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Masculinities and eating practices in the Philippines: An ethnographic study

Winter, Rachel (2017) Masculinities and eating practices in the Philippines: An ethnographic study. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Individuals’ eating practices have been linked with gender, in that masculinity and femininity can be reflected through what they eat. This has been related to how food is coded stereotypically, meat being perceived as masculine and fruit as feminine. The aim of my research was to explore the relationship between masculinity and eating practices in the Philippines, to find out if gender did impact on these. This was also important as diet related illnesses, are increasing in the Philippines. There was literature and studies on the composition of Filipino diets, however, there was limited understanding on the eating context in the Philippines. To research this I used ethnography, taking a participant-as-observer role, and autophotography, giving participants cameras to photograph their meals. Data collection was over an 89 day period, spent predominantly in Manila. For there to be consistency in analysis, I used thematic analysis for the field notes, photographs and interviews. My findings suggested that food was not heavily gendered, in that different foods were not defined as masculine or feminine. I argue that gendered practices were observed through the quantities of food consumed, especially rice. Rice was more than just a staple food, it was thought of as being a heavy food, one which gave men the desired feeling of fullness. Participants frequently spoke of the equal division of labour in the domestic space, with foodwork not being a particularly feminised task. Significantly, I identified a strong emphasis on communal eating amongst participants. This was the common environment for people to eat in. In this context participants said that they were happier, the food tasted better, and subsequently they consumed more. The findings contribute an understanding of eating practices in the Philippines, particularly the important role of commensality and how gender was practiced in this environment. I conclude that communal eating provided a setting where men could display their masculinity not through consuming masculinised foods, but instead through eating larger portions. This shifts the focus away from individual food choices onto communal eating practices when researching the Filipino eating context.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Health and Related Research (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Ms Rachel Winter
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2018 12:36
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2018 15:38
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20059

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