There’s been a lot of talk in the feminist blogosphere lately about Michael Pollan, food activist and author ofThe Omnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan is anti-meat, pro-organic and pro locally grown food, and a major critic of the global industrial food complex. These are all fine things to be, since our healthy-food-is-only-for-the-rich lifestyle is having major repercussions on our health and happiness. It is, however, not so great when he jumps on the “feminists have ruined family mealtime by refusing to cook” bandwagon.
In “The Foodie Indictment of Feminism,” Salon’s Anna Clark points to Pollan’s most recent screed. She writes:
“So while reading Pollan’s latest piece in The New York Review of Books, I was nodding along as he articulated how the local food culture manifests the good kind of movement fragmentation — threading together diverse interests to create a powerful force. I was nodding, at least, until I got to the part where he discusses Janet A. Flammang’s new book, The Taste of Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society. Pollan writes:
In a challenge to second-wave feminists who urged women to get out of the kitchen, Flammang suggests that by denigrating “foodwork” — everything involved in putting meals on the family table — we have unthinkingly wrecked one of the nurseries of democracy: the family meal.
Clark goes on to say that this is not the first time Pollan has idealized the notion of woman as food provider and keeper of the family hearth–nor is it the first time he’s blamed feminists for encouraging women to discard that role, which he implies has led (if only partly) to the mess we’re in now.