food in high sugar is due to cheap prices and convenience.

Sometimes, you just don’t have a choice on what to eat, which automatically places you to your “appropriate” social class…