Eating, looking, and living clean: Techniques of white femininity in contemporary neoliberal food culture

Wilkes, Karen (2021) Eating, looking, and living clean: Techniques of white femininity in contemporary neoliberal food culture. Gender, Work & Organization. ISSN 0968-6673

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This article contributes to Gender Work and Organization's Special Themed Section on Foodwork, by addressing the intersections of race, gender, and class in representations of labor, whiteness, and neoliberalism in popular and digital food cultures. The discussion responds to the journal's call for papers by examining the clean eating trend as a vehicle for the ideals of white femininity, and the techniques of femininity that are employed to convey messages of normalcy and exceptionalism in this contemporary popular food culture. In the analysis of an article in the high-end home interiors magazine, Elle Decoration, the visual authoritativeness of clean eating advocates is considered to highlight the strategies and devices used to deploy ideals of white femininity and to create boundaries around a remodeled white female neoliberal self. The article aims to advance current debates regarding digital foodwork, by examining the esthetics of whiteness that are contained within the message of relatability communicated by social media food influencers. Thus, in keeping with the broader concerns of the journal, the article addresses developments in the fields of gender and digital labor, with respect to the overwhelming dominance of privileged white women in this sphere and the esthetics of their labor, which has thus far received limited attention within existing debates.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
29 December 2020Accepted
10 January 2021Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: class, clean eating, neoliberalism, postfeminists, whiteness
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2023 10:19
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2023 10:19

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